While the Grammy nominations weren’t a total disaster, rightfully celebrating Chloe x Halle, Phoebe Bridgers, Megan Thee Stallion and Dua Lipa, you cannot deny some blatant snubs and some outright stupid choices.
Justin Bieber’s Changes barely deserves recognition, never mind a nomination – especially not four. The Canadian singer’s social media tantrum at not being considered for R&B nominations showed a complete disregard for any kind of musical sportsmanship and total delusion towards the genre of his own record. There is not one universe in which ‘Yummy’ is an R&B single.
Secondly, The Weeknd has unfortunately joined the list of infamous Grammy album snubs, alongside Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday, Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Lorde’s Melodrama. At least those albums got a nomination, After Hours has been well and truly ignored. Abel’s lead single ‘Blinding Lights’ was one of 2020’s biggest smash hits and the album charted at number one worldwide, The Weeknd is well within his right to express his anger at the Academy. This continues the unpleasant trend of artists of colour narrowly avoiding recognition with British-Japanese artist Rina Sawayama missing out on a completely deserved nomination for Best New Artist.
Overall, while it’s amazing to see flourishing new stars get a chance to go up against some of the biggest names in music, it’s not even a surprise at this point that the Grammys have missed the mark.
Harry Styles, the mega rockstar of 21st Century, has a new title prefixing his name; 'Three Times Grammy Nominated.' Styles whose self-titled debut album came out in 2017, despite being a significant hit as a solo artist, was not nominated for Grammys until this year. Fine Line, Styles' second album has received nominations for three categories namely; 'Adore You' for Music Video, 'Watermelon Sugar' for Pop Solo Performance and the album for Pop Vocal Album. I'm particularly chuffed for Styles' nominations because it is well deserved.
When it comes to music, I'm not the one to usually pick sides or go with the mainstream hits. For me, the variety, individuality and honesty of the piece are the most significant bits. Fine Line, in many ways, achieves these 3 milestones as Styles remains honest about his musical process, and going with what he feels more aligned with rather than focusing on what people want to hear.
Music, like any other art form, is a way of exploring and expressing one's most authentic truths rather than producing a homogenised body of work. Styles has fit in the most distinct variety of songs and sounds in his album rather than reproducing the fundamental chunks of his previous hits. The lyrics are sincere, vulnerable and defy any categorisation, whereas the sound follows the rhythm which it feels most attuned to. From reminiscing the 70s soft rock to psychedelic to funk, the album is an inspired mix of Styles' musical heroes and his own life experiences. In no way, the songs ever try to replicate something but instead follow what tickles their fancy, and in doing so, reveal their authenticity in the most innocent way. So, even though there have been many upsetting reactions about the Grammys nominations this year; I am also in no position to deny the one rightful thing we have achieved with Harry Styles' Fine Line.