I’ll start this post by saying that I know the Grammys are worthless, that they’re not so much a celebration of artistic integrity and merit as they are a way for the music industry to pat itself on the back for another year where CD sales haven’t stopped completely. There’s absolutely no reason to get worked up over such an occasion, no reason to care who or what gets nominated, much less who or what wins. But because this is the internet, I have an issue with the Grammys, and because this is a metal blog, you’ve probably surmised that my issue has to do with the nominees for best Metal Performance.
Here are the 2014 Nominees for Best Metal Performance:
- Anthrax - "T.N.T." from Anthems
- Black Sabbath - "God is Dead?" from 13
- Dream Theater - "The Enemy Inside" from Dream Theater
- Killswitch Engage - "In Due Time" from Disarm the Descent
- Volbeat feat. King Diamond - "Room 24" from Outlaw Gentlemen and Shady Ladies
I wouldn’t have any issue with this if it didn’t seem like the Grammys at least tried to make the right choices for nominees in the other categories. The nominees for Album of the Year, for example, are:l
- Sara Bareilles - The Blessed Unrest
- Daft Punk - Random Access Memories
- Kendrick Lamar - Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - The Heist
- Taylor Swift - Red
I have no idea who Sara Bareilles is, but Daft Punk and Kendrick Lamar are both huge critical successes, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis had that “Thrift Shop” song that everyone everywhere heard every day, and Taylor Swift has sold approximately 70 billion records in five years. So that’s 2 critically acclaimed bands/artists, a duo with one of the biggest songs of the year, the artist who is almost single-handedly keeping the music industry relevant, and a wild card I know nothing about. That’s not a bad list for the purpose of the Grammys, and more importantly, it looks like a list some people actually put some thought into making.
The Metal Performance nominees seem to be missing that thought. I know that there will never, ever be a metal album that outsells Taylor Swift, that it’s highly unlikely a metal song will become a YouTube sensation that gets more page views than “Thrift Shop.” I’ll even acknowledge that most Grammy voters don’t want to listen to metal or take the time to research and decide which songs are deserving of being nominated each year. Anthrax, Black Sabbath, Dream Theater, and Killswitch Engage have all been nominated for Grammys before; it stands to reason that that fact is a huge part of their nominations this year. Being nominated for a Grammy doesn’t take anything away from any of these bands, just like winning a Grammy doesn’t make their song or album any better that it already was. It just seems silly that an organization that awards a “Best New Artist” award seems so hesitant to invite new metal acts to the party (that once again, means absolutely nothing).
For what it’s worth, here are the five songs I would have liked to see nominated (which I guess doubles as my Top Five Songs of the Year):
- Carcass - "Master Butcher's Apron" from Surgical Steel
- Scale the Summit - "Atlas Novus" from The Migration
- Deafheaven - "The Pecan Tree" from Sunbather
- Clutch - "Earth Rocker" from Earth Rocker
- Cult of Luna - "Mute Departure" from Vertikal
What are your thoughts? Should it matter at all? Even though they’re meaningless, should the Grammys at least try to get metal nominees right? Sound off in the comments below.