The Grammys: Are They Even Relevant Anymore?

Every year, a panel of music experts from a variety of different genres and disciplines sit down and collectively agree on their Grammy nominations. Be it ‘best song’, ‘best new artist’, or an obscure category like ‘best-improvised jazz solo’ (yes, that is a real one), everything is decided by a select and exclusive group of people. 

Recent years have seen a steady decline in viewing figures and engagement with the awards, with 8.8 million viewers in 2021, which was a huge drop-off from the 17.8 million people who tuned in the previous year. In the age of social media, the Grammys have definitely failed to keep up with trends. Why still rely on a committee of experts when platforms like Twitter can be used to engage with music fans to create an inclusive nomination and voting process? Public opinion is more relevant than ever, and if the Grammys continues to exclude it, it will gradually fade out of the public consciousness. 

The rapid modernisation of the Grammys is required if it is to stay relevant. YouTube is almost seventeen years old and is home to thousands of independent artists, who attract millions of views, and yet the Grammys has failed to create a category for the platform. This institution, which was once at the front and centre of popular culture, will not last much longer unless serious reform is introduced.

Ronnie Spector: A Cultural Icon

The passing of Ronnie Spector on the 12th of January sent shockwaves through not just the music industry, but through all avenues of popular culture. In the sixties, her group, the Ronettes cemented their place at the forefront of popular music with a string of hit songs. 

However, it was 1963’s ‘Be My Baby’ which shot them into the musical stratosphere. Many would argue that this song transcended the group itself. It has reached an unbelievably diverse audience, featuring in video games, advertisements and cult classic films such as ‘Dirty Dancing’. It is an ever-present piece of music. 

At the centre of all of this was Ronnie. The influence that she had on the music industry, and the very fabric of pop music itself, cannot be underestimated. Artists across the musical spectrum, young and old, have looked to her for inspiration, from Amy Winehouse to Billie Eilish. She may have passed, but her music has and will continue to, stand the test of time. The music industry has not just honoured her legacy, they have collectively thanked her for her great contributions to their art form.

New Release: Dawn FM

I always viewed the Weeknd as an undeniably good, yet slightly one-dimensional artist. His songs are catchy, yet quite forgetful and cookie cutter. This latest album is a tricky one to assess. He is clearly trying something different here, the Jim Carrey radio announcements were certainly a surprise. The end result, however, is quite muddled and underwhelming.

He seems to have forgotten what he is good at, that being huge synth-heavy pop songs with catchy choruses. Glimpses of this can be seen in ‘Sacrifice’, ‘Less than Zero’ and ‘Out of Time’, which unusually enough, has that sort of faux-retro sound that Bruno Mars graced our ears with. I didn’t expect great things from this album, but I don’t think I was supposed to.

The Weeknd has an uncanny ability to create brilliant pop music. ‘Blinding Lights’, ‘Starboy’, and ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ are just a few examples of this, and his deviation from this formula baffles me. As the old saying goes, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and while I understand artists wanting to explore, this shift is quite jarring, and for me, it just doesn’t work.

Jack Donlon – Music Correspondent