Charles Bright: Good, bad and ugly of Grammy nominations

Our newest contributor weighs in with his thoughts on the nominations for the 55th annual Grammy Awards which were announced Wednesday. Winners will be revealed on Feb. 10 with CBS airing the live portion of the kudocast that evening. 

GOOD
There actually seems to be some variety in this year’s nominations, which is a major improvement over last year’s when many of them came from the pop field. This year you have different genres represented including folk, rock, alternative, R&B as well as pop.

The general field nominees truly feel representative of the music that mattered on both a critical and commercial level in 2012. The nominations of Frank Ocean, Fun., Mumford and Sons, Kelly Clarkson, Gotye and the Black Keys show a willingness to reward what should be on their radar rather than having us talk about what the Grammys should be rewarding.

No country music in the general field. Modern country is getting too pop-sounding and feels far too generic. The Grammys have felt obligated to put sub-par country entries into the general field in the place of more deserving nominees. 

Björk scores another nomination for Best Alternative Album. Hopefully this will result in the Icelandic vocalists first Grammy win.

The Recording Academy uses one category — Best Spoken Word Album — to remind the world that their ranks are still ruled by leftists. This year’s nominees are Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton and three lesbians: Ellen Degeneres, Janis Ian and Rachel Maddow,  

The Comedy Album category mostly recognizes some of the great voices in modern comedy including two-time winner Lewis Black, Kathy Griffin, Tenacious D and two of my personal favorites — Margaret Cho and Jim Gaffigan 

BAD
but nominating Jimmy Fallon in the comedy category is totally unwarranted especially after all those horrible commercials for Capital One. 

Call Me Maybe” is not nominated for Record of the Year (as you would expect of something so mindlessly catchy) but does get cited for Song of the Year. That slot should have gone to Mumford and Sons, Frank Ocean or Florence + the Machine?

No nominations in the general field for Florence + the Machine and none for Seth MacFarlane for his song “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from his directorial debut “Ted.”

UGLY
In Album of the Year, there’s usually a spot for a music industry veteran such as Paul Simon, Vince Gill or U2Jack White could be called a veteran as he competed for this honor in 2004 for “Elephant” when he lost to “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” by Outkast

No real domination by one nominee; rather six performers have the most nominations at a fairly low number (6). This makes the races, especially in the general field, harder to call.

Yo-Yo Ma receives a nod in the Folk Album category for “The Goat Rodeo Sessions”. Ma won the Classical Crossover Album honor in 2000 with his fellow nominee, Edgar Meyer.

2 thoughts on “Charles Bright: Good, bad and ugly of Grammy nominations

  1. I have to disagree about there being any variety in Album of the Year. They all basically fall under Alternative, though some may be an alternative version of another genre (like Frank Ocean for R&B). I guess it can depend on your preferences, but they all kind of blend together for me. And Jimmy Fallon’s album may be my favorite nomination of all. Sure, it’s just a compilation of bits from his show, but those bits are utter brilliance.

  2. I agree there is not much variety in Album of the Year, I also do not think that it’s bad they did not nominate a “veteran” most of these nominations are token nominations, which led to wins for artists like Ray Charles, Steely Dan, and Herbie Hancock. I have listened to all three of those albums and they are mediocre at best!

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