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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Jen’s Jams: The Recording Academy is the ‘Anti-Hero’ again on 2024 Grammy Nominations

Connor Youngberg

On Feb. 4, 2024, the 66th annual Grammy Awards will take place, airing live on CBS and streaming on Paramount+. The Recording Academy announced the nominees for the biggest awards show in music earlier this month, and despite some changes being made to the selection process and categories, the feeling I got when reading them was the same as every other year: disappointment.

As I looked over the nominee announcements on the Recording Academy’s social feeds, the main thing I noticed was that the same few artists were nominated for nearly every category and a significant number of notable artists were left out. There were a few bright spots and unexpected (but deserved) nods in the mix, but as a whole, these nominations were as run-of-the-mill as they could get.

According to the Grammys’ website, three new categories will debut at the 2024 show: Best African Music Performance, Best Alternative Jazz Album and Best Pop Dance Recording. These were added as part of an effort to make the awards “more fair, transparent and accurate,” according to Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr.

While I appreciate and applaud these efforts, they don’t seem to have had much of an impact on the selected nominees. When scrolling through the announcement, all I noticed was that the same few artists were nominated for nearly every category.

Five artists (Jon Batiste, Miley Cyrus, Olivia Rodrigo, Taylor Swift and SZA) were nominated for all three of the first three awards listed: Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year. Two artists, Billie Eilish and Lana Del Rey, were nominated for two out of three of them. While I was happy to see some of these artists get recognition, specifically the likes of Batiste and SZA, I was already starting to get sick of seeing the same names over and over again.

I understand that songs that get nominated for these awards are typically uber-popular tracks you’d hear on Top 40 radio, but what especially frustrates me is that nearly all of the artists nominated in these categories released better songs this year that were deeper cuts on their LPs. I would’ve loved to see picks like “River” by Cyrus, “get him back!” by Rodrigo, “F2F” by SZA or “Labyrinth” by Swift chosen in place of the singles.

The Best New Artist category was one of the few that I was actually satisfied with, as true breakout newcomers like Gracie Abrams, Ice Spice and Noah Kahan were recognized. However, I think there were a few clear snubs, including Reneé Rapp, Sabrina Carpenter, Mitski, Laufey, Maisie Peters, Holly Humberstone and Chappell Roan.

Speaking of snubs, I was extremely shocked to see that two of my personal favorite artists, Hozier and Kim Petras, didn’t receive any nominations this year for their respective albums “Unreal Unearth” and “Feed the Beast.” I’m not sure what categories these albums would fit in, but judging by how confusing some of the genre categories were this year (“ballad of a homeschooled girl” by Olivia Rodrigo in a “rock” category?), I’m sure some space could have been found for them.

What puzzled me is that it clearly wasn’t a situation of the artists being too small for the Academy to have recognized them. Daniel Nigro, producer of all of Roan’s singles and her debut album, “The Rise and Fall of a Midwest Princess,” both released in 2023, was nominated for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. Justin Tranter, one of the writers on “Gemini Moon” and “Pretty Girls” by Rapp, both from her debut LP also released this year, got a nod for Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical as well.

There was a bit more variety in later categories. Some of the nods I was particularly happy to see were “- (Subtract)” by Ed Sheeran for Best Pop Vocal Album, “Padam Padam” by Kylie Minogue and “Rush” by Troye Sivan for Best Pop Dance Recording and “This Is Why” by Paramore for Best Rock Album and Best Alternative Music Performance. I think the rock/alternative categories could have benefitted from some more modern names, though — as much as I love the Foo Fighters and Metallica, newer rock bands like The Warning and YONAKA would’ve been way cooler picks for me.

I can’t ignore the fact that Dave Chappelle’s comedy album “What’s in a Name?” was nominated for Best Comedy Album despite the backlash he has received for transphobic and antisemitic comments over the past few years. Knowing that the Academy still allowed him to be nominated just makes me want to watch the show even less than I already did.

The Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media category was an unexpected bright spot for me, with “Daisy Jones & The Six,” “Barbie,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 3” all getting nods. The last notable nomination for me was the BADBADNOTGOOD remix of “Alien Love Call” by Turnstile being featured in the Best Remixed Recording category, as I was very happy to see the hardcore-adjacent band featured again in some way.

For the most part, all  of this year’s Grammy nominations were a reminder that there are so many artists not getting the recognition they deserve, and there are also so many artists who the media has overexposed me to this year to the point where I’m sick of hearing about people whose music I once enjoyed. I guess it’ll be cool to see Taylor Swift win some more of these awards, but at the end of the day, in the (modified) words of her Grammy-nominated song “Anti-Hero,” it’s them, hi, the Recording Academy members are the problem, it’s them.

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Connor Youngberg
Connor Youngberg, Associate Multimedia Editor

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