Glance at the nominees for the 2013 Grammy Awards and you'll notice something oddly missing: women. WTF!?
This year men utterly own the rock and alt-rock disciplines. In all four rock-related categories—Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song, Best Rock Performance, Best Alternative Music Album—only three women are nominated. That's three out of 20. Or, in other words, women represent 15 percent of the nominations. Again: WTF!?
Sure, men had a great year in rock: Jack White, the Black Keys, Coldplay and Mumford & Sons and others all deserve their nods—they released great albums. But there are a load of albums from women, or female-fronted bands, that are criminally overlooked.
"Click next" to check out the 14 most egregiously snubbed albums in the Grammys' rock categories.
Perhaps the most overlooked and egregiously snubbed of all the eligible female albums, Feist's Metals is a masterwork from an artist acting upon their daring instincts, not chart-motivated pop fodder.
A backlash of sorts to the stardom delivered unto her iPod-commercial-springing hit "1234," Metals is dark, tangled and deeply orchestrated, a collection of discordant rock jams and smoldering acoustic ditties about graveyards. This is deep stuff.
It's Feist at her most Feist-y, crafting intricate songs with horns, xylophone and, at times, nuts percussion that feel more attuned and true to Feist than anything else she's ever released. Its omission is truly a lapse in judgement on the Academy's part.
Metric's fifth studio album, Synthetica, is perhaps the Canadian indie outfit's most ambitious. It's a loose concept album based on Blade Runner, and it's the band's declaration of arrival in rock's big leagues—it's slick and aiming for the cheap seats, with siren Emily Haines as the gorgeous, glitter-doused New Wave siren.
She's perhaps the most polarizing pop newcomer: Lana Del Rey has vehement fans and equally vehement haters, but it's surprising none of the former sit amongst the Academy's ranks. Say what you will about her SNL appearance, but Lana's debut album Born to Die was a genre-fusing hip hop-meets-Nancy Sinatra masterpiece, with tracks like the drama-filled "Video Games" topping charts worldwide. Hey, the people spoke and Lana ruled.
No Doubt's long-awaited reunion album didn't disappoint. Push and Shove found the SoCal quartet back doing their reggae-pop-ska-punk patchwork thing, which, even decades later, is still as fresh and unique as it was back in the Tragic Kingdom days.
First of all, Santigold's latest, Master of My Make-Believe, featured an all-star cast of producers and guests like Switch and Diplo, David Sitek of TV on the Radio and Nick Zinner and Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Second of all, those assets weren't put to waste. The LP produced three hits, "Big Mouth," "Disparate Youth" and "The Keepers," all solid tracks deserving for a nod.
Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, was one of 2012's biggest newcomers. Her keyboard "indietronica" jam "Oblivion" became the underground hit of the year, nabbing Pitchfork's Song of the Year title, and her latest album Visions became a year-end list staple. Clearly the Academy don't like sweaty loft parties.
Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes, received acclaim (and Mercury Prize noms) for her first two albums, Fur and Gold and Two Suns, and again was met with accolades aplenty with the arrival of her latest The Haunted Man. It's perhaps her best yet; a raw, touching effort that strips back the sonic layers of her previous work to expose an artist at her most confident, dealing emotional blows via atmospheric electro-pop. It makes ya wonder: does an artist have to sell millions to get the Academy's attention?
Produced by the National's Aaron Dessner, Tramp, this Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter's third studio album, is full of songs so introspective and heartfelt that you feel emotionally drained after one listen. Then you go back for another. And with guest vocal takes from Aaron Dessner, his brother and bandmate Bryce Dessner, Beirut's Zach Condon and Wye Oak's Jenn Wasner, Tramp is an all-star indie release in every way.
We've all heard the story: Amanda Palmer took to Kickstarter to solicit fans for $100,000 to record her new album. She ended up with $1.2 million, sparking chatter about the "new music model" and, ultimately, a load of backlash. But sadly this all overshadowed the music, which is fantastic. Theatre Is Evil is full the drama-filled, Broadway musical-influenced piano ballads she's know for. SPIN even said it's "exactly the kind of record that makes people love music in the first place." Wow.
Best Coast make happy, fun and sunny music—even their bummer songs about breakups, ended friendships, cloudy days, etc. are happy, fun and sunny. And you know what people need more of? Happy, fun and sunny music. But their new album The Only Place is no happy-go-lucky toss off. This is tightly-wound guitar pop, full of smart choruses and snappy guitar-drum interplay. Every track is hummable. Best Coast do a lot with little, and that's worth recognizing.
Beach House's 2010 release Teen Dream rocketed the Baltimore duo out of the dream-pop underground and into the pop consciousness and onto stages at big festivals like Coachella. Their latest album, Bloom, is even better—it expands and polishes the gorgeous, keys-and-guitar dream world of Teen Dream. It's startlingly beautiful, especially Victoria Legrand's chilling vocal takes. And the LP's title is perfect; this is the sound of flowers blooming in slow motion. Now that's award-worthy.
This classically trained pianist has turned "quirky" into an art form. She's all cartoon voices, intimate whispers, beat boxing outbursts and quick-tongued rambles about ordering tomato soup. Her style is the definition of unique, and her latest album What We Saw From the Cheap Seats is Regina Spektor amplified, which is why it's perhaps her best yet.
St. Vincent's last solo album, 2011's Strange Mercy, was an egregiously overlooked album at the 2012 Grammys, and her collabo with David Byrne, Love This Giant, is another that's criminally absent from the nominations. It's brainy, confident and, as expected, totally arty, from the honking horn section to the didgeridoo flourishes, to Annie Clark's live-wire guitar work.
While most artists hit the casino circuit or retire in the twilight of their careers, punk-poet elder stateswoman Patti Smith, who's spanned over four decades in music, is instead as vital and relevant as she was in the early 1970s. The proof: her latest album Banga, a quintessential Smith portrait with rambling talk-poetry on everything from history, current affairs, death and nature. It was universally acclaimed with a very-high Metacritic rating of 83, probably thanks to the music; it's slick and truly enjoyable rock, mixing with Smith's oft-brash vocals in perfect amounts.