This years nominees sit at the top of the music game.
One Direction is the sum of all the fans behind them. Their fans shape an entire side to them, outside the hands of any powerful media corp. From fanfiction to the mass of Tumblr pages, One Direction's legacy will certainly be crafted by the hands of this generation. This is because of the massive proliferation of expression in the online world.
The 90s movie "Clueless" is getting a nostalgic re-birth all over the place, and Iggy Azalea's music video for "Fancy" is just one of it's zombies. The movie is about a rich white girl who is charming, but oblivious because of her privilege. It's an Interesting choice, considering the issues with her fake accent and twitter posts.
Beyonce knows the power of her platform, and she's not afraid to use it to send a message.
I look at Luke Bryan and I'm like "oh, there's a guy who sings country", before I even hear a note. He's known for listening to his Twitter followers, which is a smart move in the changing world of fan/star relationships. The fans are more involved in the fame than they ever have been before.
Eminem was definitely the underdog in his early rap career. Somehow he made it, and the audiences responded to his controversial attitude in a big way. He hit his place in the cultural mainstream, which means that his lyrics (good and bad) hit a social nerve somehow. Eminem and his words give us a chance to critically look back on ourselves.
Imagine Dragons have a unique way of being able to (sorry, Aerosmith) sing for the moment. Songs like Radioactive and Amsterdam sound like the end of a long day, when the only thing left having any friction are the thoughts in your head. Songs like these work in film, television, live shows, and life moments.
John Legend's "All of Me" will have been played by thousands of wedding DJs during first dances by the end of this year. Good call on the lyrics, Legend.
Katy Perry has a firm grasp on her image. In her sticky way of picking up trends and moulding them into her stage presence, she is the one of the first to reflect what is about to be incorporated into popular culture (whether it should be, or not). Like others in her world, there is a furious consumption of symbols from other cultures in the search for meaning and novelty.
Lorde is the representation of "normal" in a sea of girl pop stars covered in glitter. She is the resistance, and the so-called good girl compared to the others. Even binaries show up in the images of young artists.
Pharrell has a way with the beat. He seems to understand music as something that is not an extra piece to existence, but as a part of what drives it. Pharrell knows that music does something to us, something that sits far beyond entertainment. Music is somewhere in the core of what it means to be human.