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Students weigh in on Sunday's Grammy Awards

Students weigh in on Sunday's Grammy Awards

(Article by Jacob Gerber, 21st Century Journalism Student - Friday, Feb. 6, 2015)

“I am going to watch the Grammys because I am a very energized, musical person… and you know I’m a huge music critic.”

The Grammys are an important event to music fans everywhere, and Sophomore Haulston Steele will be one of thousands upon thousands who will tune in to watch “the biggest night in music” on Sunday.

Throughout the high school, 53 students from eight seminars responded to a survey about the big three categories. “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith was overwhelmingly on top for “Record of the Year” with 53 percent of the votes. “X” by Ed Sheeran had 37 percent of the votes for “Album of the Year,” followed closely by Smith and Beyonce, each with 25 percent. For “Best New Artist,” Smith was again on top with a staggering 54 percent of votes, followed by Iggy Azalea with 30 percent.

Six high school students shared their opinions on country, rap, and pop’s solo and collaborative nominations.

Country music is the main genre blasting the ears of Steele and Junior Ashley Swaim.

“I listen to country because there’s no drugs or alcohol. Well, there is alcohol…there’s no shooting people,” Steele said.

Swaim said she felt it really was her music.

“Living on a farm I can relate to it a lot because I understand what the songs entail, and it’s just the simplicity and reality of the music that appeals to me,” she said.

In both the country solo and country duo categories, their opinions differed. Swaim thought "Meanwhile Back at Mama’s" by Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill would win in duo, with Miranda Lambert winning with her single "Automatic." Steele said he believed "Raise Em Up" by Keith Urban and Eric Church would win in duo, with Eric Church’s "Give Me Back My Hometown" taking it away in solo.

Both believed the song they chose was the top of the category.

“[‘Meanwhile Back at Mama’s'] is just a really heartfelt song. Its lyrics and its music make it the best. With ‘Automatic,’ [Miranda Lambert] sings good songs and just knows what her audience wants,” Swaim explained.

“Because I’m not a feminist, I like male singers, not women singers. I haven’t heard the songs, [but] the artists [Eric Church] that the song was sang by, I like him. It makes me feel like King Kong, like I could climb on a building and rule the world,” Steele said.

Both agreed that some changes in the nominations were necessary.

“Keith Urban should be taken out because he sings like a girl, [but he’ll win] because he’s with Eric Church. He needs to have a deep manly voice like a gorilla, not like a peacock. Girls like guys that are almost feminine, [so he’ll win],” Steele said.

“I would have taken out The Band Perry because I don’t feel like they’re very good. Their songs are silly and meaningless to me,” Swaim said.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Juniors Luke Wichman and Gabby Gifford gave their predictions on the rap outcomes.

In the rap collaboration category, Wichman predicted that Schoolboy Q and BJ the Chicago Kid will take home gold with their hit “Studio.” On the other hand, Gifford thought that Eminem and Rihanna's “Monster” will win, and that “Studio” shouldn’t even be on the list of nominees.

“Kanye should be taken out. He’s too cocky. I’m just really glad Iggy [Azalea] isn’t up for any of these,” Wichman said.

In the rap solo category, they again disagreed.

“Kendrick Lamar will win because he’s going to be the next Tupac. He’s a very lyrical artist. He doesn’t rap about mainstream stuff. His raps have an actual lesson and point to them. It makes me feel like there’s worse things that could be happening in my life, and just to look on the bright side,” Wichman said.

“Probably Drake. I think he’ll probably win. I listen to him more than the other people. When he combines the beats together, it sounds really cool,” Gifford said.

Meanwhile in the pop area, Freshmen Peyton Fergola and Calen Schuckman gave their opinions on the contenders.

Schuckman said he thought that “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX would win in pop duo.

“I felt like the song was played a lot and liked by most people, and it had not necessarily a good message but like a powerhouse and feel-good message. She [Azalea] should win best new artist as well, because looking at the other artists, there’s none as good as her,” he said.

Fergola, on the other hand, thought that Coldplay would win with “Sky Full of Stars.”

In the pop solo category, Schuckman said he believed that “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift would win, whereas Fergola wanted Taylor Swift ousted.

“I don’t really like her. She’s too ditzy and her music is just kind of blah,” Fergola said.

Fergola also thought “Say Something” by a Great Big World featuring Christina Aguilera should be removed.

“The singer from A Great Big World can’t sing in real life. The only reason the song is good is because of the auto tune on his voice,” she said.

Fergola had Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me” picked to win for Smith’s amazing voice, but Schuckman wanted it gone.

“‘Stay with Me’” [shouldn’t be up] because it’s a very annoying overplayed song, and his ballads put me in a sad mood,” Schuckman said.

These students also gave their opinion on the domination of pop music on the industry, and the lack of genre diversity in the nominations for the big three awards.

“I don’t really care. They aren’t my favorite songs, but I think they’re pretty good,” Rap Fan Gifford said.

Wichman, another rap fan, was a little more riled up about the lack of rap music in the big three awards.

“I think that they should be (included). I’m pretty disappointed that they’re not up, especially ‘0 to 100’ by Drake because that was one of the best freestyles of the year. But you know, rap doesn’t have one of the biggest fan bases across all genres,” he said.

Swaim also shared her dismay with the nominations.    

“I feel like it was expected, but I wish Eric Church would have been up for something,” she said.

Schuckman agreed with Swaim, but countered on the reasoning for domination.

“I think it’s expected because [pop] is more, not necessarily modern, but more in today’s pop culture. Pop culture and pop music is expanding and ever changing,” he said.

The Grammys will air on CBS on Sunday, Feb., 8 at 8/7 p.m. Central.


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