While we certainly love to hate the Grammys, every once in a while, the voters offer up a choice or two worth a pat on the back. Below are five examples of such rare good taste.
“Fallin” wins Song of the Year, 44th Grammy Awards
Alicia Keys took home five trophies at this ceremony (including Best New Artist), none more deserved than for her signature ballad of the crazy highs and lows of love. Key’s gospel and blues soaked production provided a perfect accompaniment to her hard hitting, Aretha-like vocals.
“Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” wins Album of the Year, 46th Grammy Awards
Outkast’s wild two-part epic is only the second Hip-Hop album to win this award (after Lauryn Hill’s “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” in 1999). Who knows what Grammy voters were smoking when they gave this grand explosion of Southern-style cooked pop their top prize, but one desperately wishes they’d smoke some more of it.
“Dance with My Father” wins Song of the Year, 46th Grammy Awards
Grammy voters could have gone for Eminem’s Oscar winning be-all-you-can-be anthem, “Lose Yourself,” but it’s hard to argue with Luther Vandross’s unbearably moving tribute to his father. Even today, listening to Vandross create poetry out of his childhood memories has a direct connection to your tear ducts. The emotional power of the 2003 single was amplified by Vandross’s hospitalization due to a stroke at the time of the song’s release. He would later pass away in 2005.
Amy Winehouse wins Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist, 50th Grammy Awards
One of the few cases when Grammy voters, critics and the populace were all in agreement over a singular talent who left us far too soon. Amy Winehouse’s definitive song “Rehab” was one of the most popular and critically acclaimed tracks of 2006, and its popularity has only increased since, the performer’s battle with alcohol and drug addiction and subsequent death only fueling the song’s classic status and Winehouse’s enduring popularity.
Esperanza Spalding wins Best New Artist, 53rd Grammy Awards
The uproar was deafening. Drake fans were shocked. Millions of Beliebers on Twitter were in a frenzy: Esperanza who? Who was this skinny young black woman with the giant fro? It was being written as an upset of epic proportions, when in reality it was a choice of surprising yet resounding brilliance. For once, true musical prowess overcame shallow popular opinion. The 30 year old was the first Jazz musician to win the award, and her unmistakable virtuosity with the cello, guitar and various musical styles only solidifies her Grammy win as one of the most deserved and satisfyingly anti-populist in recent memory. More of those, please.