Three More Thoughts on the 2014 Grammy Nominations

Lorde

I’ve already complained about the clunky telecast for the 2014 Grammy nominations in my piece for The Eagle. Nonetheless, I have a few more thoughts (three, in fact) on the nominations in general.

First, to quote from my piece:

“Despite some oversights, the nominations reflected the wide, if scattered, range of excellent pop music in 2013. Rising country star Kacey Musgraves nabbed three well-deserved nominations including one for Best New Artist. The Grammys embraced the anti-establishment alternative hip-hop of Lorde and the irrepressible smooth of Daft Punk. Taylor Swift’s excellent album Red ended up in the Album of the Year category, suggesting that the Grammys have longer memories than they are given credit for.”

Read on for three more thoughts.

1. Album of the Year was a crowded field this year, and Sara Bareilles’ utterly out-of-left-field nomination threw a wrench into the proceedings. Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience was snubbed, but it was far from the only surprise omission. The Grammys showered plenty of affection on Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven” but failed to reward the terrific Unorthodox Jukebox for AOTY. Fall Out Boy, P!nk, Kanye West, Lorde, Drake and Kacey Musgraves also failed to make the cut. We’re left with Bareilles, Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Daft Punk. A strong field, easy to quibble with but hard to fault wholesale. The race would appear to come down to Taylor Swift vs. Macklemore, but the notoriously finicky Grammys might have more surprises in store.

2. The Grammys are crazy. Ed Sheeran earned a nomination for Best New Artist…even though he was nominated for Song of the Year and performed on last year’s telecast. Meanwhile, Lorde seemed like a genuinely eligible lock for a nomination in this category, but she was shut out. There’s also the question of how Sara Bareilles’ The Blessed Unrest can logically contend for Album of the Year without being nominated in its respective genre category. Is Taylor Swift’s Red a country album? The Grammys think so even if no one else does. And from a quality perspective, nominating Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake’s exceptionally lazy single “Holy Grail” for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration baffles me.

3. The substantial backlash against Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” didn’t stymie the song’s impressive momentum – it picked up nominations for Record of the Year and Pop Duo/Group Performance. It will compete against its Song of the Summer rival “Get Lucky” in the former category, but Lorde might very well knock both of them out. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to parse the Grammys’ opinions on various controversies. For instance, you’ll find no nominations for Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” or “Wrecking Ball,” and Kanye West has been marginalized in recent years. The Grammys – an enigma if ever there were one.

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