The continued joke of the Grammys’ “electronic” category

Brazilian Girls – New York City
Daft Punk – Alive 2007
Cyndi Lauper – Bring Ya To The Brink
Kylie Minogue – X
Moby – Last Night
Robyn – Robyn

These are the nominees for this year’s Grammy Awards’ electronic/dance category. And as with every year since the category was introduced they are ridiculous as emblematic of the wide swath that the concept of “electronic music” cuts.

The inclusion of the “dance” concept clearly makes the category more palatable for the out-of-touchers that determine the Grammy nominations but also ensures that the committee, with their mainstream tastes will nearly always default to the more familiar, well-trod dance artists. Thus Grammys for Madonna and Britney Spears in the category (and a continued need to define the parameters of what constitutes a truly “electronic” artist – I will post thoughts on this shortly), though the three awards for the Chemical Brothers doesn’t feel egregious.

Every year the Grammy committee names the most mainstream dance artists they can to represent two entire, and quite disparate genres and it ends up doing a major disservice to one of those genres. I like Robyn and respect her reinvention/comeback and sure, put her in there. Not my cup of tea but well deserved. And I always have time for Moby but to nominate some of his most underwhelming work when there are so many more deserving artists (where’s the love for Ladytron? Nine Inch Nails? Thermostatic? Myriad more). Ditto Daft Punk (who I would give the award to among these nominees, though I predict it will go to Robyn). Kylie and Cyndi? Well, okay. I particularly have a lot of time to Cyndi Lauper but really? Among the best of the year in these two genres? …Okay.

I have the same frustrations with the “alternative” category most years (and we have seen the same issues with other niche genre categories like heard rock/heavy metal) and in each case it just shows how out of touch these voters really are when it comes to anything outside the mainstream or the commonly accepted as “meaningful” artists in a given year. I’ll likely watch this year for the first time in a while because there are actually some interesting nominees in the major categories and I’m looking forward to some of the performances but this is yet another year when I’ll be glad this category takes place outside the broadcast proper.

{edited to add: Daft Punk won, good on them, well deserved among the nominees, but best electronic album of the year, no, no it wasn’t}


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