Reactionary Tale: Grammy Nominations 2011

There’s good news and bad news here. For starters, the Academy actually had some cojones and nominated Cee-Lo’s infectious, profane hit “F*** You” for both Record and Song of the Year. The bad news: Lady Antebellum’s complete domination. Listen, you old farts, we already have the CMAs, the CMT Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards. And Taylor Swift somehow won Album of the Year. Don’t let this become a trend. Country music, while a dominant force on the Billboard charts, is not exactly in the midst of a renaissance. So save it for the country categories, capisce?

Anyway, here are the nominees in the four major categories, plus Best Alternative Music Album. The ones I guessed correctly are in bold, followed by my take on this year’s crop.


· The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
· Recovery, Eminem

· Need You Now, Lady Antebellum
· The Fame Monster, Lady Gaga
· Teenage Dream, Katy Perry

What I missed: Apparently the Academy’s Gaga love isn’t as strong this year. They didn’t nominate the best song of her career (“Bad Romance”) in any of the major categories, but gave her a slot for the year’s top prize. Go figure. The token country nomination went to Lady Antebellum, and Katy Perry was terrible enough to get a nomation, just not in the category I suspected.

· “Nothin’ on You,” B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars
· “Love the Way You Lie,” Eminem feat. Rihanna
· “F*** You,” Cee-Lo Green
· “Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys
· “Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum

What I missed: Eligibility, schemeligibilty. Bruno Mars debut album Doo-Wops and Hooligans came out a week after the Sept. 30 cut-off date, but they still nominated him for everything they could (mostly as a songwriter). Here, he’s the featured player on utterly harmless rapper B.o.B.’s I’d-rather-have-the-average-girl smash hit. (Personally, I thought it would go to the ridiculously overplayed “Airplanes,” if anything.) The summer’s best song wasn’t anywhere on the radio, but it obviously made an impression on the Academy, and Cee-Lo Green got a much-deserved nod for his revenge anthem “F*** You.” Also, Katy Perry is apparently not hot enough to melt the old fogies’ long-standing anti-hottie stance. Seriously, they haven’t nominated a slutty starlet’s pop smash in this category since… well, ever.


· “Beg, Steal, or Borrow,” Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs
Written by R. LaMontagne
· “F*** You,” Cee-Lo Green
Written by T. Callaway, P. Lawrence, B. Mars
· “The House That Built Me,” Miranda Lambert
Written by T. Douglas, A. Shamblin
· “Love the Way You Lie,” Eminem feat. Rihanna
Written by M. Mathers, A. Grant, H. Hafferman, M. Riddick
· “Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum
Written by D. Haywood, J. Kear, C. Kelley, H. Scott

What I missed: I was thisclose to putting “F*** You” in my final five, then second-guessed it. “They’ll never nominate a song that good,” I thought. Turns out I was wrong. I also underestimated their adoration for country music, as Miranda Lambert’s Lindale lovefest got a nod. And good for Ray LaMontagne getting some love after six years of making utterly fantastic music. What, no Best New Artist nomination?


· Justin Bieber
· Drake
· Florence + the Machine

· Mumford & Sons
· Esperanza Spalding

What I missed: At least I knew I’d have trouble with this category. B.o.B. and Ke$ha were thankfully left off. (Listen, B.o.B.’s not that bad, but KiD CuDi and Walé do what he does a lot better.) But I clearly had forgotten the Academy’s mandatory “Who-the-Eff-is-That? nomination.” Esperanza Spalding is apparently a classically-trained neo-soul, crazy-haired jazz musician of some sort. I guess that makes her like Erykah Badu with a bass. She joins other nominees like Ledisi, Heather Headley and India.Arie as a talented woman that no one–outside of certain circles–has ever heard of before right now.


· The Suburbs, Arcade Fire
· Infinite Arms, Band of Horses
· Broken Bells
· Brothers, The Black Keys
· Contra, Vampire Weekend

What I missed: The Black Keys are a band that’s right up the voters’ alley–bluesy with a modern vibe, much like three-time winners the White Stripes–so their nomination is not such a shock. I also thought Sparklehorse’s Dark Night of the Soul might get a nod, but its tendency to piss of record labels is a big conflict of interest with the Grammys. Still, producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse got some love as half of Broken Bells. The real surprise here is Band of Horses, a group I assumed everyone had all but forgotten about, despite “The Funeral” still being heard everywhere. Good for them.

This entry was posted in Music. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.