The nominations for the 55 Annual Grammy Awards are in and Justin Bieber isn’t on the list.
What may also come as a surprise is the fact that not one but six artists are leading the pack. Jay-Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys and the bands Mumford & Sons and fun. have six nominations each.
This year there are awards in 81 distinct categories, an increase on last year’s 78, with new ‘Grammys’ for Best Classical Compendium, Best Latin Jazz Album and Best Urban Contemporary Album. Grammys are awarded by The Recording Academy, a US organisation with the following mission statement; “to positively impact the lives of musicians, industry members and our society at large.”
As ever, the hype is likely to be directed at the ‘top’ four categories – Best New Artist, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Album of the Year. Record of the Year and Album of the Year should be differentiated to save confusion – the first is awarded for an individual album track or a single and is given to the team who made the ‘record’; the second is awarded for the album as a whole. Song of the Year is awarded for a single or individual track and goes to the songwriter only. It’s an award for the song itself and not the recording of it.
Whilst it is quite common for a single album to take all of the ‘top four’, this year there hasn’t been one big enough to do it. The nominations list has been dubbed ‘singles-driven’ thanks to the dominance of the likes of Gotye’s Somebody That I Used To Know and Carly Rae Jepsen’s Call Me Maybe, but this is a marked and commercially-minded shift which hasn’t gone unnoticed by those ‘in the business’.
Ed Droste of American rock band Grizzly Bear took to Twitter after the band’s critically-acclaimed fourth studio album Shields failed to receive a nod. He asked the Twittersphere whether the Grammys were “literally based off sales and nothing else?”, to which Justin Vernon of Grammy award-winning American folk band Bon Iver replied, “this is why i hate the grammies. because it allows you to question what you've done. don't question what you’ve done Ed.” No - let the Grammys do that for you.
It’s American indie pop band fun. that all eyes will be on on the evening of February 10 2013, as they’ve received nominations in each of the four top categories. Their hit single We Are Young (featuring Janelle Monáe) has gone five times platinum in the US – that means sales of over 5,000,000 copies.
Frank Ocean joins fun. in receiving nominations in those same categories minus Song of the Year, but Thinkin’ Bout You, the lead single from his debut album channel ORANGE, is up for Record of the Year. As well as debuting at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, Ocean made headlines in July after he revealed that his first love was a man – a revelation which ruffled the feathers of hip-hop, a notoriously heterosexual genre up until that point.
The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach receives five nominations in partnership with bandmate Patrick Carney, but is also individually nominated for Producer of the Year (Non-Classical). Their seventh studio album, El Camino, is nominated for Album of the Year.
Up for Song of the Year is our very own Ed Sheeran with The A-Team, which has already won him an Ivor Novello (for Best Song Musically & Lyrically) earlier this year. He didn’t make the cut for Best New Artist, however. Mumford & Sons’ Babel is nominated for Best Album thanks to the biggest US debut of an album in 2012 with sales of over 600,000 copies in its first week. Further down the list, you’ll find Florence + The Machine’s Ceremonials nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album and Muse and Coldplay battling it out for Best Rock Album.
If you’re wondering where Adele is in all of this – 21 was last year and she won six.