Wow! Coldplay, Ne-Yo, Lil’ Wayne and Radiohead: what fresh, hip nominees for the Album Of The Year Grammy award! Sure, old-timey faves Robert Plant & Alison Krauss are up too, but there’s a four out of a five chance something enjoyed by young people will win, right? Not if the Fogey’s Curse has anything to say about it.
It’s not that the Grammys never reward edgy, contemporary artists (Outkast took Album Of The Year in 2004 and Lauryn Hill won ten years ago). It’s just that when too many young’uns are nominated, it tends to split the cool vote, leaving one glaring option for all the old folks in the voting pool. Here are some of the more notorious examples of the Fogey’s Curse.
- Beck, “The New Pollution” (from Odelay)
In 1997, The Fugees represented the best in hip-hop. The Smashing Pumpkins represented the best in rock. Beck represented the best in alternative. The Waiting To Exhale soundtrack (featuring Mary J. Blige) represented the best in R&B. Naturally, they all lost to Celine Dion.
- Eminem, “Stan” (from The Marshall Mathers LP)
There was lots of hope that Eminem could be the first rapper-not-singer to win Album Of The Year. Hipster favorites Beck and Radiohead were also nominated for Midnite Vultures and Kid A. The 2001 winner? Steely Dan, for their reunion album, Two Against Nature. Way to go, fogeys! Show those kids who’s boss.
- Cyndi Lauper, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” (from She’s So Unusual)
In 1984, Cyndi Lauper and Tina Turner were making feminist pop that’s still adored today. Rock legends Bruce Springsteen and Prince released the biggest albums of their career, respectively bringing class and sexual identity crises to the top of the charts. All four were nominated in 1985, and all four lost to Lionel Richie. Hello!
- Green Day, “American Idiot” (from American Idiot)
Green Day, Kanye West, Alicia Keys and Usher were all enjoying their first ever nominations for Album Of The Year in 2005, so maybe it was only fair that the award posthumously went to Ray Charles, who won his first Grammy in 1960.
- Kanye West, “Good Life” (from Graduation)
Three albums, three nominations (Late Registration lost to U2 in ’06)—third time’s the charm for Kanye, right? ‘Fraid not. West, Amy Winehouse and The Foo Fighters all lost in ’08 to an album of Joni Mitchell covers by jazzman Herbie Hancock. Two fogeys for the price of one—how could the Grammys resist?