Here are the Nominations for the Grammy Awards

Never take the Grammys too seriously because they never have been about honouring excellence in music. They are (a) a TV show designed to get maximum ratings from a mainstream audience; and (b) a way of grinding out a few final sales from albums and singles released in 2015.  As long as you remember that, you’ll be fine.

Oh, and try on to freak out with disbelief when you get to the metal, alternative and rock categories. I had to read through them twice to make sure I was in fact reading the right nominees in the right categories.

Before you look at the list, notice the number of composers listed for songs and albums. This is a result of the factory nature of writing pop songs these days, a process known as “track-and-h00k.” Here’s how it works.

At the top of the chain is the producer. He (and it’s almost ways a dude) hires a specialist to come up with beats and other to construct the chord changes. From there, a specialist is brought in to come up with hooks–and the more the better. It’s not uncommon for today’s pop songs to have half a dozen or more.

Next comes the “topliner,” a singer who listens to what’s been recorded so far and vocalizes (not sings) the melody and phrasing. Once that’s done, a lyricist or two is brought in to write the lyrics. Only then is the song shopped around to an artist. The artist may (or may not) offer more changes to the song.

Everyone in the chain is then gifted with a songwriting credit. Sometimes.  Think about the modern star-making machinery behind the popular song as you browse this list via Billboard.

Record Of The Year

• Really Love
D’Angelo And The Vanguard
D’Angelo, producer; Russell Elevado & Ben Kane, engineers/mixers; Dave Collins, mastering engineer
Track from: Black Messiah
[RCA Records]

• Uptown Funk
Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars
Jeff Bhasker, Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson, producers; Josh Blair, Serban Ghenea, Wayne Gordon, John Hanes, Inaam Haq, Boo Mitchell, Charles Moniz & Mark Ronson, engineers/mixers; Tom Coyne, mastering engineer
Track from: Uptown Special
[RCA Records]

• Thinking Out Loud
Ed Sheeran
Jake Gosling, producer; Jake Gosling, Mark ‘Spike’ Stent & Geoff Swan, engineers/mixers; Stuart Hawkes, mastering engineer
Track from: X
[Atlantic]

• Blank Space
Taylor Swift
Max Martin & Shellback, producers; Serban Ghenea, John Hanes, Sam Holland & Michael Ilbert, engineers/mixers; Tom Coyne, mastering engineer
Track from: 1989
[Big Machine Records]

• Can’t Feel My Face
The Weeknd
Max Martin & Ali Payami, producers; Serban Ghenea, John Hanes & Sam Holland, engineers/mixers; Tom Coyne, mastering engineer
[Republic]

Album Of The Year
• Sound & Color
Alabama Shakes
Alabama Shakes & Blake Mills, producers; Shawn Everett, engineer/mixer; Bob Ludwig, mastering engineer

• To Pimp A Butterfly
Kendrick Lamar
Bilal, George Clinton, James Fauntleroy, Ronald Isley, Rapsody, Snoop Dogg, Thundercat & Anna Wise, featured artists; Taz Arnold, Boi-1Da, Ronald Colson, Larrance Dopson, Flying Lotus, Fredrik “Tommy Black” Halldin, Knxwledge, Koz, Lovedragon, Terrace Martin, Rahki, Sounwave, Tae Beast, Thundercat, Whoarei & Pharrell Williams, producers; Derek “Mixedbyali” Ali, Thomas Burns, James “The White Black Man” Hunt, 9th Wonder & Matt Schaeffer, engineers/mixers; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer

• Traveller
Chris Stapleton
Dave Cobb & Chris Stapleton, producers; Vance Powell, engineer/mixer; Pete Lyman, mastering engineer
[Mercury Nashville]

• 1989
Taylor Swift
Jack Antonoff, Nathan Chapman, Imogen Heap, Max Martin, Mattman & Robin, Ali Payami, Shellback, Taylor Swift, Ryan Tedder & Noel Zancanella, producers; Jack Antonoff, Mattias Bylund, Smith Carlson, Nathan Chapman, Serban Ghenea, John Hanes, Imogen Heap, Sam Holland, Michael Ilbert, Brendan Morawski, Laura Sisk & Ryan Tedder, engineers/mixers; Tom Coyne, mastering engineer
[Big Machine Records]

• Beauty Behind The Madness
The Weeknd
Lana Del Rey, Labrinth & Ed Sheeran, featured artists; Dannyboystyles, Ben Diehl, Labrinth, Mano, Max Martin, Stephan Moccio, Carlo Montagnese, Ali Payami, The Pope, Jason Quenneville, Peter Svensson, Abel Tesfaye & Kanye West, producers; Jay Paul Bicknell, Mattias Bylund, Serban Ghenea, Noah Goldstein, John Hanes, Sam Holland, Jean Marie Horvat, Carlo Montagnese, Jason Quenneville & Dave Reitzas, engineers/mixers; Tom Coyne & Dave Kutch, mastering engineers
[Republic]

Song Of The Year
• Alright
Kendrick Duckworth, Mark Anthony Spears & Pharrell Williams, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar)
Track from: To Pimp A Butterfly
[TDE/Aftermath/Interscope; Publisher(s): WB Music Corp., TDE Music, Hard Working Black Folks Publishing, EMI Music Inc., More Water From Nazareth, Sounwave TDE Productions, SonyATV]

• Blank Space
Max Martin, Shellback & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
Track from: 1989
[Big Machine Records; Publisher(s): Sony/ATV Tree Publishing/Taylor Swift Music/MXM admin. by Kobalt Songs Music Publishing, Inc.]

• Girl Crush
Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna & Liz Rose, songwriters (Little Big Town)
Track from: Pain Killer
[Capitol Records Nashville; Publisher(s): Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./Songs Of Crazy Girl Music, Songs of Universal, Inc., Hoodie Songs, HillarodyRathbone Music admin. by BMG Rights Management (US) LLC]

• See You Again
Andrew Cedar, Justin Franks, Charles Puth & Cameron Thomaz, songwriters (Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth)
Track from: Furious 7: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
[Atlantic; Publisher(s): Artist Publishing Group West/J Franks Publishing/Andrew Cedar Publishing admin. by WB Music Corp./Wiz Khalifa Publishing admin. by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp./Charlie Puth Music Publishing/Artist 101 Publishing Group admin. by Warner Chappell Music, Universal Pictures Music, UPG Music Publishing]

• Thinking Out Loud
Ed Sheeran & Amy Wadge, songwriters (Ed Sheeran)
Track from: X
[Atlantic; Publisher(s): Sony/ATV Music Publishing/BDi Music Limited]

Best New Artist

• Courtney Barnett

• James Bay

• Sam Hunt

• Tori Kelly

• Meghan Trainor

Now here’s where it gets a bit weird. Have fun with these next categories. The following is an indication of where the American industry thinks when are when it comes to metal, rock and alternative. Sad, really.

Best Metal Performance
(For new vocal or instrumental solo, duo/group or collaborative metal recordings.)

• Identity
August Burns Red
[Fearless Records]

• Cirice
Ghost
[Loma Vista Recordings]

• 512
Lamb Of God
Track from: VII: Sturm Und Drang
[Epic Records]

• Thank You
Sevendust
[7Bros Records]

• Custer
Slipknot
Track from: .5: The Gray Chapter
[Roadrunner Records]

Best Rock Song
• Don’t Wanna Fight
Alabama Shakes, songwriters (Alabama Shakes)
[ATO Records; Publisher(s): Alabama Shakes Publishing/Break Mirrors Music]

• Ex’s & Oh’s
Dave Bassett & Elle King, songwriters (Elle King)
Track from: Love Stuff
[RCA Records; Publisher(s): Elle King Music/EMI Music Publishing, Inc./Bassett Songs/EMI April Music, Inc.]

• Hold Back The River
Iain Archer & James Bay, songwriters (James Bay)
Track from: Chaos And The Calm
[Republic; Publisher(s): B-Unique/Kobalt/Iain Archer/Kobalt]

• Lydia
Richard Meyer, Ryan Meyer & Johnny Stevens, songwriters (Highly Suspect)
Track from: Mister Asylum
[300 Entertainment; Publisher(s): MCID]

• What Kind Of Man
John Hill, Tom Hull & Florence Welch, songwriters (Florence + The Machine)
Track from: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
[Republic; Publisher(s): Rodeoman Music/EMI April Music/Universal Music Publishing]

Best Rock Album
• Chaos And The Calm
James Bay
[Republic]

• Kintsugi
Death Cab For Cutie
[Atlantic]

• Mister Asylum
Highly Suspect
[300 Entertainment]

• Drones
Muse
[Warner Bros. Records]

• .5: The Gray Chapter
Slipknot
[Roadrunner Records]

Field 5 – Alternative
Category 16 – Best Alternative Music Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

• Sound & Color
Alabama Shakes
[ATO Records]

• Vulnicura
Björk
[One Little Indian]

• The Waterfall
My Morning Jacket
[Capitol Records]

• Currents
Tame Impala
[Interscope]

• Star Wars
Wilco
[Anti/Dbpm]

Wow, huh?

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.

One thought on “Here are the Nominations for the Grammy Awards

  • December 7, 2015 at 3:20 pm
    Permalink

    At least Jethro Tull wasn’t nominated in the metal category, despite the flute being a (heavy) metal instrument.

    Reply

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