Grammys: Lady Gaga goes zombie and the record of the year noms
Lady Gaga opened the annual Grammy nomination concert in what looked to be a "Nightmare Before Christmas" zombie costume, performing the dance-meets-hair metal mix-up that is "Marry the Night." The Halloween-like choreography played out like a nod to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," and Gaga's voice was strong enough to outshine the album's cornball guitar.
From there, it was Nicki Minaj going straight into the nominations for record of the year. So let's go to it:
The category: Record of the year
"Rolling In the Deep" — Adele
"Holocene" — Bon Iver
"Grenade" — Bruno Mars
"The Cave" — Mumford & Sons
"Firework" — Katy Perry
The good: In terms of singers in 2011, it's hard to outshine Adele, and anything she sings and is submitted for a Grammy trophy has a shot at getting a nod. Her performance of "Rolling In the Deep" can bring a room to a halt. Mumford & Sons' "The Cave" is energetic, crowd-pleasing folk rock worthy of an audience.
The bad: A nomination for Bon Iver's "Holocene" is a nice win for the independent world, but the song is truly an insufferable listen, marrying unpleasant imagery with sweater-soft vocals and arrangements that completely drown the aggression in the lyrics. As for Katy Perry's "Firework," it's a throwaway self-esteem cheerlead, and Bruno Mars' "Grenade" is the precise definition of over-dramatic.
What was missed? Kanye West's "All the Lights" was an exquisitely built anthem, Wilco's "I Might" was all funky power-pop energy, Mary J. Blige's "25/8" was a stop-and-star scorcher and TV on the Radio's "Will Do" was soul music for the digital age. And that's just a random look at the Grammy ballot.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Lady Gaga. Credit: Frederic J. Brown / Getty Images