Grammy Nominations Another Mess Of Disappointments, Surprises

Good, bad, and bewildering... in other words, exactly what we've come to expect from The Grammys...
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Jack White - Blunderbuss - Grammys

The Black Keys El Camino Grammys

It's that time of year again: Grammy nomination season and as is usually the case, I consider myself (mostly) disappointed. I'm not going to expend much energy detailing the many ways the Recording Academy has lost its way as an organization and how it annually fails. To borrow from former NFL head coach Dennis Green, they are who we think they are. There are some bizarre and inexplicable choices in the major categories but there are a few inspired moves this year so we'll highlight a few of each.

Let's start with things that please me: Jack White's Blunderbuss is nominated for Album Of The Year. It's a fantastic record worthy of recognition. It smacks of Grammy trying to make a move for the cool here but it's also the right decision. I love The Black Keys and I'm not sorry to see them nominated even if El Camino disappointed me compared to previous records from the band.

Alabama Shakes Grammys Best New Artist

What else am I happy about? Oh, how about Alabama Shakes scoring a couple of nods including Best New Artist. The Athens, AL-based quartet are one of the breakthrough artists this and while their debut record Boys & Girls shows room for growth, it was also a powerful introduction to what these kids can and might do. I'm also pleased to see Frank Ocean in this category (and he's going to win). I've not listened to his record but the buzz surrounding it is good and he's a compelling figure; it's good to see him recognized.

Fiona Apple Grammy Nomination Ryman Auditorium

I really love Fiona Apple's Idler Wheel record and considering how infrequently she visits us with new music, it's good to see her getting some attention. Florence + The Machine isn't going to fare well in the Florence + The Machine - Ceremonials - Grammyspop categories where she's been slotted but Ceremonials is fantastic and I'm glad to see it getting some attention in the US.

We've got our share of usual suspects among the Grammy nominees: Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Kelly Clarkson, Kanye West, Taylor Swift (go ahead and insert your own jokes here; I'm sure we haven't heard them all).

The Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons seem poised to add themselves to the list of perennials in the Americana/Roots category after their launch into the public eye, as well.

Now let's turn to the places that angered and confused me. Tom Waits is nominated for Best Alternative Album for Bad As Me. I'll borrow from our Commander-in-Chief and say let me be clear: I'm not complaining that Waits was nominated. I'm not complaining that Bad was nominated. This just seems the wrong category for him. I don't get it. And Gotye in this category as well? Not seeing that, either.

The Grammys failure is complete in the Hard Rock category. Nominated bands include Iron Maiden, Marilyn Manson, Megadeath, and Anthrax. I'm 39-years old and at one time, hard rock made up a healthy portion of my listening diet and these were the bands at or near the epicenter of hard rock... when I was 15 (okay, Manson came a little later but you get the idea). I'm not saying these veterans didn't make good records- they may well have. I have a sneaking suspicion there are a few bands formed after 1995 that made good hard rock records. The Academy still doesn't understand or respect this genre; they should get a better panel or stop embarrassing themselves.

The blues category is near and dear to my heart and I really like Ruthie Foster's Let It Burn and Shemekia Copeland's 33 1/3. They're going to give the award to Dr. John for his Dan Auerbach (Black Keys)-helmed record and it's a good one but the nominees in this category really don't represent the genre well. The Academy already shrunk the blues category from two awards to one and they still can't find the right five records and I kind of hate them for it.

The Academy may do a pisspoor job of honoring the best in music but they're good at stirring the conversation. BlindedBySound reviewed many of the artists, albums, and songs nominated in the categories below. Take a look at the nominees, read our thoughts, and please share yours. Who got snubbed? Who deserves to take home the trophy?

Album Of The Year:

  • El Camino — The Black Keys
  • Some Nights — FUN.
  • Babel — Mumford & Sons
  • Channel Orange — Frank Ocean
  • Blunderbuss — Jack White
  • Record Of The Year:

  • "Lonely Boy" — The Black Keys
  • "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" — Kelly Clarkson
  • "We Are Young" — FUN. Featuring Janelle Monáe
  • "Somebody That I Used To Know" — Gotye Featuring Kimbra
  • "Thinkin Bout You" — Frank Ocean
  • "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" — Taylor Swift
  • Song Of The Year:

  • "The A Team" — Ed Sheeran, songwriter (Ed Sheeran)
  • "Adorn" — Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
  • "Call Me Maybe" — Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay, songwriters (Carly Rae Jepsen)
  • "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" — Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi, songwriters (Kelly Clarkson)
  • "We Are Young" — Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (FUN. Featuring Janelle Monáe)
  • Best New Artist:

  • Alabama Shakes
  • FUN.
  • Hunter Hayes
  • The Lumineers
  • Frank Ocean

    Best Rock Performance:

  • "Hold On" — Alabama Shakes
  • "Lonely Boy" — The Black Keys
  • "Charlie Brown" — Coldplay
  • "I Will Wait" — Mumford & Sons
  • "We Take Care Of Our Own" — Bruce Springsteen
  • Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance:

  • "I'm Alive" — Anthrax
  • "Love Bites (So Do I)" — Halestorm
  • "Blood Brothers" — Iron Maiden
  • "Ghost Walking" — Lamb Of God
  • "No Reflection" — Marilyn Manson
  • "Whose Life (Is It Anyways?)" — Megadeth
  • Best Rock Album:  

  • El Camino — The Black Keys
  • Mylo Xyloto — Coldplay
  • The 2nd Law — Muse
  • Wrecking Ball — Bruce Springsteen
  • Blunderbuss — Jack White

    Best Alternative Music Album

  • The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do — Fiona Apple
  • Biophilia — Björk
  • Making Mirrors — Gotye
  • Hurry Up, We're Dreaming — M83
  • Bad As Me — Tom Waits

    Best R&B Performance:

  • "Thank You" — Estelle
  • "Gonna Be Alright (F.T.B.)" — Robert Glasper Experiment Featuring Ledisi
  • "I Want You" — Luke James "Adorn" — Miguel "Climax" — Usher
  • Best Urban Contemporary Album

  • Fortune — Chris Brown
  • Kaleidoscope Dream — Miguel
  • Channel Orange — Frank Ocean
  • Best R&B Album:

  • Black Radio — Robert Glasper Experiment
  • Back To Love — Anthony Hamilton
  • Write Me Back — R. Kelly
  • Beautiful Surprise — Tamia
  • Open Invitation — Tyrese

    Best Rap/Sung Collaboration:

  • "Wild Ones" — Flo Rida Featuring Sia
  • "No Church In The Wild" — Jay-Z & Kanye West Featuring Frank Ocean & The-Dream
  • "Tonight (Best You Ever Had)" — John Legend Featuring Ludacris
  • "Cherry Wine" — Nas Featuring Amy Winehouse
  • "Talk That Talk" — Rihanna Feautring Jay-Z
  • Best Rap Performance

  • "HYFR (Hell Ya F***ing Right)" — Drake Featuring Lil Wayne
  • "N-----s In Paris" — Jay-Z & Kanye West
  • "Daughters" — Nas
  • "Mercy" — Kanye West Featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz
  • "I Do" — Young Jeezy Featuring Jay-Z & André 3000
  • Best Rap Album

  • Take Care — Drake
  • Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1 — Lupe Fiasco
  • Life Is Good — Nas Undun — The Roots
  • God Forgives, I Don't — Rick Ross
  • Based On A T.R.U. Story — 2 Chainz
  • Best Rap Album

  • Take Care — Drake
  • Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1 — Lupe Fiasco
  • Life Is Good — Nas Undun — The Roots
  • God Forgives, I Don't — Rick Ross
  • Based On A T.R.U. Story — 2 Chainz

    Best Pop Solo Performance

  • "Set Fire To The Rain (Live)" — Adele
  • "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" — Kelly Clarkson
  • "Call Me Maybe" — Carly Rae Jepsen "Wide Awake" — Katy Perry
  • "Where Have You Been" — Rihanna
  • Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:

  • "Shake It Out" — Florence & The Machine
  • "We Are Young" — FUN. Featuring Janelle Monáe
  • "Somebody That I Used To Know" — Gotye Featuring Kimbra
  • "Sexy And I Know It" — LMFAO "Payphone" — Maroon 5 & Wiz Khalifa
  • Pop Vocal Album:

  • Stronger — Kelly Clarkson
  • Ceremonials — Florence & The Machine
  • Some Nights — fun.
  • Overexposed — Maroon 5
  • The Truth About Love — Pink

    Best Dance/Electronica Album:

  • Wonderland — Steve Aoki
  • Don't Think — The Chemical Brothers
  • Album Title Goes Here — Deadmau5
  • Fire & Ice — Kaskade
  • Bangarang — Skrillex

    Best Country Solo Performance:

  • "Home" — Dierks Bentley
  • "Springsteen" — Eric Church
  • "Cost Of Livin'" — Ronnie Dunn
  • "Wanted" — Hunter Hayes
  • "Over" — Blake Shelton
  • "Blown Away" — Carrie Underwood
  • Best Country Album:

  • Uncaged — Zac Brown Band
  • Hunter Hayes — Hunter Hayes
  • Living For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran — Jamey Johnson
  • Four The Record — Miranda Lambert
  • The Time Jumpers — The Time Jumpers

    Best Americana Album:

  • The Carpenter — The Avett Brothers
  • From The Ground Up — John Fullbright
  • The Lumineers — The Lumineers 
  • Babel — Mumford & Sons
  • Slipstream — Bonnie Raitt
  • Best Blues Album:

  • 33 1/3 — Shemekia Copeland
  • Locked Down — Dr. John
  • Let It Burn — Ruthie Foster
  • And Still I Rise — Heritage Blues Orchestra
  • Bring It On Home — Joan Osborne