The 2011 Grammy Awards celebrated the year’s best in music Sunday night in Los Angeles. The music industry’s most influential stars walked the red carpet and took the stage with featured performances from Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber and Eminem.
Relive the glamour on your MP3 player with Scene & Heard’s Grammy-winning playlist.
“Bad Romance,” Lady GaGa
With five total nominations, Lady GaGa received the award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her widely popular single, “Bad Romance.” Her album, “The Fame Monster,” also took the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album. While GaGa’s newly released track, “Born This Way,” has already broken iTunes records by reaching the No. 1 spot in less than three hours after its release, the intoxicating “Bad Romance” serves as one of the best examples of her Madonna-like pop anthems.
“We Used to Wait,” Arcade Fire
The Canadian indie rock band went home big winners with Album of the Year for their third full offering, “The Suburbs.” The album’s lead single, “We Used to Wait,” features a catchy piano melody, airy vocals and a flowing backdrop of synthesizers.
“Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum
Taking the approach made popular by artists like Taylor Swift of mixing mainstream pop influences with traditional country flair, Lady Antebellum has seen wide commercial success with their single, “Need You Now,” including a Grammy win on Sunday for Song of the Year. Their album of the same name debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and also took home a Grammy for Record of the Year. Those who are diehard haters of country music will still find Lady Antebellum’s sound too twangy, but most listeners can appreciate the healthy mix of genres.
“Just The Way You Are,” Bruno Mars
Relative newcomer Bruno Mars has had his hand in popular hip-hop tracks like “Nothin‘ On You,” “Billionaire” and fellow Grammy winner Cee Lo Green’s, “(Forget) You.” But it was his own track, “Just the Way You Are” that won Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. The soulfully sweet ballad features Mars’s falsetto with lines that follow the old adage of “love is blind.” Mars’s interpretation of the alternative rap genre is perfect for listeners who enjoy stylized hip-hop without the heavy lyrics or spoken word.
“(Forget) You,” Cee Lo Green
Probably the most commercially successful song with an expletive in the original title, “(Forget) You” is a dangerous track. The danger lies not in its vulgar language, but in the fact that listeners will continue humming and singing along for weeks. Green’s not-so-nice goodbye to a fictional girlfriend has a surprisingly positive tone that stems from his realization that he is better off without her. Time magazine named “(Forget) You” as the top song of 2010, and the track won a Grammy for Best Urban/Alternative Performance.
“Not Afraid,” Eminem
Rap icon Eminem’s less-successful 2009 album, “Relapse,” was followed by the critically acclaimed “Recovery,” which took home the Grammy for Best Rap Album. “Not Afraid,” which won a Grammy for Best Rap Solo Performance, offers an exposition of Eminem’s darker approach to the genre. Eminem still proves that he is a master at crafting scissor-sharp lyrics that exude the confidence of an unapologetic hip-hop veteran.
“Angry World,” Neil Young
From his early days as co-founder of Buffalo Springfield and a member of the folk rock group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Neil Young developed a style that has helped him become one of the most influential musicians of his generation. Young won his first career Grammy last year for his work as an art director on a boxed set, but his first ever Grammy for music came Sunday with a Best Rock Song win for “Angry World.” Young’s winning track comes from his newest solo album, “Le Noise,” a release with more electric kick than his usual acoustic melodies. “Angry World” is a perfect example of the record’s sound as a whole, with angry tones steeped in his trademark musical activism.
“Quicksand,” La Roux
While the smile-inducing track, “Bulletproof,” had much more commercial success here in the U.S., “Quicksand” was actually the lead single for the British electropop duo’s self-titled debut album, “La Roux.” Like “Bulletproof,” “Quicksand” mixes electronic synthesized sounds from the 1980s with infectious techno beats from the 21st century, but will offer casual listeners new material to explore from the artist. “La Roux” won the Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album.