There was plenty of love to go around for Jay Z, Kendrick Lamar, Justin Timberlake and Pharrell Williams at Friday night’s “The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!!” special.
And while we can sit around and debate all day about the biggest shocks and snubs of the night , one thing is for sure: this is the year of the equality anthem.
On a night when two songs about getting lucky (“Get Lucky,” “Blurred Lines”), eschewing conspicuous consumption (“Royals”), learning to trust again (“Just Give Me a Reason”) and whatever “Radioactive” is about got lots of Grammy affection, two songs about following your heart wherever it leads you made a huge statement.
Nominated for Song of the Year, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ inspiring “Same Love” will go up against hits by Bruno Mars (“Locked Out of Heaven”), Lorde (“Royals”), Pink (“Just Give Me A Reason”) and Katy Perry (“Roar”). The tune has become a theme song for the same-sex marriage movement and Mary Lambert, who sings the stirring lines, “I can’t change even if I tried/Even if I wanted to,” told MTV News that the nomination means more than she can even put into words.
“I think as an artist that’s sort of the holy grail — you can’t ask for more than that — to have a song that is artistically really beautiful that catches on and also impacts people,” she said of the track’s success. “It got to a point last year where I was like maybe this isn’t about my career, it’s not about any of our careers, it’s about a reflection of society and where we are culturally.”
Surprise nominee Sara Bareilles was totally freaked about her Album of the Year bid for The Blessed Unrest. But it was her Best Pop Solo Performance nomination for the hit single “Brave” — inspired by the LGBTQ community — that made this the year when equality anthems got serious Grammy attention.
The debut single off of Unrest, written with fun.’s Jack Antonoff, was accompanied by a video directed by actress Rashida Jones and inspired by the story of a friend of Bareilles’ who struggled with coming out.
In a behind-the-scenes video, Antonoff called “Brave” an anthem, while Bareilles encouraged people to be proud, saying that there’s, “so much honor and integrity and beauty in being able to be who you are.” She added that by being brave yourself, you also, “give others permission to do the same.”
Antonoff called the song, with its chorus of “I just want to see you be brave,” a “real civil rights anthem” at a time when there isn’t one.