Star power

Kirby might win a Grammy before Tupac

The arrangement of “Meta Knight's Revenge” from Kirby Superstar received a nomination for this year’s awards.

A screenshot from the original 1996 version of Kirby Super Stars

The Grammys, much like any award show the governing body of which is lily-white, elitist, and exclusionary, often draws the ire of those it’s meant to honor in addition to music fans in general. Regardless, the awards continue to be held year after year, and for all of their shortcomings, there probably isn’t an award show in existence that could please everyone. That said, one nomination for the 2021 Grammy awards slated to take place at the end of January, 2022 will have as close to a universal appeal as you can get: Kirby, or rather an arrangement for the 1996 SNES game Kirby Super Star, has been nominated for the award for “Best Arrangement, Instrumental and A Cappella.”

Instead of competing against the likes of Kanye, Olivia Rodrigo, or Lil Nas X for album of the year, everyone’s favorite amorphous pink blob will be vying for music’s most prestigious gramophone trophy with the following acts:

  • "Chopsticks" — Bill O'Connell, arranger (Richard Baratta)
  • "For The Love Of A Princess (From "Braveheart")" — Robin Smith, arranger (Hauser, London Symphony Orchestra & Robin Smith)
  • "Infinite Love" — Emile Mosseri, arranger (Emile Mosseri)
  • "The Struggle Within" — Gabriela Quintero & Rodrigo Sanchez, arrangers (Rodrigo y Gabriela)

Isn’t that arrangement from the ‘90s?— Why yes, yes it is. The original is a pleasing amalgamation of jazz, breakbeat, retro synth-pop, and a heart-racing BPM that would fit right into a drum n’ bass warehouse rave.

As pointed out by Eurogamer though, Charlie Rosen and Jake Silverman put out an updated, big-band arrangement of the song that received the nomination in question. The arrangement was performed by The 8-Bit Big Band and Button Masher. The track was part of the former’s 14-track album, Backwards Compatible, that dropped on streaming services this year. In addition to “Meta Knight’s Revenge,” it includes further songs from other classic video games like Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Metal Gear Solid 3.

Third time’s the charm? — This nomination is just the third time video game music has been part of the Grammys. The first was “Baba Yetu,” from Civilization IV, which took home the award for Best Instrumental Arrangement with Vocalist at the 2011 edition of the awards. It was put together by Christopher Tin.

That victory was followed up by Austin Wintory’s compositions for Journey in 2013, which ended up falling short in the category of Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross would end up taking home the award for their work on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.