Can Bruce Springsteen avenge his Oscar snub of “The Wrestler”? Will Johnny Depp be adding a Grammy to his critically acclaimed resume? And can Hall & Oates win their first Grammy more than 25 years after their last Top 10 album? These are just a few of the questions that arose following last night’s Grammy Nominations Concert. While Beyoncé and Taylor Swift grabbed the majority of headlines with their bucket load of nods, there’s no shortage of intriguing storylines heading into the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 31st.
After shockingly being denied a Best Song nomination at this year’s Academy Awards, Bruce Springsteen’s mesmeric title song from the film The Wrestler has finally received the recognition it deserves, scoring a nod for the Grammy’s Best Song Written for a Motion Picture category. Springsteen will face some big competition, however, in the form of Beyoncé’s “Once in a Lifetime” from Cadillac Records, Paramore’s Twilight track “Decode,” Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb” from Hannah Montana: The Movie, and the song that ultimately won the Oscar, A.R. Rahman’s “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire. Bruce scored four nods in total, including Best Rock Song and Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for “Working on a Dream” and Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals for “Sea of Heartbreak” with Rosanne Cash.Other Grammy surprises: Pop duo Hall & Oates added some clout to Rachael Ray’s bid to get them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by securing a nomination in the Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals category for “Sara Smile,” a song that dates back to the duo’s 1975 self-titled debut album (their rendition from 2008’s Live at the Troubadour scored the nod). Similarly, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood were nominated in the Best Rock Performance By a Duo or Group With Vocals for a live rendition of “Can’t Find My Way Home,” which was originally on their band Blind Faith’s 1969 self-titled album.
Over in the Best Alternative Music Album category, David Byrne & Brian Eno will face off against Depeche Mode, Phoenix, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Death Cab for Cutie, who were strangely nominated for their The Open Door EP just one year after Narrow Stairs was nominated in the same category. Somehow, SNL comedy troupe the Lonely Island grabbed a Best Rap/Sung Collaboration nod for “I’m on a Boat” with T-Pain. After being shut out of any rock categories, Wilco’s Wilco (The Album) was nominated in the Best Americana Album category.
So let’s get to the really surprising nominations. Like Reservoir Dogs actor Michael Madsen being nominated for the Best Spoken Word Album, where he’ll face off against Teen Wolf and Princess Leia. It only took the death of countless drummers for Spinal Tap to finally get some Grammy love in the Best Comedy Album category for Back From the Dead. Johnny Depp garnered his first Grammy nomination for his and Douglas Brinkley’s writings in the album notes for Gonzo: The Life And Work Of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. And finally, to be honest, “Grammy-nominated” and “LMFAO” are two phrases we never expected to hear in the same sentence, but that became a reality after the electro-crunk duo’s Party Rock was nominated in the Best Electronic/Dance Album category.
As for Swift and Beyoncé, amid the MTV Video Music Awards, the Kanye incident, the American Music Awards and now the Grammys, it seems these two titans have been thrust into a sort of musical rivalry on par with Red Sox vs. Yankees, minus all the hatred. And in case you needed more of a reason to watch the Grammys than to see if Prince can win in Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance for “Dreamer,” know that this will mark the first time that Kanye, Beyoncé and Swift will be under the same roof since the VMAs. (Kanye was nominated six times, including three nods alone in the Best Rap/Sung Collaboration.) So if “You Belong to Me” beats out “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” in the Song of the Year category, look out.
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