Opinion: Don’t bank on the Grammys getting it right this year
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The 2017 Grammy Awards are this Sunday and everybody will be tuned in to see who will be taking home a golden gramophone trophy. The album of the year category is stacked with heavyweights, featuring the likes of Beyoncé, Drake, Adele and Justin Bieber.
Though all of those stars are established household names and each of them had wildly successful years individually, there is only one correct choice for album of the year. That would be Beyoncé Knowles-Carter who released her landmark album Lemonade on April 23, 2016.
There have been multiple instances throughout the history of the Grammy’s where they have dropped the ball in the album of the year category, leaving people to wonder how The Recording Academy came to their decisions.
In 2005, Kanye West’s Late Registration was a commercial monster, selling 860,000 copies in its first week, while also being a critical darling, but didn’t win album of the year. Kanye lost out to U2’s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, which sold a lot of records but did not receive the same level of critical acclaim as it’s counterpart.
Or how about in 2015, when the aforementioned Beyoncé released her most honest project to date, Beyoncé, where she opens up more about her sexuality than ever before and seems the most comfortable in her skin. She lost to Beck’s album Morning Phase despite her album being the better reviewed of the two and selling substantially more records.
And look no further than last year’s Grammy Awards where Taylor Swift’s album 1989 won album of the year honors over Kendrick Lamar’s politically and racially charged tour de force To Pimp a Butterfly.
There isn’t just a trend of the Grammy’s snubbing a more deserving album; it’s the fact that he Grammy’s are snubbing more urban and contemporary albums in favor of the “safer” pick.
Outkast is the only rap act to ever win album of the year at the Grammy’s, in 2004 for their album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Lauryn Hill was the last African- American woman to win the Grammy’s biggest award in 1999 for her groundbreaking The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.
Only three African-American women have ever won album of the year at the Grammy’s in total, those being Hill, Whitney Houston, and Natalie Cole.
No album dominated 2016 quite like Lemonade. From the commentary on empowering women, self-acceptance, and healing to the huge album sales, this was the album that will be forever held up as the poster child of 2016.
The lead single of the album, “Formation,” was the biggest anthem of the year and Beyoncé’s performance of it at Super Bowl 50 was more talked about in the following days than the actual game itself.
The visual album, aired on HBO, sent the internet into a frenzy and reasserted ‘Queen Bey’ back atop of the musical food chain and into pop culture’s consciousness. Not to mention it is Beyoncé’s most ambitious album of her catalog and showed her in a light we had never seen her in before.
Beyoncé doesn’t need an album of the year win at the Grammy’s to solidify her place as one of the biggest icons in music history. Her catalog speaks for itself.
But it sure would go along way towards legitimizing the Grammy’s as a credible award show and something the masses should really care about.
Lemonade was the best album of 2016, and one of the best albums released in the past 10 years, just don’t be surprised when it loses to Adele’s 25.