It should come as no surprise that the Grammy’s have long been a hotbed of controversy, especially in the electronic music sphere. As DJ Mag Top 100 continues to become a political popularity contest with less and less significance each year, electronic music fans gravitate to the Grammy’s for hopes of rewarding merit and talent, rather than who has the bigger marketing team. However, there always seems to be a bit of controversy slipping through the cracks (read: Al Walser). Though many would consider Kendrick the biggest award snub of this year (and rightfully so), I think we need to shift our eyes to another category as well: Electronic Album of The Year.
Now, I am in no way, shape, or form denying that Daft Punk had the right to win. What they were able to accomplish only further cements their legacy as not only pioneers but leaders of the electronic scene as well. Bringing together legends from all walks of the music industry (Pharrell, Nile Rodgers, and Giorgio Moroder to name a few) is commendable at the least and they had every right to win Album of The Year. However, did they truly change electronic music this year?
What I mean to say by this is that Random Access Memories, while being a fantastic album, was not even remotely close to the best electronic music project this year. Of all the bloggers and EDM aficionados I have discussed this with, it’s fair to say that only about half can still listen to RAM in its entirety today. Whether it was the bludgeoning by our radio stations, Columbia Records’ in-your-face marketing, or simply the lack of genius, we find that Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories simply does not carry the same magic and replay value as their other works. To be completely frank, in my personal opinion, RAM doesn’t even crack my top three albums by the robots.
So what deserved to win, Jordan? I think it should have been obvious by now. Disclosure’s Settle was not only 2013’s greatest electronic album, but I would argue it meant more for electronic music. Marinate on this for a second: when you went to a club last winter, what were you listening to? Chances are your ears were being barraged by the Trinity: Swedish progressive house, big room house “bangers”, and trap and twerk sounds were just picking up steam. Now, sounds like deep house and Jersey Club are quickly becoming fan favorites. Wonder why? Disclosure made it sexy again.
Of course, these subgenres never truly left the scene, but they were certainly more embraced post-Settle. We can’t deny that the UK duo certainly had help though. Although on a smaller budget than their French counterparts, the Lawrence brothers definitely had big pushes by their labels, however this just had more of a grassroots feel to it. Where did you first hear Disclosure: on blogs and YouTube or a primetime Saturday Night Live teaser? Their debut album has made AlunaGeorge, Jessie Ware, and Sam Smith all household names and the bigger minds and voices in the music world took note, as we see with the rerelease of “F for You” this past month alongside the legendary Mary J. Blige.
Although EAOTY certainly cements Daft Punk’s legacy and has been a long time coming, I would argue that Disclosure was electronic music in 2013. However, much like Kendrick Lamar, the true artist got beat out by radio play. Until the Grammy’s honors the producers and not the record companies, I’ll just be sitting here in my pre-telecast alongside all my jazz friends. I’m certain I will receive all sorts of flak for this, so be sure to comment below with your thoughts.