What will it take for Bjork to finally win a Grammy? This year she’s nominated for Best Alternative Music Album for “Utopia.” It’s her 8th nomination in this category and her 15th nomination overall, but she has never won anywhere. If she loses again she’ll be tied with guitarist Joe Satriani as the fourth most nominated artist in history without a win. That unfortunate record is currently held by classical producer and engineer Morten Lindberg (26 nominations), followed by Snoop Dogg and Brian McKnight (17 nominations).
“Utopia” is Bjork’s ninth studio album. It was released to critical acclaim in November 2017, and it was ranked among the best albums of that year by The New York Times, Pitchfork, Slant, Slate, The New Yorker and more. But it only reached number-75 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, so she might be disadvantaged yet again this year against the bigger hits in this category — the Grammys are ostensibly about quality, but success sells.
Among her rivals are two past winners in this category. Beck has prevailed twice before, for “Odelay” (1997) and “Mutations” (2000), and one more win would tie the record for the most victories in this category since its creation in 1991. Radiohead and The White Stripes have also won this award thrice. This time he contends for “Colors,” which also earned him noms for Best Pop Solo Performance (the title song) and Best Engineered Album. He has won five Grammys overall, including his surprise Album of the Year win in 2015 for “Morning Phase.”
This category hasn’t been that hospitable to women over the years. Only three have ever won, and only two have won solo. That includes St. Vincent, who prevailed in 2015 for her self-titled album. Now she’s nominated for “Masseducation,” and she’s also up for Best Rock Song for the album’s title track.
Veteran musician David Byrne won both a Grammy and an Oscar for his original score from the film “The Last Emperor” (1987). This time he’s nominated for “American Utopia,” which is part of a larger multimedia project called “Reasons to Be Cheerful.” He was previously nominated in this category for teaming up with Brian Eno on “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today.”
But Bjork isn’t the only Grammy-less artist in this category. The English band Arctic Monkeys have five nominations (including two this year) without a win yet. They’re currently nominated for their sixth album, “Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino.”
So it looks like the field is pretty stacked. Will this year’s awards finally bring Bjork to “Utopia,” or will her shutout continue?
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