the power and TRUTH of a beautiful song
"All of the Lights"
Songwriters: Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter, Kanye West
Performers: Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi, Fergie
From: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Publishers: Very Good Beats/Hip Hop Since 1978
One of the longest songs from Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was also one of its biggest-Rihanna sings the chorus and Kid Cudi and Fergie drop guest verses while Alicia Keys and La Roux's Elly Jackson harmonize between Kanye's raps. This is West's third song of the year nomination, following previous nods for "Jesus Walks" in 2005 and for his guest rap on Estelle's "American Boy" in 2009. "All of the Lights" peaked at No. 2 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and at No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Songwriters: Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford, Country Winston
Performers: Mumford & Sons
From: Sigh No More
Publisher: Universal Music Group Publishing
Label: Glassnote Records
Also up for record of the year (as well as best rock song and best rock performance), "The Cave" became Mumford & Sons' second single to chart in the United States following "Little Lion Man." An anthemic song with uplifting lyrics ("And I'll find strength in pain/And I will change my ways"), "The Cave" has sold more than 1 million digital tracks, according to Nielsen SoundScan. This is the band's first song of the year nomination.
Songwriters: Brody Brown, Claude Kelly, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Bruno Mars, Andrew Wyatt
Performer: Bruno Mars
From: Doo-Wops & Hooligans
Publishers: Mars Force Music/Bughouse, Music Famamanem/Toy Plane Music/Art for Arts Sake/Late 80s Music/Westside Ind. Music/Studiobeat Music, Warner-Tamerlane, Andrew Wyatt, Downtown DMP Songs
Bruno Mars went to intense lengths to declare his unrequited devotion to a lady in "Grenade," offering to catch one of the title explosives on her behalf and even take a bullet to his brain. The hard-hitting lyrics caught on among pop and R&B fans alike, sending the song to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 as well as such lists as the Hot Digital Songs and Mainstream Top 40 charts. This is Mars' second song of the year nomination, having been previously nominated as a co-writer of Cee Lo Green's "F**k You" last year.
Songwriter: Justin Vernon
Performer: Bon Iver
From: Bon Iver
Publisher: April Base Publishing
Bon Iver's self-titled second album documents moments in singer Justin Vernon's life during the band's 2010 U.S. tour. "Holocene" finds Vernon on the icy streets of Chicago, calling an old friend in Milwaukee. Although "Calgary" was the first single released from the album, "Holocene" scored the major nominations thanks to a bittersweet atmosphere and cinematic music video. This is Bon Iver's first nomination in this category, and one of four that the budding folk act received for its second album.
"Rolling in the Deep"
Songwriters: Adele Adkins, Paul Epworth
Publishers: Universal-Songs of PolyGram/EMI Music Publishing
Label: XL Recordings/Columbia Records
"There's a fire starting in my heart/Reaching a fever pitch/It's bringing me out the dark." Those lyrics are etched in many a radio programmer's memory this year as the song became Billboard's biggest crossover hit of the past 25 years. In addition to topping the Billboard Hot 100 and pop charts, the song appeared on Hot Latin Songs and Triple A, among others. This is Adele's second song of the year nomination, following 2010's "Chasing Pavements."