Why should you care about the Grammy Awards? Very valid question. But let’s face it: as the Writer’s Strike threatens to shut down more and more red carpet events, the 50th Annual Grammies may be the only constant in this year’s lagging awards season. In that light, the following is the eighth installment in my three-week countdown to February 10. Read below for my picks & pans in one of ‘08’s many Grammy categories.
The award: Best Alternative Music Album
Past five winners: Gnarls Barkley (St. Elsewhere); The White Stripes (Get Behind Me Satan); Wilco (A Ghost Is Born); The White Stripes (Elephant); Coldplay (A Rush of Blood to the Head)
Alright, Still…, Lily Allen
Neon Bible, Arcade Fire
Wincing the Night Away, The Shins
Icky Thump, The White Stripes
Who’s Missing: Not only is Radiohead’s In Rainbows the alternative album of the year; it’s the hands-down album of the year. My guess is that the Grammy voters discounted the disc because it was originally released by the band itself and not by a record label (back in October). By that logic, it’s the 2009 winner in this category, as its major-label release date was January 2008. But if snubbing In Rainbows for its independent release doesn’t prove that Grammy voters cater to the wishes of the major labels, then I don’t know what does.
Who Shouldn’t Be There: The two chicks. Björk’s Volta was a largely ignored sell-out record — Timbaland produced a third of it and Björk still couldn’t break into the mainstream. And Lily Allen’s Alright, Still… is a pop record. Just because Grammy voters are too big of pussies to put it in the proper category doesn’t mean they can slide it under the guise of “alternative.”
Who Should Win: The Arcade Fire. They’re the most intriguing alternative act out there right now, with five members who play everything from organ to mandolin. They’re also Canadian Obama supporters, so there’s pretty much nothing that Grammy voters like about them. But Neon Bible is worth a spin, which, let’s face it, means a lot more than a Grammy anyway.
Who Will Win: The White Stripes. There’s an unwritten rule of Grammy voting in the Best Alternative Album category: if nominated, give it to Coldplay, Radiohead, Beck or the White Stripes. If more than one of the above is nominated, panic. If none are nominated, pick the funniest name. (Case in point: Gnarls Barkley, 2007). Even though Icky Thump is a scattershot record, expect The White Stripes to benefit from this rule.