Last night’s big reveal of the 2013 GRAMMY nominations wasn’t without its surprises – and we’re not just talking about The Who’s Roger Daltrey showing off his (68-year-old) bare chest.
The theme of this year’s nominations could be taken in a number of ways, but when you look at the contenders up for all-powerful Album of the Year category, one thing is certain: it’s the year of the underdogs and the newcomers.
Instead of pop superstars and music legends, the category is populated by modern “alternative” favorites – Jack White, The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, fun. and Frank Ocean, all of whom had massive success in 2012. Surprisingly, the Academy wasn’t exactly feeling the love for folks like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan, who were expected to receive significant nods. The nominations skewed younger, overall, with three of the nominees – Mumford, fun. and Ocean – considered relatively fresh in the industry. When you start considering Taylor Swift an industry vet, you know the nominees in the Record and Song of Year categories – from Ed Sheeran and Miguel to Gotye and Carly Rae Jepsen – skew green. Older GRAMMY viewers may tune in and recognize nearly no one in the major categories – not even pop mainstays like Justin Bieber, who was shockingly snubbed entirely this year, much to the (public) chagrin of his manager.
So where were our icons last night? Springsteen, who is this year’s GRAMMY/MusiCares Person of the Year, received no nods in the top overall categories for his successful, politically-aware 2012 album, Wrecking Ball. The album is nominated for Best Rock Album (against Coldplay, Muse, Jack White and the Black Keys), while the first single from it, “We Take Care Of Our Own,” received nods for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song. It’s worth noting that The Boss has been on a bit of a GRAMMY hot streak in the latter part of his career, as has Bob Dylan, who took home Album of the Year in 1998 for Time Out Of Mind. He won GRAMMYs for his subsequent two albums, 2001′s Love And Theft and 2006′s Modern Times, but this year, Dylan’s up for a mere – oh wait, he’s not nominated at all.
The other big surprise as far as our musical legends are concerned is the Beach Boys. Somehow, they’ve never won a GRAMMY – and their big reunion won’t be ending with one. That’s Why God Made The Radio received zero nominations, but oddly enough, The SMiLE Sessions – an album that was always the subject of drama for the band – is up for the largely-unnoticed category of Best Historical Album. It seems, somehow, that Paul McCartney fared among the best out of the legends – and he merely released a covers album and a reissue this year. His Kisses On The Bottom was nominated for Best Traditional Pop album, while his reissue of 1971’s Ram got nods in Best Historical Album and Best Boxed Or Special Limited Edition Package. Again, not exactly high-profile stuff (and it’s not as though Macca needs anymore statutes to define his rare level of fame).
So for those who like a sense of history in their GRAMMYs, 2013 isn’t exactly the year for you. Instead, expect to watch (and listen) with an ear for new discoveries.
– Jillian Mapes, CBS Local