I will be the first to admit that the Grammies are about at meaningful as a certificate of participation for soccer camp. I'm not a complete elitist when it comes to the Grammies, mind you; a few of my favorite acts were nominated this year (eg. Radiohead, MIA), and I was pleased when Amy Winehouse won a million awards for Back to Black last year (and have subsequently become depressed because she's probably going to OD before putting out another album). But when I found out (via Wiki!) that John Mayer won Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance over Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, and Eddie Vedder-- well, that was yesterday afternoon and I have yet to unwrinkle my nose. Admittedly the latter four are arguably all past their peaks, but at least their music isn't so bland as to be one consistent plateau of a career.
After throwing up in my mouth a little, I wondered to myself, "Gee, self, I wonder what the difference is between record of the year, song of the year, and album of the year?" And dependable ol' Wikipedia had the answer.
Record of the year goes to one song or track, and recognizes achievement in recording; the award goes to the performer, producer, and recording engineer. Song of the year goes to the songwriter. And album of the year is awarded to the performer, producer, and recording and mastering engineers for the entire album. So now I know the criteria for awards that I hold in contempt.
(The underlying irony of all this, of course, is that I'm usually pretty excited about the Oscars.)