BY DAN GARCIA
In the past few hours the winners were released for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, and already a lot of disagreement is surrounding some of the picks. While music is subjective in many ways, you of course can never make everyone happy. However, this year seems to be especially bad. Personally, I did not agree with almost all albums that were given a Grammy this year, so I was curious to see what the top critics in music thought.
The best way of finding this out was to head straight to Metacritic. For those who don’t know, Metacritic compiles reviews from the top and most respected publications in music and combines their album reviews into one complete score from 0 to 100. You would assume that most albums that won a major genre’s best album category would also be the most critically acclaimed album that year. Heck, it probably should be that way for every category. Unfortunately though, after comparing Metacritic scores for all the major album categories (Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Rap Album, Best Urban Contemporary Album, Best Rock Album, Best Alternative Album), only the rock winners were also the most critically acclaimed. Check out the results below.
Album Of The Year
This year Beck’s Morning Phase album took home the Grammy, which has a good score of 81. However the standout this year for critics was definitely Beyoncé’s self-titled LP, with a score of 85 (a whole 4 points better). It seems like Kanye was right again, Beyonce should have won.
Best Pop Vocal Album
The Grammys really messed up this year for the “Best Pop Vocal Album” category. Sam Smith was the winner this year, and while his album was good and had a number of radio hits, it only scored a 62 on Metacritic. Instead, Ed Sheeran should have won with x, which scored 5 points higher. Even worse is that Lana Del Rey’s album Ultraviolence was submitted for this category, was highly acclaimed by critics, received a 74 score on Metacritic, but wasn’t even nominated. SMH Grammys.
Best Rap Album
It wasn’t Mackelmore, but Eminem (who won this year’s “Best Rap Album” award) did not have the best rap album this year. Both Common’s Nobody’s Smiling (78) and Schoolboy Q’s Oxymoron (78) were received better by critics, as compared to Eminem 72 point Marshall Mathers LP 2.
Best Urban Contemporary Album
B’s Beyoncé album wasn’t only snubbed in the “Album of the Year” category, but her 85 score album also lost the “Urban Contemporary” category to Pharrell William’s GIRL. This may be the biggest critical upset all year. And how was Pharrell’s album received by critics? A whole 18 points less than Beyoncé.
Best Rock and Alternative Rock Albums
This year the Grammys only got it right for the two rock categories. But don’t give the Grammys too much credit, as there wasn’t a lot of competition. St. Vincent’s self-titled album was the best album by far (with the most critical acclaim) in the alternative rock category. The Grammy would to have really messed things up to pick someone else. But its 89 score definitely means it was snubbed for an “Album of the Year” nomination and award. Next, while Beck did not have a better album than Beyonce, Morning Phase was received best by critics in the Rock category (which it won). At least they got a couple things right.
So in summary, the Grammy’s formula works… for rock, and only rock. We have known for quite some time that the Grammys knows very little about rap, but a close analysis (if you are like myself and respect the opinion of music’s top critics) shows that the most prestigious award in music gets it wrong, and it gets it wrong a lot.