Lizzo’s “Special” isn’t album of the year material.
Lizzo’s fizzy hit “About Damn Time” made a huge cultural impact (largely thanks to an irresistible TikTok trend) and will rightfully compete for both record and song of the year.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the project it belongs to, “Special.”
Lizzo’s fourth album is an underwhelming offering of empowerment pop that failed to reach the heights of its predecessor, “Cuz I Love You.” A nod for best pop vocal album is fair, but album of the year is a big stretch.
Nor is Coldplay’s “Music Of The Spheres.”
Even for massive Coldplay fans, it must be a surprise to see the band receive two album of the year nominations in the past three years — a feat only matched by Taylor Swift.
Chris Martin is a consistent source of decent pop music, to be sure, but his group is far past its prime. “Music Of The Spheres” is not a cultural landmark like the title “album of the year” demands.
In fact, it’s only notable thanks to “My Universe,” the hit collaboration with BTS.
Somehow, Chris Brown is still getting nominated for Grammy Awards.
Chris Brown’s “Breezy (Deluxe)” was nominated for best R&B album, which is an insult to his fellow nominees at best — and an insult to survivors of abuse at worst.
It continues to be upsetting that Brown is even allowed to compete for music’s biggest awards after he has faced repeated accusations of violence against women, including threats, stalking, and even rape.
Arcade Fire was nominated for best alternative music album, despite credible accusations of sexual misconduct.
Arcade Fire’s “We” will compete for best alternative music album, even though the band’s frontman Win Butler has been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women.
Although Butler has “vehemently” denied any nonconsensual actions, the optics of his nomination are certainly questionable.
And to make matters worse, “We” is a bad album.
Machine Gun Kelly’s “Mainstream Sellout” is OK, not Grammy-worthy.
Machine Gun Kelly has made a fairly admirable pivot to pop-rock music after he launched his career with reductive rap, but that doesn’t put “Mainstream Sellout” anywhere near the level of rockers like The Black Keys or Ozzy Osbourne, Kelly’s fellow nominees for best rock album.
Jack Harlow’s “Come Home the Kids Miss You” pales in comparison to other nominees for best rap album.
I have no problem with Jack Harlow’s hit “First Class” getting a nod for best melodic rap performance — but “Come Home the Kids Miss You,” as a holistic album, does not live up to Harlow’s charm and hit-making potential.
Put alongside fellow nominees like “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” by Kendrick Lamar and “It’s Almost Dry” by Pusha T, the album’s flaws become even more glaring.