I know I know. It’s bizarre isn’t it.
Em just can’t seem to snap-up the top Grammy no matter what. This is now the third time that he’s been, what the majority view as ‘robbed of’ this award, meaning of course – we all think he should of won.
First, he was nominated in 2001 for The Marshall Mathers LP (2000).
Now as a fan, I can even tolerate Recovery not winning as, it’s a great album but let’s not get deluded here, it’s no masterpiece. But that’s exactly what The Marshall Mathers LP was and is. And there was NOTHING in music… or probably culture full-stop that year / period that was as huge. That album defined a generation, but it was more than something for the youth to grab onto, it was a lyrical fireball that Em set loose through the public consciousness. It shook up every sector of society that lacked a proper understanding of irony, humour and literary toying.
It was a commercial explosion, whilst at the same time being… as uncompromised as art could possibly be. In fact, the entire purpose of it was to emphasize his unwillingness to compromise and to emphasize, provoke, probe and ridcule those who didn’t get it, for the leisure and entertainment of all of us (himself included) who… did.
With all that said, just consider the fact it lost to… Steely Dan’s Two Against Nature. Me neither.
Second, he was nominated in 2003 for The Eminem Show (2002).
This album was the next step. Artistically, The Marshall Mathers LP towers far above it but lyrically and musically The Eminem Show trumps all that he’s done and probably will ever do. It’s by far his most coherent album, it works top to bottom – every single track bleeds into the next, there’s themes, sounds and atmospheres woven throughout the entire album. It ties together so well.
This was Eminem at his arguable peak, in almost every sense. Okay, he may not have been as daring as on the previous album but… well actually, he was. Just because he wasn’t raping Debbie this time, he actually had bigger balls for the most part. Rather than calling out N-Sync and Britney Spears he called out individual members of congress, challenged American policy and touted himself a genius.
Either of these albums should have won. If not both. Which brings us to tonight, where Recovery was nominated for the 2011 ‘Album of the Year’ Grammy and lost to… Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs. Well, I’m not going to comment on their album as I haven’t heard it but…
Surely there has to be levels of objective reasoning with these things, I’m not sure what their exact criteria is but surely the predominant tram-lines need to be things which can be measured to an undeniable degree such as sales and impact. And believe me, I am NOT saying sales qualify quality, I’m not that kind of fan or music buyer, not at all. But, if it’s PURELY opinion, then what’s the point in it being a public ceremony based on such large international artists. Why not sit down and have a debate, it’s just the opinion of a small group of people…
So to make it mean something, something which actually reflects reality and musical society, don’t you think sales, impact and relevance need to enter into the choice of winner to a pretttttty large degree for it to make sense, in its existence and meaning. And, beyond being reasonably acclaimed critically: Recovery was the biggest selling album of 2010 in the US, spawned two #1 singles and marked the triumphant return of one of hip-hop’s and music’s biggest superstars. Relapse was his actual return of course but, the public will remember it as Recovery, due to its impact.
But, there you have it. Eminem still won two more trophies to add to his shelf, those being the ‘Best Solo Rap Performance’ (for “Not Afraid”) and ‘Best Rap Album’ (for Recovery) Grammys. Which means he’s won the ‘Best Rap Album’ Grammy for all but one of his albums – Encore… now THAT, I do agree with. 3G5XVHUEZ2D4