- The 2020 Grammy Awards nominations were announced Wednesday morning.
- Boring, uninventive songs like “Talk” by Khalid, “Always Remember Us This Way” by Lady Gaga, and “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi were nominated in major categories.
- Lil Nas X’s lacklustre EP “7” was nominated for album of the year, while Ed Sheeran’s deeply forgettable “No. 6 Collaborations Project” was nominated for best pop vocal album.
- Somehow, convicted abuser Chris Brown is still getting nominated for Grammys.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Nominations for the 2020 Grammy Awards were announced Wednesday morning.
Powerhouse newcomers Lizzo, Billie Eilish, and Lil Nas X led the pack for the 62nd annual ceremony, which will air live from Los Angeles’ Staples Centre on January 26, 2020 at 8 p.m. ET on CBS. Pop veterans Ariana Grande and Lana Del Rey were finally recognised in major categories for the first time in their careers.
But as any regular Grammys viewer knows, for every deserved nomination and celebrated moment, there’s at least one point of contention or confusion.
This year was no different, and the Recording Academy made some missteps. Keep reading to see nine songs or albums, in no particular order, that seemed out of place in the new batch of honorees.
Khalid’s single “Talk” doesn’t feel interesting or inventive enough for record of the year.
Like much of Khalid’s music, “Talk” isn’t bad. It’s just not good.
Record of the year is meant to recognise innovative production, vibrance, uniqueness – and, though the Grammys claim to judge nominees “without regard to sales or chart position,” it traditionally recognises songs that push boundaries in the music industry, capture our collective attention, or somehow represent the current state of pop culture.
“Talk” did none of those things, so it hardly deserves a nod in one of the Grammys’ most prestigious categories. It’s essentially fodder for “summer vibes” playlists on Spotify.
“Sunflower” by Post Malone and Swae Lee, also nominated for record of the year, is similarly lacklustre.
“Sunflower,” the featured song from the “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” soundtrack, would have made perfect sense as a nominee for best song written for visual media. Instead, it was nominated for the highest honour a song can receive, alongside genre-bending and boundary-pushing hits like “Old Town Road,”“Truth Hurts,” and “7 Rings.”
Songs made for movies are usually considered long shots for the major categories at the Grammys, and “Sunflower” isn’t even interesting and culturally relevant in the same way that previous honorees have been (think: “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born,” and “All The Stars” from “Black Panther”).
It’s unclear why the Grammys are so enamoured with Post Malone, but if they really wanted to nominate him, “Wow.” or “Circles” would have made more sense – “Sunflower” wasn’t even the best song he released this year.
“Old Town Road” is a smash, but Lil Nas X’s EP “7” shouldn’t have been nominated for album of the year.
I truly can’t fathom why Grammys voters would put a lacklustre, seven-song EP on the same plane as rich, career-defining albums like “Thank U, Next,” “Norman F—ing Rockwell!” and “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”
Nobody would have been upset if Lil Nas X hadn’t been nominated for album of the year, as long as “Old Town Road” got its proper due. “7” isn’t even a studio album! It was a rush job, a way to prove he’s not a one-hit wonder (mission accomplished: “Panini,” the only other great song on the EP, is also a hit), and to satiate his fans while he works on his official debut.
If the Grammys wanted to honour Lil Nas X for his genre-defying innovations, that was accomplished by nominating “Old Town Road” for record of the year and best pop duo/group performance. Even “Panini” was nominated for best rap/sung performance.
If the Grammys wanted to include at least one rap-adjacent project in its most prestigious category, “Igor” by Tyler, the Creator would have made a much better choice.
It wasn’t necessary to nominate another song from “A Star Is Born” in a major category.
“Shallow” was deservedly the centre of attention during 2018’s awards season, and so it wasn’t eligible for any more Grammys this year. “A Star Is Born” had its moment. And, put simply, none of the other songs on its soundtrack deserve to drag it back into the spotlight.
There’s a reason why we’ve all collectively moved on and forgotten about “Always Remember Us This Way.” Maybe it’s just not great or maybe it’s because “Shallow” was too good and overshadowed it, but either way, it’s hardly worthy of a nod for song of the year.
“Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi, nominated for song of the year, is a boring cookie-cutter ballad.
Grammy voters have always loved a slow, melancholic ballad with robust vocals: Adele’s “Hello” and Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” for example, both swept the categories for best pop solo performance, record of the year, and song of the year.
“Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi technically fits into that category, but unlike those songs, it’s sinfully dull. Yes, it’s been the No. 1 song in the US for the past three weeks, but it’s probably popular because it sounds so familiar – meaning, as Slate’s Shaad D’Souza noted, it’s optimised for streaming because it ribs on the traditions of successful balladry without bringing anything fresh or interesting to the table.
Taylor Swift was snubbed in major categories, yet her annoying single “You Need to Calm Down” was nominated for best pop solo performance.
Of the 18 tracks on Taylor Swift’s excellent new album, “Lover,” her song “You Need to Calm Down” is one of the worst, second only to “Me!” featuring Brendon Urie. In fact, those two lead singles are arguably the only iffy songs on the entire tracklist.
Thankfully, the titular track was nominated for song of the year, but it makes little sense why a try-hard pop song like “You Need to Calm Down” would be nominated when the Grammys failed to recognise Swift for most of her more deserving work this year (“Lover” for album of the year and “Soon You’ll Get Better” for best country duo/group performance would have been a start).
“Señorita” by Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, nominated for best pop duo/group performance, is a vastly overrated song.
Two beautiful celebrities taunting fans to speculate about their relationship status is a PR trick as old as time, but publicity doesn’t make the song better. “Señorita” isn’t exactly Grammy-worthy; it’s just thoroughly average.
Ed Sheeran’s “No. 6 Collaborations Project” was too forgettable and unimaginative to be nominated for best pop vocal album.
Ed Sheeran’s “No. 6 Collaborations Project” was previously ranked by Insider as the third most disappointing album of the year. Stuffed to the brim with high-profile features, it was largely interpreted as a bid for attention and radio play with no real voice, authenticity, emotion, or cohesion.
“Few releases have been as baldly transparent and destined for ubiquity as ‘No. 6,'” Rawiya Kameir wrote for Pitchfork, “which has all the conspicuous mining of a Drake album, but very little of the finesse or cultural fluency.”
It’s deeply upsetting that Chris Brown is still allowed to be nominated for Grammys.
For the love of god, why was Chris Brown’s collaboration with Drake, “No Guidance,” nominated for best R&B song? Why is he even a part of the conversation in 2019?
I don’t think anyone forgot, but it bears repeating: Brown is a convicted abuser. He has been repeatedly accused of assault, abuse, violent threats, stalking, and rape, as recently as this year. His ex-girlfriend Karrueche Tran has a 5-year restraining order against him.
Even if you desperately want to separate the art from the artist, putting all that aside, Brown is laughably far past his prime. His music isn’t good. A Drake feature doesn’t make it better (in many ways, it actually makes it worse).
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