Anyone care about the Grammy Award nominations? Just in case…

The Grammy Awards have always been lacking in the credibility department, but we still pay attention for some reason. The nominations for the 2021 edition were released today (the full list is available here) with these highlights from the rock and alternative categories. If you find yourself going “WTF, dude!” a lot, you’re not along.

Best Rock Performance

  • “Shameika” — Fiona Apple
  • “Not” — Big Thief
  • “Kyoto” — Phoebe Bridgers
  • “The Steps” — HAIM
  • “Stay High” — Brittany Howard
  • “Daylight” — Grace Potter

Wow. This is what passes for rock in 2020? Interesting, though, that all six nominees are either women (5) or fronted by a woman (1). At least Beyonce didn’t get nominated in the category this year.

Best Rock Album

  • “A Hero’s Death” — Fontaines D.C.
  • “Kiwanuka” — Michael Kiwanuka
  • “Daylight” — Grace Potter
  • “Sound & Fury” — Sturgill Simpson
  • “The New Abnormal” — The Strokes

If I were in charge, Fontaines D.C. would win immediately and everyone else wouldn’t even be sent an invitation. And as much as I love the Kiwanuka album, I’m not entirely sure it belongs in this category.

Best Rock Song

  • “Kyoto” — Phoebe Bridgers, Morgan Nagler & Marshall Vore, Songwriters (Phoebe Bridgers)
  • “Lost in Yesterday” — Kevin Parker, Songwriter (Tame Impala)
  • “Not” — Adrianne Lenker, Songwriter (Big Thief)
  • “Shameika” — Fiona Apple, Songwriter (Fiona Apple)
  • “Stay High” — Brittany Howard, songwriter (Brittany Howard)

Some of these songs feature electric guitars, but they aren’t turned up very loud.

Best Alternative Music Album

  • “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” — Fiona Apple
  • “Hyperspace” — Beck
  • “Punisher” — Phoebe Bridgers
  • “Jaime” — Brittany Howard
  • “The Slow Rush” — Tame Impala

Best Metal Performance

I have to say something about Fiona Apple. Fetch the Bolt Cutters is easily one of the most challenging listens of the year. If you stick with it, you will be rewarded. Just make sure you set aside a lot of time. A LOT.

  • “Bum-Rush” — Body Count
  • “Underneath” — Code Orange
  • “The In-Between” — In This Moment
  • “Bloodmoney” — Poppy
  • “Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe) – Live” — Power Trip

Nice to see Ice-T’s Body Count back in the mix.

Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package

  • “Flaming Pie (Collector’s Edition)” — Linn Wie Andersen, Simon Earith, Paul McCartney & James Musgrave, art directors (Paul McCartney)
  • “Giants Stadium 1987, 1989, 1991” — Lisa Glines & Doran Tyson, art directors (Grateful Dead)
  • “Mode” — Jeff Schulz, art director (Depeche Mode)
  • “Ode to Joy” — Lawrence Azerrad & Jeff Tweedy, art directors (Wilco)
  • “The Story of Ghostly International” — Michael Cina & Molly Smith, art directors (Various Artists)

Best Music Film

  • “Beastie Boys Story” — Beastie Boys — Spike Jonze, video director; Amanda Adelson, Jason Baum & Spike Jonze, video producers
  • “Black Is King” — Beyoncé
  • “We Are Freestyle Love Supreme” — Freestyle Love Supreme — Andrew Fried, Video Director; Andrew Fried, Jill Furman, Thomas Kail, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Sarina Roma, Jenny Steingart & Jon Steingart, video producers
  • “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound Of My Voice” — Linda Ronstadt — Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman, video directors; Michele Farinola & James Keach, video producers
  • “That Little Ol’ Band From Texas” — ZZ Top — Sam Dunn, video director; Scot McFadyen, video producer. The Toronto boys from Banger Films!

Other notable nominations:

  • Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted” and Post Malone’s “Circles” are nominated for Record of the Year.
  • Everyday Live from Coldplay is up for Album of the Year as is Hollywood is Bleeding from Post Malone.
  • “Circles” from Post Malone and “Everything I Wanted” from Billie Eilish are nominated for Song of the Year.
  • Canadian-Haitian Kaytranada has been nominated for Best New Artist.
  • Another one for Billie Eilish and “Everything I Wanted”: It’s nominated for Best Solo Pop Performance.
  • Bubba from Kaytranada has been nominated for Best Dance/Electronica album.
  • ANOTHER for Billie Eilish with “No Time to Die” for the Bond movie that’s still not out. That’s nominated in the category of Best Song Written for Visual Media.
  • And Flea has been nominated in the category of Best Spoken Word Album for his audio book “Acid for the Children: A Memoir.”

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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