Arts, Off Campus, Column

The Grammys Never Gamble

Beyonce reigns as the most nominated female artist while the Grammys forsakes musicianship for popular interest.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And no, I’m not talking about Christmas.

Nestled in between Thanksgiving and Read Across America Day (if you went to a small-town public school like I did, this day usually just meant napping on top of a stack of Magic Tree House books), awards season includes four months of ballot mailing, nominations, and award ceremonies, eventually culminating in the Academy Awards.

This past Friday, the Recording Academy took to announcing the nominations for the 57th Grammy Awards in the most painstaking and insufferable way possible. Over the course of five hours, new categories and nominees  were slowly announced via Twitter and radio. The Album of the Year nominees were finally announced after a CBS “A Very Grammy Christmas” concert special.

Rounding out six nominations each, Beyonce, Sam Smith, and Pharrell reign over all nominees. Nominated for Album of the Year, Best R&B Performance, Best R&B Song, Best Surround Sound Album, Best Urban Contemporary Album, and Best Music Film, Beyonce became the most nominated female artist in Grammy history (“Of all time,” as Kanye would say). Although her “Drunk in Love” was snubbed for Record of the Year and Song of the Year, she did beat out Dolly Parton’s nomination record of forty-seven. Bow down b—tches.

Newcomers Sam Smith and Pharrell Williams both picked up six nominations with In the Lonely Hour and Girl earning Album of the Year nods. They will be competing for the coveted title against Beck’s Morning Phrase, Ed Sheeran’s X, and Beyonce’s self-titled album.

Female artists, in particular, seem to be dominating the field. From Katy Perry’s Prism to Ariana Grande’s Me Everything, the Grammy nomination list was rife with female vocalists. Notable upsets to the list include, Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz, which received a Best Pop Vocal Album nod while Meaghan Trainor’s upbeat, “All About That Bass” earned her a song of the year nomination. Iggy Azalea’s summer anthem “Fancy” and Sia’s “Chandelier” both received nominations for Record of the Year. Rounding out the trend of women in music, Taylor Swift’s 1989 was released too late to be up for consideration, but “Shake it Off” secured her two nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

As an early Christmas present, it seems like Idina Menzel’s “Let it Go” was left off the list entirely despite Frozen running rampant throughout the year. 2014 is also not a good year for Lana Del Rey either with Ultraviolence nowhere on the Grammy nominations list.

Despite the snubs, there isn’t anything surprising about these nominations. For years, the Grammys have catered to popular interest and record sales rather than critical acclaim. A quick Google search of the Billboard Hot 100 or a peek at Spotify’s top lists gives you a good indicator of who’s up for the golden Gramophone trophy. It’s no longer about recognizing musicianship but rather commending the most commercially successful artists. As Iggy Azalea blazed her way to seven straight consecutive weeks in the number-one spot this past summer, it comes as no surprise that “Fancy” is up for two awards.

In past years, I had celebrated awards season like a second birthday, cringing along to Seth MacFarlane’s misogynistic “We Saw Your Boobs” back in 2013 and coveting Mila Kunis’ lavender Elie Saab gown during the 83rd Academy Awards Ceremony. I watched with bated breath (and probably a few Dorito crumbs in my hair) as Beyonce and Jay-Z’s awe-inspiring “Drunk in Love” became the most memorable performance of the 2014 Grammy ceremony.

There isn’t any element of surprise to these award ceremonies yet people cannot help but stay glued to their couches between the months of November and February. Ultimately, it’s about artists competing over the radio, in your Spotify playlist, and finally on stage with the other top contestants. Is it remarkable or unexpected? Definitely not. But it is entertaining and people love watching the rich and successful get rewarded for being rich and successful. So sit back, relax, and feel regrettably ancient as preteens tweet “Who’s this old man?” every time Paul McCartney presents an award.

Featured Image Courtesy of UOL Entertainment

December 8, 2014
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