The yearly list of snubs and surprises, mostly disappointing, or more commonly known as the Grammy nominations are out. What’s not surprising is that, like every year, the Grammys continue to be mainstream industry-friendly and well, bland; still acting as pall-bearers for an industry whose legacy has already been proven tarnished.
The biggest, and also what seems to be the hastiest, change for the 2022 ceremony is that the Academy has increased the number of nominees to 10 for each of the four categories (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist), up from eight in 2021 and five as recently as 2018. Grammy’s biggest snub in recent years towards The Weeknd’s record-breaking hit Blinding Light led The Weeknd to call the Academy and it’s suspiciously untransparent working out. The secret nominating committees now have a reduced role in the entire process, but that seems to be it when it comes to ensuring transparency.
This year, Jazz artist Jon Batiste leads the pack with 11 nominations, deservingly and predictably so, while industry kids Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, and H.E.R., each with eight nods, and then Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo, who have seven apiece, follow closely. The nominations feel like a courteous nod to industry traditionalists speckled with the usual mainstream next-gen popstars as a way to stay relevant, which clearly does not seem to work.
The newly expanded list of Big Four nominees doesn’t do anything at all for inclusivity, and only seems even more uninspiring and scattered as you can pick out the misses and snubs clearly when the list is longer. The Academy has faced constant criticism for its lack of inclusivity and its indifferent treatment towards music from the rest of the world. A lot of backlash was garnered towards the Academy last year when one of the world’s biggest streaming acts BTS received only one nomination for their one English-language single, ignoring their genre-diverse album submissions, and in the end, milking them for views on their televised show. It’s hard not to believe with actions like this that the Academy does not take non-English music seriously, especially when they have pulled the same move yet again this year, nominating BTS for their English single in the same category, to try and garner favor (but fail miserably) from the viewers. With only two categories to represent global music, the Grammys continue to lose relevancy as all non-English language genres, as widely different as they all obviously are, fight for the same ten spots.
The rap nominees however bring the waves of disappointment back in and almost drowns you over. None of the nominations could barely make the top ten best rap songs released this year yet there they stand in their nomination glory with their industry tags flashing red from way ahead. This just confirms that the Academy’s nomination committee consists of boomers (or as boomers say, old) who continue to stay out of touch with hip-hop.
To make matters worse, the Academy continues to nominate, directly or by association, several alleged abusers and transphobic, homophobic offenders, some of them being Marilyn Manson, DaBaby, Dr Luke, and Dave Chappelle. The Academy persists in trying to be the change while all it ends up doing is losing relevancy quicker than ever in an industry where music fans do not hesitate in supporting their artists directly and voicing their opinions out. The Grammys now has just become a ceremony to see the industry favorites walk down the red carpet in their best(well, the best they can do) and socialize within their closed-off and privileged circle, and barely a ceremony to celebrate the best in music.
(head to this link for the complete list of nominees: https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/2022-grammys-complete-winners-nominees-nominations-list)