So, it’s the yearly album with a bunch of Grammy nominated songs and songs by Grammy nominated artists. I got this last year, but just hadn’t ever gotten around to actually listening to it. Well, I’ve heard some of these albums before that barely had a decent song on them. This isn’t one of those albums. This is really a strong compilation CD. Now, do all of these songs deserve Grammy noms? Probably not. Are there other, better songs that deserved nominations? Sure, you bet. But just as a mixtape, this is darn great. It kicks off with the barnburning riff of The Black Keys’ Lonely Boy and wraps up, twenty-two tracks down the road, with an epic live performance of Set Fire to the Rain by Adele. In between, we’ve hit epic power-pop (Fun’s We Are Young), quiet acoustic balladry (Ed Sheeran’s The A Team), retro gospel-rock (Alabama Shakes’ Hold On), straight-up anthem rock (Springsteen’s We Take Care of Our Own), weirdo indie music (Gotye’s Somebody That I Used to Know), lovely folk songs (The Lumineers’ Ho Hey & Mumford & Sons’ I Will Wait) and electro-pop (Muse’s Madness). This is all great, great stuff. And the album has a load of pop music that a lot of music snobs will be too cool for school to admit they love, but I’m not too proud. I downright love Pink’s Try, Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger and, yes, I’m going there, Taylor Swift’s We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together. There are a few missteps; Frank Ocean’s Pyramids is edited down to less than half its original length, I still fail utterly to see the appeal of Miguel’s strangely soulless R&B and if I never hear Hunter Hayes’ sappy Wanted again it’ll be fine with me. But, on the whole, this is a packed album with twenty-two tracks that keep the energy high and the quality pretty consistently good. All in all, it’s an album I find myself recommending, which is kind of surprising. 3 ½ stars.
tl;dr – compilation of Grammy songs speaks to a pretty good year in pop music; unlike some years, almost every song on this album is really good. 3 ½ stars.