Saturday, July 13, 2024

Grammy Awards Cut Best Album Category to 8 Slots, Move Three Awards to General Field, Add Some “AI” Jargon


The Grammy Awards have made some changes to the rules for the 2024 eligibility.

There will only be 8 slots for Album of the Year this time, down from 10. Why? I would say because there are many fewer choices, so why strain to come up with 10? Right now the leading candidates are Miley Cyrus’s “Endless Summer Vacation” and Taylor Swift’s “Midnights.”

Indeed, the song of the year is Miley’s “Flowers” without a doubt. Ed Sheeran will certainly be in the mix, too. Will Morgan Wallen, top seller of the year, be allowed back in the fold? Hard to say. Foo Fighters will be among the nominees, so will maybe Zach Bryan and/or Luke Combs.

For R&B, I think there’s going to be a lot of talk about Durand Jones’s album, “Wait Til I Get Over.” But where is everyone? I mean people like India.Arie? Aloe Blacc? John Legend with an album of cool covers? Where is the new Stevie Wonder? Marvin Gaye?

The second biggest song this year after “Flowers” is Tracy Chapman’s 1988 hit, “Fast Car.” Combs is having SMASH hit covering it, weeks on the charts, plus the original is selling, too. Why? Because it’s an actual song, written by one person, telling a story, evocative and catchy. Remember all that?

Other changes: Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, and Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical, will be moved to the general field, allowing all Grammy voters to vote in these non-genre-specific categories.

There are also three new categories for the big afternoon cattle call:

Best African Music Performance: A track and singles category that recognizes recordings that utilize unique local expressions from across the African continent. Highlighting regional melodic, harmonic and rhythmic musical traditions, the category includes but is not limited to the Afrobeat, Afro-fusion, Afro Pop, Afrobeats, Alte, Amapiano, Bongo Flava, Genge, Kizomba, Chimurenga, High Life, Fuji, Kwassa, Ndombolo, Mapouka, Ghanaian Drill, Afro-House, South African Hip-Hop and Ethio Jazz genres.

Best Pop Dance Recording: Recognizes tracks and singles that feature up-tempo, danceable music that follows a pop arrangement. Eligible Pop Dance recordings also feature strong rhythmic beats and significant electronic-based instruments with an emphasis on the vocal performance, melody and hooks. Dance remixes are eligible in the Best Remixed Recording category only and may not be entered in Best Pop Dance Recording.

Best Alternative Jazz Album: This category recognizes artistic excellence in Alternative Jazz albums by individuals, duos and groups/ensembles, with or without vocals. Alternative Jazz may be defined as a genre-blending, envelope-pushing hybrid that mixes jazz (improvisation, interaction, harmony, rhythm, arrangements, composition and style) with other genres, including R&B, Hip-Hop, Classical, Contemporary Improvisation, Experimental, Pop, Rap, Electronic/Dance music and/or Spoken Word. It may also include the contemporary production techniques/instrumentation associated with other genres.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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