Despite the fact that the way the world listens to music has changed radically over the past decade, the Grammys ostensibly continue to reward bands based on a model en vogue 50 years ago. This year's list of nominees reflects that with another batch of head-scratchingingly disparate entries, most notably notably in the best album category.
This year, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will vote on Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, Eminem's Recovery, Lady Antebellum's Need You Now, Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster and Katy Perry's Teenage Dream. I would seriously like to meet the serious music fan who could get excited over this crop of nominees (barring Arcade Fire, that is).
The Grammy Awards are theoretically given to artists for outstanding achievment in the recording industry. Held since 1958, the process is much like the Academy Awards. Record companies submit artists and songs to the music industy's equivalent of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Members vote to nominate artists spread across 29 fields and then vote once again to pick the "cream of the crop." Theoretically, voting is not to be influenced by record sales.
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Begging the Question:
Just what exactly counts as "excellence" in music these days? Eminem? Seriously? A morally bankrupt rapper 10 years past the revelation of the Marshall Mathers LP, this guy who once blithely rhymed about killing his girlfriend, and put his daughter on the track turns around and does a duet with assault victim Rhianna about domestic violence and he's in.
Florence and the Machine? Give me a break. This psuedo-hippy emerges from abject obscurity to appear on the VMA's and sings a lyric about the dog days being over at a time when the globe is financially spiraling out of control. Suddenly she's in heavy radio rotation and up for the most prominent award a musician can get. Lady Antebellum? Don't even get me started.
According to Grammy.com, during the nomination process, artists are supposed to be grouped into the appropriate categories.
Let's get one thing straight, I'm not pretending to be an expert on the Grammys. I don't watch them. Probably because 98 percent of the nominees are either former greats turned irrelevant by the passage of time (Jeff Beck), or never greats irrelevant out of the gate (think Florence and the Machine.)