On Sunday, February 12th, the music industry’s most elite will gather for the 54th Grammy Awards, to honor the best in music for this last year in pop music.
This year, the awards have consolidated categories considerably, eliminating gender-specific categories. The ceremony has also not announced official dates for the nomination period, but considering a number of last year’s big winners were released outside the announced period, this secrecy makes sense.
Adele is this year’s obvious front-runner. Her second album “21” was the best-selling album of 2011. It’s lead single, the inescapable “Rolling in the Deep”, was targeted as the best song of the year by, amongst others, “Rolling Stone”, as well as being the best-selling single of 2011. Yahoo! Music targeted “21” as winning the coveted Album of the Year award as early as April 2011. While nothing is a sure bet at the Grammys, Adele is a fairly safe bet: Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “Rolling in the Deep”, Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for “21”, and Best Pop Solo Performance for “Someone Like You”
Bruno Mars and Foo Fighters both snagged six nominations at this year’s ceremony, with five of Mars’ nominations in categories that Adele too is nominated in (for his album “Doo Wops & Hooligans”, and it’s chart-topping “Grenade”). Mars has been an inescapable radio force this year, but he isn’t likely to triumph in many (if any) of those categories. Foo Fighters are deserving of recognition (including an Album of the Year nomination for “Wasting Light”) but their nominations seem more obligatory than earned.
The award for Best New Artist has often proved to be a juggernaut. In 2011, a group of nominees that included Drake and Justin Bieber were unexpectedly defeated by the comparably unknown jazz performer Esperanza Spalding. So what does that mean for obvious front-runner Nicki Minaj? In this category, expect anything.
In other prestigious nomination news, Katy Perry’s “Firework” snagged three nominations: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance. Considering the lyrical tragedy the song is, and Perry’s screamed vocals, one shouldn’t expect the song to take anything home. Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and Rihanna’s “Loud” both earned Album of the Year nods, but neither should expect anything to come of them. Mumford & Sons’ “The Cave” received a handful of nominations. However deserved they may be, Mumford & Sons is probably too off-the-beaten-path to warrant any trophies.
The most exciting nominations for this reporter are both tucked away in the dance category. Swedish performer Robyn has snagged two nominationsâ€”Best Dance Recording for “Call Your Girlfriend” and Best Dance Album for “Body Talk, Part 3”. In a post-Spice Girls blitz, Robyn dominated the United States charts for a few months at age 18 in 1997. Since then, she has earned critical raves, but has been virtually ignored on US radio. Perhaps this year will be her year, and her well-crafted dance anthems will once again move to the forefront of public knowledge.
What proves most interesting about this year’s awards is who was not nominated, as opposed to who was nominated. Though Adele was inescapable throughout 2011, critics named 2011 as the Year of Spears, in honor of pop icon Britney Spears’ monster year, the year of the “Femme Fatale”. Despite her status as a cultural icon and her massive successes in 2011, the Grammys have never been generous towards Spears. This year is no exception.
Beyonce Knowles, on the other hand, has been a Grammy magnet, earning 13 trophies since her solo career began in 2003. Her fourth solo effort, the aptly-titled “4”, only attracted a single nomination this year.