And the Grammy for Best Album goes to…Steve? Wait a minute. Let’s do a quick perusal of the nominee list. Beyoncé’s I Am…Sasha Fierce, The Black Eyed Peas’ The E.N.D., Lady Gaga’s The Fame, Dave Matthews Band’s Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King, and Taylor Swift’s Fearless. Hmm…not a Steve amongst the batch. Oh wait – there’s a question mark on the end of that sentence. What does that mean?
In my highly scientific study of previous Best Album Grammy winners, I’ve found that the best determinant is which album Steve owns, or is most likely to own. Steve and I have been buddies more than 25 years, going back to high school. Now in his early ‘40s, he’s appropriately settled into his musical demographic. He buys less than a handful of new albums each year, listens to something in between adult alternative and adult contemporary radio, and won’t be picking up Lil’ Wayne albums any time soon.
Before this disintegrates into a Steve trashfest, I assure you he has positively influenced my tastes over the years. His love of Dire Straits and the Moody Blues has much to do with their presence in my collection and our mutual affection for the Alan Parsons Project has always given us common musical ground. You can count on both of us to prick up our ears at the mention of a quality singer/songwriter with ‘80s roots.
However, in the last decade I’ve continued to add new and upcoming bands to my collection – stuff like the White Stripes, the Strokes, the Killers, and the Arctic Monkeys. In that same span, Steve has picked up Norah Jones and Alison Krauss. In a nutshell, I’m still looking for guitar solos in the middle of songs while Steve is grabbing up…well, Grammy fare.
Norah Jones’ Come Away with Me and Alison Krauss and Robert Plant’s Raising Sand are two Best Album Grammy winners that I know are part of Steve’s collection. More importantly, he didn’t buy them in the after-Grammy hype or even because of nominations, but long before either. Hence my theory that Steve’s musical taste makes for the best determinant of the Grammy winner-to-be. However, Steve didn’t buy any of this year’s crop so as we flipped through stacks of albums (yes, ACTUAL albums) at Streetside Records last week, I asked him which he’d buy if he had to. “Well,” he finally decided, “if I had to go with one, I guess it would be Taylor Swift.” There you go. You can bank on that as tonight’s winner.