The list of nominees for the 2022 Grammys is one of the biggest nonsense in the history of the Academy. The prestige of the awards has had its comings and goings, but it must be remembered that one day they served to reaffirm as classics great jewels of the 70s such as ‘Tapestry’ by Carole King, ‘Innervisions’ by Stevie Wonder ‘and’ Rumors ‘by Fleetwood Mac. In the 80s to’ Thriller ‘by Michael Jackson,’ Graceland ‘by Paul Simon and’ The Joshua Tree ‘by U2. In the 90s to ‘Time Out of Mind’ by Bob Dylan and ‘The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill’.
It is also true that they have had their dark clouds, as it is also true that it is not necessary to pull nostalgia to get rid of praise for the great albums that they have awarded. In recent years, they have scored the mark of awarding outstanding albums, whether from the underground or not: ‘Random Access Memories’ by Daft Punk,’ The Suburbs’ by Arcade Fire, ’21’ and ’25’ by Adele, ‘Golden Hour ‘by Kacey Musgraves or two years ago the excellent debut of Billie Eilish, which is being so seminal for the pop of the current decade. That is why the absurd list that they have gathered for the 2022 edition is even more surprising. Let’s blame the pandemic because they have been two strange years, but not only.
The first half of 2021 seemed not to exist in international pop: we realized because all the great albums that came out were national ones. If in 2020, at least Dua Lipa and Lady Gaga could not do anything to contain their releases because they were already half released or filtered, in 2021 all the great artists took a nap, waiting for the pandemic to go away at once . Olivia Rodrigo benefited from that void, getting along very warm with ‘SOUR’ at the beginning of the year. Billie Eilish didn’t schedule her album until July; Adele and Bruno Mars, until November, the latter remaining out of time for the Academy. We are at the gates of Black Friday and we still do not know where the records of Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Beyoncé are … and this type of absence, at the Grammys it shows.
It also does not help the general image of the awards, that the nominees so far can be up to 10 in the main categories. More is NOT more, especially in lazy years like this, when you end up nominating records of such a dubious reputation as Kanye West’s ‘DONDA’, one of the worst-rated albums this year (53/100 on Metacritic) and undoubtedly the worst of his career … he would have quite a joke to win, when ‘Late Registration’, ‘College Dropout’ and ‘Graduation’ lost and ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ and ‘Yeezus’ weren’t even nominated.
The recognition of ‘DONDA’ can only come from its inexplicable commercial success, which seems to justify the presence of the washed-out and disjointed ‘Justice’ by Justin Bieber (62/100 in Metacritic). The recognition of Jon Batiste’s soft soul sounds like a strange boutade, and then there are those who were going to be nominated yes or yes, whatever they did, like Taylor Swift with the second part of ‘folklore’; Lady Gaga with the album with Tony Bennett that could not go more unnoticed, even among her staunch followers; or HER, who for some reason falls better in the academy than the Knowles family itself. Nobody understands why she does anymore, but Tinashe doesn’t.
Strain, for their sympathy, the nominations for ‘Montero’ by Lil Nas X (for his contribution to LGTB + hip hop, more than anything else), ‘Sour’ by Olivia Rodrigo (mono, but more meat from MTV), ‘Happier than Ever ‘by Billie Eilish (a remarkable album, but inferior to the previous one); and the best album of the 10, the only one that has surprised a little for its freshness, ‘Planet Her’ by Doja Cat. And we are not going to hide that it is still an imitation of Rihanna in the absence of Rihanna. Hopefully in this paragraph is the winner. At least we can say that they were good albums that represented what the pop of 2021 was.
With this stamp, it goes without saying that it would have been a good year for the Grammys to improve their image instead of trying to become the new MTV awards once again. There is a barrier that they will not cross and that is to recognize the talent of other countries, not even the United Kingdom. Thus, we did not expect to see the albums of Dave, Little Simz or Laura Mvula nominated there. But how about something softer, more suitable for them, like Celeste?
We weren’t expecting any of them, not even Nick Cave and fellow Australian Genesis Owusu, to steal the spotlight this year. But it was true that some of the names that academics tend to like a little bit, had more attention given that it was such a lazy year: that they put in large letters what they usually put in small print. For example, they had a fantastic year left to reconcile with Lana del Rey, because ‘Chemtrails Over the Country Club’ is one of the best albums of their career, and it well deserves it; to remember that not everything is commercial success and therefore reward Halsey’s excellent work with Nine Inch Nails (an album punished to the alternative section, as if it were not pop, perhaps); or to recognize Kali Uchis in some main category, not only in the Latin one. They just had to give more importance to one of those names to look better on paper rather than as someone who does not know or where the air is coming from. Very good the Arlo Parks nomination for Breakthrough Artist, but what will Japanese Breakfast do there after 3 albums?
On this side of the Atlantic it is not understood why Wolf Alice does not appear in the rock or alternative categories, but above all it is a bit sad that from here we have to point out that American artists like Lucy Dacus make great albums that do not clash at all in the Grammys, or that The Killers are developing a great career that hardly anyone saw coming. Really – REALLY? – ‘Pressure Machine’ isn’t Grammys meat?
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The Grammys certify a horrible year for pop in the US