Here are my musings on the 53rd Annual Grammy Award nominations, which were announced this week:
I was glad to see Florence+The Machine get a Best New Artist
nod (as usual there is a "who?" nominee in there with Esperanza Spalding) and La Roux get some for Best Dance Recording and Electronic Album.
Bravo to Arcade Fire landing a much deserved Album of the Year slot. I'm sure their indie label Merge Records is still celebrating that one. They'll have to overcome heavy competition from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry (what a joke), Lady Antebellum and Eminem (who most critics heap tons of praise on, but I still despise due to his past homophobic lyrics; sorry Elton - I don't buy that he's sorry for that, even if you two are friends).
I'm not too thrilled about Song of the Year nominees Cee Lo, Miranda Lambert, Eminem/Rihanna, Ray Lamontagne and Lady Antebellum.
Record of the Year contenders are pretty weak this year too, with Eminem, Cee Lo, B.o.B./Bruno Mars, Jay Z/Alicia Keys and Lady Antebellum (overplayed, but the best of that lot).
The Best Alternative Album field is all good with Arcade Fire, Band of Horses, Vampire Weekend, Black Keys and Broken Bells.
Since Bruce Springsteen didn't really have anything to nominate during the eligibility period (I'm sure he'll have several nods in 2012 for the amazing "Promise/Darkness" package), Neil Young picked up the slack in the rock categories for "Le Noise." Young nabbed three, including Rock Album, Song and Solo Rock Vocal. On the latter, he's up against Paul McCartney's fab live "Helter Skelter" from "Good Evening NYC."
Members of The Doors are well-represented with guitarist Robby Krieger getting into the Pop Instrumental category (curiously for a jazz album; Doors expert Ida Miller tells me she believes it's his first nom), while the band itself gets slotted into Best Long Form Music Video for the "People Are Strange" documentary.
Cyndi Lauper's inclusion in the Traditional Blues category for "Memphis Blues" was a bit of a surprise. Although I'm a big fan and thought she was ill-suited to the genre, the album seemed to get decent reviews.
Best Song from a Motion Picture, TV Show or Visual Medium is very strong for a change, with Steve Earle, Ryan Bingham and Lucinda Williams/Elvis Costello all in contention (no, that wasn't supposed to be Best Contemporary Folk).
Dierks Bentley competes against himself in the Country Collaboration with Vocals for his cool cover of U2's "Pride" and "Bad Angel," where he's joined by Miranda Lambert and Jamey Johnson. Both are well deserved.
Another surprise came in the Traditional Pop Vocal Album area, with veteran Johnny Mathis' "In Nashville."
Michael Jackson got a posthumous nod in Best Male Pop Vocal for "This is It," while "Idol" Adam Lambert is also in there for "Whataya Want From Me."
Best Compilation Soundtrack is very good, with "Crazy Heart," "Twilight: Eclipse" and "Glee: Vol. 1" all making the cut.
Speaking of the Fox-TV show, I was pleased to see them get into Best Pop Performance Duo/Group for their brilliant cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'."
Leon Russell continues to feel the love, as he nabbed a Best Pop Collaboration with Vocal nod for his Elton John duet "If It Wasn't For Bad."
The Grammys air Feb. 13 at 8 p.m. on CBS.