The last time we had a great old chat about the Grammys, we talked about how whoever is issuing the shortlists may be trying to obliterate the state of music and that one of the most telling signs of the committee’s inability to gauge the biggest hits — through sales or creative prowess — was the disturbing absence of Miley Cyrus. But not to fear! For every senseless omission, there is a reasonable explanation. And in this case, there’s also a totally excellent alternative.
Cyrus’ “The Climb,” a song most noted for its soaring vocal flourishes, layered lyrical tropes, and complex messages about how life is sometimes like a house on fire, but if you can find the fire extinguisher, you will be rewarded. The song was on the Grammys shortlist in the Best Song Written for a Soundtrack category. But days later, it was cruelly yanked from the list. Reason being that “The Climb” may not have been written by Jessi Alexander, who either penned the tune while driving to work or passing a BM, specifically for the Hannah Montana movie itself.
Replacing the Cyrus tune on the shortlist then was Karen O. & the Kids’ “All Is Love” from the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack. So instead of dwelling on how mortifying it is that the panel actual awarded any number of votes to “The Climb,” let’s just take a collective sigh of relief that a substantial number of voters were pulling for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ frontwoman. That despite so much bad taste, it was possible for some good to shine through.
To make clear just how (troublingly?) pervasive Cyrus’ influence has become on the world at large, Grammy nod or not: Apart from reaching #4 and being certified double platinum on the Billboard 100, “The Climb” has also charted at #12 in New Zealand, #16 in France, #37 in Denmark, and #46 in Spain. Although frankly, neither would’ve bested the obvious forerunners to win the category: Beyoncé or Bruce Springsteen.