The Grammys are of course a conundrum for all who pay attention to them, because for every great nomination, there are some that are simply cringe worth. And this year was no exception. In Album of the Year, Adele and Lady Gaga got in, both not surprises at all, and while I think this is a slight Foo Fighters record, I'm not shocked that they too got a nod, considering the Grammy's love them. It is the last two slots that bother me. Rihanna has some great singles, but Loud as a whole wasn't her best effort. She should have gotten Record of the Year over Album of the Year, but even then I like her, and she is less cringe-worthy than the completely annoying Bruno Mars, who managed to get in here. Those last two slots could have gone to some incredible work, and spread the love out over several genres. Instead they took four Pop Vocal nominees and one Rock Album nominee (And let's face it, The Lady Killer from Cee-Lo would have been a better choice). While I'm glad the love affair with Taylor Swift has ended for the General Categories, I'm surprised that there were no country nods. And I'm happy Kanye leads (I know he's a douche, but he's a talented douche), I can't help but think his indiscretions cost him an Album of the Year nomination, which is simply a travesty, considering it was the best mainstream album in this eligibility period. Hell, even efforts like Watch the Throne and Pink Friday didn't make the list, and both were better than Rihanna and Bruno Mars. The Record and Song of the Year categories had some normal inclusions including Katy Perry, Adele, and of course Bruno Mars, with his cheesy, metaphorical laden tune Grenade, a truly terrible song. But the inclusion of Kanye West, Bon Iver, and Mumford and Sons are simply fantastic, and maybe make up for Mar's nominations. In Best New Artist, we had four contenders that were possibilites get in, The Band Perry, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole, and Bon Iver (who is not a new artist, but whatever). But of course the Grammy's threw us a curve ball with the choice of Skrillex, a dub step group. Who new the Grammy committee liked dubstep? Of those snubbed names like Paul Simon, Beyonce, and Tony Bennett are the ones that kind of sting, well and Kanye, but you already know about that.
Pretty standard nominations to be honest, considering all the General Field nods for Pop Artists, most of these were completely expected. I was glad to see Foster the People, P!nk, Cee-Lo, The Black Keys (Which I don't get in Pop, but I'll take it), Body and Soul, Duck Sauce, Robyn, Tony Bennett, and Seth McFarlane. The winners of these categories will be huge indicators of who wins the general awards. My guess is still that Adele takes home most of the prizes, but there are always surprises.
I'm not really a Rock expert, so I'm not sure if these are great nominations or not. Coldplay to me is overrated, but I'm glad they only got category nods, and not General ones. To be honest, these seem like pretty standard nominations with old time Grammy faves like Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Kings of Leon getting major nods. I am glad to see Mumford & Sons, The Decemberists, Foster the People, and Bon Iver get some love as well. I will say that if there is any hope in voting directly on quality then Wilco, which was nominated for Best Rock Album will win. They deserve it, but unfortunately will lose to a lesser Foo Fighters album.
I must have missed some artists this year, because I had never heard of Marsha Ambrosius. Of course then I did my research and realized she was once a member of Floetry. Then I did even more research and realized that when released it reached #2 on the Billboard 200, and #1 on the R&B Charts. So apparently I really missed the boat, but the Grammys did not, and I am proud of them for thinking outside the box. Kelly Price, Ledisi, and Charlie Wilson also did well, as they have done before. Chris Brown also got a album nod, which may perturb some people, but the album was actually pretty damn good. The biggest exclusion is of course Beyonce. While 4 wasn't the biggest selling album of her career, it was still great in terms of quality, and while her exclusion in the general categories wasn't surprising, the fact that she managed only one nod (in Rap/Sung) is astounding, and she definitely deserved some recognition. Apparently, you have to continue to sell at your peak otherwise the Grammy committee forgets you.
Three incredible albums that did not get Album of the Year nods, Pink Friday, WTT, and MBDATF, luckily got in here, although the Lil Wayne nod for the dreadful Carter IV makes me squeamish. I also love the Lupe Fiasco love, but would have wanted more J. Cole and less Wiz Khalifa. Overall these nominations seem like they were supposed to be this way, although the fact that Super Bass did not get any nods is beyond me. Love it or Hate it, it is the most infectious song of the year, and shows off Nicki's incredible talent very well.
Where the heck is Brad Paisley? His, This is Country Music was a country album I actually liked, and it got great reviews, but it somehow managed to be snubbed completely. Oh well, I honestly don't know who will win any of these awards, considering the Country categories managed only one general nod in Best New Artist for The Band Perry, but that is not necessarily an indication because they too got no Country category nods. I don't know enough about Country to really gauge these nominations, but some normal names we are used to seeing got in, so I'm sure there weren't too many surprises. Please tell me if there were.
Overall, I am not too disappointed with these nods as I have been in recent years, although of course some of my favorites were left out. In the end, I kind of have this eh? feeling regarding the whole thing. Maybe this just wasn't my favorite year in music, but none of these nominations seem exciting, even the surprises. Of course, these are just knee-jerk reactions, and as I examine the list more closely I'm sure I will find some more things to be look forward to, and some more things that make me cringe. Later today or tomorrow I will post my first winner predictions, and also look out for the NBR awards sometime today!