Last year’s Grammy Awards (held in February, 2013 but recognizing albums mainly from 2012) felt a lot like an elementary school contest where everyone walked away with something. Album of the Year was awarded to Mumford & Sons’ Babel, Song of the Year went to Fun. for “We Are Young,” while Record of the Year was the one-hit wonder that wouldn’t go away (and then, thankfully – finally — did), Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know.”
A year later, it seems there’s more consensus among music industry voters — or maybe it’s just that Taylor Swift released a new album during the eligibility period. After all, the country star is up for four noms, including album of the year and best country album for Red.
Swift’s nods, however, paled in comparison to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ impressive showing on Friday night, when nominations for the 56th annual Grammy Awards were announced at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre. The hip-hop duo collected nine noms including the highly coveted “Song of the Year” for their equality anthem “Same Love.” That was one of three major hits for the Seattle duo in 2013 — “Thrift Shop” and “Can’t Hold Us” round out the trio of smashes — all of which were recognized by the Recording Academy.
Although the two collaborators must have known the accolades were coming their way, the two seemed dumbstruck during the CBS broadcast. Calling the moment “surreal,” Macklemore added, “It’s like we’re not supposed to be here, but we’re here.”
Others who weren’t present for the live reveal but scored their share in the running include Jay Z with nine nominations, Kendrick Lamar with seven, Pharrell Williams with seven (including collaborations with Daft Punk and Robin Thicke), Justin Timberlake with seven (though noticeably not Album of the Year), Drake with five and Lorde, Bruno Mars, Kacey Musgraves and Swift each with four.
Competition is stiff in the rap categories, with the biggest names in the game — Jay Z, Kanye West, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar and Drake — battling for best rap album. Also worth noting: that two of the album of the year nominees are also rap albums, Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City and Macklemore’s The Heist.
Among the head-scratchers: Lorde’s absence from the Best New Artist race and Sara Bareilles’ surprising acknowledgement for Album of the Year for her Blessed Unrestrelease.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be the Grammys without a mention of Adele. The British chanteuse scored one nomination for Best Song Written for a Visual Media for “Skyfall” from the James Bond film of the same name.
Other noteworthy appearances include Dave Grohl, who’s nominated in three categories including best soundtrack for his documentary Sound City: Real to Reel and best rock song for “Cut Me Some Slack,” also from that project. Australia’s Tame Impala scored a mention for best alternative album and Regina Spektor nabbed a nom for “We’ve Got Time,” the theme from the Netflix hit Orange is the New Black.