Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Grammy Nominees Cream of Crop This Time

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Grammy Nominees Cream of Crop This Time

Article excerpt

It used to be thoroughly entertaining to write the next-day story griping about the Grammy nominations.

In recent years, that whole process has gotten just a little less, well, Fun.

In other words, Justin Bieber and Carly Rae Jepsen were not nominated for Album of the Year for the 55th annual awards, announced Wednesday night.

Rather, the category for top prize this year is stocked with a pair of heavy hitters who rose up from the underground (Black Keys and Jack White), a daring new R&B sensation (Frank Ocean), a rootsy band that can play (Mumford & Sons) and a pop act that can rock a club while giving spellcheck fits (Fun.).

It's not a bad bunch at all, and it's not hard to picture any of them winning -- except maybe Fun. given the demographics of the voters.

That said, there were some snubs, surprises and other oddities:

* No place for hip-hop: For the second straight year, there is no rap entry in the Album of the Year category. Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" not only should have been there, it should have won it in a landslide. You could say the same of "Watch the Throne," his joint effort with Jay-Z a year later. This year, Drake and Nas, both in Best Rap Album, would have been among the legit contenders.

* Disrespecting the Boss?: Bruce Springsteen has never won an Album of the Year Grammy, and that pattern will continue with "Wrecking Ball," which was ghettoized in the also-ran Rock Album category rather than taking Fun.'s spot among the elite. It's worth mentioning that "Wrecking Ball" scored a 78 on metacritic compared to 62 for Fun.'s "Some Nights." Beyond that, Grammy went real poppy by keeping "We Take Care of Our Own," which became a powerful anthem for the Obama campaign, out of Song and Record of the Year.

* Taylor came late: Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" scored a nomination for Record of the Year, but with the eligibility period running from Oct. 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2012, her chart-topping "Red" was too late for Album of the Year, a prize she won in 2010 with "Fearless." If you're wondering why she's not there, that's why.

* Shock of the New: Alabama Shakes? …

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