February 11, 2013 at 10:08 AM
When “indie” pop sensation fun. was announced as Best New Artist at this year’s Grammy Awards, something literally didn’t add up right.
The question going through many heads was — or very well should have been — “How does a band that’s been around for over a decade be declared the Best New Artist for 2013?”
In fact, the artists behind Fun. would probably be the first ones to propose that question. The only stronger proponents of the other solid yet shortchanged nominees for Best New Artist were the award winners themselves.
In accepting the award, the first thing fun. lead singer Nate Ruess did was to suggest that the others on the list should easily have won over his group. To emphasize a point, Ruess let in on an apparently little-known secret about he and the rest of the group. “We’ve been doing this for 12 years, and I just gotta say that we could not do this without the help of all the fans that we’ve had keeping us afloat for the last 12 years,” he said.
Rather than suggesting which artist should have won, here’s a short explanation of how any other nominated artist should have taken the trophy over fun.
The Lumineers: 2012 was their year. This young group tells an indie success story, exploding in popularity and reaching No. 2 on the Billboard charts for their self-titled debut album, which they released a mere 10 months ago in April 2012.
Hunter Hayes: 21-year-old Hunter Hayes’ name exploded shortly after the release of his self-titled debut album in late 2011. For Hayes and his long career, it’s also been a long time coming. It was with his recent album release, though, that he was signed to Atlantic Records and topped Billboard Charts for the first time.
Frank Ocean: Ocean introduced a fresh wave of hip-hop that broke in July 2012 with his debut studio album, “Channel Orange.” He was instantly recognized for the release, and several of his singles have topped the Billboard Hot 100 over the past six months.
Alabama Shakes: The powerful female vocals and driving guitar leads of Brittany Howard were a treasured discovery for scores of people last year, following the release of Alabama Shakes’ debut, “Boys & Girls,” on April 9, 2012. Since then, this quartet of Alabama natives have made quite a name for themselves, their album peaking at Number 8 on the U.S. Billboard 200 last year.
In short, every other contender for Best New Artist was…well, new. With two albums since 2008, not to mention two other bands (The Format, Steel Train) circulating the scene since 2001 under different names but common members, fun. is clearly the choice that doesn’t seem to fit the category.
With songs such as “We Are Young” and “Some Nights” released in 2012, fun. has with no doubt blown up in a way that’s almost unprecedented. But these were not the first of noteworthy fun. songs. What about “At Least I’m Not as Sad (As I Used to Be),” released in 2009? And “All The Pretty Girls” of the same year?
In particular, fun. has caught some major attention with its single “We Are Young”, which has practically become the college student’s anthem over this past year. For that, they were deserving of the Grammy for “Song of the Year.”
But for a band that claims to have been around a dozen years and released two full-lengths since 2008, young is the polar opposite characterization belonging to this group of artists.