John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Come thou long-expected comments on the Grammy nominations

Some random observations about the Grammy nominations, which were announced last Thursday.
  • I knew it would happen some day, but nevertheless I was surprised by the degree to which rap, hip-hop, and R&B dominated most of the general categories. (The general categories are Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best "New" Artist.) The exception to the general dominance of rap and R&B was Song of the Year, wherein there was only one rap and one R&B nominee. (It may be worth noting that the R&B song nominated in this category was the decidedly old-school "Dance With My Father" by Richard Marx (!) and Luther Vandross.) I guess the message is that in the rap and R&B genres, performances are valued more than songwriting.

    The other interesting thing about the general categories is how segregated they are from one another. Only one song got nominated for both Song of the Year and Record of the Year: "Lose Yourself" by Eminem. None of the Song of the Year nominees and just one of the Record of the Year nominees (Outkast's "Hey Ya!") came from an album nominated for Album of the Year. And only one of the Best "New" Artist nominees (Evanescence) earned a nomination in one of the other General categories (Album of the Year). This could be significant, but if it is I have no idea what it signifies.
  • Speaking of the Best "New" Artist nominees, most of them were virtually unrecognized outside of that category. Fountains of Wayne, Heather Hadley, and Sean Paul each received only one other nomination; had two other nominations. Evanescence and Fifty Cent each got four other nominations.
  • Kelly Clarkson was nominated for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Miss Independent." Ruben Studdard was nominated for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for "Superstar." Clay Aiken was not nominated in any category for anything. That's why he called his new single "Invisible."
  • It seems to me that an unusually large number of nominations went to people who happened to die fairly recently, and I find myself wondering if they would have been nominated had they still been alive. I'm somewhat dubious that Warren Zevon would have earned five nominations, including a Song of the Year nod, without having passed away three months ago. I'm not saying that "Keep Me In Your Heart" didn't deserve the nomination, but Zevon was traditionally pretty far below the radar, Grammy-wise, and his illness and death brought a lot of attention to The Wind that it probably wouldn't have otherwise received. In addition to Zevon's five nominations, seven other nominations went to people who died during the nominating period (June Carter Cash, 3 nominations; Johnny Cash, 2; Celia Cruz, 1; Rosemary Clooney, 1). And George Harrison, who had an album released posthumously during the nomination year, earned three nods.
  • Hey, Prince got a Grammy nomination! In the Best Pop Instrumental Album category. I guess that's why I didn't know he'd released a new album.
  • Nominated in the same category: Night Divides the Day - The Music of the Doors by George Winston. What a strange idea for an album. Who would want to listen to New Age-y interpretations of songs by the Doors?
  • Jimmy Buffett earned two nominations in the Country field, for "It's Five O’clock Somewhere," his collaboration with Alan Jackson. On Thanksgiving Day, I heard it claimed that "It's Five O’clock Somewhere" was Jimmy Buffett's first number one song. That was incorrect; "Margaritaville" reached number one on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart way back in 1977. Hopefully, someone who worked for CMT will read this and make sure they acknowledge their error on the air. And send me an e-mail about it, since I never voluntarily watch CMT.
  • Both Bill and Hillary Clinton earned Grammy nominations, albeit in different categories. The former President was nominated in the Best Spoken Word Album for Children category, and shares the nomination with, weirdly, Mikhail Gorbachev and Sophia Loren. Senator Clinton was nominated for Best Spoken Word Album, for her reading of her memoir, Personal History. I think this is Hillary Clinton's second Grammy nomination; as I recall, she was cited in the same category for It Takes A Village.
  • I think I made this same point last year, but it bears repeating: it speaks poorly for the state of musical theatre that four of the five nominees for Best Musical Show Album are revivals of older shows. The fifth nominee is Movin' Out, the score of which is composed entirely of songs previously written and performed by Billy Joel.
  • Shockingly, Buffy the Vampire Slayer received no Grammy nominations, despite being eligible in five categories. The song "Blue," written by Angie Hart and Joss Whedon for the episode "Conversations With Dead People" and released on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Radio Sunnydale album, was eligible for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Song Written For a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media. The aforementioned Radio Sunnydale was eligible for Album of the Year and Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media. Anya's song from "Selfless" was not eligible, because it while it aired during the eligibility period. it was never released on an album. So there.
  • As previously noted, the Cathedral Choral Society received no Grammy nominations. However, Steve Barnett, who produced our album, had two other albums nominated, so there's a bit of reflected glory there. Regrettably (for him), the awards for which those albums were nominated are given to the performers, not the producers, so even if they win their categories, he won't actually get an award. Oh well.
  • Gorillaz earned a Best Long Form Music Video nomination. If they win, will they get a drawing of a Grammy?

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