May 23, 2017

How did Arcade Fire win Best Album Grammy but lose at Best Alternative Album?

Arcade Fire

By Kim Palacios Hopes were crushed at last Sunday’s Grammy Awards for artists such as Justin Bieber and Eminem, who were thought to be shoo-ins for their nods. While some dismissed hurt feelings as sour grapes, the counterintuitive nature of some results has not escaped the notice of fans.

Take Arcade Fire, for example. The band won Album of the Year for “The Suburbs”, but lost in a less prestigious category (Best Alternative Album) to The Black Keys’ “Brothers”. And, speaking of “The Black Keys”, despite beating Arcade Fire for Best Alternative Album, songs from the album “Brothers” were nominated for multiple awards, not in the Alternative, but in Rock categories.

Sound confusing? It is, not least of all because there is no symmetry among categories, but because some categories are duplicative, outdated, and just plain ill-conceived. Categories like Best Rap Song, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, and Best R&B Song, though justified by technical distinction and propensity for inclusiveness, may do the big picture more harm than good.

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About Kim Palacios

Kim Palacios is a San Francisco Bay Area transplant whose epicurean tendencies are matched only by her wanderlust. While not covering food, wine, and luxury travel for her column on, she guest writes for Travel Writers Exchange and a number of other varied-topic blogs. She is quadrilingual and holds an M.B.A. in Finance (neither of which she uses much these days). While not mourning the death of free markets and grumbling about the tax treatment of Californians, she enjoys film, and all things Twilight.

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One Comment

  • February 24, 2011 | Permalink |

    It seems like Arcade Fire was just considered to be filler in the Album of the Year category, and the same for The Black Keys in the Best Alternative Album category. Considering The Black Keys beat Arcade Fire for Best Alternative Album (and Best Rock Song) and then Arcade Fire turned around and won Album of the Year, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say The Black Keys not only belonged in the Album of the Year category, but probably would have won it if they had been there.

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