Grammy nominations 2021: The 7 biggest talking points, from Album of the Year to The Weeknd being snubbed

Roisin O'Connor
·4 min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Fans of artists including BTS, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles will be pleased after the nominations for the 63rd Grammy Awards were revealed.

The announcement for the 63rd Grammy Award nominations took place on Tuesday 24 November via a livestream.

Chair and interim Recording Academy president/CEO Harvey Mason Jr was joined by stars including Dua Lipa and Sharon Osbourne to read out the nominees.

Swift, once a guaranteed presence at the Grammys, dealt with snubs for her albums Reputation and Lover. However, Folklore, her most critically acclaimed album in years, received a nod of Album of the Year – the biggest prize of the night – as well as Song of the Year nomination for her single, “Cardigan”.

Representing the Brits, Dua Lipa and Harry Styles received nominations, including an Album of the Year nod for Dua Lipa’s second album, Future Nostalgia.

Beyonce leads with nine nominations for her album Black Parade, a protest album released during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as for her appearance on Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage” remix. “Black Parade” is nominated for Song and Record of the Year.

Here are the biggest talking points:

1) The Weeknd was snubbed

The Weeknd was widely expected to be nominated in three of the biggest categories – Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Record of the Year – after releasing his hit album After Hours earlier this year. However, he failed to receive a nomination in any of those groups, despite the album and his single “Blinding Lights” being among the biggest releases of 2020.

2) Taylor Swift wasn’t snubbed – for a change

After once being a guaranteed presence on the nominations list at the Grammys, Swift was snubbed in the major categories for her albums Reputation and Lover. However, Folklore, widely regarded as one of her greatest works to date, managed to scoop a nomination for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album, while her single “Cardigan” got a nod for both Song of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Solo Performance. She also received a nomination with Bon Iver for their duet, “Exile”, for the Best Pop Group/Duo category.

Taylor Swift attends the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on 23 January 2020 in Park City, UtahNeilson Barnard/Getty Images
Taylor Swift attends the 2020 Sundance Film Festival on 23 January 2020 in Park City, UtahNeilson Barnard/Getty Images

3) BTS fans got their wish

The K-pop stars were acknowledged at the Grammys in a major way, with a nod for Best Pop Group performance, for their single “Dynamite”.

4) Women dominated in the rock category

Just one male artist (Kevin Parker – Tame Impala) was nominated in the Best Rock Song category, while the other nominees were: Adrianne Lenker (Big Thief), Brittany Howard, Fiona Apple and Phoebe Bridgers. That’s a big shakeup from the traditionally male-dominated rock groups.

5) Megan Thee Stallion was not expecting a nomination

The rapper received nods for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for her “Savage” remix featuring Beyonce. She was informed of this right after announcing a group of categories herself, and her reaction was 100 per cent authentic. She also received a nomination for Best New Artist.

6) The Album of the Year category is an incredibly mixed bag

<p>Chris Martin of Coldplay</p>Getty Images

Chris Martin of Coldplay

Getty Images

While Taylor Swift and Dua Lipa were expected and welcome additions to the Album of the Year 2021 group, there are a lot of raised eyebrows about other inclusions, such as the “deluxe” edition of Black Puma’s debut album – a year after the original’s release and barely 10 months after they were nominated for Best New Artist at the 2020 awards… with the same album. Coldplay also received a nod for an album (Everyday Life) that received mostly negative reviews from critics. Major omissions include Fiona Apple, The Weeknd, and arguably Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

7) There’s a strong British and Irish contingent

The Grammys is relatively infamous for ignoring UK and Ireland acts, but there’s some strong representation this year. Irish band Fontaines DC received a nod for Best Rock Album, as did London-born artist Michael Kiwanuka, while three out of eight artists in the Album of the Year category are British: Coldplay, Dua Lipa and Jacob Collier. Laura Marling received a nomination for Best Folk Album.

See the full list of nominations here.

The 63rd Grammy Awards take place on 31 January.

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