January 6 [15:00 EDT] -- Forget the cowboys, where have the Spice Girls gone... at least in the minds and hearts of Grammy voters?
O.K., so maybe it's not so surprising that the group was shut out of NARAS' Grammy nods given the Girls' lack of critical clout, but this is the organization that once gave a Grammy to Milli Vanilli.
The group is part of a wave of hitmakers who dominated the charts throughout 1997, but failed to earn props from the academy. Sugar Ray, Smash Mouth, Chumbawamba, Third Eye Blind, and "Alternative Press" readers' poll artists of the year the Mighty Mighty Bosstones may have dominated the radio in 1997, but none of them earned Grammy nods.
Similarly, the late Tupac Shakur's posthumous release, "The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory," was one of the top selling rap albums of 1997 (behind only Puffy and the Notorious B.I.G.) yet failed to garner a spot in the Grammy field. Instead, the Academy doled out rap nominations to L.L. Cool J, Will
Smith, and Wyclef Jean.
With many who dominated the charts left out in the Grammy cold, there was plenty of room for surprise nominees. In the race for Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, obligatory entries by Fiona Apple ("Criminal") and Meredith Brooks ("Bitch") were joined by Ani DiFranco ("Shy"), Abra Moore ("Four Leaf Clover"), and Patti Smith ("1959").
Likewise with the absence of artists that radio programmers consider alternative, the Grammy field was clear for Björk ("Homogenic"), David Bowie ("Earthling"), the Chemical Brothers ("Dig Your Own Hole"), Prodigy ("Fat of the Land"), and Radiohead ("OK Computer") to pick up nominations for Best Alternative Music Performance.
Many of Tuesday's Grammy nominations took an older spin, as evidenced by the artists in the Best Rock Album category. The veteran-rich category features Aerosmith ("Nine Lives"), John Fogerty ("Blue Moon Swamp"), the Rolling Stones ("Bridges To Babylon"), U2 ("Pop"), and the Foo Fighters, which makes the average age of an artist in that category 44 years-old.
Of course, the average Best Rock Album nominee would still be the younger brother of the average Best Male Rock Vocal Performance nominee, as the average age of the men in that category (David Bowie, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, John Mellencamp, and Bruce Springsteen) is 49.
The Academy also showed its age in its attempts to fit emerging electronic artists into its existing categories. The Chemical Brothers found their music deemed both rock (Best Rock Instrumental for "Block Rockin' Beats") and alternative (Best Alternative Music Performance for "Dig Your Own Hole"). Prodigy also saw their brand of electronic dance tagged as alternative as "Fat of the Land" will also for Best Alternative Music Performance. Elsewhere on the electronic family tree, Daft Punk has been branded a dance act as the group will square off against the likes of Gina G and Donna Summers for Best Dance Recording.
As for the rest of NARAS' surprises, they will arrive when the Grammy winners are named on February 25.
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