The Grammys televised just 9 awards this year. Those nine enclosed the massive four prizes — Best New creative person, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Album of the Year — which ar the solely four awards that each branch (rock, country, rap, etc.) of the Recording Academy is eligible for. (Record, Song, and Album are the solely 3 prizes each musician within the Academy is eligible for.)And the other few awards (out of seventy five others two-handed out) the Grammys opt to broadcast every year speak volumes concerning what the Academy fears will happen in those prime classes. In 2016, the Academy pushed Cast Album Recording into the main program, in hopes of getting a very little Hamilton buzz going. And in 2017, it promoted categories like Rock Song and Country Solo Performance to the main show, because rock artists weren’t delineate in the prime four classes, and because country artists were unlikely to win those prime prizes.
But the promotion of the otherwise very little best-known “Urban modern Album” class to the main show for the 2017 awards suggests the Academy was petrified of a awfully real possibility: Beyoncé, the biggest star within the music industry, might lose each one of the 3 prime awards she was nominative for, and not get the chance to give a televised speech. She was considered a lock for the Urban Contemporary prize, and that meant she got to speak on TV, where she delivered a very nice speech about the importance of diverse voices having representation in media.
The Grammys tend to honor albums that have sold well and earned critical respect, which applies to both Lemonade and 25. To be sure, 25 has dwarfed Lemonade’s sales, crossing the 20 million mark worldwide since its release in late 2015. However, it’s not as if Lemonade has been a slouch on the charts. It was the third best-selling album of 2016 in the US. The second best-selling? You guessed it — 25. (It’s also a bit unfair to compare Adele’s worldwide sales to Beyoncé’s US sales, but Adele has outsold Beyoncé in the US as well — albeit by not nearly as wide a margin.)And when it comes to critical acclaim, Lemonade was a year-end list mainstay and notched a Metacritic score of 92. While 25 notched a respectable performance in both measures, with a 75 on Metacritic, it didn’t measure up to Lemonade at all.So the traditional criteria are more or less a split, with one side favoring 25 and one side favoring Lemonade. Considering that the Grammys are usually reticent to reward artists with the prime prizes multiple times, and considering that Adele won the top 3 awards in 2012 for her previous album (21), Lemonade appeared like a somewhat safe bet.
Adele won five Grammys as well as for best song and record of the year (“Hello”). She overcame Beyonce to win the best album award and it seemed she was aghast by the news. While acceptive the award, she said Beyonce’s “Lemonade” “was monumental”.
The competition between the two leading artists for the album of the year was dramatically underlined by their performances. While Adele was majestic associated elegant – and wet her eyes once an emotional tribute to Saint George archangel that she restrain then re-started — Beyonce came with a very delicate earth-mother ambience to a performance that was a combination of word and dreamy abstraction.
Beyoncé’s natural voting base all over up split with a couple of alternative albums
The easiest thanks to predict the highest prizes at the Grammys is to seem at them not in terms of artists or perhaps quality however in terms of genre. Strip away everything but the genre, and you’ll often notice that the prime classes sometimes have multiple nominees from the worlds of pop or hip-hop (and typically multiple nominees from both), with only one or 2 nominees from alternative, older-skewing genres.This is abundantly true for the 2017 lineup, where fruit drink, which appeals to both pop and hip-hop voters, competed against Justin Bieber’s Purpose (pop) and Drake’s Views (hip-hop). Meanwhile, the country nominee, Sturgill Simpson’s A Sailor’s Guide to Earth and Adele’s more adult-contemporary skewing 25 were the only representatives of their respective fields.Simpson isn’t as well known as the other four nominees, which likely made it harder for him to secure votes from, say, random rock voters who didn’t have an obvious horse to back. If those random voters tied to genres not represented in Album of the Year didn’t want to vote pop or hip-hop, that left only Adele, who won.
The problem with this vote splitting — which has only become more starkly obvious in recent years — is that it tends to reward older or at least whiter artists at the expense of young, often black artists who have more pop cultural cachet at this moment in time.The power structures of the music industry, like the power structures of every industry in America, are full of aging white baby boomers, who might be outnumbered in aggregate by younger, more diverse people, but who also tend to vote as a bloc and promote the sorts of things that appeal to their ears.That might explain why a black artist hasn’t won Album of the Year since 2008 — and even then, the win went to jazz musician Herbie Hancock for an album of Joni Mitchell covers. (If you were to guess that Hancock was the only jazz performer nominated for Album of the Year that year, you would be right!)What’s more, just 10 black artists have won Album of the Year since it was first handed out in 1959, with only Stevie Wonder winning it more than once. (Wonder won three times in four years in the 1970s.)
Some of those prizes have gone to artists like Michael Jackson, Outkast, and Lauryn Hill, who were at the cutting edge of music when they won. But Album of the Year has also gone to artists like Natalie Cole and Lionel Richie, who are both good at what they do but appeal to the Academy’s traditionalist streak.And notably, Ray Charles didn’t win until after he died, for a rather weak album of duets with other famous people, not for his groundbreaking work in the 1950s and ’60s.What will continue to frustrate the Recording Academy is that there’s no easy way to fix this problem of vote-splitting in categories that are open to multiple genres, especially as more and more of the best albums of the year face biases both subtle (genre bias) and more overt (racial bias).25 is a fine album, especially for spending a rainy fall evening sipping wine by a roaring fire. But Lemonade sounds like the world we live in, the world of 2016 and 2017. Beyoncé will nearly actually win album of the year sometime — however she may have to be concerning thirty years older associated unleash an album of pop customary covers to form it happen.