Last week, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the upcoming 2012 Grammy Awards on both a lavish concert special (that was slightly better than last year’s event) and their official website. Many of this year’s nominees are new artists, and some of the categories have been changed, but one thing hasn’t changed: people are already making predictions. Here’s a look at some early guesses on who will win in the biggest categories on February 12th, 2012.
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Florence Reece, the wife of Harlan County, Kentucky union organizer Sam Reece, penned the classic protest tune “Which Side Are You On?” back in 1931 and it’s never lost a touch of relevance in all the ensuing years and likely never will given the state of human nature. Pete Seeger recorded the most famous version, which you can sample on his greatest hits album from 1967, and now contemporary folkie Ani DiFranco updates the tune in a bit of perfect timing to coalesce with the Occupy Movement. It’s a rousing version with marchlike beats, punchy horns and DiFranco’s pleading vocals for people to join the fight for justice. It’s also an inclusive call to arms, reaching out to everyone as DiFranco chants, “come on people of privilege… it’s time to join the fight.” “¿Which Side Are You On?” is also the title of DiFranco’s upcoming album, releasing this coming 17 January on Righteous Babe Records.
The signature 4AD band Dead Can Dance are gearing up for a reunion album and world tour in 2012. As a teaser, they are offering a four-track live EP, Live Happenings - Part 1, on their official website. You just need to turn over your email address.
76. A$AP Rocky
There’s plenty of music about getting stoned, and plenty more that sounds like its makers were imparied, but “Purple Swag” might actually get you high. Everything from the md-track irruption of a screwed-down chunk of A$AP Rocky’s “Peso” to the cool, emphatic control of his flow to the queasy lean of the production to the vaguely dream-like video makes your head swim a little. It’s the kind of song where the first time you listen to it you feel like might wake up a few days later in a “FUCK SWAG” t-shirt. Everything will be purple.
If you think Drake spends too much time moping, “Marvin’s Room” may not be the track for you… or, maybe it will. Yes, it details Drake’s late night, drunk-texting loneliness, but it does so over one of the most indelible sonic atmospheres of the year, all downcast synths and from-the-next-room bass hits. Drake’s performance here manages to sum up his entire ethos in a single track, lamenting his ironic inability to make a real, human connection while surrounding by fawning admirers. If you don’t buy his complaints by themselves, the music will sell you the whole package. At once lush and minimal, “Marvin’s Room” sees producer Noah “40” Shebib turn in the best production job of the year.