Everyone knows that all awards are silly. But, over the past 50 years, the Grammys have impressively distinguished themselves by looking ridiculous even by the inane standards set by the MTV VMAs and the Pulitzers — remember when Céline Dion’s Falling Into You beat Odelay for Album of the Year in 1997? And who could forget when Steely Dan triumphed over Beck, Eminem, and Radiohead in 2001? All of this is to say that there’s practically no telling what hilariously stupid combination of names will be read aloud tomorrow night when the nominations for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards are announced. Just kidding — it’ll be a bunch of old people!
In February, some were surprised when once-cutting-edge, 68-year-old Herbie Hancock took home the Grammy for Album of the Year. Not us, though — the oldest nominee almost always wins. But this year members of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will have their work cut out for them. Do you realize how many old people released albums (most of them bad!) during the 2008 eligibility period? They include Lindsey Buckingham, the B-52’s, the Cure, Brian Eno and David Byrne, Def Leppard, John Fogerty, Al Green, Joe Jackson, Tom Jones, Daniel Lanois, Madonna, Metallica, Randy Newman, R.E.M., Queen, Lou Reed, Ringo Starr, James Taylor, Lucinda Williams, Brian Wilson, and Neil Young* (surely we’re forgetting at least a few) — any of which would make a suitably baffling choice for the year’s top record. In fact, there are enough age-qualified contenders here for the Academy to pick a few backup nominees just in case some of their first choices drop dead from heart attacks tomorrow night when they hear their names called (it’s bound to happen!). Do any young artists stand a chance this year? Sadly, no.
*Thanks to Stephen King and this hilarious list of his favorite 2008 albums for making the research involved in writing this sentence much easier.