And by that I really mean: the Grammys are on today, let us all share our collective commiserations. The biggest music awards show on the planet rarely gets much play 'round these parts due to the fact that, well, it is a cynical music-industry money-raiser that conflates unit-shifted with artistic merit, and hands out statues to a whole bunch of humans who made an awful lot of awful music.
The Best Alternative Album category should, in theory, be a safe refuge for fans of artistically-meaningful music. But its long and strange history, and continually seems confused about who or what is 'alternative,' with Richard Thompson, Paul McCartney, the Chemical Brothers, the Beastie Boys, Coldplay, Liy Allen, and Gnarls Barkley amongst those who've been weirdly stuck here over the years.
The 55th Grammys are no different. Whilst Björk is looking at five straight nominations in the category, and French synth-pop dreamer M83 is making an acceptable debut, here, there's also Fiona Apple, who last LP out was in the Pop Vocal category; Tom Waits (pictured!), who's bounced through Contemporary Folk and Blues categories; and, finally, Gotye, whose omnipresent pop-song "Somebody That I Used to Know" was 2012'a biggest single, bar none, thereby making him no one's idea of alternative.
Let us, then, break them all down. It's your Guide to the 55th Grammys Best Alternative Album Nominees...
Photo © Jesse Dylan