While Beyonce looks like a slam dunk to win Album of the Year at this year’s Grammys for her self-titled disc, she may well find herself snubbed in this top race, as was Justin Timberlake last year for his top-selling “The 20/20 Experience.” Indeed, these top music honors have a long history of not even nominating some of the best albums ever. Below, we catalog the top 10 most shocking omissions in the history of these kudos.
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“My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” Kanye West (2010)
Love him or hate him, there is no denying West created a modern masterpiece and possibly the best rap album of all time with this skillfully produced album that offers listeners a dark journey. It highlights his inherent talent, the album received universal acclaim. However, his increasingly childish and egotistical antics became a focal point and turned many people off. Whether this is the reason the album was snubbed in the top category or not is debatable, but based on quality alone it easily should have been among the nominees.
“The ArchAndroid,” Janelle Monae (2010)
Monae is perhaps the most exciting, prolific artists to emerge on the music scene in quite some time. With her second album, she explores several genres and styles, often in the same song. It truly is an ambitious album that a more popular artist would not dare attempt. “Cold War,” “Tightrope,” “Oh, Maker” and “Locked Inside” are all tracks that could compete for the best of 2010. The album was one of the best reviewed of the year but was snubbed in the top race and lost Best Contemporary R&B Album to Usher’s bland “Raymond vs. Raymond.”
“Van Lear Rose,” Loretta Lynn (2004)
Grammy fans often complain that veteran artists — such as Steely Dan, Herbie Hancock and Ray Charles — get cited in the General Field over much more deserving acts. However, if there was ever a veteran artist who actually deserved to win it was Loretta Lynn for her extremely gutsy “Van Lear Rose.” At 72, she teamed up with producer and White Stripes frontman Jack White to create this jaw-dropping, heartfelt masterpiece. Not only one of the best reviewed albums of 2004, but of all time, how it missed out on an Album of the Year nomination the same year Charles’ “Genius Loves Company” won the award is one of the biggest head scratchers in Grammy history.
“When the Pawn….,” Fiona Apple (1999)
Apple took self-angst (and long album titles!) to another level with her sophomore album “When The Pawn..”. With deeply personal, self reflective lyrics and tangible emotion in the vocals, the album received high praise virtually across the board. Seldom do young female artists exhibit the honesly and vulnerability that she does on this album with tracks such as “Get Gone,” “Fast As You Can” and “On the Bound.” The folksy “Paper Bag” earned Apple a Grammy nomination, but the album was snubbed. Steely Dan won that year for “Two Against Nature.”
“Post,” Bjork (1995)
Bjork has never received the credit or popularity that she deserves as few people realize just how much of a musical pioneer and visionary she truly is. This is an album t very much ahead of its time. Effortlessly and effectively blending several musical styles from the big band feel of “It’s Oh So Quiet” to the hard industrial rock “Army of Me”, “Post” is an eclectic, rare musical treat that demands multiple listens to truly appreciate the layers, lyrical symbolism, and haunting vocals. What’s even more depressing is that at least three other Bjork albums deserved Album of the Year nominations.
“CrazySexyCool,” TLC (1994)
Arguably the best “girl” group of all time, this marks TLC’s crowning achievement as musicians and it was only their second album. Spawning two #1 hit singles and selling 23 million copies worldwide, this album instantly catapulted them to superstardom and made people take notice. From the socially aware lyrics of “Waterfalls” to the throwback, slow jam “Diggin’ On You,” the album blended pop, R&B, and hip-hop in a way that was accessible and thought provoking. Still sounding as fresh today as it did the day of its release, it should have been a strong contender to win Album of the Year.
“Janet,” Janet Jackson (1993)
While Janet Jackson may not have had the vocal ability that other female artists who ruled the 90’s (Mariah, Celine, Whitney) possessed, her overall catalog of music during this time period was decisively stronger. She evolved her image and sound, and “Janet “was a complete departure from her “Rhythm Nation” and “Control” eras. This album gave us a more soulful Janet, but also saw her experimenting with different styles of music. From the country-tinged “What’ll I Do” to the epic, theatrical “This Time,” this disc allowed Jackson to emerge from simply being Michael’s little sister to being a serious talent. Despite its success, overall good reviews and Grammy win for Best R&B Song for the #1 lead single, “That’s the Way Love Goes,” the album was otherwise sadly ignored by NARAS.
“Nevermind,” Nirvana (1991)
In retrospect, it might not have been fully realized upon its release just how influential and important this would become. Still, the album garnered a plethora of positive reviews and the lead single “Smells Like Teen Spirit” instantly became a defining moment in music history. Other songs on the album, such as “Come as You Are” and “Lithium” also made an impact. Considering Natalie Cole’s gimmicky “Unforgettable…With Love” won Album of the Year, it is a crime that “Nevermind” wasn’t even nominated.
“Appetite for Destruction,” Guns N’ Roses (1987)
Guns N’ Roses proved they weren’t just another typical 80’s hair band with their impressive debut album Appetite for Destruction. The lead single, “Sweet Child O’ Mine” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is one of the most recognized rock ballads of all time. Replete with engaging lyrics and soaring, emotional vocals from lead singer Axl Rose, the album went on to sell 18 million copies in the United State along. The other singles “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Paradise City” are timeless rock anthems and the album itself set the standard for how all other rock albums after would be judged. Sadly, despite its massive success, influence, and universal praise, the album failed to receive any Grammy nominations.
“The Dark Side of the Moon,” Pink Floyd (1973)
This groundbreaking album is one of the best selling albums of all time and is consistently praised as being one of the best albums ever produced. Very few albums have actually achieved the concept that the artists were aiming for as fully as this does. With its hypnotic melodies, hints of surrealism, and brilliantly effective cohesiveness, this masterpiece certainly deserved an Album of the Year nomination.
So what are your thoughts? Which albums do YOU think should have been nominated for Album of the Year that weren’t? Let us know in the comments section and make your predictions as to this year’s winner as well using the easy drag-and-drop menu below.