Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Comments On The 47th Annual Grammy Nominations

The nominations for the 47th Annual Grammy Awards came out this morning. I was actually awake to see them and to download them from the official website. Being the music fan and award show junkie I am, here are my comments on the noms:

-I'm ecstatic that Kanye West received the most nominations this year. His album was both popular and critically acclaimed, the combo that the Grammys love. But there is one notable omission: Producer of The Year. Yes, he is a very good artist but 2004 was his year production-wise too.

-There was a point a few years back when I was disappointed by the lack of black nominees (especially the lack of hip-hop and R&B nominees) for the big awards. I think that disappointment is long gone. Take the Album of The Year category, for example. The nominees include: Alicia Keys, Ray Charles, Usher (the one misstep), and Kanye West. The only white nominee is Green Day. In fact, Green Day is the only non-black nominee unless you count the artists who dueted with the late Ray Charles on his last album.

-What will happen if Kanye West loses to Gretchen Wilson again at the Grammys in the Best New Artist category? Will he be more pissed off if he loses to someone else like Maroon 5, Los Lonely Boys, or Joss Stone?

-If "The Reason" by Hoobastank wins Song of The Year, they won't start playing it again...will they?

-Joss Stone and the Beastie Boys are two examples of how the Grammy voters surprise. Joss Stone, who has been touted as a soul singer, was nominated only in pop categories. While the Beastie Boys, who are always grouped as alternative/rock, were nominated only in rap categories. Thank you NARAS members for getting it right.

-The media will certainly play up how Prince made his "comeback" on last year's Grammys and ended up getting nominated. What I'm happy about is that we may get another wonderful live performance from Prince at the upcoming ceremony. Here's hoping we do.

-Most Surprising Nomination #1: Stevie Wonder and Take 6 doing "Moon River" being nominated for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. I'm going to have to look for that song.

-Kevin Spacey completely screwed up Kanye West's name in doing the announcements, but that has happened many times. I feel more sorry for will.i.am. How do you screw up Loretta Lynn's name?

-Britney Spears gets nominated for Best Dance Recording with the likes of The Chemical Brothers, Basement Jaxx, and Kylie Minogue. However, I must admit..."Toxic" was surprisingly catchy.

-Best Female R&B Vocal Performance is a tough field. Janet Jackson (with her good single, no less), Alicia Keys, Teena Marie, Jill Scott and Angie Stone are all nominated.

-I love Best Urban/Alternative Performance. It's the catch-all category for the black music that doesn't fit anywhere else.

-Most Surprising Nomination #2: Musiq's rendition of "Are You Experienced?" being nominated in the aforementioned Best Urban/Alternative Performance category. "Are You Experienced?" is my favorite Jimi Hendrix song and I cannot imagine how Musiq would handle it. Another song to look for.

-Why did three of Usher's songs get nominated for Best R&B Song? "Burn," "My Boo," and "Yeah!" were all nominated. And then there's the funny connection between the other two nominees. They both have the word "name" in the title ("You Don't Know My Name" and "Call My Name").

-Best R&B Album is Old School (Anita Baker, Al Green, Prince) versus pseudo-Old School (Alicia Keys, Jill Scott).

-Best Rap Solo Performance boils down to Shady/Aftermath/G-Unit (Lloyd Banks, Eminem) versus Roc-A-Fella (Jay-Z, Kanye West, Twista-the honorary member).

-Best Rap/Sung Collaboration is another tough field: "Slow Jamz," "All Falls Down," "Yeah!" and "Why?" I think "Dip It Low" was added just to make it five nominees.

-Although I love "Drop It Like It's Hot," I hope "Jesus Walks" wins Best Rap Song. It will at least show that lyrics mean just as much as music. All the other nominees (which include two songs by Black Eyed Peas and Jay-Z's "99 Problems") have beats that outshine the lyrics.

-Poor Nelly. He gets no love except for Suit being nominated for Best Rap Album (poor Sweat). "My Place" could've replaced "Dip It Low" in the Rap/Sung category.

-I don't listen to much country, but it's nice to see that the two country songs I actually like, "Redneck Woman" by Gretchen Wilson and "Portland Oregon" by Loretta Lynn featuring Jack White are both nominated. And my mom will be happy that Tim McGraw is nominated for a few awards.

-Most Surprising Nomination #3: Queen Latifah getting nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album for The Dana Owens Album. Is there anything she can't do?

-I'm pulling for John Williams to win Best Score for Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. It's probably the best score of the three Harry Potter movies.

-What does it say about the artists that John Shanks, the man who produced Ashlee Simpson's Autobiography album and the song "Fly" for Hilary Duff is nominated for Producer of The Year? Maybe the Grammy people realized the incredible amount of work it must take to make those two sound good enough to sell records.

-Most Surprising Nomination #4: The Basement Jaxx remix of "She Wants To Move" getting nominated for Best Remix. Their remix of "For My People" by Missy Elliott was very good. Another song to look for.

-One thing that always gets me about the Grammys is that most of the nominated works are a few months old, but they sneak in very recent stuff. I mentioned "Drop It Like It's Hot" but Gwen Stefani's "What You Waitin For" and Eminem's "Just Lose It" were also nominated for Grammys.

-I can't really think of too many glaring omissions at the moment. But, I'm surprised that Air wasn't nominated for anything off their album Talkie Walkie. It's one of my favorites for the year and a wonderful album. Also, now that I think about it, Nas's "Bridging The Gap" with his father Olu Dara could've replaced "Dip It Low" in the Rap/Sung Collaboration category too. And why wasn't LL Cool J's club banging "Headsprung" nominated? Better yet, why didn't his collaboration with 7 Aurelius "Hush" get nominated instead of "Dip It Low"?

JC Chasez got no love from the Grammys...I know my sister will have something to say about that. I thought Franz Ferdinand would get nominated for Best Album. And in a random note, it's a shame that there's no way The Grey Album could get nominated for anything.

-I guess that is it. I'll post my predictions when the show gets closer.

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