It’s the most wonderful time of the year again! And no, I’m not talking about Christmas, though that’s also applicable. I’m talking about the annual announcement of the Grammy award nominations, better known as a time when everyone complains for about 36 hours about how misguided they are, before continuing to not give a shit about the Grammys. As always, some of the nominations are a mixture of comically predictable, inexplicable and in a few special cases rage-worthy. So, allow me to break it down for you.
The Five Most Ridiculous Grammy Facts For 2012
1) Where in the name of God is Kanye West?
By this, I don’t mean in nominations as a whole; Yeezy is leading the pack with seven this year. However, not one of those is for Album of the Year. You remember My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, right? That game-changing hip-hop opus that stands as one of the most universally acclaimed albums in the past few years? Yeah, that wasn’t nomination-worthy. However, Bruno Mars and Rihanna are both nominated in that same category. I can imagine one of three scenarios that explain this egregious error:
1) The Grammy voters got really scared last year, after they gave Album of the Year to a critical darling and the indignant masses wanted to know who the fuck The Suburbs were and why their album Arcade Fire beat out Eminem.
2) Like most other old white people, they got really uncomfortable when they heard “Yonkers” and gave Mars a lot of nominations to make him (and them) feel better.
3) In futility, voters thought that by not nominating Yeezy, he wouldn’t freak out when he didn’t win. Like that’s going to stop him from chugging Henny like a Juggalo with a two-liter of Faygo come February 12th.
2) The continued destruction of the phrase “rock music.”
Man, I didn’t even know Jeff Beck was still putting out music, but leave it to the Grammys to track that shit down and give it a Best Rock Album nomination. For that matter, let’s also toss in a Red Hot Chili Peppers album that was decent but just kinda “ehh” and a Kings of Leon album that pretty much nobody enjoyed. That said, this category belongs to the Foo Fighters, and this is a good thing. Wasting Light is the best thing they’ve put out in years, so they’ll singlehandedly give this category a bit of credibility.
However, I mean, I like Coldplay. I get made fun of a lot for this, but their Lollapalooza set was excellent and they’ve made some great (if infinitely maudlin) music. With that in mind, “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” not only has the worst title ever, but is a terrible track off a mostly terrible album that will no doubt be up for everything in the rock categories once it’s eligible next year. Also, it’s amusing how Radiohead tricked voters into nominating a song off what sounds like a half-finished album. If nothing else, though, at least Mastodon is up for a Grammy. That is some kick drumming you can feel in your loins.
3) Reduction of categories
Serious business time, for a moment. In response to the public’s belief that there are too many categories, the number of Grammy nominations have been dropped from 108 to 78. This would’ve been a good thing, except for the fact that instead of pointless distinctions like Song of the Year/Record of the Year, a bunch of the special interest categories got axed and nothing really changed. We’ll still have to sit through ten different R&B categories, and now fewer deserving parties have a chance to win awards. Cool.
4) The rap nominations or: How the Grammys are perpetually five years behind the curve
I won’t get on my high horse here and talk about how Chris Brown is a great dancer, mediocre (at best) singer and general piece of shit who I don’t like seeing on my TV, and move on to how irrelevant most of the hip-hop/rap nominations are otherwise. Normally I’d champion Lupe Fiasco getting love from critics (Food & Liquor is a modern classic), but Lasers is pretty much terrible. Instead of nominating Lupe, Atlantic Records should’ve been recognized, considering they put together most of that album themselves.
Then there’s Lil Wayne. As much as I want to back Weezy between some of his brilliant mixtapes from before Tha Carter III and the secret genius of Rebirth, Tha Carter IV was a fully phoned-in affair that saw a normally untouchable MC get outclassed by most of his guest stars. Speaking of phoned-in, Watch The Throne was more or less a victory lap for two guys who’ve both made exponentially better music for years now, “Niggas In Paris” notwithstanding. I’ll conclude this rant by also declaring that Pink Friday isn’t even a damn rap album, and that I’m still waiting for Nicki Minaj to take her rightful place as the female Busta Rhymes every generation deserves.
5) Best New Artist? More like BEST NEW SKRILLEX.
Best New Artist is actually one of the more interesting categories this year. The Band Perry is a solid, if kinda unremarkable, pop-country act that a ton of people are into, and may have a decent chance. Bon Iver, too, has logged a surprising number of big-ticket noms this year, as did Nicki Minaj. Then there’s J. Cole, who’s definitely rising and has one hell of a backer in none other than Kanye West. All of these, however, are largely overshadowed by the unbridled absurdity of Skrillex, who makes dubstep for ADHD-riddled 10-year-olds with a love for amphetamines. It’s precious that the Grammys are trying to extend an olive branch to the largely neglected realm of EDM, but this is not how you do it. But hey, at least now we can say that a member of From First To Last got to attend the Grammys.