News Column

Frank Ocean Leads in Grammy Nominations

Dec 7, 2012

Piet Levy

Frank Ocean

Smooth-voiced R&B singer Frank Ocean and indie pop group fun. were the big nominees revealed for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards.

Ocean, who made waves both for his critically acclaimed debut album "Channel Orange" and for revealing he had a relationship with a man, picked up six nominations including for album of the year, best new artist and record of the year categories (the latter for "Orange" track "Thinkin Bout You").

But fun. surprisingly made the biggest impression with the Recording Academy as the only act to get nominations in the big three categories -- for album of the year for "Some Nights," and record and song of the year for Gen Y ode "We Are Young." The trio also picked up a Best New Artist nod among its six nominations.

In the Record of the Year category, fun. and Ocean will face off against blues rock duo The Black Keys' "Lonely Boy," Gotye's breakthrough break-up song "Somebody That I Used to Know," Kelly Clarkson's uplifting anthem "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," and Taylor Swift's full-blown foray into pop with "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."

Swift missed a guaranteed album of the year nomination for "Red" by missing the release cut off date, leaving additional room for Keys' "El Camino," Jack White's "Blunderbuss" and Mumford & Sons' "Babel."

The folk revival-leading Mumford was surprisingly snubbed from the song and record categories, and some safe bets like Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and pop star P!nk were left out of the big three categories completely. But then again, the Grammys are notorious for being one of the hardest award shows for predicting nominees, and this year was no exception.

Other notable omissions included Carly Rae Jepsen, left out of the best new artist and song of the year categories; Psy's YouTube phenomenon "Gangnam Style;" and blockbuster boy band One Direction from the new artist category. That category instead favored earthy acts like soul rock band Alabama Shakes and folk trio The Lumineers, as well as country boy Hunter Hayes.

Some of the biggest surprises were in the song of the year category, awarded for songwriting, including R&B singer Miguel for the track "Adorn" off his acclaimed sophomore album "Kaleidoscope Dream," and British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran for "The A Team" from his album "+."

The key nominations were slowly teased out Wednesday night at a Grammy nominations concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena, broadcast live on CBS. Co-hosts Swift and LL Cool J mugged their way through the hour (a truly painful moment had Swift beatboxing while LL Cool J rapped his way through her single "Mean"). Aside from a stripped-down interpretation of fun.'s "Young", the performances -- including a Band Perry and Dierks Bentley tribute to Johnny Cash, and a Maroon 5 medley-filled set -- were by and large bland. And the evening's only undisputed legacy act, The Who, was cut off for a commercial break.

There was no Bon Iver-style success story representing the Dairy State in any major categories this year. But one evident Wisconsin tie after the full list of nominations was released at 10 p.m. Wednesday was Blanton Alspaugh's nomination for producer of the year, classical, in part for his work on "Rio the Sangre," which featured the Florentine Opera Company and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

The 55th Grammys will air on CBS on Feb. 10.

For a complete list of nominees, go to www.grammy.com.



Source: (c)2012 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Distributed by MCT Information Services.