Last night, when the nominees for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards were announced, there was one conspicuous absence. Actually, there were many absences, but we’ll get to that. Despite the Recording Academy’s announcement that the show would “feature a special live announcement from a truly iconic group regarding their historic band reunion set to take place,” and their own tweet strongly hinting that Van Halen would be that band, the award nominations came and went without a mention of any reunion. Granted, the band may still wind up performing at the actual awards ceremony on February 12, but if so, they’re going to announce it on their own timetable.
When asked for comment, Recording Academy chairman Neil Portnow pointed the finger at Van Halen. “What happened was very simple,” he told HitFix. “In the world of creativity, everything is fluid. In the process of discussions that we had been having with an expectation that perhaps we would be at a point tonight where the artist involved and we, moving forward, would be ready to announce [a reunion], they weren’t quite at that point. So it’s live television, we go on to the next act. It’s rock and roll and so on. That being said, we were genuine about the intention and we are genuine about the discussion.”
On to the nominations themselves. We’d already pointed out that when deciding earlier this year to consolidate the number of categories recognized from 109 to 78, the “Best Metal Performance” and “Best Hard Rock Performance” would be combined. Well, here are the nominees for “Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance”
“On The Backs Of Angels”
“Curl of the Burl”
“Public Enemy No. 1”
“Blood In My Eyes”
WHAT?! Who even knew Sum 41 even had a new album out? Or that they were considered hard rock? Alternative, sure, but where there are only five slots to recognize two different genres of rock music, it’s a bit of an insult to have one of those nominees be a song that nobody’s heard from a band we’d describe as more pop-punk than metal. We’re actually OK with the first four. Dream Theater put out a solid record that sold well, and it’s pretty good to see prog metal represented. Megadeth is almost a given at this point, and “Enemy” hits the sweet spot between commercial and heavy. Mastodon and the Foo Fighters are the best representation of the newly-combined category. While first and foremost a metal band, Mastodon have indie cred (whatever that means) and are beginning to get some mainstream acceptance. And while Dave Grohl is a multi-platinum rock star, the Foos’ “White Limo” sounds like it could have been on the Probot record. But when cutting down an already-marginalized category from 10 slots to five, the nominee list is at least 20% bullshit.
Elsewhere, there’s not a ton of metal to be found. Foo Fighters were the only rock band to be nominated for Album of the Year, but since they’re not Adele or Lady Gaga, likely won’t win. Fans of dubstep and From First To Last might be excited to find out that Skrillex picked up a handful of nominations. So in short, another year of more of the same.