This past Sunday, many artists took home Grammy awards in various categories. Winning a Grammy, in the mainstream music world, is one of the highest achievements possible. Very few things are above winning Album of the Year, and even fewer are above the Lifetime Achievement award. But, the Grammys don’t always span across to artists, albums, or songs that everyone has heard and maybe thought should have been nominated for each category. So, this year, in an effort to appeal to the minority of people who think the Grammys are [insert expletive here], I’d like to welcome you to The First Annual Cody Awards! Here, I will pick a few of the bigger categories the Grammys recognize, and revamp them to fit my personal beliefs, and maybe represent yours too! (Hopefully.) And if I can’t, I’ll at least explain why, so that you can maybe respect my opinion, if nothing else. So… Here. We. Go.
Record of the Year
Real Nominees: (“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke feat. T.I. and Pharrell, “Royals” by Lorde, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars)
Cody’s Nominees: (“Get Lucky” by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell, “Royals” by Lorde, “Bound 2” by Kanye West, “You’re Not the One” by Sky Ferreira, “Don’t Hold the Wall” by Justin Timberlake)
Now, before you think “Not all of these songs were really that great, etc.” I think I should explain the difference between “Song” and “Record”. “Record” gives the award to the production of a song. Whereas “Song” gives the award to the artist and songwriter. Justin Timberlake’s “Don’t Hold the Wall” off his first release of 2013, The 20/20 Experience is a production masterpiece. (As is the rest of the album.) Timbaland paid more than a sufficient amount of attention to detail on this track, though. I don’t think I realized it until I was showing the album to my mom in the car one day. But, she looked at me and said, “Do you hear a cricket?” and I laughed it off, only to realize that it was part of song. She followed up with “This is a song straight out of Bollywood, huh?” but nonetheless, this song, and the album it’s off of, are both astoundingly well produced. Something that most of us have come to expect from JT and Timbaland.
All that said, Daft Punk was the jam of the year without a doubt. I know very few people that don’t absolutely love “Get Lucky.”
Song of the Year
Real Nominees: (“Roar” by Katy Perry, “Just Give Me A Reason” by P!nk feat. Nate Ruess, “Royals” by Lorde, “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, “Same Love” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert)
Cody’s Nominees: (“Ceilings” by Local Natives, “Hannah Hunt” by Vampire Weekend, “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk feat. Pharrell, “Hold On We’re Going Home” by Drake, “New Slaves” by Kanye West)
Vampire Weekend’s Vampires of the Modern City was regarded by a lot of people to be one of the best albums of 2013. With “Hannah Hunt” and 11 other songs that are nearly as flawless, it’s pretty easy to understand why that was the consensus from Pitchfork, Stereogum, Consequence of Sound, and AV Club. Hannah Hunt is the song that I think pulls the album together. Maybe because it’s in the middle of the album, or maybe because the lyrics are so heartfelt. And it just might be Ezra Koenig absolutely belting the last chorus out with primal instinct intact. No matter what it is about this song, it’s enjoyable, if not because of the piano, then because when all the instruments clash in preparation for the aforementioned climax of the song, you’re overwhelmed with emotion.
Album of the Year
Real Nominees: (The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles, Random Access Memories by Daft Punk, Red by Taylor Swift, Good Kid, m.A.A.d City by Kendrick Lamar, The Heist by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis)
Cody Nominees: (Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend, Hummingbird by Local Natives, Cerulean Salt by Waxahatchee, Yeezus by Kanye West, Reflektor by Arcade Fire)
Hummingbird by Local Natives… There are a lot of things that I want to say about this album. It was (obviously) my album of the year. Taylor Rice and Kelcey Ayer outdid themselves once again in 2013 by following up their debut album Gorilla Manor with another gem of a compilation of songs that flow together like no other. The album starts with “You & I” which has the most beautiful opening vocals to an album I have ever heard, I think. Afterwards, it leads into “Heavy Feet” which is a lyrical out-of-body-experience, and then into “Ceilings” (my favorite track,) which details summer love coming to an end. The consistency of the album is unreal, but throughout, there isn’t a song on it that I don’t want to jam out to. And I think that’s why I’m giving it album of the year.
Real Nominees: (Good Kid, m.A.A.d City by Kendrick Lamar, Magna Carter, Holy Grail by Jay Z, Yeezus by Kanye West, The Heist by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Nothing Was the Same by Drake)
Cody’s Nominees: (WOLF by Tyler, the Creator, Yeezus by Kanye West, Run the Jewels by Run the Jewels, Nothing Was the Same by Drake, Acidrap by Chance the Rapper)
Firstly, let me say that I did not count Kendrick Lamar as a new album. It was released in 2012, and so I didn’t include it in this. (Hence it wasn’t even nominated.) Had it been, it would have been very difficult for me to choose between it and Kanye West’s rise to holiness Yeezus. This album was like nothing Kanye West has ever released. It was intensely Death Grips-esque. The industrial side of West was really shown here on this album. It went to prove that he is innovative in hip-hop. From his first release to his most recent, he has shown that he is the most prolific. Songs like “New Slaves” and “Black Skinhead” make statements. “Guilt Trip” shows us the same vulnerable side of Kanye that we saw with “Blame Game” and “Runaway” off his critically acclaimed My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy with Kid Cudi’s wailing “If you loved me so much, then why’d you let me go?” repeatedly at the end. He shows us how much he DOESN’T care with “On Sight” where he changes the song completely for no reason other than to prove that very point. Kanye did not disappoint. He rarely does.
Best Rap Song
Real Nominees: (“Thrift Shop” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz, “F***** Problem” by A$AP Rocky feat. Drake, Two Chainz, & Kendrick Lamar, “Holy Grail” by Jay Z feat. Justin Timberlake, “New Slaves” by Kanye West, “Started From the Bottom” by Drake)
Cody’s Nominees: (“Bound 2” by Kanye West, “Colossus” by Tyler, the Creator, “Cocoa Butter Kisses” by Chance the Rapper, “DDFH” by Run the Jewels, “Sweatpants” by Childish Gambino)
(Again, Kendrick Lamar was not included, because his album came out in 2012.) “Colossus” by Tyler, the Creator is, in essence, his version of “Stan” by Eminem. However, Tyler doesn’t like the comparisons, and has tweeted mention that this song is based on a true story of something that actually happened to Tyler while at Six Flags sometime in between Wolf dropping and Goblin becoming famous. (Which ironically happened when he won the award for best new artist at… Oops. Not The Grammys. The VMAs.) But, if you haven’t heard “Colossus” or “Stan” then you should know that this song is about dealing with an overbearing fan, whether it be via fan mail or being approached by one in public. Tyler’s fan is clearly mentally unstable, as he goes as far as to tell Tyler he loves him, wants to be just like him, and OH! He also mentions killing people for Tyler and wanting to kidnap Tyler and hide him in his own basement. How pleasant. This song, lyrically is absolutely genius and the beat is gorgeously piano-driven with xylophones and cymbal crashes creating crescendos while Tyler describes the most uncomfortable encounter he’ll probably ever have.
Well, thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this year’s Cody Awards, even if you didn’t like them as much as you liked The Grammys. Because let’s be honest, it’s hard to beat Kendrick Lamar’s performance, Daft Punk having Stevie Wonder perform with them, or seeing Steven Tyler sing Smokey Robinson’s “You Really Got a Hold on Me” with the crowd. Man, that’s hard to beat. Nonetheless, I’ll see you next year!