Feb 13, 2007

New Music Review

The Grammys are never the best indication of what was important in a year in music, or even necessarily what was truly popular, but they can be useful in gauging some of the trends, styles, and sounds for a given year. This roundup of nominated songs for the 2007 Grammys -- sure to be followed by a collection of winners -- is better than most of its kind, and better than most of the Grammy albums, too, in capturing the feel of the year. Perhaps it's chronicling a year where things were getting so fractured that only the mainstream provided a consensus.

2007 Grammy Nominees is not only better than most previous Grammy comps, it's in fact better than almost any NOW comp of 2006, because it does round up all the big hits of the year onto one handy 23-track sampler. There's Gnarls Barkley's ubiquitous "Crazy," John Mayer's soulful almost-protest "Waiting on the World to Change," Justin Timberlake hamming it up on "SexyBack," Carrie Underwood's smash "Jesus Take the Wheel," James Blunt's prom-rock anthem "You're Beautiful," Daniel Powter's American Idol anthem "Bad Day," KT Tunstall's "Black Horse and the Cherry Tree," best new artist Corinne Bailey Rae singing a song you didn't realize you knew, the Dixie Chicks coming back yet still "Not Ready to Make Nice," Pink striking a blow against "Stupid Girls" without many caring, Christina Aguilera tearing it up with "Ain't No Other Man," Red Hot Chili Peppers rewriting Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance" on "Dani California," and the Black Eyed Peas irritating one and all with Fergie's lovely lady lumps. There are a few left-of-center choices, whether it's veteran Paul McCartney's lovely "Jenny Wren" or Imogen Heap (nominated for best new artist a decade after her major-label debut on Almo Sounds!), which enhance this collection and help make it a pretty good portrait of the sound of 2006 and certainly a good way to get the year's biggest songs.

~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide