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2021 Grammy Nominations Full List, Analysis, Snubs
I’m not going to get into the long, sad history of the Grammys being an immense disappointment. I don’t need to recap the same mistakes this rapidly fading institution has made in the last few years. You don’t need me to list out all the artists—titans of the industry today—who have publicly denounced the Recording Academy for its history of ignoring the talents of women, of people of color, of rap music, of Latin music, on, and on, and on.
This was supposed to be the year that the Grammys were going to turn it around after the public humiliation following accusations made by ousted Recording Academy chief executive Deb Dugan.
Nope. Not the case. After a disastrous year for the music industry, in which artists still managed to produce some incredible music in uncertain times, the Recording Academy produced a list of nominees for the 2021 Grammys that are absolutely baffling.
Look no further than the Album of the Year category, which includes Post Malone and Coldplay, who you didn’t even know was still releasing music. Jacob Collier? Strangely, Black Pumas made the cut with the deluxe version of an album that was released outside of the eligibility window. No love for The Weeknd’s chart-smashing album. No general category nominations for Fiona Apple, whose Fetch the Bolt Cutters seemed like a lock for Album of the Year. The same goes for Bad Bunny, and Latin music in general, which didn’t see any love in the major categories when the genre is the dominant force in pop music right now. Even BTS, the biggest band in the world, couldn’t even get a major category nod for Song of the Year. You’ve even got Justin Bieber complaining about his three nominations, which only shows that no one is happy with these nominations.
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There are some highlights, yes. It’s wonderful to see all women in some country music categories and rock categories. I’m thrilled for Haim, Dua Lipa, and, of course, Megan Thee Stallion. Hell, I love that Taylor Swift album. It’s also wonderful to see Beyonce lead the nominations with nine, but it’s hard not to feel like it’s too little too late after she’s been historically snubbed by this voting body (remember the Lemonade debacle?). I would be astonished if Beyonce even bothered tuning into a digital ceremony.
The rap categories are mostly boring. No Run the Jewels or Mac Miller or Lil Uzi Vert. And Best New Artist includes either musicians who should be in the major categories (Phoebe Bridgers and Megan Thee Stallion), or artists who have been making Grammy-worthy albums for years (Kaytranada), or artists who simply have no place being there (Noah Cyrus, really?).
It’s a huge disappointing mess, but what should we expect from a year like 2020 and an institution like the Grammys? It feels like one big set-up to ensure Grammys darling Taylor Swift takes home Song and Album of the Year.
See the full list of 2021 Grammy nominations below and try not to throw whatever device you’re reading this on out the window.
Album of the YearChilombo, Jhene AikoBlack Pumas (Deluxe), Black PumasEveryday Life, ColdplayDjesse Vol. 3, Jacob CollierWomen in Music Pt. III, HaimFuture Nostalgia, Dua LipaHollywood’s Bleeding, Post MaloneFolklore, Taylor Swift
Record of the Year“Black Parade,” Beyoncé“Colors,” Black Pumas“Rockstar,” DaBaby and Roddy Ricch“Say So,” Doja Cat“Everything I Wanted,” Billie Eilish“Don’t Start Now,” Dua Lipa“Circles,” Post Malone“Savage,” Megan Thee Stallion
Song of the Year“Black Parade” (Beyoncé)“The Box” (Roddy Ricch)“Cardigan” (Taylor Swift)“Circles” (Post Malone)“Don’t Start Now” (Dua Lipa)“Everything I Wanted” (Billie Eilish)“I Can’t Breathe” (H.E.R.)“If the World Was Ending” (JP Saxe and Julia Michaels)
Best New ArtistIngrid AndressPhoebe BridgersChikaNoah CyrusD SmokeDoja CatKaytranadaMegan Thee Stallion
Best Pop Solo Performance“Yummy,” Justin Bieber“Say So,” Doja Cat“Everything I Wanted,” Billie Eilish“Don’t Start Now,” Dua Lipa“Watermelon Sugar,” Harry Styles“Cardigan,” Taylor Swift
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance“Un Día (One Day),” J. Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny, Tainy“Intentions,” Justin Bieber and Quavo“Dynamite,” BTS“Rain on me,” Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande“Exile,” Taylor Swift and Bon Iver
Best Pop Vocal AlbumChanges, Justin BieberChromatica, Lady GagaFuture Nostalgia, Dua LipaFine Line, Harry StylesFolklore, Taylor Swift
Best Traditional Pop Vocal AlbumBlue Umbrella, Burt Bacharach and Daniel TashainTrue Love: A Celebration of Cole Porter, Harry Connick Jr.American Standard, James TaylorUnfollow the Rules, Rufus WainwrightJudy, Renee Zellweger
Producer of the Year, Non-ClassicalJack AntonoffDan AuerbachDave CobbFlying LotusAndrew Watt
Best Engineered Album, Non-ClassicalBlack Hole Rainbow (Devon Gilfillian)Expectations (Katie Pruitt)Hyperspace (Beck)Jaime (Brittany Howard)25 Trips (Sierra Hull)
Best Remixed Recording“Do You Ever (RAC Mix),” RAC (Phil Good)“Imaginary Friends (Morgan Page Remix),” Deadmau5 (Morgan Page)“Praying for You (Louie Vega Main Remix),” Jasper Street Co. (Louie Vega)“Roses (Imanbek Remix),” Saint JHN (Imanbek Zeikenov)“Young & Alive (Bazzi vs. Haywire Remix),” Bazzi (Haywyre)
Best Engineered Album, ClassicalDanielpour: The Passion of YeshuaGershwin: Porgy and BessHynes: FieldsIves: Complete SymphoniesShostakovich: Symphony No. 13, ‘Babi Yar’
Producer of the Year, ClassicalBlanton AlspaughDavid FrostJesse LewisDmitriy LipayElaine Martone
Best Rock Performance“Shameika,” Fiona Apple“Not,” Big Thief“Kyoto,” Phoebe Bridgers“The Steps,” Haim“Stay High,” Brittany Howard“Daylight,” Grace Potter
Best Metal Performance“Bum-Rush,” Body Count“Underneath,” Code Orange“The In-Between,” In This Moment“Bloodmoney,” Poppy“Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe) — Live,” Power Trip
Best Music FilmBeastie Boys Story, Beastie Boys, Spike JonzeBlack Is King, BeyoncéWe Are Freestyle Love Supreme, Freestyle Love SupremeLinda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice, Linda RonstadtThat Lil Ol’ Band From Texas, ZZ Top
Best Rock Song“Kyoto,” Phoebe Bridgers, Morgan Nagler, and Mashall Vore (Phoebe Bridgers)“Lost In Yesterday,” Kevin Parker (Tame Impala)“Not,” Adrianne Lenker (Big Thief)“Shameika,” Fiona Apple (Fiona Apple)“Stay High, Brittany Howard (Brittany Howard)
Best Rock AlbumA Hero’s Death, Fontaines D.C.Kiwanuka, Michael KiwanukaDaylight, Grace PotterSound & Fury, Sturgill SimpsonThe New Abnormal, The Strokes
Best Alternative AlbumHyperspace, BeckFetch the Bolt Cutters, Fiona ApplePunisher, Phoebe BridgersJaime, Brittany HowardThe Slow Rush, Tame Impala
Matt is the Culture Editor at Esquire where he covers music, movies, books, and TV—with an emphasis on all things Star Wars, Marvel, and Game of Thrones.
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