We know, we know: we shouldn't be surprised. "Who even cares about a Grammys," amirite? Well, I can't help it. I definitely had some surprised moments when the 57th annual Grammys nominations were announced yesterday, and because I'm paid to follow the machinations of the EDM scene, I have to try and understand how the mainstream approaches the music that we cover on the regular. And while there are some SERIOUSLY dope additions to this years few electronic music categories, I can't front like these nominations didn't surprise me—for reasons both bad and good.
Where's Porter Robinson?
I was almost certain that worlds, or at least "Sad Machine," would have gotten a nod. The album was released on one of the few relevant imprints in the American scene for electronic music (Astralwerks), and received heaps of critical praise. The story of one of the brightest rising stars in EDM totally eschewing what made him "EDM" to do what makes him happy as opposed to chasing cash? And ultimately winning because of it? Yeah, I'm confused. I figured—at the very least—that he'd get a Best Dance/Electronic Album nomination. I didn't think he was a shoe-in to win it, but I did figure that he would be there.
What's with the Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical nominations?
No disrespect, but I'd love to see what didn't make the Best Remixed Recording nominations if a Tiesto remix of John Legend's "All Of Me" made it. Truth be told, this category has never fully represented the dance music scene, so we can move on, but really? Robin Schulz and Eddie Amador remixes?
Skrillex not being nominated last year made sense; his musical releases were pretty sparse, and not as impactful as previous years. But those previous years involved six Grammys, sweeping the electronic categories for two years in a row—including winning Best Dance/Electronic Album for EPs in both of those years (Scary Monsters And Nice Sprites in 2011, Bangarang in 2012). In 2014, he dropped his first official album, Recess. Was it the critical smash many assumed it would be? Not really. It did yield some solid records (including "Stranger"), but for some reason in a post-Daft Punk's Random Access Memories world, nothing from Recess made it into the nominations.
While I'm not shocked, based on the Grammys' previous moves regarding Skrillex, I am surprised.
Aphex Twin's nomination
Were you surprised when Aphex Twin's SYRO received a Best Dance/Electronic Album nomination? No, right? Billboard inquired about it earlier this year, and while I doubt that Warp purposefully released Aphex's first album in 13 years to fall within the Grammy deadline, I do think that the album has a strong chance of winning, as does deadmau5:
sorry, remeber that "under the bus" thing i was talking about? one of those times. Credit where credit is due! pic.twitter.com/qip5lfyK3j
— deadmau5 (@deadmau5) December 6, 2014
It's still just crazy that Aphex has never been nominated, although the fact that he'd had such a dry spell in regards to albums, coupled with the categories being more tailored to pop and more mainstream dance music tastes, it makes sense.
ZHU made it
Like Zedd before him, the Grammy nom for "Faded" was one of those moments where your stannery is justified. We've mentioned previously how ZHU's music is tailor-made for radio, and to see radio shun him, but the Grammys pick up on tracks like "Faded?" It's awesome, and can give an electronic music fan hope. Will he be able to pull out a win over Duke Dumont and Disclosure?
Calvin Harris' popularity not netting him any nominations
Sure, Motion didn't make the September 23 cut. I get that, and I won't surprised if Motion gets all kinds of nominations in 2016. But for a track like "Blame," which broke Spotify records just a few months ago, to not be nominated as Best Dance/Electronic Recording? Or "Summer," which definitely had a huge impact this summer (even if I don't want to hear it) not making it? It's just odd to see that he had Best Dance Recording nominations for the last two years for "Let Go" and "Sweet Nothing," even though he didn't win. 2014 has been a weird year for dance music on the whole, with few truly big singles hitting the mainstream (especially compared to 2013), and to see that some of the bigger singles didn't make it is confusing.