The Grammy’s is meant to be a representative of the collective whole’s opinion, but admittedly, there are times when they miss the mark. I love to tune in every year to see how my opinions fare with the Academy’s, but to avoid making this too long as the show can sometimes feel, let’s dive right into it.
I did some research on how they’ve been awarding Best New Artist in the past five years, and it seems like the past two years were when they started to veer off the path of giving the award to the most prominent (and possibly most deserving) artist in the category. For background – 2019 was Billie Eilish, 2020 was Megan Thee Stallion, and 2021 was Olivia Rodrigo. All fantastic shouts within the context of the years they were rewarded, right?
I’m sure the artists who won in the past two years are great artists and deserve a nod in one way or another, but in 2022 Samara Joy beat out Omar Apollo, Muni Long, Anitta, Wet Leg, Latto, Måneskin, and Domi & JD Beck to name a few. 2023 was unfortunately no different, and Victoria Monét edged out Noah Kahan, Gracie Abrams, Fred Again, and multiple other honorable mentions including Ice Spice and Jelly Roll due to their prominence in the culture during 2023.
This doesn’t go to say that the artists who won aren’t great artists who have put in their time to deserve recognition, but the caliber of artists who they beat out is borderline criminal. I could go into more detail, but the names listed speak for themselves. Personally I think that breaking this category up into something like the most viral artist of the year and having a spot for artists who are still making names for themselves would really benefit the credibility of the award.
Whether you’re a fan of Country or not, you heard Zach Bryan’s self titled project and saw its effect on the culture. It charted for weeks, enlisted some extremely tasteful features, and was simply deserving of CAOTY. It possibly even deserved a nod in the Best Album of the Year due to the general lack of Country and Rap representation in the category. I’m not as salty about this one due to the fact Zach Bryan and Kasey Musgraves won a Grammy for the Best Country Duo/Group Performance, but it still is a pretty glaring miss as far as mainstream prominence and sheer quality goes.
While I can step back and admit that UTOPIA wasn’t my favorite Travis album of all time, you can’t deny the impact his music has had on the landscape of rap dating all the way back to Days Before Rodeo. His production has always been cutting edge and he almost single handedly created the foundation that rap sits upon today, yet the Academy has nominated him ten times to no avail.
There is a reason that artists like Frank Ocean, Eminem, and The Weeknd all boycott the Grammys, and it’s because they simply don’t give credit where it’s due at times. Of course they get things right enough a lot of the time, but when you reflect on singles like Blinding Lights and The Bigger Picture, as well as albums like Please Excuse Me For Being Antisocial and Good Kid Maad City being overlooked for less impactful nominations – you have to admit there is a disconnect.
To avoid this becoming a full scale rant I’ll stop there; but in summation, the Grammys did most categories justice outside of what was listed above. It’s a blessing to be able to have an awards show that gives as much time and credit to the music industry, but I think it will still take a decent chunk of years until the awards are a true reflection of society as a whole. Let me know your opinions on Instagram, but I just needed to voice how I feel after a few slightly disappointing awards were given during an otherwise exceptional show.