×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Slimmed-down Grammys still carrying extra weight

Adele-music-02When the Recording Academy announced last spring that it was reducing the number of Grammy Award categories by almost a third, the first thought that came to mind was “it’s about time,” followed rapidly by, “was it enough?”

This year’s 78 categories — down from 109 in 2010 — still represent a helluvalot of awards to sift through, and I don’t know of any other awards organization that comes close to that number, unless you count the Creative Arts Emmys, which don’t command the public attention the Grammys do.

It was the regional and ethnic music categories suffered the most, while the top-selling artists were left largely unscathed; kind of like the nation’s top one-percent earners still being granted the largest number of loopholes despite the country’s massive deficit.

And it’s those top-heavy categories that are the real head-scratchers (and don’t get me started about who SHOULD HAVE BEEN nominated). For example, you have Rock Performance and Rock Song: what’s the difference? OK, somebody wrote the song (or more often than not, a platoon). But if it wasn’t written, how could it be performed? These chicken-vs-the-egg distinctions basically make the Foo Fighters eligible for three different rock categories, NOT including Album of the Year, for which they were also nominated.

And what is Best Pop Vocal Album, versus Album of the Year, other than an opportunity to have multiple nominations for Adele, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and Rihanna? Does anybody really think that Adele would have gotten a single nomination for reasons other than her voice?

“Record of the Year” vs “Song of the Year” begs the same question: What’s the diff? (OK, one goes to producers and one goes to songwriters, but in the case of “Rolling in the Deep,” it’s the same people who benefit. At the very least we might suggest calling the song category “Best Pop Lyrics of the Year” or some such thing.)

Even the Recording Academy’s reduced jazz categories are open to scrutiny, even given my own sympathy for a genre whose album market share (roughly 3%) stands way out of proportion to its cultural significance. We now have four categories, with “best improvised jazz solo” as a separate entry. But isn’t all jazz, by definition, largely improvised? As a result you have Chick Corea, Sonny Rollins and Fred Hersch double-nominated for essentially the same work.

Sure, Grammy might be sporting a svelte figure compared to years past, but there’s quite a bit of fat that could be trimmed from those bones.

 

More Music

  • BURBANK, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 18: (EDITORIAL

    Dax Shepard, Bobby Bones, 'Breakfast Club' Among iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Winners

    iHeartRadio launched its first ever Podcast Awards on Friday (January 18) in Los Angeles. Among the winners in 22 categories were “Whine Down with Jana Kramer” (Best Entertainment TV Podcast); “Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard (Breakout Podcast); “Bobbycast” (Music Podcast); and “The Breakfast Club” (Best Multicultural Podcast). The winners were determined by iHeartRadio listeners. Taking the top prize of Podcast [...]

  • Fyre Festival Caterer Receives Thousands in

    Unpaid Fyre Festival Caterer Raises Thousands in Donations on GoFundMe

    As two Fyre Festival documentaries hit the airwaves, a couple who say their credit was ruined due to the Fyre Festival’s lack of payment for their services have raised $54,381 at time of publication on GoFundMe. Elvis and Maryann Rolle wrote on their page that they catered “no less than 1000 meals per day” in [...]

  • DF-10956_R – Gwilym Lee (Brian May) and

    'Bohemian Rhapsody' Producer Confirms Bryan Singer's Reason for Leaving, Says 'No One' Was Attached to Play Mercury

    “Bohemian Rhapsody” producer Graham King provided insight into some of the events surrounding the Golden Globe-winning film Saturday at the Producers Guild Awards Nominees Breakfast, including director Bryan Singer’s departure from the film partway through production. “It’s an unfortunate situation, with like 16, 17 days to go and Bryan Singer just had some issues, his [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Accusers Detail Abuse, Reveal Evidence on 'Dateline'

    The continuing controversy surrounding R. Kelly, including allegations of sexual abuse by a number of women over three decades, was the focus of Friday’s episode of “Dateline.” Speaking to accusers Sparkle, Jerhonda Pace and parents Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, among others, NBC’s Andrea Canning heard more harrowing tales of abduction and sexual misconduct on the part [...]

  • Huey Lewis

    BMG Signs Huey Lewis and the News

    Huey Lewis and the News, the band that soundtracked much of the 1980s, will return with a new album in 2019. The group has signed with BMG, the company announced today (Jan. 18), setting the stage for the tenth studio album and the first time they’re releasing original music in 18 years. Formed by Lewis [...]

  • Jordan Feldstein

    Roc Nation Seeks $11 Million From Insurer in Jordan Feldstein's Death

    Roc Nation filed a federal lawsuit Friday seeking $11 million from its insurance carrier following the death of Maroon 5 manager Jordan Feldstein. Roc Nation, a joint venture of Jay-Z and Live Nation Entertainment, partnered with Feldstein’s Career Artist Management in 2016. At the time, Roc Nation says it took out a “key man” life [...]

  • mike-posner

    Album Review: Mike Posner's 'A Real Good Kid'

    From the tone of such hits as his 2010 debut “Cooler Than Me” and 2015’s  “I Took A Pill In Ibiza,” singing, songwriting pop-hop beardo Mike Posner had a seemingly breezy take on life, love and responsibility. If you could have squeezed together the two Justins — Timberlake and Bieber (Posner has written for the latter) [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content