Music

Video: Diary of a Song Breaks Down the Grammys

When you look at this category, Record of The Year, how do you feel? “Sad.” “What the hell were they thinking?” “It feels like what 50-year-olds think popular music was like.” “It feels like 2020 in that it’s kind of unsatisfying.” “Record of The Year is the culture category. Where in the culture was this music in 2020?” “But it should be good. It should be the song that’s good enough to represent the year, not just the song that was zeitgeisty enough.” Singing: “Mother land, mother land, mother land, mother land drip on me.” Do you like this song? “I do like this song.” “I do like this song.” “It’s fine.” “I like Black Parade a lot, actually.” “It’s very textured and layered and it gets more and more interesting the more you listen to it.” “There’s the flute. There’s the African choir. There’s the fact that she’s being very topical, talking about Black Lives Matter protests.” “Is it like the banger from Beyoncé I want to hear every day? Not necessarily.” “And we are talking about one of pop music’s Olympic gods. This is a mortal song. She does probably win.” “And I think it might have an inside track, because they keep snubbing Beyoncé.” “She’s the queen of nominations and then the non-queen of winning, especially in the major categories.” “But she’s even better on ‘Savage.’” We’ll get to ‘Savage.’ Singing: “With all my favorite colors.” What is this song? “Every time it comes on I’m like, maybe this is going to be the time where I think it’s deeper than it actually is. But it really isn’t. It’s very simple.” “It’s a song that exists for the Grammys.” “The Grammys appreciate that kind of musicianship.” “There’s good guitar work on that song. Organ on that song is really strong. The vocal is good.” Singing: “I’ll be shaded by the trees.” “But what it’s missing for me is the punch or drama. I mean, it is for people in major Starbucks attendance withdrawal is what it is.” One of the things that hit me about this category is that a lot of them are guitar songs. Even the rap song is a guitar song. “Right. But they’re guitar songs, but they are guitar songs. It’s funny because the next one we’re going to talk about is DaBaby, which is definitely a guitar song.” Singing: “You even met a real rockstar. This ain’t no guitar, bitch, it’s a glock.” “Of every song in this category, it’s the best writing. The guitar part is so pretty, I feel like you almost aren’t catching everything that he’s saying.” Singing: “PTSD. I’m always waking up with cold sweats like I got the flu. My daughter a G. She show me kill a [inaudible] before the age of two. And I’d kill another [inaudible] too.” “I doubt it can win. Historically, the Grammys don’t do well with stuff like this.” “I also don’t think they want to give a Grammy to two Black men. They just don’t. Outkast was the last time that’s going to happen for a long time in the major categories.” Singing: “I’d let you had I known it. Why don’t you say so?” Doja Cat, “Say So,” produced by a man named Tyson Trax. Have you ever heard of this guy, Tyson Trax? “Isn’t that a pseudonym for somebody who maybe has a kind of a bad reputation?” “Oh wait, it’s not Dr. Luke?” Yeah. It’s Dr. Luke. “He used a pen name, for real?” Yeah — Tyson Trax. “Ew. That’s disgusting.” “The number of people in the nominating process or the voting process who know that this is a pseudonym for Dr. Luke, I have to imagine is less than 1 percent.” Do you like “Say So?” “No. Actually, I don’t. It’s disco without the luxury. Everything about disco and twirling around in furs under a disco ball. And this song kind of sounds like a sad person dancing under a single light bulb to me.” “It’s more like, hey.” Yeah. It’s Uber music. “Hey, everybody.” It’s music for the Uber. “It’s Uber music. That’s it.” Singing: “I got everything I wanted.” “This is typical Grammy stuff. Hey that worked. Let’s do it again.” Would it be too soon for Billie Eilish to win again? “Yes.” Singing: “Don’t show up. Don’t come out. Don’t start caring about me now.” Dua Lipa, “Don’t Start Now.” “Yes.” “Is this the record of the year?” “Yes. Disco strings, baseline of the year.” Singing: “Don’t show up. Don’t show up. Don’t —” “It’s a kiss off to an ex who’s trying to make a comeback.” “It’s kind of the opposite of Robyn’s ‘Dancing On My Own.’” Singing: “I’m in the corner watching you kiss her.” “Dua’s like, don’t come watch me be in the club with somebody else, because I’m going out now and I’m over you.” “‘Don’t Start Now’ is a disco banger.” “It sounds like makeup.” Singing: “Run away, but we’re running in circles.” “The idea that this person also did ‘White Iverson.’” Singing: “I got me some braids and I got me some hoes.” “It is fascinating to think that those are the same artist.” This is not a rap song? “No.” “I don’t even know what this song is.” “You know what? This was the Post Malone song that convinced me. I was like, OK, you’re a songwriter. This is a really good song.” “I don’t dislike it, because it’s almost like structurally impossible to dislike.” But you also wouldn’t vote for it? “No, I wouldn’t.” Singing: “I’m a savage. OK Classy, bougie, ratchet, OK Sassy —” Is this the record of the year? “Yes it is.” “A major streaming hit. A huge TikTok hit and dance trend before Beyoncé ever shows up. Beyoncé shows up because of all that. But Megan Thee Stallion, she’s like a C.E.O.” Right. “She’s a great rapper about transaction. It isn’t only about capitalism. But it is also about orgasm, and pleasure, and body fluids.” “Do you think that this is a bigger TikTok song than ‘WAP?’” That’s a good question. ‘WAP’ obviously could have been in this category. Cardi B. reportedly did not submit it for nominations because she wants to save it for the next Grammys. But Beyoncé is Beyoncé. So, you know — “Yeah. Yeah.” “Beyoncé on this song is that big steak that the Flintstones get at the end of every episode and it tips the whole car over. Beyoncé is that steak. She can’t help it. And if you’re Megan Thee Stallion, what are you going to say?” Is this the song to beat in the category? “Yeah. I think it’s between this and Dua.” Flat out, what’s going to win this category? “I think ‘Black Parade.’” “I’m picking ‘Black Parade.’” “‘Savage’ or Billie Eilish.” “I’m going to say, Dua. I think she should win, and I think she will win.” And who should win? “I’m giving it to Beyoncé and ‘Black Parade’ again.” “The Dua Lipa song and ‘Savage’ are my favorite two.” “My vote’s ‘Rockstar.’” And what do you miss in this category? What should be here? “‘Watermelon Sugar.’” Singing: “High.” “It’s a classic no-brainer record of the year. I can’t believe it’s not here. And ‘Blinding Lights’ is the other song.” Right. Singing: “When I’m like this, you’re the one I trust.” “‘Cardigan’ by Taylor Swift is not there.” Singing: “You put me on and said I was your favorite.” “That’s a cozy, old-fashioned subliminally catchy song.” “My heart will always be with that Dua song because I think it’s crisp and perfect. But, if Beyoncé came to the awards, and gave an acceptance speech, and if she would take the Grammys to task for it taking so long for her to be properly honored, the potential of the ‘Black Parade’ win is the most interesting one.” Singing: “Black parade.” “That presumes I think the Grammys are valid.” Sure. “So let’s start with that. That’s a dubious proposition. Start there.” [vocalizing] “I just had this idea that I wanted it to bounce.” Singing: “I got the horses in the back.” [vocalizing] Singing: “Man, what’s the deal? Man, I’m coming through. It’s your girl Lizzo.”

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