With the beginning of a new year, there also comes the immediate reminiscing of the things that made that year great. Nowhere is that instant nostalgia so prevalent as in music. With such notable events as Childish Gambino’s sudden genre shift, the absurd rise of SoundCloud rappers, and the death of the old Taylor, 2017 is clearly a year that will deserve such a fond musical remembrance. In the aftermath of the Golden Globes, and with awards on everybody’s minds, the 60th Annual Grammy Awards loom close on the horizon, airing on CBS live from Madison Square Garden on Sunday, January 28th. The nominations came out on Tuesday, November 28th, and as the last round of voting draws near, it’s worth recapping who stands poised to walk away with the most awards on the night itself.
Jay-Z, a veteran with 21 Grammy’s, and his highly confessional album 4:44 lead the pack with eight nominations, the most of any artist this year. Categories include chances at record of the year, album of the year, song of the year, and best rap album. Just behind Jay-Z is Kendrick Lamar and his monumental DAMN., with seven nominations in similar categories. Both artists had fans reflecting on issues of race and a look back into oneself with each track from their albums. Not far behind the heaviest hitters is Bruno Mars, with six nominations, and Childish Gambino with five, and all of them fighting for album of the year. R&B singer-songwriter SZA is this year’s most Grammy nominated woman, with five nominations including best new artist, best R&B performance, best rap/sung performance, best R&B song, and best urban contemporary album for her break-out debut LP Ctrl wowed critics this year.
A glance at the nominees also finds that several long standing names released new albums or returned from hiatuses this year. Michael Buble, Bob Dylan, and Sarah McLachlan released new albums that found nominations in the Traditional Pop category, while LCD Soundsystem appears in the Best Alternative nominations after a 4-year long hiatus and a 2-year long revival tour. The names for this year’s Grammys clearly range all over the massive field that is music today, although some Augustana students feel that, after viewing this year’s nominations, the awards aren’t necessarily aware of where the true talent in today’s music lies, preferring rather to give the trophies to the music that catches the flash-in-the-pan interest of the public eye.
“It seems like it doesn’t always go based off of the content” said Augustana first-year Ally Anstead.
Her concern is that some artists that could get valuable, early-career recognition for the quality of their work just can’t in an industry primarily dominated by well-established names. It has become in her eyes a stage to repetition to those already dominating the charts.
“I am happy to see Lorde’s album on there though” said Anstead, adding that she hopes Lorde’s Melodrama would get the young artist her first album of the year awards, after taking home song of the year for her hit Royals back in 2014.
“I think this year a lot of the artists who could get awards deserve it,” said Anstead.
This view of the Grammys is not uncommon among Augustana students, with others sharing the same critiques of this year’s nominations.
“They under-represent a lot of artists” said Augustana Senior Ethan Conley-Keck. “It’s a popularity contest, but popularity is fun if you’re popular”.
Regardless of the prominence of a good amount of the artists, the show is sure to be a spectacle. Hopefully, last year’s stellar records and this year’s awards just mark the beginning of another fantastic, creative, and important year in music that is sure to leave a mark on all who tunes in to watch.