I've got 7 albums of varying degrees of acclaim (most of them pretty solid) who enjoy Grammy inertia (prior albums winning or nominated for AOTY) and a clear pedigree that won't inflame critics. The extent to which NARAS controls which Records, Songs and Albums are presented to members as eligible for nomination in the general categories is murky. My understanding is they curate a list of 20 releases for each of those 3 categories and Best New Artist--a category they really need to eliminate--to avoid the PR debacle of another Milli Vanilli (which they handled stupidly: instead of rescinding the award and having no winner, they should have simply awarded the musicians who actually performed on the fucking album).
This curation is how Bon Iver's
And curation is what yields a nomination akin to Vince Gill's 2008 Album of the Year nomination for _________ _________ (you have no idea, do you?). Or that year's category winner, River: The Joni Letters by ________ (hint: he's also an Oscar and MTV Video Music Award winner).
I would love to see Solange and Bey competing for AOTY, but somehow this feels more like a Leonard Cohen year.
I was reluctant to put Rihanna down (but she's surprised with a nomination despite the mediocrity of the album in the past); and I decided to take a stand, omitting Barbra Streisand as a possibility. It's a mess and she'll pick up the Traditional Pop category since Tony Bennett is sitting this year out (this would have been a great year, Liza).