In recent years, many have wondered why award shows like the Grammys have recently lost viewership. While the ubiquity of online entertainment is partially to blame, the utter lack of award-worthy music nominated for Grammys is another legitimate explanation.
Upon reading the nominations for this year’s Grammy nominations, I was especially shocked by the nominations for Best Pop Solo Performance, as one nominations included was “Yummy” by Justin Bieber.
Now, I’m not anti-Justin Bieber. The man is has a beautiful voice. But the lyrics are absolutely infantilizing to any self respecting listener. The writers of the song must think that the masses are all cretins to put forth such a ridiculous mess and pass it off as a legitimate, Grammy-worthy song. Let me remind you that this song, a whole two minutes of Justin Bieber singing the word “Yummy” over and over again, also includes such enlightening lyrics as “Light a match, get litty baby,” and “Bona fide stallion/You ain’t got no stable” to presumably describe Beiber’s wife, Hailey Beiber. Hailey should be offended that such a lazy attempt at songwriting is considered an ode to her. (Justin, please do your wife a favor and try a little harder on the next song you release for her.)
To place this poor excuse for a song in the same category as such performances as Beyonce’s “Black Parade,” Billie Eilish’s “everything i wanted,” Taylor Swift’s “cardigan,” and Harry Styles’s “Watermelon Sugar” is also an insult to the artistry these songs convey. Beyonce’s “Black Parade” is layered with metaphor, references to Black culture and current events, and is a far cry from the generic nature of “Yummy.” Eilish, a bright light among the gaggle of modern pop stars, also artistically weaves a story of the struggles of mental illness through “everything i wanted.” Swift and Styles do not deserve the slander of being placed in the same category of “Yummy,” either. The entirety of Swift’s latest folklore, including “cardigan,” display her creative storytelling on par with the greats like Bob Dylan. Though Styles’s song is a bit repetitive, his innuendos paired with his instrumental homage to classic 1970s soft rock should position him far beyond Beiber.
Many of the tracks nominated in other categories seem to only be nominated due to their popularity on TikTok. While this may be an indicator of the song’s star value–as millions of teens and young adults “danced” to and enjoyed songs like Doja Cat’s “Say So”–Justin Beiber practically begged for his song to be streamed. It didn’t even organically meet the already questionable requirements for a nomination! Upon the song’s release, Bieber engaged in a social media campaign with TikTok in attempts to cement his song’s popularity.
Bieber also encouraged Beliebers to purchase the single multiple times, posted an Instagram video instructing fans to use a VPN to stream the single, and asked fans to play the song on repeat overnight at a low volume. These deceitful tactics endorsed by Bieber were designed to inflate the single’s position on streaming platforms, and thus falsify the numbers that are used to quantify the popularity of songs in the modern media landscape.
Compare this to “Say So,” a genuine hit that gradually gained popularity after TikTok users began to emulate the dance created by user Haley Sharpe. Or compare to the other songs “Yummy” is contending with in the Best Solo Pop Performance category. Each song is legitimately good, and songwriters actually put effort into each creation. Thus, they received organically positive responses from fans. They deserve their popularity.
The Grammys glorifying laziness and a lack of creativity by nominating songs like “Yummy” is exactly why audiences continually skip the award shows. The parameters for nominations are corruptible, do not reward true artistry, and demonstrate everything wrong with the entertainment industry in its current form. Perhaps it can be argued that there has been an overall lack of creativity and artistry among musicians today–but that’s another article for another day; this observation may, in fact, be true, but this phenomena can only be remedied if legitimate compositions of the day are rewarded over than slapstick singles.