Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The Recording Academy announces the nominees for the 2024 Grammy Awards

The Recording Academy balances commercial and critical music successes of the year
James Munson

The announcement of the 2024 Grammy Awards seemed to reflect how music critics predicted how the Recording Academy’s voting would go. Grammy nominations walk a tightrope of acknowledging who were the commercial and critical music successes of the year. In a Popcast episode, Joe Coscarelli, a culture reporter for the New York Times, breaks down three categories that interplay when voters are considering potential nominees: industry success, commercial success and critical success. Commercial success accounts can account for Billboard charts, popularity and music selling power. Critical work is music that is highly rated and regarded by music critics.

Both categories are not mutually exclusive, and one isn’t exactly better than the other. Music criticism can be subjective and may poorly rate an album that was well received by the public. Similarly, sometimes music that’s popular isn’t necessarily critically acclaimed but has grabbed the attention of a mass audience. The intricacies of these two concepts are reconciled in the Grammy nomination decisions.

In 2023, the Recording Academy is very aware of its waning relevance to modern music culture but seeks to uphold its significance to the music industry. Harvey Mason Jr., the Recording Academy’s CEO, has positioned himself as appealing to music listeners and artists by integrating the necessary changes to the Recording Academy that have defined the Grammy’s controversies. By pushing an evolving and growing image of the Recording Academy, Mason tries to reorient ideas that the Recording Academy and the Grammys are an institution.

Some of the changes that have occurred for the upcoming 2024 Grammy Awards are the additions of Songwriter of the Year, Non-Classical and Producer of the Year. Non-Classical was pushed to the General Field, expanding the General Field to the Big Six. The General Field had previously been Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist. To globalize the impact of the Grammys, Best African Musical Performance was introduced as a new category. Tyla’s viral hit “Water” is one of the inaugural nominees, and Burna Boy, who already won a Grammy, received nominations in this category for “City Boys.” He has become a familiar name at the Grammys in recent years and continued to notch nominations in both Global Music categories and a nomination in Best Melodic Rap Performance.

Best Alternative Jazz Performance and Best Pop Dance Recording are also among new categories for the 2024 Grammy Awards, the latter making Troye Sivan a first-time Grammy nominee. The nomination comes after Sivan’s return to music this year. He’s part of many first-time Grammy nominees this year; boygenius received six nominations and a seventh nomination for Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical that will go to the album engineers for “the record.”  Two of their nominations landed in the General Field for Record of the Year for “Not Strong Enough,” and Album of the Year for “the record.” “the record” is boygenius’ first full-length album, and it captured critical and commercial success. Ice Spice, a talent that went viral in late 2022, continued her breakout year with four nominations. She was recognized in the General Field for Best New Artist and received nominations for her collaborations with Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift.

Victoria Money had a breakout year with the release of her album “Jaguar II.” Monet’s headlining tour for the album had people asking for larger venues to accommodate underestimated demand. “On My Mama” was a summer hit that received a Record of the Year Grammy nomination, one of Monet’s seven Grammy nominations. She’s previously been nominated at the Grammys for her songwriting on Ariana Grande’s album “thank u, next” and “Do It” by Chloe and Halle. Monet’s Grammy nominations mark a successful transition from songwriter to lead artist. Her daughter, Hazel Monet, also became the youngest Grammy nominee for her feature on the album track “Hollywood.”

Alongside Victoria Monet, Coco Jones and SZA swept up important awards for their respective massive years. These are major wins for Black women for the upcoming 2024 Grammys. SZA had an amazing year with her long-awaited album “SOS” sitting comfortably at the top of the Billboard 200 and the album’s singles following suit in Hot 100. SZA is the most nominated artist with nine nominations and swept up the Big Four of the General Field. She’s going for Grammy wins as a lead artist after losing her four nominations in 2018 and one Grammy win “Kiss Me More” with Doja Cat. Alongside Janelle Monae’s nomination for “The Age of Pleasure,” “SOS” poses an opportunity for a Black woman to win Album of the Year for the first time since Lauryn Hill’s 1999 win for “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.”

“Barbie: The Album” received 11 nominations, which included taking four out of five nomination slots for Best Song Written for Visual Media. This makes it the most nominated singular piece of work for the 2024 Grammys. PinkPantheress missed out on nominations; she was predicted to receive nominations for Best New Artist and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for “Boys a liar Pt. 2,” a song that was everywhere this year. Notably missing from the general categories was country music. Jelly Roll was the only country artist to receive a nomination (Best New Artist). 2023 had been a good year for country music, with Zach Bryan and Luke Combs taking up spots in the top five of Billboard. Comb’s cover of “Fast Car” was not eligible for Song of the Year, as Tracy Chapman had already been nominated for the song in 1989. It was a hit that stayed at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 for most of the year.

Zach Bryan’s self-titled album and collaboration with Kacey Musgraves stayed atop of the Billboard Hot 100 and 200. He was nominated last year for Best Country Solo Performance for “Something in the Orange,” but 2023 pushed him closer into mainstream and critical acclaim. Country was mainly relegated to the country music categories; Morgan Wallen was shut out by the Recording Academy, continuing his streak of being shunned by music associations after his losses at the Country Music Awards. This likely has been the music industry’s way of taking a stance against Wallen’s history of racist behavior.

Critics and music listeners will be watching to see how voters continue to respond to the music of 2023 come the Grammys main show. The final round of Grammy voting begins Dec. 14, 2023 until Jan. 4, 2024. Grammy voters will be voting on the current set of nominees, and winners are set to be announced on Feb. 4, 2024.

Suzanne Bagia can be reached at [email protected].

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