The Grammy Awards are music’s defining moment each year. On January 26, 2014, they defined the best in music in a wide variety of categories, from Christian to pop to rock to rap, over the past 12 months. Even if you’re not a big fan of award shows, it’s good to know what wins each year, as the top songs and albums tell you a lot about the state of the music industry and what people value in their musical entertainment.

Christian Music Makes a Strong Showing

It was a strong year on the Christian music front for Mandissa. She took honors for “Overcomer,” which nabbed the Best Contemporary Christian Music Song award, while its namesake album took Best Contemporary Christian Music Album honors. She was up against some stiff competition, including Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Love Take Me Over” and Natalie Grant’s “Hurricane” for best song. I’ll admit that I was rooting for “Love Take Me Over,” as its upbeat tempo never fails to energize me, but “Overcomer” is a powerful song with a great message that deserved the award.

Mandissa’s album was also up against some fierce competition, including “We Won’t Be Shaken” byt Building 429. I especially love the title track from that Building 429 album, but Mandissa managed to pull off the win. However, she was edged out for Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance by Tasha Cobbs’s “Break Every Chain (Live).” That was another category with stiff competition, including Natalie Grant’s “Hurricane” and Matt Maher’s moody but strong “Lord, I Need You.” On the Best Gospel Song front, Tye Tribbett took home top honors with “If He Did It Before…Same God (Live).”

Diverse Parade of Categories

Christian music is just one small part of the Grammy competition. Pop, rock, rap, and urban contemporary tend to get the most attention, so it’s easy to forget that the awards cover categories as diverse as comedy, classical, jazz, instrumental, country, and even spoken word. 

As a Christian, I tend to listen to The Message on Sirius/XM satellite radio or my local FM Christian station. This is mostly because I don’t like my ears to be assaulted by loud, pumping bass that often seems to take the place of actual music and torrents of obscenities or songs that send messages of disrespect toward others and violence against women. Luckily, the Grammy Awards show that songs of that nature are only one small part of the overall music scene, even if they’re the ones that get the most publicity and airtime on contemporary radio stations.

For example, in the Best Country Solo Performance category, the winner, “Wagon Wheel” by Darius Rucker is an upbeat, fun tune about being reunited with the one you love. Top New Age Album winner “Love’s River” by Laura Sullivan features soothing piano-based music that’s perfect for relaxation. Overall, the wide variety of Grammy winners in categories as diverse as Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble, Best Choral Performance, Best Surround Sound Album, and Best Mexican Regional Music Album show that musical tastes still cover a vast spectrum, and artists are still creating music to fill each of those niches.

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