My Historic Love of the Grammy Album

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With the 2011 Grammy awards less than three weeks away (February 13th), I'm envisioning people all over the country (maybe the world!) busily engaged in similar preparatory activities that I am.  It's too early to really be excited for the awards show yet, so the mood is more business oriented: identify categories and songs that represent deficits in your knowledge base while there is still enough time to address them. 

For example, yesterday I went on the Grammy website, studied what I considered to be the "main" categories, and assessed whether there were songs I really should evaluate before the big night.  I apologize if this seems like a clinical approach; there might be others of you out there who listen to music more just for enjoyment, but I like to pretend it's actually my job (can you tell it's the goal setting time of year at my real job?).

Each year a compilation album is prepared that contains a sampling of the songs and albums nominated for awards that year (this year's album comes out Tuesday, January 25th).  My family's road trips are well documented in previous blog posts, so I won't bore you with how to get through one with your own family, but we do have one Grammy-related tradition with respect to our long drives at spring break: each year we have listened to that year's Grammy album.  We have a strict rule that no one is allowed to listen to the album before we begin our trip, although I think I might be the only person to whom that rule ever needed to be applied.

In past years, while many of the songs were well known to us once we started playing the Grammy album, there were always a number that we weren't familiar with, usually because they were a different genre than we usually listened to.  Since we played the album so much during the course of our trips, we began to associate certain songs with certain vacations, even becoming familiar with the sequence of songs.  I remember one time when we were in Colorado and the CD player had somehow been switched to the "shuffle" mode, which I noticed immediately when the incorrect song started playing.  Alarmed, I quickly corrected the situation, to which one of my daughters said incredulously, "We can't even listen to the songs in a different order?"  Tradition is tradition!  I may not be great about wrapping gifts or having a birthday cake prepared on the exact date, but my kids will remember listening to the Grammy albums on our road trips!

Since we took a big trip at Thanksgiving, we're not doing a trip at spring break this year.  In addition, I cannot be nearly so laid back about my 2011 Grammy prep since my readers will be looking to me for Grammy guidance, so there will be no unveiling of the album in our house (or car).  Feel free to adopt the Grammy road trip album idea for your own family, though.

Incidentally, which Grammy nominated song do I like best of the six I bought yesterday?  By a landslide it's "If It Wasn't For Bad" by Elton John and Leon Russell.  Speaking of Elton, the latest issue of Us Weekly with Elton John, his partner and their newly adopted baby on the cover was sitting on the kitchen counter yesterday, and my 15-year old son asked me if I knew Elton John was gay.  I think I did hear that at some point, actually. 

Here are the songs on this year's Grammy album in case you already have some songs and want to buy any others.  Rest assured there are more Grammy posts to come in the weeks ahead!

• "Forget You" - Cee Lo Green
• "Nothin' on You" - B.o.B., feat. Bruno Mars
• "California Gurls" - Katy Perry
• "Telephone" - Lady Gaga
• "Love the Way You Lie" - Eminem, feat. Rihanna
• "Need You Now" - Lady Antebellum
• "Ready To Start" - Arcade Fire
• "Whataya Want From Me" - Adam Lambert
• "Half of My Heart" - John Mayer, feat. Taylor Swift
• "Haven't Met You Yet" - Michael Bublé
• "Just The Way You Are" - Bruno Mars
• "This Is It" - Michael Jackson
• "Beg Steal or Borrow" - Ray LaMontagne
• "The House That Built Me" - Miranda Lambert
• "Babyfather" - Sade
• "The Only Exception" - Paramore
• "Hey, Soul Sister" - Train
• "Misery" - Maroon 5
• "Don't Stop Believin" - Glee Cast

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