The Grammy Awards are tomorrow night, and when the nominations came out in early December, the staff had a few things to say.
David Bowie not getting nominated: what’s up with that? The man is literally recording an album from his deathbed, and he doesn’t get a nomination?
– Anna Marketti ’17
The most pleasant surprise this Grammy season was Beyonce’s nomination for “Best Rock Performance,” for her Lemonade track “Don’t Hurt Yourself.” There’s no reason this song shouldn’t be nominated for rock performance — between the electric guitar and the guest vocals of White Stripes frontman Jack White, “Don’t Hurt Yourself” is a rock track through and through. But it’s nice to see the Grammys acknowledge the ways in which Lemonade bent genre. Less surprising but equally fantastic are Chance the Rapper’s seven nominations. Chance, who still shirks record labels and releases his “mixtapes” for free, has always been a question mark when it comes to Grammy nominations — up until this past June, records that weren’t commercially sold weren’t allowed to be nominated for the awards. Chance’s nominations show the way streaming music has redefined how the awards are going to work in the coming years, and opens the doors for plenty of emerging artists releasing music in nontraditional ways to break through the barriers and into the Grammy contenders pool. Chance deserves to win “Best New Artist” for this alone — he’s at the forefront of the movement to change the way the whole industry works, and it’s about time we acknowledged him for that. That being said, the nominations did keep in old tradition in a few ways. It was a bit of a disappointment to see Adele’s somewhat lackluster 25 up for Album of the Year over more interesting and innovative records like David Bowie’s Blackstar, Car Seat Headrest’s Teens of Denial, and Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book. 25 is a fine album, but it’s nothing new for Adele. At this point it seems like she’s getting nominated simply for being Adele, regardless of how her albums turn out. Compared to 21, 25 is just fine — and in a year of exemplary music, just fine shouldn’t be enough to garner an Album of the Year nomination. In terms of snubs, the biggest in my opinion goes to Car Seat Headrest. Teens of Denial has topped many “best of the year” lists, so to see it not even get a Best Rock or Best Alternative album nomination is frustrating. Similarly, it’s disheartening to see Solange only walk away with a “Best R&B Performance” nomination. A Seat at the Table was a groundbreaking and haunting album, and it deserved more recognition.
– Casey Nugent ‘17
Surprised (pleasantly so) to see two country artists—Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris—in the Best New Artist category. The Grammys had better not bow to chart pressure and go with The Chainsmokers. Speaking of Morris, she’s gotten a lot of love in the country field, all of which is well-deserved. Ballerini has crossover appeal, but she’s not the kind of country the Grammys seem to love, which is why it makes sense she’s not nominated for anything in the country field. Sturgill Simpson’s nomination for Best New Album seems like it’s there just to fill the quota for a country album in the category. There’s no way it’ll hold up to Lemonade.
– Keely Chisholm ‘17
The 2017 Grammy Awards will be broadcast on CBS, Sunday, February 12, at 8 P.M. Eastern.