February 14, 2016 Slideshow

9 Artists Up For Grammys Like Van Halen Didn’t Already Write “Panama”

Tonight’s Grammys ceremony looks to be a hotly contested race between established pop stars and buzzworthy up-and-comers. Here are just nine of the nominees who are competing to be crowned the year’s best—despite the fact that everyone knows music peaked with Van Halen’s “Panama.”


Bruno Mars

It’s been a stellar year for Bruno Mars, whose Mark Ronson-produced single “Uptown Funk” has remained in heavy rotation since its 2014 debut—most recently taking a victory lap with a show-stopping performance at the Super Bowl. Now it’s been nominated for Record of the Year, despite Van Halen’s “Panama” being the record of this and every year.


Kendrick Lamar

To Pimp A Butterfly has received widespread acclaim for its musical intricacy and social commentary, and its nomination for Album of the Year is a reflection not only of its daring complexity but also the timeliness of its message. Of course, its lyrical achievements don’t seem all that impressive once you consider that Kendrick Lamar had years of racial strife to draw his songs from, whereas David Lee Roth wrote “Panama” just about his car.


Taylor Swift

Apparently Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” merited a nod for Best Music Video, based on its elaborate action-movie narrative and an all-star cast that includes Selena Gomez, Lena Dunham, Jessica Alba, and Cindy Crawford, among others. We guess we missed the part where Taylor Swift swung across the stage on a wire, chugging a beer and playing a bass shaped like a bottle of Jack Daniels.


Now that’s a video!


Ed Sheeran

Yeah, we can only assume this shit got nominated for Song of the Year because Sheeran kind of looks like Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony if he put on a red wig as a goof, and the Grammys got totally hosed. (And if that turns out to be the case, we’re all for it!)


Rubén Blades

We got really excited about Blades’ Son De Panamá for a second, but it turns out it’s just some Latin thing.


The Weeknd

Record of the Year nominee “Can’t Feel My Face” has been called one of 2015’s sexiest songs, even though by most standards, it never approaches the raw sensuality of David Lee Roth purring, “You reach down between my legs / Ease the seat back,” while Eddie makes sweet love to the low notes.

You know, if driving a fast car isn’t a much better metaphor for fucking than The Weeknd’s love-as-cocaine addiction, maybe we just don’t understand music and have no business judging how the Grammys choose to award it.


Fetty Wap

Though, if we’re being honest, there’s probably a lot about modern music we don’t understand—and even more we just haven’t listened to. So maybe we tend to retreat into something old and familiar as a way of coping with our own anxiety about falling out of touch with the zeitgeist.


Hell yeah! Did you know that revving car sound on the bridge is actually Eddie’s 1972 Lamborghini? He just backed that bad boy up to the studio microphone and let ’er rip.


Skrillex And Diplo

And sure, the Grammys are pretty meaningless, but at least they also used to be a bastion of reassuring stodginess that you could always count on prizing older legacy acts over newer, popular ones. Now we listen to something like this Skrillex and Diplo thing and all we hear is the sound of our own mortality ticking away under a whole bunch of wubba-wubba-wubba.

Maybe it’s us? Maybe it’s time we make like the Grammys and open ourselves to younger artists and a broader, more diverse musical palette?


Florence And The Machine

So, this is Florence And The Machine’s “What Kind Of Man,” which is nominated for “Best Rock Performance.” It’s got a pretty fiery, bluesy groove, and Florence Welch can certainly belt out a tune. It’s …

It’s …


Ah, fuck it. All the Grammys go to “Panama”!