By Kahini Iyer Jan. 29, 2018
Of the Grammy winners this year, Bruno Mars is the only artist most Indians will recognise. But if we were to pick the winners, our top choices would’ve been “Hotel California” and “To Brazil” by Vengaboys.
he 60th Grammy Awards were a star-studded affair, inundated with hip-hop heavyweights like Childish Gambino, Kendrick Lamar, and Jay-Z in the general categories. Off-centre pop princesses Lorde, SZA, and Julia Michaels were also up for top honours. As usual, the Grammys tried to please everyone and ended up pleasing no one.
The generic catchiness and danceability of Bruno Mars meant that he cleaned up multiple categories with his album, 24K Magic. Still, of the nominees, Mars is likely the only one most Indians will recognise. What the nation really wants to know is why our desi picks are never taken into consideration, what with all these foreign pop stars making landfall on our shores and regaling us with their most dated hits! Here’s a look at the India nominees for the really real Grammys.
Album of the Year
Actual Winner: 24K Magic, Bruno Mars
India’s Pick: The Eagles’ Greatest Hits
Legend has it that if you look into your bathroom mirror at midnight while drinking directly from a bottle of Old Monk, a group of tharki uncles will appear behind you and start wailing the acoustic intro to Hotel California. According to all the 40+ men in India, the Eagles deserve to win Best Album every single year. They’re the ideal mix of classic and accessible, perfect for making your dad reminisce about his rock ’n’ roll glory days at Woodstock until someone points out that he was in the sixth standard at the time. Never mind that everyone only knows one solitary song from the whole album. The Eagles are the greatest, man, they’re the fucking best. This is when we had real music, y’know?
Song of the Year
Actual Winner: “That’s What I Like”, Bruno Mars
India’s Pick: “Despacito”, Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee ft. Justin “Sorry” Bieber
“Despacito” was actually nominated in this category, and it’s hard to believe any other song could beat the most relentless banger of 2017. From bars to clubs to your local Chinese restaurant, “Despacito” remains a ubiquitous play and is met with even more enthusiasm now than when it first came out. Despite having heard it approximately 84,000 times, both by choice and by force, no one knows the lyrics beyond “DES-PA-CITO! This is how we do it down in Puerto Rico!” But it’s always fun to watch the more ambitious drunks struggle their way through the whole track – especially that one girl who never shuts up about her 2009 summer trip to “Barthelona”. “Despacito” also features India’s favourite global pop sensation, the Biebz himself. What Do You Mean by this snub, Grammys?
Legend has it that if you look into your bathroom mirror at midnight while drinking directly from a bottle of Old Monk, a group of tharki uncles will appear behind you and start wailing the acoustic intro to Hotel California.
Record of the Year
Actual Winner: 24K Magic
India’s Pick: Vengaboys, To Brazil
This may not be strictly from 2017, but “To Brazil” is an evergreen dance record. It’s so current in India that last year, there was a Bhojpuri remix released by one DJ Rahul RK Bareilly. It’s even been immortalised in the quintessential turn-of-the-century Govinda-Rani film, Hadh Kar Di Aapne. Like its sexy younger sister “Despacito”, a couple of lines of the chorus is all it take to get an entire Goan wedding party on its feet, gamely trying to weave a conga line around buffet tables and crying children, shouting “BRAZIIIIIL! LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!” well into the wee hours of the morning. If there are other lyrics, they are entirely superfluous. With its hysterical, instantly clockable foghorn opening, “To Brazil” is the only song that can be heard over the cacophony of Mumbai traffic. Horn Okay Please!
Best New Artist
Actual Winner: Alessia Cara
India’s Pick: Omprakash Mishra
The young Canadian chanteuse was the only woman to win an award in the General category. We think that’s one too many. The greatest breakout star of the year has undoubtedly been Omprakash Mishra, aka Rap King, whose “Bol na aunty aaun kya” quickly became an anthem for roadside Romeos and frustrated flash-mobbers all across the country. After a couple of news publications objected to the song’s sexual objectification of its titular Aunty, brave defenders of free speech took the streets and to the internet, protesting and making rape threats with equal fervour. Instead of honouring yet another female pop star, let’s stand up and recognise the explosive, regrettable cultural moment that was “Bol na aunty aaun kya”.
Forget the usual milquetoast nominees and winners. If Indians could vote at the Grammys, you’d never have another dull moment. Except for the inevitable annual performance of U2’s “With or Without You” and Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69”.