*Sigh* Here I go again, following the Grammy Award nominations like an obedient journalistic lemming. But the Grammy people are smart. They know that the post-US Thanksgiving days are dire when it comes to music news so they’re only too happy to flood the news cycle with information about their over-hyped and perennially disappointing awards program.
Let’s get a few things straight. The Grammys’ primary concern is NOT honouring the best in music. Their job is to (a) squeeze as many remaining sales out of the previous year’s releases before everyone moves on (Note that the ceremony is on January 28, right in the middle of the slowest two months for new releases); and (b) create a highly-rated primetime network TV show that will appeal to an extremely mainstream audience. The quality of the music? An afterthought, really. It’s all about star power and celebrity.
Still, how many of us will hate-watch the show just so we can bitch? My hand is up. I know, I know: it’s a sickness, really. I probably need help.
Instead of running through the nominations again (if you want to see all 84 categories on the official page at Grammy.com.), let me instead make ten predictions about this year’s Grammys.
- Luis Fonsi is up for three awards for “Despacito.” Expect him to win or two and then we’ll never hear from him again. Ever.
- Fealty will be paid to Jay-Z and his 4:44 album just because (a) he’s Jay-Z; and more importantly, (b) he’s married to Beyonce and you don’t want to piss off music’s premier power couple.
- It would be nice to see Canadian Alessia Cara win Best New Artist but she won’t because she’s Canadian.
- Speaking of Canadians, both Michael Buble and Sarah McLachlan are up against Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane in the category of Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. None of this matters because the Academy will want to give the award to 91-year-old Tony Bennett so they can say he’s the oldest Grammy winner ever.
- None of the Rock, Alternative or Metal categories will make it to the broadcast. They never do. Mainstream TV audiences don’t care.
- People will wonder why Leonard Cohen’s You Want It Darker is nominated for Best Rock Album (yeah, why is that?), but it won’t matter because the Foo Fighters will win. If they do, expect that category to make the broadcast.
- The people behind Nothing More will be acknowledged as the greatest lobbiers in rock. How else could an album that was just released on September 15, has had little radio airplay, minuscule streaming numbers (the most popular song, “Go to War,” has never had more than 45,000 streams in a week) and is already absent from the SoundScan Top 200 chart get three Rock nominations?
- There will be squawking about Arcade Fire’s Everything Now album getting a nod for Best Alternative Music Album. “It’s no The Suburbs,” they’ll say.
- Expect to hear assertions that Kendrick Lamar is the most important voice in hip-hop these days. They’re not wrong.
- They’ll find some way to give Taylor Swift a Grammy. I’m sure that’s in the official rules. Can’t send Tay-Tay home to pout.
Again, *sigh.* The Grammys. Same as it ever was.