As you might have suspected, I listen to a lot of music throughout the year. Even though the Grammys have a funky schedule for what is eligible in a year and tends to focus on radio-friendly fare to keep John and Jill Q Public interested in watching their awards broadcast, I try to listen to as many of the nominees as possible. This year I had a jump start on them, as the nominating committee seems to have just gone down Billboard’s Hot 100 and nominated whatever was on there.
I’ll give them credit for a few of their choices. Black Messiah and Coming Home both certainly deserve to be nominated for Best R&B Album. Putting them up against each other is a real heartbreaker for me. I love both, but Black Messiah is likely going to be your winner. Somehow Messiah got passed over in Album Of The Year in favor of more demographic appeal from Alabama Shakes and The Weeknd.
That’s a shame. I thought Alabama Shakes record Sound And Color was pretty good, but worked better as an instrumental piece. Brittany Howard’s overpowering voice ruins the whole experience for me. And The Weeknd, while certainly a talented guy, doesn’t come close to the politically charged D’Angelo album. Maybe the Grammy people figured with To Pimp A Butterfly already in there, they don’t need another black record that isn’t geared toward their audience.
Best Rock Album is probably the weakest category overall. Alabama Shakes return, and oh hey they’re up for album of the year so I wonder if they’ll win this one. Other nominees include Slipknot (for real), Muse’s worst album in ages, Death Cab For Cutie’s snoozer Kintsugi, and Mister Asylum by a band called Highly Suspect (Maroon 5 with heavier riffs).
Speaking of Maroon 5, that song “Sugar” got a nomination. You know the one-it sounds like Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” but it’s totally not that (for legal reasons). I was just talking to someone a few days ago about how those first couple Maroon 5 singles were pretty good 12 years or so ago. Didn’t take them long to cash in and start making minivan jams for soccer moms to belt out while they’re dropping the kids off at school.
As always, the Best New Artist category is infuriating, and probably the best proof that the Grammys are out of touch. They always have nominees that seem to have been around forever because of their stupid scheduling rules. So this year’s nominees include Courtney Barnett (started gaining traction in 2013, was inescapable in 2014), Sam Hunt (legitimately new, but his record came out in October of 2014), Tori Kelly (major label debut 2013), James Bay (this one is actually legit in the states, though he’s had a couple releases in the UK starting in 2013), and of course Meghan Trainor (she’s been releasing music since 2010, but no one cared until she was “All About That Bass”).
You can check out all the Grammy nominations on their site if you want. I don’t see any real point to it, but maybe you’ll be happy to see that Stephen Kennedy and James Tilley got nods for their packaging job on the Sticky Fingers Boxed Set.