It goes without saying that the Grammy Awards are by and large complete bullshit—the outdated awards show is notorious for giving their most important trophies to artists decades after they've made their most important music. Still, a big win can be a career-changer, even if they only get it right maybe once every 10 years—Michael Jackson in '84, Lauryn Hill '99, Stevie Wonder in '74 and '77. But truthfully, we haven't really been feeling the Grammys since OutKast cleaned up in '04.
Unfortunately, this year was pretty par for the Grammys' clueless course. A few winners were justified, but as usual, we had some major complaints. If you want to see the music we really listened to last year, check out our Top 25 Albums of 2009. But if you want to see our attempt to salvage last night's ceremony into a semi-credible celebration of modern music, then check out The Complex Grammy Redux...
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Nominees: Beyoncé I Am... Sasha Fierce, Black Eyed Peas The E.N.D., Lady Gaga The Fame, Dave Matthews Band Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, Taylor Swift Fearless
WINNER: Taylor Swift Fearless
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON: Beyoncé I Am... Sasha Fierce
• We're trying to rock with you, Grammy committee, but this nominee list was one huge modiocrity contest. Please read our Top 25 Albums of 2009 list and choose one. Any one! We needed 'Ye at the ceremony to keep it real...not that B's album was great, but at least she had one of the GREATEST VIDEOS OF ALL TIME.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Nominees: Beyoncé "Halo," Black Eyed Peas "I Gotta Feeling," Lady Gaga "Poker Face," Kings of Leon "Use Somebody," Taylor Swift "You Belong With Me"
WINNER: Kings of Leon "Use Somebody"
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON: Lady Gaga "Poker Face"
• Come on son...Love it or hate it, "Poker Face" was everywhere this past year. Cartman sang it, Cudi remade it, and you bumped it on the low in the headphones for a weeks straight. Kings Of Leon are cool, but that sappy-ass power-ballad is not fucking with Gaga's '09 dominance.
SONG OF THE YEAR
Nominees: Lady Gaga "Poker Face," Maxwell "Pretty Wings," Beyoncé "Single Ladies," Kings of Leon "Use Somebody," Taylor Swift "You Belong With Me"
WINNER: Beyoncé "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON: Beyoncé "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)"
• The-Dream's album Love Vs. Money might have been snubbed, but at least he got to accept this songwriter's award on Beyoncé's behalf, along with co-writers Tricky Stewart and Kuk Harrell. This is the rare Grammy that we actually agree with. Radio Killaaaaa!
BEST NEW ARTIST
Nominees: Zac Brown Band, Keri Hilson, MGMT, Silversun Pickups, The Ting Tings
WINNER: Zac Brown Band
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON: MGMT or Keri Hilson
• Sure, some icons like Mariah Carey and Sade have won this award, but they usually give it to a flash-in-the-pan Grammy infatuation like Arrested Development or Paula Cole. Complex favorites Keri Hilson and MGMT should probably be happy they didn't win this one.
BEST RAP ALBUM
Nominees: Common Universal Mind Control, Eminem Relapse, Flo Rida R.O.O.T.S., Mos Def The Ecstatic, Q-Tip The Renaissance
WINNER: Eminem Relapse
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON: Eminem Relapse
• Granted, Relapse had it's flaws, and there were definitely better rap albums released last year. But out of the exceptionally out-of-touch nominees in this category (Flo-Rida??), we gotta give it to Em. Plus any time he gets a Grammy we're happy—remember the year when they gave Album of the Year to Steely Dan instead of The Marshall Mathers LP? Travesty.
BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM
Nominees: David Byrne & Brian Eno Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, Death Cab For Cutie The Open Door EP, Depeche Mode Sounds of the Universe, Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, Yeah Yeah Yeahs It's Blitz!
WINNER: Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON: Phoenix Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
• Another smart choice from the Grammys! We're still not sure what the difference between the "alternative" and "rock" category is, except for the fact that "rock" is completely dominated by irrelevant old men and "alternative" is music we actually listen to. Perhaps it's time to revisit these labels that didn't even make sense in the '90s?
BEST RAP SONG
Nominees: Drake "Best I Ever Had," Kid Cudi "Day 'N' Nite," T.I. & Justin Timberlake "Dead and Gone," Jay-Z "D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)," Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West "Run This Town"
WINNER: Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West "Run This Town"
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON: Drake "Best I Ever Had"
• Hov is the G.O.A.T. and Kanye killed it on "Run This Town," but you gotta give it up to Drizzy for his omnipresent summer jam that hit #2 on the pop charts and had both girls and dudes singing along. Don't front, "Best I Ever Had" was the best rap song of '09.
BEST RAP SOLO PERFORMANCE
Nominees: Drake "Best I Ever Had," Eminem "Beautiful," Jay-Z "D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)," Kid Cudi "Day 'N' Nite," Mos Def "Casa Bey"
WINNER: Jay-Z "D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)"
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON: Jay-Z "D.O.A. (Death Of Auto-Tune)"
• Here's one we're glad Hov won—we'll take his thumping luddite anthem over the "Run This Town" any day. When it comes to actual "rap performance," Jay is still the God MC.
BEST RAP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO/GROUP
Nominees: Beastie Boys & Nas "Too Many Rappers," Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent "Crack A Bottle," Fabolous & Jay-Z "Money Goes, Honey Stay," Kid Cudi, Kanye West & Common "Make Her Say," Kanye West & Young Jeezy "Amazing"
WINNER: Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent "Crack A Bottle"
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON: Kanye West & Young Jeezy "Amazing"
• He was definitely snubbed, but Kanye's sole nomination from 808s & Heartbreak was well-deserved—"Amazing" is one of the experimental album's most assuredly dope moments. Em's drunk-driving anthem is fun, but definitely less memorable.
BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION
Nominees: Beyoncé & Kanye West "Ego," The Lonely Island & T-Pain "I'm On A Boat," Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West "Run This Town," Keri Hilson, Kanye West & Ne-Yo "Knock You Down," T.I. & Justin Timberlake "Dead and Gone"
WHO WON: Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West "Run This Town"
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON: Keri Hilson, Kanye West & Ne-Yo "Knock You Down"
• The most awkwardly named award went to the most famous of the three Kanye collabos, but we're gonna have to give this one to Keri over Jay. "Knock You Down" had something for everybody, and managed to become the rare pop song that never got old.
PRODUCER OF THE YEAR, NON CLASSICAL
Nominees: T Bone Burnett, Ethan Johns, Larry Klein, Greg Kurstin, Brendan O'Brien
WINNER: Brendan O'Brien
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON: Brendan O'Brien
• We would have preferred to give this award to a producer at their peak like Kanye or Tricky Stewart, but out of these nominees, rock O.G. Brendan O'Brein held it down this year with his work on Mastodon's Crack The Skye and AC/DC's Black Ice.
BEST SHORT FORM MUSIC VIDEO
Nominees: Beast "Mr. Hurricane," The Black Eyed Peas "Boom Boom Pow," Coldplay "Life in Technicolor II," Depeche Mode "Wrong," Oren Lavie "Her Morning Elegance"
WINNER: The Black Eyed Peas "Boom Boom Pow"
WHO SHOULD HAVE WON: Beyoncé "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)"
• She wasn't even nominated, but seriously...where are you Yeezy?