The list of contenders for the 55th annual Grammy Awards was announced Wednesday night, with six acts leading the list with six nominations a piece. Jay-Z and Kanye West, who have become regular contenders for the award show, were among several relative newcomers to top the pack of musicians, including drummer Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Fun., Frank Ocean and Mumford & Sons, reports the Associated Press.
“It feels like alternative music is back,” said fun. guitarist Jack Antonoff. His band’s gold-selling “Some Nights” is up for album of the year, competing with Black Keys’ ”El Camino,” Mumford & Sons’ ”Babel,” Jack White’s “Blunderbuss” and “channel ORANGE,” the major label debut from Ocean.
Fun. is nominated in all of the major categories, including best new artist, and record and song of the year for its breakthrough anthem “We Are Young.”
Ocean, whose mother attended the nominations special, scored nods in three of the top four categories. His song “Thinkin Bout You” — which he originally wrote for another singer — will compete for record of the year with Black Keys’ ”Lonely Boy” and four No. 1 hits: Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” ‘’Somebody I Used to Know” by Gotye and Kimbra, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and “We Are Young” by fun.”
While Ocean’s presence in the mix for record of the year gives the “proceedings a whiff of sanity,” says Post music critic Chris Richards, the category felt slightly stagnant.
“Nominees for album of the year, the most coveted Grammy, skewed toward rock music after a year when rock music felt less relevant than ever. (The category included Mumford & Sons, Jack White, and his most famous imitators the Black Keys.) And deeper in the weeds, the sprawl of categories continued to confuse. After slimming down from 109 to 78 categories last year, the 55th Grammys are back up to 81, adding awards for classical compendium, Latin jazz album and urban contemporary album.
A quick sampling of head-scratchers: fun., widely recognized as a rock band, aren't nominated in the rock categories, but its sophomore album "Some Nights" is up for best pop vocal album. Robert Glasper Experiment's "Black Radio" seems like a lock for a jazz Grammy, but is nominated for best R&B album. The nominees for best alternative album included Bjork, Tom Waits, Gotye, M83, and Fiona Apple, five artists who only seem like alternatives to each other.”
Richards has however selected a few standouts for the top four categories:
RECORD OF THE YEAR: "Thinkin Bout You" — Frank Ocean
ALBUM OF THE YEAR: "Channel Orange" — Frank Ocean
SONG OF THE YEAR: "We Are Young" — Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe)
BEST NEW ARTIST: Frank Ocean
Several top-selling artists were left out of the categories altogether. And electronic and dance music, which have become increasingly popular, received little attention, the Associated Press reports.
“Though nominated albums by The Black Keys and Mumford & Sons are platinum-sellers, their songs are not regularly heard on Top 40 radio. Electronic and dance music, which has dominated radio airplay for a few years, were left out of the top awards this year. Also, One Direction — the boy band that released two top-selling albums this years and sold-out many arenas — was snubbed for best new artist.
Lionel Richie has one of the year’s top-selling albums with his country collaboration collection, “Tuskegee,” but he didn’t earn any nominations. And Nicki Minaj, who released a gold-selling album this year and had a hit with “Starships,” wasn’t nominated for a single award.”
The Grammy Awards will take place Feb. 10 in Los Angeles.