When the Grammys and the Critics Might Have Agreed

Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 1 2011 9:35 AM

Grammys Pour Cold Water on Kanye’s Fantasy

132076450JN078_2011_Victori

Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Kanye West may have received the most Grammy nominations, announced in a televised ceremony Wednesday night, but he was snubbed where it hurts. After his fifth album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, became both a commercial smash, selling over a million copies, and an undisputed critical champ, it had seemed like the critics and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences might soon reach a rare consensus. But when it came to Album of the Year, Kanye—who takes awards shows very seriously—didn’t even receive a nomination.

Forrest Wickman Forrest Wickman

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

Kanye received seven nominations in all. Four of those are for his collaboration with Jay-Z, Watch the Throne, which was also left out of the Album of the Year category.

Advertisement

Adele, who won Best New Artist in 2009, made a triumphant return with six nominations, and she and Bruno Mars were nominated in all the major categories: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year. Adele’s 21 is by far the best-selling album of the year, with more than 4.5 million copies sold, but neither 21 nor any other album this year has received as much acclaim as West’s Fantasy.

Over in the indie world, headlines touted not West or Adele but the four nominations for Bon Iver, who will compete against the likes of Katy Perry (for Record of the Year and Song of the Year), Nicki Minaj (for Best New Artist), and Radiohead (for Best Alternative Music Album). Radiohead received five nominations, providing further ammo for those who would argue that artists like Radiohead and Bon Iver represent “our adult contemporary.”

In one final surprise—there’s no shortage when you have 78 categories (down from 109 last year!)—Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane was nominated for two awards, including Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. If the Grammys are to be trusted—and there are plenty of reasons why they shouldn’t be—MacFarlane’s voice might be good for more than portraying Stewie.

You can check out the complete list of nominees on the Grammys’ website.

Coverage of this year’s nominees in Slate:

Mike Spies on Adele’s 21.
Taylor Clark on Best New Artist nominee Skrillex.
Jonah Weiner on Best New Artist nominee Nicki Minaj.
Jonah Weiner reviews Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Seth Colter Walls on Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne.
Jody Rosen on Lady Gaga’s Born This Way.
Jonah Weiner on “the improbable, unstoppable success of Rihanna.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
  Life
Gaming
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.