The Grammy Awards: When You Know You’re Officially Old

Pop Culture

The Grammy Awards: When You Know You’re Officially Old

Illustration: Palak Bansal

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ntil the age of 20, being “with it” seems to be a natural state for most of us. It seems absurd how the square adults can be so clued out of what’s at the cutting edge of pop-culture. The cool kids would all scoff at the Grammy nominations when they came out, because by the time they’ve come around, they’re too mainstream, bro. The kids had cottoned on way back. But suddenly, there comes a time when the Grammy awards stop being a source of ridicule and turn into a reminder of how you’ve fallen by the wayside while trying to dodge obsoleteness.

This year, there was some hope for the clueless watchers searching for a shred of relevance. The nominations of artists like Jay Z and Coldplay were a reminder of the times we actually kept up to date, and at least we had all heard “Despacito”. But when the dust settles, we were left asking questions like “Who the hell is Alessia Cara?” and “Isn’t Bruno Mars the ‘Uptown Funk’ dude?”

Today’s millennials, the ’90s kids, will remember the days of speaking to each other in the slang of G-Unit and Eminem, while their parents wondered how they could get them to speak their mother tongues. A combination of MTV addiction, long hours spent online, and an extensive network of similarly obsessed friends meant that no new artist or record would slip their teenage attention. How easy it is to stay up to date with the zeitgeist when the only concerns you have are bunking lectures and clearing your bar tab.

Slowly but surely, these halcyon days draw to an end. It might start with you saying you’ll check out that new album on the weekend, and never getting around to it, but one day, you’ll realise that an era has passed you by and you suddenly don’t recognise any of the faces on the album covers. Farewell, Usher, Akon, and Flo Rida, we hardly knew ye.

This year’s Grammy nominations are a wake-up call for the ’90s kids. They might be in their mid-20s, but musically, they’re old AF. Even the artists who have survived from the noughties are practically unrecognisable. Jay-Z is the guy who rapped 99 Problems, what the hell is 4:44? Coldplay snuck into the nominations again, but by piggybacking on the hype surrounding The Chainsmokers, not by recapturing the magic of A Rush of Blood to the Head.

This year’s nominations could just as well be the Afghan women’s hockey team for the amount of name recognition they command amongst anyone born before 1999

The nominations for Song of the Year are the half-heard tracks remembered from the time you were nursing a drink at the bar and telling yourself that you’re too old to be drinking anywhere but at home in your underwear. Don’t even get me started on the nominations for Best New Artist – that batch of musicians could just as well be the Afghan women’s hockey team for the amount of name recognition they command amongst anyone born before 1999.

Maybe it’s time to admit that we, the millennials, are no longer the sole custodians of cool. It’s a common refrain – adulting is hard, and part of it involves not being able to score hipster points by discovering a band before anyone else. So when the Grammy nominations come out next year, we suggest spare yourself the FOMO, throw on some Britney, and party like it’s 2007.

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