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Anthony Carew

55th Grammy 'Alternative Album' Nominees Include Björk, M83, Tom Waits

By December 7, 2012

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The 55th Grammy Awards —technically the 2012 awards, though the ceremony takes place in 2013, and, yes, this is confusing every year— have unveiled their full list of nominees. And, as usual, it's a perplexing list, to say the least.

Not so much in main nominees, which are a fairly accurate mirror to sales figures, and tend towards the same favorites year in, and year out (the Black Keys have roughly 400 Grammy nominations, now). But, as per usual, I can't make any sense of the race for our old pal, the Best Alternative Music Album statue.

Most of the nominees make some kinda sense: Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do is an album that has little commercial-radio saturation but is wildly acclaimed (and genuinely good), so it's stuck here. Fair enough. Then there's some long-time oddballs, Björk (for Biophilia) and Tom Waits (for Bad As Me). And then there's the ambitious double-album excess of M83's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, which came out a long time ago (October, 2011) but was, at least, all over album-of-the-year lists last year.

All these I can understand, but, then, there's also Gotye's Making Mirrors, which spawned the year's most omnipresent pop-song and has gone multi-plantinum the globe over. 'Alternative' is one of those words that can mean whatever you want it to, here, it seems as meaningless as ever.

Jack White and the Black Keys were, once, alternative nominees and winners, but both are now, I guess, popular enough that their multiple nominations all come amongst Rock and Pop categories.

Other nominees of note: Best Recording Package features Björk (pictured!), Dirty Projectors, and David Byrne & St. Vincent, and Arcade Fire's Hunger Games soundtrack contribution, "Abraham's Daughter," is nominated in the hilariously-worded category Best Song Written for Visual Media.

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