Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Dubbies

I get excited about the Grammies every year 'cause I'm a music geek like that. I get disappointed about the Grammies every year. So, I decided why not make my own, with a bit of my own personal flair and music taste. 

I called them the Dubbies not 'cause of dub music, but because of my initials CFW. I don't expect anyone to agree with my choices for nominees or the winners, but I'm using this as a musical litmus test with my friends to see how close or far I am to another person's musical taste.

So here goes nothing...this is the first time I'm doing awards based on my personal taste rather than just ranking them.

The first category is:
Christian Rock Album of the Year.
Christian Rock has become more secular in reach than ever before. I'll admit, I'm not the most religious person in the world, but some of the stories of the songs from these albums always inspire me to become a better person of faith. That being said here are the nominees.

Flyleaf-Memento Mori
Thousand Foot Krutch-Welcome to the Masquerade
Red-Innocence and Instinct
Decyfer Down-Crash

The winner of the Christian Rock Album of the Year is: Flyleaf-Memento Mori.

Flyleaf's Memento Mori is a great record about faith. I listened to the stories about the songs such as Treasure and Arise and even though it was released late in the year, the messages of faith reflect so strong on this record. If you read the liner, it gives you a "story within a story" of why those songs were written. If you haven't heard the record, I suggest you do whether you are of faith or not.

The next award goes to EP of the Year.
EP's are a bite-sized record. They may not have enough material to feed your hunger, but they'll give you just enough to where you want more. That being said, here are the nominees.

David Hodges-The Rising
Deepfield-Limited Release E.P.
Fireflight-Unbroken & Unplugged
The Letter Black-Breaking the Silence
Skindred-Shark Bites & Dog Fights

The winner of the EP of the Year goes to David Hodges for The Rising.

David Hodges, the oft-forgotten former member of Evanescence has been making a name for himself in recent years, songwriting for artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, and David Archuleta. After an unfortunate end to the Trading Yesterday project, Hodges found himself back on his feet and back on a record label putting out his first new music in 3 years. Even with only 3 songs and 1 instrumental, his material proved strong and I am personally waiting with baited breath for the next group of songs.

Our next one is Music Video of the Year.
Music videos are being considered a "dead art" as music videos barely get play on Viacom's network of music channels (MTV, VH1, BET, CMT). However, watching these 5 music videos this year have made me realize that while they may not be shown on those channels, great music videos still get made and judging by these 5, they are diverse in theme and mood.

The nominees for Music Video of the Year are:

Framing Hanley-Hear Me Now (2nd version)
Seether-Careless Whisper
Alice in Chains-A Looking in View
Rise Against-Hero of War
Lacuna Coil-I Like It

The winner of the Music Video of the Year is Alice in Chains for A Looking in View.

Alice in Chains marked their comeback with this nearly eight minute video that is about as disturbing as the first time I saw the movie Requiem for a Dream. It is equivalent to that movie in music video form. Each person in the video has an issue and finds different ways to deal with them and not always in the most positive way. That's a part of what draws you into this video from the very beginning.

The next award goes to Ballad of the Year.
Based on my musical tastes, the last thing you may hear out of my mouth is the very word "ballad". However, there is plenty of music that is as intense as it is beautiful and I would ask that you seek to listen to these songs as they are amongst the most beautiful songs I've heard this year.

The nominees for the Ballad of the Year are:

Alice in Chains-Black Gives Way to Blue
Hana Pestle-Need
Red-Never Be the Same
Breaking Benjamin-Anthem of the Angels
The Leo Project-A Perfect World

The winner of the Ballad of the Year goes to Hana Pestle's Need.

Throughout 2009, the independent artist attempted to rally the troops to get her song onto the now platinum certified Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack. While the actual attempt was unsuccessful, Need garnered over 2 million streams this year. Mission accomplished. As a result, Hana has gained enough of a name to tour the country throughout this year, which is difficult for an independent artist in and of its self.

The next award goes to a song that doesn't end. Yes, it goes on and on my friends. It's the Epic of the Year, awarding the best song that clocks in at over 5 minutes.

The nominees are:
Alice in Chains-A Looking in View
Green Day-21 Guns
30 Seconds to Mars-Kings & Queens
Red-Nothing and Everything

The award goes to Muse for Uprising.

Muse is the most underrated mainstream rock act in the United States of the decade and this song and many others are the very reason why Muse not only deserves to be played here, but headlining stadium shows as they have in their home land. For being over five minutes, this song is extremely catchy and actually danceable unlike a lot of songs of its length.

The next award is for the Best Remixed Song.
The nominees are

Paramore-Where the Lines Overlap (Acoustic Version)
Red-Nothing and Everything (Fight Inside)
Lacuna Coil-I Like It (Das Basslaster Mix)
Fireflight-Unbreakable (Unbroken & Unplugged) (Acoustic Version)
Chris Cornell-Long Gone (Howard Benson Remix)

The award goes to Red for Nothing and Everything.

The song "Fight Inside" was stripped down, slowed down and turned into this amazingly beautiful ballady track to give it a more dramatic flair. It's truly a different song when you hear the original "Fight Inside" on the album.

The next award is meant to celebrate the best covers of the past year.

The nominees are:
Chris Daughtry-Poker Face (Lady Gaga)
Paramore-Use Somebody (Kings of Leon)
Seether-Careless Whisper (Wham!)
Framing Hanley-Lollipop (Lil' Wayne)
The Leo Project-Broken Wings (Mister Mister)
In This Moment-Call Me (Blondie)

The award for cover of the year goes to Framing Hanley for Lollipop. The actual cover was released last year, but didn't get put onto the re-released album until this year. Anyway, Lil' Wayne is probably my least favorite rapper. I just can't get into his music, even if I tried. Framing Hanley took the song, made it their own by implementing a taste of their signature single "Hear Me Now", and somehow stayed true to the original.

The next award is for Solo of the Year.

The nominees are:
Five Finger Death Punch-Hard to See
The Leo Project-Half as Good
Orianthi-According to You
Pop Evil-Hero

The winner of the Solo of the Year award goes to Orianthi for According to You.

You wouldn't believe it, but a pop song has a better guitar solo in my opinion than all of the hard rock songs that I put on this list. Orianthi is also the only female on this list, proving that it doesn't matter what sex you are, you can excel as a musician with any instrument. The simple fact that this lady is making waves because of the fact that she plays guitar as unbelievably as she does is why she gets this award.

The next award goes to the other part of musical DNA, the riff.

The nominees for Riff of the Year are:

Flyleaf-Beautiful Bride
Three Days Grace-Break

The winner of the award goes to Creed for Overcome. When Creed came back together, I was extremely skeptical that they would ever come back and regain the hard rock fans that they'd alienated with Human Clay and Weathered. This song made a fool out of me thankfully and I'm glad that I can finally have a Creed song to listen to without feeling like a wimp.

And now we're getting to the biggest awards of the night.

The first award goes to Female Vocalist of the Year

The nominees are:
Angelina DelCarmen-Charetta
Lacey Mosley-Flyleaf
Hayley Williams-Paramore
Sierra Kusterbeck-VersaEmerge
Hana Pestle

The winner of the Female Vocalist of the Year goes to Hayley Williams of Paramore. Hayley has evolved in a mere four years, starting off as a talented teenager and is now a seasoned veteran. In that same amount of time, the band went from playing in small clubs to headlining shows in select arenas. The future of Paramore is hopefully bright, much like their bubbly, yet thought-provoking music.

The next award is for Male Vocalist of the Year.

The nominees are:
J. Loren Wince-Hurt
Tyler Lyon-The Leo Project
Ben Burnley-Breaking Benjamin
Michael Barnes-Red
Chris Daughtry-Daughtry

The winner of Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Michael Barnes of Red. This band does get a bit of respect, but not quite enough in my personal opinion. Michael Barnes' vocals on Innocence & Instinct are another I-word: impeccable.

And now for the Big Four. These are the most important awards, just as the regular Grammies.

The first of the Big Four to be given out is Best New Artist

The nominees for Best New Artist are:

Don't Wake Aislin
The Leo Project
Adelitas Way
Papercut Massacre

The winner of the Best New Artist is The Leo Project. It's hard to be unsigned, but don't tell The Leo Project that. They spent the better part of the past year playing shows with bands like Flyleaf, 10 Years and fellow new artist nominees Adelitas Way. They also opened the ginormous Rock on the Range festival. If you still don't know who they are, you've got all of 2010 to start. They're going to be huge.

The next award goes to Record of the Year.
I spun these songs more than any song over the last year and they are ingrained in my head perpetually.

The nominees for Record of the Year are:
Alice in Chains-Check My Brain
Sick Puppies-You're Going Down
Breaking Benjamin-I Will Not Bow

The winner of the Record of the Year is Hurt for Wars. It is a song that is as powerful as it is beautiful. As unfortunate as it was that Hurt got dropped from Capitol, their music has been better and more diverse than it has ever been. For a hard rock band to have so many influences in their sound and even in this song (from the classic rock riff to the classical cello to even country storytelling at points), it speaks volumes that this song is my Record of the Year. Now crank it to 11!

We now go to Song of the Year, an award that goes to the best written song...lyrics, music, etc.

The nominees are:

Ben Moody-10/22
Dredg-I Don't Know
Red-Never Be the Same
David Hodges-When It All Goes Away

The winner of the Song of the Year goes to 10/22 from Ben Moody. October 22nd, 2003 marks the end of the Ben Moody-era of Evanescence. This song damns himself and the world around him and we're all the better for having heard it. Many people have been waiting 4 years to hear this song and while it's different from what everyone expected, it is also better than anyone could have imagined.

The last award is the big one. The Album of the Year.
In a world where the album is also considered a dying art, it's nice to know that these five albums keep the art of making an album alive.

The nominees for Album of the Year are
Ben Moody-All For This
Ben Moody's album appeared as shockingly as he left Evanescence six years ago. Few could have imagined his album to sound as it did but many were pleasantly surprised that he did something as different as it turned out.

Breaking Benjamin-Dear Agony
Breaking Benjamin's fourth album proves that less is more sometimes. They didn't reinvent the wheel, but they sure as hell made it run better. The sound didn't change overall, but with help from Jasen Rauch of Red and the songs fueled by Burnley's private battle with alcoholism and the loss of his grandfather, this new set of songs gave them the popularity in the rock world they so richly deserve by giving them the highest sales week of their career.

Hurt-Goodbye to the Machine
When a band gets dropped from a major record label, a band tends to change for the worst or end outright. Hurt turned around and put out their best album to date. This is an album that, as I've mentioned in an earlier blog post, could be played seamlessly with the greatest grunge-era albums of our time.

The Leo Project-Every Song Reminds Me...
The Leo Project's new record proves that unsigned artists can put forth works that are just as good or better as signed artists. You couldn't tell they're unsigned on the basis that they toured the country for about half of the year and this record proves that they're growing and can even improve on this with time.

Red-Innocence & Instinct
Tradition and technology collided when this album dropped in February. An album that was loosely based on the epic Dante's Inferno, Innocence & Instinct lived up to the viral hype that surrounded it. This album proved that there's no such thing as a sophomore curse.

And the winner for the 2009 Album of the Year is Red for Innocence & Instinct.