Grammy Award for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical

A sign that your awards ceremony has too many categories? It takes someone who loves strange awards 13 years to discover an interesting category exists. Believe it or not, the now titled Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical category has been on the books since 1998, when no specific song was nominated. It was a category honoring people who remix songs professionally. In 2002, the category began specifying which recording was nominated.

The category caught my eye this year because of Skrillex's nomination for Best New Artist. It seems that, slowly but surely, what I'll refer to as Dance music has gained a big foothold in the academy. With new categories come new waves of voters, allowing lesser-known Dance artists like MGMT and Skrillex the chance to get some mainstream recognition.

This year's nominees are worth taking a look at to get a feel for the category. While I'm not a fan of some decisions--like eliminating gender-specific performance categories entirely--made this year in reducing the bloat of the Grammys, a trimmer awards ceremony allows more categories to shine. Lots of embeds below the jump.

Skrillex/Sonny Moore: "Cinema," working off of a song by Benny Benassi

Original:

Remix:

Afrojack: "Collide," working off of a song by Leona Lewis

Original:

Remix:

Photek: "End of Line," working off of a song by Daft Punk

Original:

Remix:

Rosabel/Abel Aguilera and Ralphi Rosario: "Only Girl (In the World)," working off of a song by Rihanna

Original:

Remix:

Deadmau5: "Rope," working off of a song by The Foo Fighters

Original:

Remix:

If the nominees are judged by how much they are able to transform the original song, I would say the race is between Skrillex and Deadmau5. They create brand new songs using bits and pieces of the original. You can identify what the reference is, but it's clearly a new entity. But that might not be how the voters go at it.

My favorite is the Deadmau5 remix. I think it's clever and takes a good song in a very different direction. Afrojack does what Afrojack does well on "Collide," which is take a simple pop ballad/midtempo song and make it a club hit. Photek is working with the hardest material, as Daft Punk are already electronic musicians and "End of Line" is sci-fi/action scoring. Rosabel take a club-friendly song, double its length, and never descend into boring repetition. Skrillex tears "Cinema" apart into something exciting and new.

I'll be curious to see how the voting goes in this category as each nominee is so different. It's one of those categories that makes a great argument for "and this is why the Grammys are relevant." Oh, they nominated this old act for that award? What about the Remix, Non-Classical category? The songs that are spread on mixtapes, through clubs, and social networks are out of touch and irrelevant? I think not.

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