This Month in Music

Grammy Awards

The 54th annual Grammy Awards took place Sunday, February 13.  Adele was the big winner, taking home 6 awards including Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year. The other major awards were taken by Bon Iver for Best New Artist, even though For Emma, Forever Ago was first released in 2007, making this honor “difficult for him to accept;” Jay-Z and Kanye won for Best Rap Performance, although they were unable to attend and accept the award (hard to believe), and Foo Fighters for Best Rock Performance.

This year, unlike previous years of the Grammy Awards, there was very little award giving and much more performing. Because this was the case, there were many highlights. It started with Bruce Springsteen opening up the ceremony playing “We Take Care of Our Own,” which was a solid performance. Rihanna, who never sounds good on T.V., played alongside Coldplay, who didn’t play the song they were nominated for, “Every Teardrop is a Waterfall.” On less than 24 hours notice, Jennifer Hudson appropriately performed a tribute to Whitney Houston. The performance was not over-the-top, and the choice of singer was perfect not only because of her voice, but also because of the recent tragedy of Houston’s death. Chris Brown managed to get crowd approval regardless of his worthless lip singing. Finally, hearing those Beach Boys tracks by Maroon 5 and Foster the People just proves that Pet Sounds is an album that can’t be touched.



Pascack Hills’ Battle of the Bands took place with four acts battling for crowd approval. It started off with a nice opener by Entrance 50, who began their set with a great version of Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out”. They then moved right into Jimmy Eat World’s “The Middle”. During these songs, Eric Krauss demonstrated some great vocals and Robby Sawyer had a “face-melting” guitar solo. After that, they went into Blink 182’s “First Date” where we got to hear some really impressive punk rock drumming by Tom McCullough. They re-invited Ryan Listro onto the stage to help them out with Modest Mouse’s “Float On”.

Following that we got the chance to see the American Black Bear Association, fronted by the very talented Josh Rosen. Opening things off with Third Eye Blind’s smash hit “Semi-Charmed Life” was a great introduction. After that, Noah Figman grabbed the bongos for a perfect cover of the Rolling Stone’s “Sympathy for the Devil”. Their epic closer combined Bob Dylan’s brilliant “All Along the Watchtower” with Dan Singer giving a sweet tease of LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem” on the keyboard while finishing the jam with perhaps one of the greatest rock anthems of all time:  Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”.

After that, we got a sweet change of pace in the night with a metal band, Five Finger Death Punch.  They played covers of some metal bands, like Asking Alexandria. After playing A Day To Remember’s “Thinking About the End,” we got to hear them do a cover of one of the lead singer’s former bands. Fellow Hills student, Eddie Rossi, was playing some very impressive bass throughout the performance.

There was no better way to close off the competition than being able to see drum prodigy, Julian Lee, and his School of Rock buddies bring their Jamface to the Pascack Hills auditorium. They played songs that they wrote themselves and gave us a little Herbie Hancock to groove to. Julian Lee definitely proved himself a very talented drummer.

Congratulations to all who played. It was a very fun event at the school and thanks to the host Aria Negahban for providing his mellifluous voice in the choir’s a capella version of Billy Joel’s “For the Longest Time”.


Whitney Houston

The tragic death of Whitney Houston calls for all victims of the Michael Jackson Syndrome to start buying Whitney Houston albums and become fake fans of hers. Whitney was a beautiful person, both in voice and spirit. Just looking at my Twitter feed, it’s apparent that everyone, no matter what genre of music they listen to, are aware that natural talent like Whitney’s isn’t something that most of today’s musicians can replicate.


Phillip Glass

Phillip Glass, a famous classical musician, has recently celebrated a big birthday. He turned 75. Glass is a man responsible for opening classical music up to a group of fans who may not have gravitated to the philharmonic before. A birthday celebration for him took place at Carnegie Hall last week.


Album to Avoid

Lana Del Rey – Born to Die


Album to Listen To

Nada Surf – The Stars are Indifferent To Astronomy



Along with the huge Giants victory at this year’s super bowl, the people’s interest was most sparked by Madonna’s performance during the halftime show. Just two days before her performance, it was revealed that her newly released single “Give Me All Your Luvin” would be performed with Niki Minaj and MIA. However, MIA’s reputation for the next decade will revolve around her publicity stunt of flipping the bird in front of millions of people. Aside from that, the halftime show’s wardrobe experience (without malfunction) definitely took over the stage with the Egyptian background dancers. Madonna played through as many hits as she could in the short period of time she had.


Bon Iver

This has been a big month for Justin Vernon’s indie/folk rock band, Bon Iver, (pronounced bone ee-vare). In a matter of 30 days, Bon Iver played on Saturday Night Live, joined The Roots onstage on Jimmy Fallon, got top billing on the Coachella lineup, won 2 Grammy Awards, got nominated for 2 more, announced collaborations with Alicia Keys and The Flaming Lips, made a Grammy commercial and, shockingly, even declined a Grammy performance. This very busy band, who got their name out through Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, (which was totally neglected at the Grammys) has recently released their sophomore self titled album. After being very impressive on their debut For Emma, Forever Ago, they have managed to dig even deeper into their talent and create a powerful sound that translates every time they perform live on T.V.