When Grammy nominations come around, everyone’s talking about which songs missed Record of the Year, or what acclaimed indie missed the Album of the Year shortlist, or which new kid on the block somehow missed Best New Artist to someone most people haven’t heard of. However, with so many categories and nominations, we often don’t acknowledge the less-covered snubs that happen every year in each genre field.
Zach Bryan and Taylor Swift, Best Country Album
The Best Country Album category this year is not necessarily bad, but it’s missing two nominees who should’ve been surefire locks. Zach Bryan’s “American Heartbreak” and Taylor Swift’s “Red (Taylor’s Version)” were expected nominees, and were the two most popular albums eligible for the award as well. Of course, the Grammys aren’t the Billboard Music Awards, so commercial success isn’t what matters most, but both records are beloved by country music fans. To nominate yet another Willie Nelson project comparatively few have listened to, for example, over one of country’s most promising rising stars, and also to snub one of the most impactful country albums in years, is baffling to say the least. Both artists did get one nomination each in the field, but they deserved much more.
Black Country, New Road, Best Alternative Music Album
The alternative field is usually the place where critically acclaimed projects shine, especially those by lesser known artists. So it’s definitely a surprise that Black Country, New Road’s “Ants From Up There,” the most acclaimed alternative album of the year on Metacritic, didn’t manage to squeeze in one nomination. It’s not that alternative voters are deaf to new talents: new artists Wet Leg got nominated across the board in the field this year and earned an additional Best New Artist nomination, and last year we had Arlo Parks and Japanese Breakfast earning alternative bids. It’s definitely bad to see such an acclaimed piece of work lose a spot to Arcade Fire’s “We,” which wasn’t particularly loved and isn’t helped by the lead singer’s current sexual misconduct allegations.
Summer Walker, Best R&B Album
What is it with Summer Walker and the Grammys? At first glance, it looked like Walker’s 2021 Grammy snubs were due to the R&B committee being shady. However, with those panels dead and gone now, her utter lack of nominations is truly mind boggling, to say the least. Walker’s brand of R&B isn’t really edgier than what’s typically nominated, and her album was easily one of the buzziest, highest-profile, and most acclaimed of the season. The R&B field is also, typically, very up to date and likes honoring newer artists too, so it’s disappointing to see Walker miss out to yet again the same perennial nominees. Did we really need to give Breezy a nomination again?
Imagine Dragons, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
The Best Pop/Duo Group Performance category this year was very chaotic, without a clear front-runner and many spots being wide open. However, one would imagine (no pun intended) that “Enemy,” the hit by Imagine Dragons, would be an easy nomination to get. The Grammy-winning band are already previous nominees in the pop field, getting two nominations there in 2018. That means that their snub this year wasn’t due to genre confusion, and it definitely wasn’t because voters didn’t know the song; it has accumulated over 950 million streams on Spotify in a year.
OneRepublic, Best Song Written for Visual Media
Last but not least, it was shocking to see “I Ain’t Worried,” the OneRepublic hit penned for “Top Gun: Maverick,” completely goose-egged. The band don’t have much of a track record at the Grammys, but the song is easily one of their biggest hits, and it’s pure Grammy bait in the vein of songs like Portugal. The Man’s “Feel It Still” and Jonas Brothers’ “Sucker.” At the very least, the song should’ve gotten into the visual media field, especially over some less-inspired name-checks that unfortunately seem to be increasingly common in the category every year.
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