As part of the SKPop 2022 Grammy roundup, here’s a look at the Best Pop Duo / Group Performance category.
Collaborations are one of the most exciting facets of pop music. Often times, the hype around a music album is based on the list of features it boasts of. As pop music is emerging as a great monolith of a genre, there are more possibilities than ever for musical collaborations.
2021 has seen a slew of iconic, surprising and intriguing collaborations, featuring returning duos like Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett, and bands like BTS rising to new levels.
The recording academy’s choices for best duo / group pop performance reflect the lineup.
A quick look at this year’s Grammy nominees for Best Pop Duo / Group Performance
Here’s SKPop’s take on this year’s nominees for Best Pop Duo / Group Performance:
1) Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – “I love you”
After universal worship for Cheek to cheek (2014), the unlikely and iconic duo of jazz legend Tony Bennett and one of pop’s most experimental pioneers, Lady Gaga, are back this year with Love for sale (2021), performing interpretations of even more classic classics.
I take a kick from you is certainly one of the highlights of the album, with infectious energy that belies Bennett’s age and grace that belies Gaga’s explosive dance roots. Bennett and Gaga are one of the most iconic nominees for the Best Pop Duo / Group Performance category.
2) Justin Bieber and Benny Blanco – ‘Lonely’
Justin Bieber called on some of the biggest names in pop music to collaborate on his latest album Justice (2021) including Khalid, Daniel Ceaser, Chance The Rapper and superstar producer Benny Blanco. Several tracks on the album were vying for the crown of Best Pop Duo / Group Performance.
Only Bieber tries to be the most serious himself, with a strained voice and confessional lyrics speaking of his fame and countless past crimes. Unlike some of the other tracks on the record, this one feels like it’s from an authentic place.
BTS – ‘Butter’
In a repeat of last year’s heart-wrenching saga, BTS was sidelined with just one Grammy nomination despite their massive and record-breaking progress over the year. It’s another example of how the academy always lags behind when it comes to taking the pulse of the public.
While Butter does not reach stratospheric heights of serotonin stimulation of Dynamite, it’s an energetic power-pop anthem worthy of being crowned the song of the summer. With the massive success of Butter, BTS is a serious contender for Best Pop Duo / Group Performance.
Coldplay – “Higher Power”
Coldplay is one of the biggest bands of the 21st century. They have everything to their credit, from contemplative ballads to resounding hymns in the arena. Even though their previous album Daily life (2019) was not a huge success, it had a fiery following. However, the lack of sparkle Music of the spheres (2021) was an album that even diehard fans couldn’t stand up for.
Superior power sounds like any other Coldplay song from the 2010s on autopilot. While the themes of unity and global causes supported by the group are to be welcomed, their musical depth leaves a lot to be desired.
Doja Cat Ft. SZA – ‘Kiss Me More’
Doja Cat and SZA both had a wonderful year as solo artists, with Doja’s Planet her (2021) winning universal fame and SZA landing spots on a series of impressive singles.
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But this collaboration is undoubtedly the zenith of their two powers. Doja’s quoted verse and SZA’s memorable bridge vocals could each make a hit song on their own. This undeniable track is the one to beat in the Best Pop Duo / Group Performance category.
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