Americans loved singing during the holidays — something that Kanye West can probably relate to as his new album took the top three spots on the album charts. Pop was also well represented at the major music awards, with Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars among the bigger winners. Here are the awards that we thought deserved more attention.
SZA – many people thought she’d be the year’s most deserved artist — nominations for both album and song had been announced by the Grammys. And the 25-year-old songstress delivered exactly the kind of performances and album that we expected. Instead, she’s gone home with nothing.
Kacey Musgraves – the incredible “Golden Hour” spent a remarkable five weeks at No. 1, leading all albums, while also landing two nominations. However, Kacey Musgraves, a fantastic performer and writer who straddles the country and folk worlds, is totally being passed over this year by voters.
Chevy Woods – coming off his massive hit “Sweater Weather,” the versatile music (often funky soul) producer had one single that just about anyone outside of Nashville would have voted for: “Real Friends,” which worked on a number of different levels. For the Grammys voters, though, this wasn’t one of those moments.
Patti Smith – the queen of folk, much loved by English culture as much as American, Smith has announced plans to release another album this year. One could argue that it was for the 2018 Grammys voters — because, really, this year’s nominees were essentially all the older folk singers.
The first Best New Artist winner was Adele – who followed up her big win with a little album of magical songs. Barely acknowledged in 2017, Adele’s comeback album, 25, took home multiple awards. Adele even managed to show her humility even as she looked like a maestro.
Jon Batiste – Tony-winning musical “Hamilton” brought Broadway royalty to the Grammys, but that only seemed to underline how hooey it was when the awards pushed Daft Punk over Bruno Mars for album of the year. The winner should have been someone with a larger reach, like a Bon Iver album, for example. Jon Batiste — the jazz drummer and music teacher — showed that you don’t have to be part of a Broadway tour to be an award contender.
Abba – the legendary Swedish supergroup is due to reunite this year — and received a very unexpected shoutout at the Grammys as a nominee for their new greatest hits compilation. Even if nobody thought the re-formed Abba would be part of the show, it’s nice to see how they are finally getting proper recognition after decades of people saying the Swedish and Danish pop acts had finally gone away for good.
And there were some songs that just deserved to win
“Closer” — One of the least understood and most deeply loved tracks in the history of music. It’s a “Yes We Can” moment by David Bowie that deserves recognition and celebration in 2018.
“Fix You” — And this is a category that seems to be much older than the awards themselves — Paul McCartney may be a favorite of songwriters, but Ellie Goulding certainly made a strong case for her melancholy-soul ballad.
“God Only Knows” — This is a song that continually continues to dominate the charts. Lorde had been supporting it relentlessly in the lead-up to this year’s awards, and why would she not want to win. She deserved a Grammy — not for “Lanois-produced” pop but for that gorgeously produced “Lanois-sourced” ballad — and so did everyone else who picked it up.