In our fast-paced, sound-bite-edited, fast food, disposable world, it would appear that Andy Warhol's 15 minutes have been shaved down to 5 minutes or less. Blame it on MTV. So for those who enjoy longer songs, longer programming, and a larger commitment of time, albums have become a luxury investment. Not just in money, but in time. Both for the artist and the audience. And even though albums might produce a few hit songs, that doesn't mean they're altogether a set of good songs. Awards ceremonies, such as the 55th Grammy Awards broadcast on CBS Television on Feb. 10, can help separate the gold from the mundane for audiences willing to make such an investment.
fun. won Song of the Year for "We Are Young" at the 2013 ceremony and the album that it came from was nominated for a Grammy as well, so there is probably a strong likelihood that those who enjoyed "We Are Young" (not to mention "Carry On" and "Some Nights") will enjoy the longer work. And Gotye won Record of the Year (and how cool was it that Prince handed out the award?) for his international smash "Somebody That I Used To Know" (ft. Kimbra). He also won for Best Alternative Music Album, which is a good indication that the extended set is a pretty good collection of music.
The same can sometimes be said of music videos. Rihanna and Calvin Harris won for "We Found Love" (Best Short Form Music Video) which appears on the platinum-selling Talk That Talk. Mumford & Sons (along with Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show) took home the Best Long Form Music Video award for "Big Easy Express," a rockumentary that chronicles the aforementioned artists on the road from San Francisco to New Orleans in 2011 (and music from Mumford & Sons quadruple-platinum Sigh No More).
Incidentally, Mumford & Sons' follow-up to Sigh No More, Babel, won the 2013 Grammy for Album of the Year.
Of course, it isn't a precise indicator that albums that win the awards for "albums of the year" will satisfy the purchaser, but it often is a fairly accurate one. Along with an album's longevity on sales charts (like Talk That Talk and Sigh No More, neither of which were even nominated for Grammys in any of the "best album" categories), they're probably the best.
So if you're looking to invest in an hour of music by an artist that particularly appeals to you, perhaps a list of those albums that the members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (the organization that nominates and presents the Grammy Awards) thought worthy of an award might help narrow down a very crowded field.
2013 Grammy Awards: The 'Best' Albums
Album of the Year
“Babel,” Mumford & Sons
Pop Vocal Album
“Stronger,” Kelly Clarkson
Traditional Pop Vocal Album
“Kisses on the Bottom,” Paul McCartney
Pop Instrumental Album
“Impressions,” Chris Botti
“El Camino,” the Black Keys
Alternative Music Album
“Making Mirrors,” Gotye
“Black Radio,” Robert Glasper Experiment
“Take Care,” Drake
Urban Contemporary Album
“Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean
“Uncaged,” Zac Brown Band
New Age Album
“Echoes of Love,” Omar Akram
Jazz Vocal Album
“Radio Music Society,” Esperanza Spalding
Jazz Instrumental Album
“Unity Band,” Pat Metheny Unity Band
Large Jazz Ensemble Album
“Dear Diz (Every Day I Think of You),” Arturo Sandoval
Latin Jazz Album
“¡Ritmo!,” The Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band
Contemporary Christian Music Album
“Eye on It,” TobyMac
Latin Pop Album
“MTV Unplugged Deluxe Edition,” Juanes
Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album
Regional Mexican or Tejano Album
“Pecados y Milagros,” Lila Downs
Tropical Latin Album
“Retro,” Marlow Rosada y La Riqueña”
“Slipstream,” Bonnie Raitt
“Nobody Knows You,” Steep Canyon Rangers
“Locked Down,” Dr. John
“The Goat Rodeo Sessions,” Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile
Regional Roots Music Album
“The Band Courtbouillon,” Wayne Toups, Steve Riley and Wilson Savoy
“Rebirth,” Jimmy Cliff
World Music Album
“The Living Room Sessions Part 1,” Ravi Shankar
“Can You Canoe?,” The Okee Dokee Brothers
Spoken Word Album
“Society’s Child: My Autobiography,” Janis Ian
“Blow Your Pants Off,” Jimmy Fallon
Musical Theater Album
“Once: A New Musical,” Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti, artists; Steven Epstein and Martin Lowe, producers; Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, composers/lyricists
For a complete listing of 2013 Grammy Awards nominees and winners, go to Grammy.com.