New York Times writers and critics will be reporting from the Grammys in Los Angeles and providing live commentary during the broadcast on CBS on Sunday.
From the NYT.
The Grammy Awards could end up much like the 2011 album sales charts did — as a race for second behind Adele and her top-selling album, “21” (XL/Columbia). This British belter, a critical favorite and seller of more than 7.5 million records (hard copies and digital) in the United States alone last year, will surprise almost no one if she sweeps the big awards on Sunday, including Album, Record, Song and Artist of the Year. She is also doubling as perhaps the most anticipated young performer at the Feb. 12 Grammy ceremony, to be broadcast on CBS. That is, depending on how you feel about Chris Brown.
Released in Feb. 2011, “21” was built upon a structure of classic American soul, but aimed “to show just what sort of odd details those frames can support,” Jon Carmanica, a pop music critic for The New York Times, wrote in his review of that album. “21″ ended up as the top-selling album of 2011 and has been the most dominant hit since the record industry’s long-gone salad days. As of last week — when it topped the Billboard 200 yet again —“21” has spent a total of 18 weeks at No. 1, making it the first album to reel off such a successful run since “The Bodyguard” soundtrack spent 20 weeks at No. 1 in 1993.
In December Adele became the first woman to sweep Billboard’s top year-end honors: artist of the year, song of the year (“Rolling in the Deep”) and album of the year. And hers is a comeback story: the Grammys performance will be her first since undergoing throat surgery last fall. (Concert Review: Adele at the Beacon Theater in New York in May)
All of which gives her the appearance of a juggernaut at this weekend’s Grammys, even though her competition in the Album of the Year category includes several other lauded top sellers: Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Bruno Mars and Foo Fighters.
Lady Gaga, “Born This Way” (Interscope)
In most other years, Lady Gaga’s second full-length album would gave been a defining hit. It sold nearly 3 million copies in 2011, including digital downloads. “The album is as catchy and euphorically overblown as the music that made her a sensation,” The Times’s Jon Pareles wrote. “It also adds an additional dimension to her songs: her cherished relationship with a mass audience — fans who call themselves Little Monsters and dress up with gender-bending zeal — to whom she is a goddess, a big sister, a mouthpiece, a counselor and a cheerleader.” ( Popcast: Mr. Pareles on Lady Gaga)
Rihanna, “Loud” (Def Jam)
Most of the Grammy buzz surrounding Rihanna has focused on the fact that both she and her ex-boyfriend Chris Brown will be performing (separately) at the ceremony, but it’s perhaps more notable that “Loud,” her fifth album, is her first to be nominated for Album of the Year. The record is “back to business as usual — flirting, titillating, indulging, romancing — for Rihanna,” Mr. Pareles wrote in a review of the record. “She’s resuming her persona as the party girl with the glint of danger.” (Concert Review: Rihanna at Nassau Coliseum on Long Island in July)
Bruno Mars, “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” (Elektra)
With six Grammy nods, the light soul crooner is again one of the most nominated acts, though he earned less than last year when he received seven nominations. (His one win last year came for Best Male Pop Vocal, a category that no longer exists.) Thanks to the awards’ October-to-September eligibility period, the Grammys are just getting around to Mr. Mars’s 2010 debut album, which is “an effortless, fantastically polyglot record that shows him to be a careful study across a range of pop songcraft,” Mr. Caramanica wrote.
Foo Fighters, “Wasting Light” (Roswell/RCA)
The Foo Fighters scored their first No. 1 album in April with “Wasting Light,” a fact that might owe more to the overall decline in sales of records not by Adele or Lady Gaga. The band and its leader, Dave Grohl, stand out in this category not only as the token rock act, but as members of a decidedly older vintage than their fellow nominees; this year the band also entered its era of retrospective books and documentaries. (Concert Review: Foo Fighters at the Izod Center)
If a recent interview with Billboard is any indication, it’s safe to count Mr. Grohl among those who won’t be surprised — or upset — by an Adele rout this weekend:
It’s an amazing record and everybody’s so shocked that it’s such a phenomenon. I’m not. You know why that record’s huge? Because it’s [expletive] good and it’s real. When you have an artist singing about something real and she’s incredibly talented, it deserves all the rewards it gets, it’s a great record.