Artists with messages also garner noms

KANYE WEST

He tossed a verbal Molotov cocktail into Middle American living rooms by informing the TV world that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people.” That was only the tip of the iceberg, though, for an artist who’s perfectly willing to tell anyone who’ll listen that he’s the most important artist around — and equally willing to use that attitude to make a point.

Nominated for eight Grammys, including album of the year and song of the year.

GREEN DAY

With “American Idiot,” they went from simply raising middle fingers to pointing them at the folks behind the “redneck agenda” they see as dooming America. Proof-positive that pissed-off punks pack quite a punch.

Nominated for record of the year.

BURT BACHARACH

What’s it all about, Alfie? This year, the songwriting legend provided a surprisingly political answer to that question with his “In Our Time” album — an often scathing screed about the state of a union divided. All that, and Doctor Dre, too!

Nominated for two Grammys, including best pop instrumental album.

U2

In a year when he spent plenty of time hob-nobbing with politicos about Third World debt and the AIDS crisis, Bono also found time to help shepherd U2 through one of the year’s most acclaimed albums, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb.”

Nominated for five Grammys, including album of the year and song of the year.

THE ROLLING STONES

They’ve never been known as the most topical band on the planet, but by planting the Republican-tweaking “Sweet Neo-Con” smack dab in the middle of “A Bigger Bang,” Mick Jagger and company prove they can still hear the sounds of marching, charging feet.

Nominated for best rock album.

SEN. BARACK OBAMA

One of Washington’s fastest-rising stars has a chance to take home best spoken word album for “Dreams From My Father.” He’d have to beat out like-minded folks such as Al Franken and Sean Penn to join Hillary Rodham Clinton in the ranks of Grammy-winning members of the current Senate.

Nominated for best spoken word album.

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