Grammy Nominations — The Good, Bad, and the Meh

by Christopher Ehlers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday December 4, 2021
Originally published on December 3, 2021

Recently the 2022 Grammy nominations were announced, and although many artists like Olivia Rodrigo, Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, and Lil Nas X scored nominations in the expected places, there were plenty of surprises and snubs.

And because there always seems to be controversy surrounding the Grammy nominations, The New York Times reported that just 24 hours before the nomination announcement, there were some last minute additions made to the nominees: Taylor Swift's "Evermore" and Kanye West's "Donda" were added to the Album of the Year; Lil Nas X's "Montero (Call Me by Your Name)" and Abba's "I Still Have Faith in You" (WTF?!) were added to Record of the Year; and Doja Cat's "Kiss Me More" and Brandi Carlile and Alicia Keys' "A Beautiful Noise" were added to Song of the Year.

What does this all mean? Well...we aren't sure yet. Just a year after getting rid of the secret committees that were partially blamed for The Weeknd's insane snubs last year, the Grammy's again arouse suspicion about their process.

But aside from that drama, we definitely have some thoughts about this year's nominees: the good, the bad, and the meh.

The Good

Jon Batiste leads the pack with 11 nominees.

You might know him as the bandleader on The Stephen Colbert Show, but Batiste is a dizzyingly talented musician and recording artist who picked up nods across a myriad of categories this year, including R&B, jazz, American Roots, and classical. He also won an Oscar earlier this year for his work on the "Soul" score, and in a few short months, he seems likely to be halfway to EGOT status.

Tony Bennett goes for gold one last time.

Picking up top nominations for Album and Record of the Year, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga's "Love for Sale "seems to have a real shot at taking home the big prize this winter. "Cheek to Cheek," their 2014 outing that scored them a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, was a good album, but "Love for Sale" is a great album. Sadly, it will also be Bennett's last. Go get 'em, Tony.

H.E.R. continues to shine.

Before anyone really knew who H.E.R. was, she was a regular presence at the Grammy Awards. Nominated for Song of the Year for three consecutive years—winning last year for the protest anthem "I Can't Breathe," all three of her albums have been nominated for Album of the Year, including this year for "Back of My Mind." Her song "Fight for Your," which won H.E.R. an Oscar this year, is up for Song of the Year. She's the real deal.

The Bad

Lana Del Rey gets shut out.

Her last album, "Norman Fucking Rockwell," finally got Del Rey nominated in Album and Song of the Year categories that she has deserved to find herself in, well, since the start of her career. Some thought that 2021's "Chemtrails Over The Country Club" could land her in Album of the Year territory again, and that "Let Me Love You Like a Woman" had Song of the Year potential. But alas, another Grammys, another Del Rey robbery.

Hey Grammys, remember John Mayer?

Once upon a time, John Mayer was a Grammy darling: he's won seven awards from his 19 nominations, including Song of the Year for 2005's "Daughters." But he hasn't been nominated for his own music in a decade, which is perplexing considering the strength of the work he's released in that time. 2021's "Sob Rock" was a fun, thoughtful, brilliantly marketed album that ought to have scored Mayer at least a couple of nominations this year.

Taylor Swift: 1

It makes sense that the Grammys might have Swift fatigue after awarding her third Album of the Year win earlier this year for folklore. But "folklore's" sister album, "evermore," is—in some ways—even better. While it is true that "evermore" did ultimately get an Album of the Year nomination, it seems to have been added at the eleventh hour, which probably tells us all we need to know about its chances of winning. But the lack of support for "evermore "is a crime: it just may be the actual best album of the year.

The Meh

What is it with Justin Bieber?

While it is true that Bieber only has two Grammy Awards to his name, he has been nominated an astounding 22 times, 8 of which he's up for this year. We can totally get behind his Record of the Year nomination for "Peaches" and his Best Pop Duo nomination for "Lonely." But Song of the Year for "Peaches?" And an Album of the Year nomination for the middling, meandering "Justice"? No thanks.

Ariana Grande remains underappreciated.

We put Ari in the MEH category because she did manage to score a couple of key nominations in the pop categories, but many thought she deserved to be up for Album of the Year for "Positions," an excellent album that has been receiving consistent radio play since its release, and also for Record and Song of the Year for the titular track.

Olivia Rodrigo does expected.

It feels mean spirited to root against an 18-year-old, but Rodrigo has definitely reached her saturation point with plenty of music fans. Her album sales are incredible. Her songwriting is good. But the sooner we all admit that she's not the second coming of...whoever she's ripping off this week, the better off we'll all be.