The Recording Academy announced the nominations for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards yesterday, Dec. 6. As with the previous six years, the full nominations list was preceded by "The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live! — Countdown To Music's Biggest Night," a one-hour CBS special including performances by Lorde, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Robin Thicke, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift and other high-profile musicians.
It was a big year for hip-hop/r&b with Jay Z topping the nominations with nine; Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Justin Timberlake, and Pharrell Williams each garnering seven; and Drake earning five nods this year. Other notable showings go to 17-year-old New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde and electro-music duo Daft Punk each with four nods, and Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars in the running for four Grammy Awards each.
In the rock arena though, the Academy wasn't a complete letdown. The Best Alternative Music Album category shows a bit of promise with The National, Tame Impala, and Vampire Weekend all deservedly in the running for their fantastic albums; Trouble Will Find Me, Lonerism, and Modern Vampires of the City, respectively. Rock acts Jack White and Queens of the Stone Age also garnered a little bit of Grammy love this year.
Let's pretend that the Alternative community actually cares about the Grammys and the awards themselves aren't just an industry popularity contest. With the exception of a few very successful independent acts, the Academy continues to perpetuate our culture's unfortunate tendency to not branch away from 'Top 40' music with this year's nominations. 2013 was a great year for indie rock, underground alt rock, and electronic music. However, the Academy doesn't seem too keen on looking past the number pushing giants to get to some of the truly revolutionary music they're missing out on.
It's refreshing to see hip-hop potentially having its Grammy moment this year. Here's to hoping The Recording Academy will make some changes to look beneath the surface at some of the brilliant indie/alternative music that's getting left behind.
The 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards will air live on Jan. 26, 2014 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Check out the full list of nominees here.