Our thoughts on the annual Grammy noms for “Best electronic album”

Each year one of the more frustrating experiences as a fan of electronic music is witnessing the dunderheads at the Grammys choose what they think constitutes the “best” electronic releases in a given year. The latest round of nominations is upon us so let’s open the pot and have a look inside, shall we?

As always, the category is actually called “Best Electronic/Dance Album”, frustratingly eliminating a huge swath of the best electronic music the world has to offer in a given year (most electronic music of note would never qualify as “dance”), and in the corresponding category, the focus on singles ignores the “electronic” aspect completely and focuses on just dance (that said, even with the restrictive nature of the category we see Goldfrapp, La Roux and Robyn joining the more predictable Rihanna and Ms. Gaga; t’would be awesome indeed to see Goldfrapp win a Grammy…). With the limits in the album category there are actually a few shards of light shining through, especially as compared to previous recent years.

These Hopeful Machines: BT

Further: The Chemical Brothers

Head First: Goldfrapp

Black Light: Groove Armada

La Roux: La Roux

The first thing we notice is that the bulk of these nominations are actually electronic albums, not some producer-manufactured dance nightmare as have dominated the category in previous years. La Roux is obvious here (we will be writing a separate post on the La Roux phenomenon before year’s end), Goldfrapp have clearly struck a chord with Grammy voters (ironic given the album is far from their best work, but they’ve clearly worn down the masses enough that they are an “awards band” even in the great US of A), and the Chemical Brothers have been here before, and are already a Grammy staple in this category, despite this, again, being far from their best stuff. Groove Armada aren’t normally our cup of tea, but Black Light has some nice moments, like the cooler-than-we-thought-it-would-be “I Won’t Kneel” and the neat Bryan Ferry-featuring “Shameless”.  A lot of it is tiresome but much of the album is quite clever and sure makes you move (thus earning the “dance” criteria in spades). BT is by-the-numbers dance and more than a little mundane but inoffensive.
We were a bit surprised not to see LCD Soundsystem nominated but given what had any chance (we knew full well there would be no Chew Lips, no Tikkle Me, no Mirrors, not even an O.M.D. on their radar), this may be the most solid the category has been overall in recent memory. Despite the averageness on display through much of Head First our pick would be Goldfrapp, just because they deserve whatever recognition they get, but truth by told, you can wrap this up for La Roux right now. They’ve crossed the divide into the mainstream and that alone will deliver them the statue on February 13th.
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One Response to “Our thoughts on the annual Grammy noms for “Best electronic album””

  1. “Head First” is Goldfrapp’s most ‘American’ sounding album so it’s no surprise to find it’s been embraced stateside. I find it a bit of a guilty pleasure and the live show for this tour has been their best yet in terms of pace and energy.

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