Did The Grammys Get The Last 15 Album Of The Year Winners Right?

02.12.16 2 years ago 6 Comments
The 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Press Room

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This Monday, five albums will be competing for Album Of The Year honors at the Grammy Awards. Will Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly get the nod, making his inexplicable loss to Macklemore hurt a bit less? Or will Taylor Swift’s 1989 be rewarded for dominating the pop landscape so thoroughly over the past year? We don’t know yet, but a more interesting question might be how much an Album Of The Year win really matters. To make that distinction, let’s look back at the last 15 years of Grammy winners, and see how many times they got it right and how many choices look absurd in retrospect.

2000

Winner: Steely Dan — Two Against Nature

What Should Have Won?

And right off the bat, we have a pick that makes absolutely no sense! Seriously, Kid A and The Marshall Mathers LP were both nominated this year, and somehow, they both lost to Steely Dan’s comeback album! I would have given the nod to Radiohead, if only because some of the extreme misogyny on Eminem’s work hasn’t aged well, but either one of them would have been much better choices.

2001

Winner: Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack

What Should Have Won?

Let’s not ignore the impact of the OBWTA soundtrack, which introduced a lot of people to bluegrass and widened country music at large. Still, this was an unfortunate choice, as Outkast’s immortal Stankonia got robbed here. It was an enthralling album that challenged the notions of what hip-hop was capable of. Happily, Outkast would get their due respect just two years later, though.

2002

Winner: Norah Jones — Come Away With Me

What Should Have Won?

If you don’t remember, this was the year Norah Jones won every Grammy in sight, then a few more for good measure. The voters love for Norah seemed to blind them to stronger efforts, like Bruce Springsteen’s post-9/11 meditation The Rising, which marked a stunning career revival for The Boss. Also worthy of consideration were The Eminem Show and Nellyville, both of which dominated radio that year. I would have given this one to Springsteen, but if Nelly had gotten some love for bringing the phrase “it’s gettin’ hot here/so take off all your clothes” into the American lexicon, I would not have objected.

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