Grammys Spotlight: Best Dance Recording

Since the first Best Dance Recording Grammy Award went to Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer for “Carry On” in 1997, dance music has come of age. In 2002, the recording academy gave the genre its own Field, and in 2004 it created an additional separate category for electronic/dance albums. Critics of these two categories carp that nominees are weighted toward the most popular hits. However, in its short history, the Dance Field has actually showcased a generous mix of electronica and club classics as well mainstream pop.

Sure some of the most memorable tunes of late have been honored here, including those from pop icons Madonna (“Ray of Light,” 1998), Cher (“Believe,” 1999), Britney Spears (“Toxic,” 2004), Justin Timberlake (“SexyBack,” 2007 and “LoveStoned,” 2008) and Lady Gaga (“Poker Face,” 2009) but dance music royalty like The Chemical Brothers (“Galvanize,” 2006) and Daft Punk (“Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” 2008) have also prevailed.

Other winners and nominees have been drawn from Eighties music veterans (Pet Shop Boys, Boy George, Gloria Estefan, Cyndi Lauper, Depeche Mode, Lionel Ritchie and New Order), dance favorites (Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Minogue and Rihanna), and cutting edge dance music artists (Moby, Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, Basement Jaxx, Scissor Sisters, LCD Soundsystem and David Guetta).

This year’s contenders can be narrowed down by sub-genre, the first of which is mainstream dance/pop music. Reigning champ Lady Gaga is unstoppable with her No. 1 hit “Dance in the Dark.” Rihanna could contend for her worldwide smash “Only Girl” though she might be better represented in other fields. Mike Posner (“Cooler Than Me”) might merit a mention if the voters are feeling a little adventurous. However, it is unlikely either past nominees Christina Aguilera (“Not Myself Tonight”) or Janet Jackson (“Make Me”) will return to the race this year.

Among those artists predominantly known for dance music, multiple nominee and previous champ Kylie Minogue has taken herself out of the running, submitting her latest offerings in the Pop Field. That leaves Robyn (“Dancing on My Own”) and La Roux (“In For the Kill”) are  frontrunners in the category. LCD Soundsystem (Pow Wow”), Goldfrapp (“Rocket”) and The Chemical Brothers (“Swoon”) are also definitely in the hunt, but may have more success over in the Electronic/Dance Album race. Also in contention here are Hot Chip (“One Life Stand”) and Little Boots (Remedy”).

Next up are the DJs, dance floor hit makers and club chart mainstays. Romanian DJ Edward Maya‘s “Stereo Love” (with Vika Jigulina) has been a monster club hit worldwide this year, and has a decent shot at the top five, as does the ubiquitous Kelly Rowland/David Guetta smash “Commander” and the brilliant “Paper Romance” from Groove Armada. Relatively little-known Yolanda Be Cool & DCup — who just won the Dance Release prize at the ARIA Awards for “We No Speak No Americano” — might also have a shot at a nomination. Rounding out this list are Basement Jaxx (“Raindrops”), Cascada (“Pyromania”) and Underworld (“Scribble”).

The final sub-group are the cross-overs and collaborations. Kelis has a good chance at a berth here with “Acapella”, but beyond that the pickings are slim. Grammy favorite M.I.A. is in the running with “XXXO”, but her latest disc did not get her usual rave reviews. Also in the mix are “Gettin’ Over You” by David Guetta & Chris Willis ft. Fergie & LMFAO, “Feel It In My Bones” by Tiesto, Tegan & Sara, “Her World Goes On” by Justin Michael, Kemal & Bruno Mars, and “Beautiful Monster” by Ne-Yo.

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