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Why Do We Put So Much Emphasis On The Grammy's?

By Andrea Morales

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Every year, we sit around our TVs, laptops, or any other devices to watch the “biggest night in music”: the Grammy Awards. We root for our favorite artists and disparage the others who dare to take the top prize from them. It’s the same cycle every year. Sometimes it feel like no one is ever satisfied. Theoretically, anyone can make an argument for why their artist deserved to win over another. For obvious reasons, this can’t realistically happen as there can only be one winner in every category. So if we know this on a logical level, why do we keep putting so much emphasis on the Grammys?

One of the biggest Grammy disputes I’ve seen in recent years took place at the 2016 Grammy Awards. In the Album of the Year Category, there were two albums in particular that had such impactful effects on the era. One being Taylor Swift’s 1989 and the other being Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. Ultimately, Swift took the coveted prize, and it immediately sparked massive controversy within the music industry. She faced headlines like “The Grammys Disappoint Yet Again…” from Forbes or comments from The Verge like “Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly is an appraisal of White America’s fraught relationship with Black America. Taylor Swift’s 1989 is a comfortable album.” While I am in no way arguing that one album should have one over another, it is interesting to see the visceral reaction one has after the winners are announced.

I can understand being ruffled after my pick does not win (I’ve been there many times), but just because someone doesn’t win doesn’t mean that they’re not talented. Perhaps it would not be a stretch to say that the Grammy’s are ultimately a popularity contest, and the more famous you are, the more likely you are to win the golden gramophone. This isn’t to knock anyone who has won a Grammy as many enormously talented people have won. But I’m sure, there are indie artists who are also deserving but haven’t had the chance to.

All of this is to ask the question, can there ever be a true winner if one or multiple parties feel as if one artist, song, or album deserved the prize more? At the end of the day, these awards are entirely subjective. Support who you want to, but maybe the next time you watch the Awards, know that it can be argued that anyone could deserve that prize. An award isn’t everything, and the Grammy’s are no exception.

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