Originally created 02/22/98

Grammy voters need to get a clue



While the Grammy Awards don't generally strike me as a true barometer of the pop music landscape, this year's crop of nominees pretty much symbolize the wasteland that was 1997.

Hanson, Babyface, Puff Daddy, the Wallflowers. Yuk.

With nominees this boring, the Spice Girls deserve a shot during Wednesday's telecast of the 40th Annual Grammy Awards (8 p.m., WRDW-TV, Channel 12). At least they're fun.

Here's more proof that the crusty National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences don't have a clue: David Bowie is nominated for best alternative music performance?

I love the Thin White Duke, but what are they smoking in Grammyland? How can a rock star who has been on the scene for 30 years be considered an alternative artist? He's a household name. My mother, who last bought an album when ABBA was still together, knows who he is.

I guess the voters forgot Bowie's pop hits Let's Dance, Fashion, Fame, Golden Years and tons of classic rock albums. Although the 50-something Brit has reinvented himself as a darling of newer rockers like Smashing Pumpkins, his nomination is comparable to nominating Jethro Tull for best heavy metal band. Wait, that's already happened.

To further illustrate how out-of-whack the Grammys are, Mr. Bowie is also nominated in another category: Best male rock vocal performance. So which is it, rock or alternative rock?

This points out how really pointless these sub-categorizations are, as music constantly evolves and borrows from other styles. It's a good thing a grunge category wasn't invented.

OK, with that venting taken care of, I'm going to join every other arts and entertainment columnist in the land and predict who should take home a Grammy. (I'm picking from the Grammy nominees, not saying who should have been nominated in the first place.)

Record of the year: Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? Paula Cole; Sunny Came Home, Shawn Colvin; Every Day Is a Winding Road, Sheryl Crow; MMMBop, Hanson; and I Believe I Can Fly, R. Kelly.

Who should win: a tie between Ms. Crow and Ms. Cole.

Album of the year: The Day, Babyface; This Fire, Paula Cole; Time Out of Mind, Bob Dylan; Flaming Pie, Paul McCartney; and OK Computer, Radiohead.

Who should win: Radiohead, hands down.

Best New Artist: Fiona Apple, Erykah Badu, Paula Cole, Puff Daddy and Hanson.

Who should win: Ms. Apple has been a bad, bad girl but good enough to bring it home.

Best rock album: Nine Lives, Aerosmith; Blue Moon Swamp, John Fogerty; The Colour and the Shape, Foo Fighters; Bridges To Babylon, the Rolling Stones; and Pop, U2.

Who should win: U2, for taking risks other rockers won't.

Best rock performance by a duo or group with vocals: Falling in Love (Is Hard on the Knees), Aerosmith; The Chain, Fleetwood Mac; Push, matchbox 20; Crash Into Me, Dave Matthews Band; and One Headlight, the Wallflowers.

Who should win: Nobody. They should all be banished to their respective studios and think about what they've done.