Writing a story about Grammy snubs just got less Fun.
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It used to be thoroughly entertaining to write the next-day story griping about the Grammy nominations.
In recent years, that whole process has gotten just a little less, well, Fun.
In other words, Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen were not nominated for Album of the Year in the 55th annual incarnation of the awards, announced Wednesday night.
Rather, the category for top prize this year is stocked with a pair of heavy hitters who rose up from the underground (Black Keys and Jack White), a daring new R&B sensation (Frank Ocean), a rootsy band that can play (Mumford & Sons) and a pop act that can rock a club while giving spellcheck fits (Fun.).
It's not a bad bunch at all, and it's not hard to picture any of them winning -- except maybe Fun. given the demographics of the voters.
That said, there were some snubs, surprises and other oddities:
• No place for hip-hop: For the second straight year, there is no rap entry in the Album of the Year category. Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" not only should have been there, it should have won it in a landslide. You could say the same of "Watch the Throne," his joint effort with Jay-Z a year later. This year, Drake and Nas, both in Best Rap Album, would have been among the legit contenders.
• Disrespecting the Boss?: Bruce Springsteen has never won an Album of the Year Grammy, and that pattern will continue with "Wrecking Ball," which was ghettoized in the also-ran Rock Album category rather than taking Fun.'s spot among the elite. It's worth mentioning that "Wrecking Ball" scored a 78 on metacritic compared to 62 for Fun.'s "Some Nights." Beyond that, Grammy went real poppy by keeping "We Take Care Of Our Own," which became a powerful anthem for the Obama campaign, out of Song and Record of the Year.
• Taylor came late: Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" scored a nomination for Record of the Year, but with the eligibility period running from Oct. 1, 2011 to Sept. 30, 2012, her chart-topping "Red" was too late for Album of the Year, a prize she won in 2010 with "Fearless." If you're wondering why she's not there, that's why.
• Shock of the New: Alabama Shakes?! Lumineers?! Surely, they are the targets of angry One Direction fans this week. Credit the Grammys for not selling out to ratings by honoring what likely will be another fly-by-night teen-pop sensation. Also nominated are Hunter Hayes, Frank Ocean and Fun. -- again.
• One-song wonders?: If Ed Sheeran and Carly Rae Jepsen released one of the five best Songs of the Year with "The A Team" and "Call Me Maybe," respectively, how are they not nominated for Best New Artist? Either Grammy thinks they're only good for one smash, or doesn't think it takes a quality artist to make a catchy song.
• One bad night: If Lana Del Rey had just avoided "Saturday Night Live," she might have been in that Best New Artist group, too, or at least somewhere on the list.
• Something Wild: Despite their popularity on radio, there are no thumping dance tracks in Record of the Year, but I would have had no problem if "Wild Ones" by Flo Rida and Sia had sneaked in. Her vocal is exquisite as usual. It did get a nod for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.
• Dynamic duos: The good news for Wiz Khalifa is that he landed a Rap Song nom once again, for "Young, Wild & Free" with Snoop Dogg. The bad news is, so did Kanye West & Jay-Z, for "[N-words] in Paris." The two kings will usually win that game of doubles over the stoners. Khalifa is also in the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance mix for "Payphone" with Maroon 5, facing off against the likes of Gotye and, of course, Fun.
• Violent night: There's no more motley crew than that bunch in Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance: Anthrax, Halestorm, Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Marilyn Manson (who is a long shot for every winning a Grammy). What's interesting is that Grammy didn't discriminate against singers with manslaughter charges in foreign countries by letting Lamb Of God in as well.
• Pure Americana: Finally, no column that mentions Mumford & Sons is complete without my pointing out that the Avett Brothers, who performed alongside them at the Grammys in 2011, are the better band. "The Carpenter," sadly, is not the Avetts' best work, but it did get a well-deserved nod for Americana and I'll be pulling for it over Mumford's "Babel."
First Published December 6, 2012 2:19 pm