The Grammy’s, one of the most popular award shows in the entertainment industry, is overrated. Every year is a display of the hottest music released the year prior through academy awards though the real fan favorites are always the ones to never receive recognition. It is a repetitive cycle and it has only gotten worse with time.
The 2024 Grammy Awards were filled with debatable wins that to the media, did not deserve the gold-plated gramophone. The most notable loss was Lana Del Rey’s album “Did you know there is a tunnel under ocean blvd” being nominated for the album of the year alongside Olivia Rodrigo and SZA, only to lose to Taylor Swift’s “Midnights”. Lana Del Rey is an amazing artist who has had 11 nominations in the past but no win. Taylor Swift’s album was exceptional though it was not a competitor with “Did you know there is a tunnel under ocean blvd” whatsoever. Midnights felt repetitive and rushed as Swift has been pulling out albums consistently for the past 5 years. Business Insiders critics reviewed Midnights and did not respond to it well as they said, “Despite a strong start and scattered highlights, it’s an underwhelming album and one of her worst lyrically.” In contrast, Lana Del Rey work felt more intimate and delicate which was more relatable to her audience, a common Del Rey theme.
As trends of music continue to evolve, so should the academy’s voting system. According to a breakdown given to Billboard, 45% of the academy are 39 and under, 39% are over 40 and 15% are unknown. To add on to that, 58% of the academy are male and 37% are white or caucasian, essentially running the whole voting system. It is a very outdated group of individuals who blindly choose the winners for such a prestigious award. One of the anonymous Grammy voters had sent in the reason why Del Rey was not awarded for her album to Hollywood Race Predictions website Gold Derby, where they stated, “I have not taken Lana Del Rey seriously as an artist since her infamous SNL performance and never will.”
The SNL performance referenced here was over a decade ago and consisted of overly dramatic which evoked poor audience feedback.As a young artist at the time of the said performance, Del Rey’s voice and character has changed dramatically since then. Del Rey’s past performances should have no effect on the judgment of her current album, and making the decade-old performance even less of a reason to essentially blacklist Del Rey from ever receiving a Grammy. It is quite the satirical statement as prior to this in the submission the voter said they only voted for Swift due to her popularity in the music industry.
“I voted for Midnights. Although I did not enjoy it much compared to Taylor’s previous work, she has been the inescapable face of music so how can I deny her [the] music [industry’s] biggest award?”, the voter said.
To only vote for someone based on popularity and not consider the quality of other musicians’ work is completely biased and as an important figure in the voting process, this behavior should not be tolerated. The anonymous voter also went on to critique band Boygenius and musician Fiona Apple for their music however their opinion should not even apply when their music taste is so obviously broad with no means to expand to what is trending. Sticking to the old was also seen when rapper Killer Mike won a Grammy for Best Rap Album for “Michael”, against more favorable albums including Utopia by Travis Scott and Her Loss by Drake and 21 Savage. Like Lana Del Rey fans, Drake and Travis Scott fans were enraged when Killer Mike who has not been heard by most won one of the biggest awards for the night.
The artists who suffered a loss of acknowledgement at the 2024 Grammys were not the only ones. The same has happened numerous times to other musicians who have shaped our understanding of music through the formative years of our youth. Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj ruled the 2010s and have collectively over 10 nominations each though have never received one award. It is honestly baffling to hear as their songs are staples in any playlist yet they have no award to appreciate it.
As the audience of the works judged at award shows such as the Grammy, , we should be the ones to make the decisions of who gets these awards. Other award shows like The People’s Choice Awards where we get to vote do not amount to the importance that the Grammy’s holds. Recognizing our favorite artists should be more common rather than dismissing their art.
Making a change can easily start with including members of diverse backgrounds that can truly reflect the opinions of a worldly audience: Having close-minded voters does not help the music industry grow as it sets us backwards with giving light to undeserving works and keeping the modern more developed music in the dark. As a music lover, I hope to see progress made next year where music that is worthy of a Grammy is appreciated.