Last night (pretty close to this morning in my neck of the woods), the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards. This year's ceremony covers all the audio recordings released from 1 October 2011 through 30 September 2012. These are the five biggest takeaways from the nominations.
#1: Nicki Minaj is Shut Down
The "Roman's Revenge" rapper's follow-up to her critically acclaimed debut Pink Friday got no love from the Grammys this year. Her name is mentioned once, in passing, for her producer's nomination for Non-Classical Producer of the Year. Despite numerous chart topping hits and guest appearances on every other major rapper's releases, Nicki Minaj was left out in the cold. Oh well. She'll always have my glowing review of Roman Reloaded.
#2: Long Live Alternative Rock
Four of the five albums nominated in Album of the Year come from alternative rock bands. You have the experimental meter-fluid duet The Black Keys, the retro stylings of fun., the folk fusion of Mumford & Sons, and whatever it is you call what Jack White does on his own competing for the top prize. The only other nominee is Frank Ocean, the chart topping R&B singer/songwriter who also has some alternative elements in his music. For the first time since the mid-90s, it's good to be an alternative rocker.
#3: Oh Hai There, Video Games
This story won't get a lot of press, but it is a noteworthy one nonetheless. Three years ago, NARAS changed the film score category title to reflect film, television, and other visual media. Last year, they renamed it Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. This year, we have our first ever video game score nominated for a Grammy award. Journey breaks out in a big way and, considering all the press about the game and its ease of play, it actually stands a chance of winning the category. Congratulations, video games, everything's coming up Millhouse.
#4: It's Still Skrillex's World
Skrillex, the dubstep DJ who broke out in a big way with a Best New Artist nomination and the most wins of any nominee last year, is once again leading the pack in dance categories. Bangarang is nominated for Dance/Electronica Album. "Bangarang" is nominated for Best Dance Recording. And he's nominated for Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical for "Promises." It's hard to imagine anyone taking over as top dog in the dance field anytime soon.
#5: Best New Artist Who?
Normally, I'm on top of Best New Artist. I'll know at least four of the nominees and feel comfortable talking about them.
Not this year. I recognize two nominees--fun. and Frank Ocean--and might have heard of a third--Alabama Shakes, though I couldn't identify their music at all. The other two nominees, The Lumineers and Hunter Hayes, are total strangers to me. I'm always excited when I have to do my homework to talk about a big Grammy category. This one is the wildest ride at the Grammys in years.
What are your thoughts on the Grammy Nominations for the 2013 ceremony? Sound off below.