Congratulations to all the Grammy nominees. Kind of a strange Album of the Year category though, huh? Four white rockers, one Frank Ocean and zero women whatsoever. You'd have to look back to 2001 for the most recent all-male category. 1984 was the last time before that. (And, on the flip side, Album of the Year has never gone without male representation.) In the last two decades, there's been an almost uniform split between male and female victors for the Grammys' biggest prize.
While it's understandable that 2012 didn't deliver anything on the eye-popping commercial or critical scale of Adele and her Grammy-dominating 21, we've gotta wonder: Where are all the women? Off the top of our heads, Album of the Year could've seen respectable entries from:
- Rihanna's Talk That Talk. Loud was nominated in 2011, and Talk was equally massive, culture-permeating, and career-defining. "We Found Love"? "Where Have You Been"? Hello? Is this thing on?
- Florence + the Machine's Ceremonials. An epic album all the more impressive for only being Flo and Co.'s second time out. Hard to argue this English act didn't create something Album of the Year-worthy.
- Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel... Pick any non-channel ORANGE record currently nominated. Replace it with Apple's fourth LP. Now, not only did the world not fall apart—the world became a better place. Apple's first album in seven years aggressively deserved a nom here.
If we go past the tops of our heads a bit, we'd be happy to talk about Regina Spektor's What We Saw from the Cheap Seats, Sharon Van Etten's Tramp, and Kelly Clarkson's Stronger as viable Album of the Year contenders in lieu of the Black Keys' El Camino, Jack White's Blunderbuss, fun.'s Some Nights or Mumford & Sons' Babel. (Again, you're safe, Frank. You're good. So good.)
Elsewhere, it's nice seeing the ferociously female-led Alabama Shakes get some love for Best New Artist (accompanied by four men/all-male acts), but what about a nice Lana Del Rey or Azealia Banks nod? (Sure, Banks' album hasn't arrived yet, but the 1991 EP? Classic. The woman's presence in general? Beyond promising—unforgettable.)
Speaking of female rappers: Nicki Minaj's sophomore effort was surely less dynamite than her debut, but couldn't it have wormed its way into a Best Rap Album category with six nominees (Drake, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, The Roots, Rick Ross, 2 Chainz)? Weren't a couple of Nicki's rhyme-heavy tracks solid enough to penetrate the male-dominated Best Rap Song and/or Best Rap Performance? (Yes. These are rhetorical questions.)
Not much we can do at this point except hope 2013 is Carly Rae Jepsen's Adele time—maybe she'll restore balance to the Force with next year's nominees.