December 17, 2003

Grammy's getting senile

Of course it's always surprising to me when an artist I actually like gets nominated for a Grammy, since most Grammy nominees are either acts who hit their peaks over a decade earlier or top 40 acts who will never have a peak to hit. So it's pretty cool that Fountains of Wayne is up for two Grammys this's just sort of dumb that one of those awards is for Best New Artist. (For those of you who haven't been following the career of this fine band, a quick glance at their entry will reveal that they released their debut album in 1996, and another album in 1999.)

This is apparently a sense of the word "new" of which I was previously unaware. The Grammy site's explanation of the category sheds a little light, but gets itself into a little logical loop: "For a new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist."

Well, "Stacy's Mom" (the source of their other nomination, for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal) may be Fountains of Wayne's first big hit, but to say that song's the first thing that established their public identity is kind of condescending. And that definition still includes the phrase "new artist", which they're not.

In other Grammy news, Prince's worst album yet was nominated for "Best Pop Instrumental Album", I guess because there aren't that many prominent pop instrumental albums released in a year. I'm only familiar with one of the other nominees in that category (the extremely entertaining "Mambo Sinuendo" by Ry Cooder and Manuel Galban), but the others sound just as crappy as Prince's. I mean, how good can any Kenny G album be? And George Winston playing the music of the Doors? That's so very wrong.

Posted by Francis at 09:53 PM

This is often the freakiest Grammy category. Perhaps the most notable recent example is when Shelby Lynne won it in 2001, after releasing six albums since 1989.

Posted by: Trip at December 18, 2003 11:04 AM

I blanched at this too... "Radiation Vibe" was a Top 10 Modern Rock radio single. Does that count for nothing?

But keep in mind (if I recall correctly) that No Doubt won the Best New Artist Grammy after they'd been a band for like seven or eight years.

Posted by: Dan at December 19, 2003 08:53 PM

I guess I didn't notice either of those previous instances of Grammy illogic because I'm not so much a fan of either of those acts. But yeah, apparently they've had a long history of not investigating performers when they are actually making their debuts.

Posted by: Francis at December 20, 2003 12:59 AM