Every year, the Grammy nominations list gets dropped and I am always half curious to see what artists, tracks and records get nominated.
Every year, there are artists who really shouldn’t be nominated, but they are because of popularity and not on musical influence (cough, cough Greta Van Fleet). But each year, there are some interesting nominees.
This year some of the standouts are: Janelle Monae’s record “Dirty Computer,” Jon Hopkin’s record “Singularity,” SOPHIE’s record “Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Inside,” Deafheaven’s track “Honeycomb,” Between the Buried and Me’s track “Condemned to the Gallows,” Bring Me the Horizon’s track “Mantra” and a handful of other artists.
Bring Me the Horizon honestly was the most interesting to me because, as of now, they are one of the biggest names in alternative rock and they have a unique story of where they started from. So why are they getting nominated now?
Well let’s start from the beginning. “Count Your Blessings,” their debut record, and “Suicide Season” see the band dabbling in sounds of deathcore and death metal, which grants them a significant following in those styles of music. But in general the sound was nothing hugely different from what was coming out of those scenes in the mid-2000s
Their third and fourth records see the band go into a cleaner-produced but still significantly heavy sound with metalcore, and respectively gaining a more interesting following since they were able to create more of a unique sound.
Their fifth record “That’s the Spirit,” shows the band completely departing from the heavy sound and going for a complete pop sound, which at the time sounded nice, but with more listens shows the lack of creativity the band had at the time, as well as, a loss of old followers, but a gain of new followers.
Present day, we have “amo,” which sees the band collectively bring together a huge range of sounds, styles and features, but at its core it sees the band exploring and experimenting with sounds that they couldn’t perfect on their previous full-length album.
At the end of the day this is a pretty significant step in the right direction since the band is able to blend several different genres, but in a unique and different way than any other artist has been able to do before.
For example, let’s take my favorite track “why you gotta kick me when I’m down?” On the surface, it’s an alternative pop track with elements of trap music and dark-wave.
The track starts out as a deconstructed trap-sound with overdubbed horns to add a thick dense wall of sound. But as the track builds, so does the tension with lead singer Oliver Sykes’ vocals and lyrics about divorce. He is able to create a dystopian sound using nothing more than trap high hats, dense horns and heavy synth drums.
Another great example is the most experimental track on the record, “heavy metal,” featuring Rahzel, formerly a member of the hip-hop group The Roots.
The track seamlessly blends this hard-rock sound, i.e. heavy grooves and chords, but Rahzel adds some sweet yet dense beat-boxing parts that create an interesting layer of sound to the heaviness of the track.
In many cases, I would feel this idea wouldn’t work, but somehow, the band makes the sounds collide in the best way possible.
Many of the tracks have an extremely interesting and intricate experimentation within it; however, not all the tracks are like that.
For example, the song “medicine” is a run-of-the-mill pop track with your general millennial synth build-up and bland instrumentals.
In conclusion, the band took a significant risk with this new record and in many places the risks pay off.
But, not every song was significant risk taken and so they tried to produce some generic tracks to keep the band on top of the charts, so I give the record a 3.5/5.
So, does the band deserve a Grammy? A simplified answer for the most part is yes since they have created a very unique and intricate part of genre blending I haven’t heard in a while.
Happy listening, Gannon University!