- Tomisin Sobande
On November 24th, the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 63rd Grammy Awards. The Grammys are infamous for not giving proper recognition to talented artists, and this year is no different. At least the Academy can say it’s consistent! This year the Recording Academy failed to nominate lots of talented artists for the categories they deserved. The Recording Academy is supposed to be held in great regard, but how can anyone be expected to do that when it doesn’t award talent? At this point, many people no longer view a Grammy as a measure of talent, and I agree. I believe that an artist having a Grammy doesn’t necessarily make them any better than those that do not. Anyways, I am going to take you through what I think are the biggest snubs this year.
On April 17, 2020, British-Japanese songwriter Rina Sawayama released her debut album Sawayama. It was immediately rated very highly by critics, and it impressed people by showing Sawayama’s ability to blend genres like pop and metal. The review site Metacritic gave Sawayama an incredible 89 rating. To help you understand how significant that is, you should know that only 12 albums released in 2020 received such a high rating. There’s no doubt in my mind or many other people’s that Rina Sawayama should have been nominated for Best New Artist.
Fiona Apple’s album Fetch the Bolt Cutters was critically acclaimed and projected by some to win Album of the Year at the Grammys, so it was a big disappointment to see that it was excluded from that category. Fetch the Bolt Cutters was universally praised as a masterpiece and received an incredible 98 rating on Metacritic, the highest rating for any 2020 album. The Grammys have once again overlooked an amazing album and artist.
BTS made history by becoming the first K-pop act to receive a Grammy nomination, but please don’t let that fool you. The Recording Academy has majorly overlooked their successes this year. Their song “Dynamite” was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, but it is really shocking that this is the only nomination BTS received. The music video for “Dynamite” got over 100M views in the first 24 hours of its release, a number that broke YouTube’s record. It debuted on the top of Spotify’s Global Top 50 Chart, and it holds the record for the biggest Spotify debut of 2020, passing Taylor Swift. One would think that all of these records, including its position on the Billboard Charts, would get more than just one nomination. It is also not lost on anyone that BTS had to release an all-English song in order to finally get recognition from the Grammys after they have been a global force in the music industry for many years.
Furthermore, BTS also released their album this year, Map of the Soul: 7. The fact that the Grammys did not nominate this album for a single category shows how unreliable the Grammys are. Map of the Soul: 7 debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart and set countless records. MOTS: 7 is the most pre-ordered South Korean album of all time and had the biggest debut of 2020 worldwide, passing Eminem. Also 347,000 copies of the album were sold, so this album set the record for the biggest sales week for any 2020 album. This achievement is especially impressive since BTS doesn’t bundle their albums with other products. All of these achievements and more are enough to receive multiple Grammys, and it’s such a shame that BTS has to work 10 times harder than their artistic peers, just to be not be recognized because the Grammys are xenophobic. I hope in the future this will change.
Finally, this is easily the worst snub of these Grammy nominations. The Weeknd’s After Hours will probably join the company of Beyonce’s Lemonade and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pim* A Butterfly as albums that were horribly robbed at the Grammys. But to make matters even worse, After Hours didn’t even receive a nomination. The fact that The Weeknd didn’t receive any nominations at all is extremely embarrassing for the Grammys. Blinding Lights, his lead single, is currently the longest-running song in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 ever. If that isn’t enough to convince you that it deserved more, I should add that Spotify recently revealed that Blinding Lights was the most streamed song of 2020 on Spotify. Blinding Lights should have been nominated for both Record of the Year and Song of the Year. As for the whole album, After Hours spent four weeks on the Billboard 200 List and went four times platinum. It also is on the top of many sales charts and critics’ charts. After dominating the music charts in 2020 the way he did, it is absolutely baffling that The Weeknd received zero nominations.
Unfortunately, this list does not even include all of the talented artists who were snubbed by the Grammys The Grammys continue to show how out of touch they are with the current musical landscape. I think that it is time that we, as listeners, accept that Grammys Awards no longer hold the same weight as they used to. The Grammys have a history of disrespecting people of color and women going back decades, so maybe a Grammy is simply not important to musicians anymore. Expecting the Grammys to fix their ways is clearly futile.
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