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Analysis: Grammys fumble concerning likes of Aguilera and Waits

Wednesday, January 05, 2000

By Ed Masley, Post-Gazette Pop Music Critic

The Grammys have not rubbed Christina Aguilera the right way, holding the genie from Wexford to two nominations -- for best new artist and best pop vocal performance, female -- when, in fact, her breakthrough single, "Genie in a Bottle," should have been a lock on record of the year.

  Related coverage:

For in-depth coverage of the Grammys, including a complete list of nominees, please visit PG online's Associated Press package.

It even charted higher on the year-end singles list than all but two of the 42nd annual Grammy nominees for record of the year -- "Believe" by Cher (who's bound to win for sentimental reasons as well as for being the guiltiest pleasure of '99) and TLC's "No Scrubs."

But that's the way the Grammy stumbles.

Not one of the best of the albums that actually sold in '99 is up for album of the year -- not even Limp Bizkit's "Significant Other." At least the Bizkit scored a best rock album nod in a category that also boasts Tom Petty's understated "Echo" and the Red Hot Chili Peppers' underrated "Californication."

While there's seldom been much weight to Grammy's advertiser-friendly picks, with this year's motley crew of nods for album of the year, it's the absence of Waits that really hurts.

It would have been the perfect opportunity to give Tom Waits his due after 20-odd years -- with a capital O -- for the genius of "Mule Variations."

Instead, they give the album minor nods for best contemporary folk and male rock vocal.

Apparently, Grammy voters felt the album couldn't hold a candle to the Backstreet Boys, whose album may have sold more copies, but it sold because their fan base thinks they're cute.

They should be up for cutest guys to sell a bunch of records, head to head against the Goo Goo Dolls, 'N Sync and 98 Degrees.

At least that way, the Boys would have a shot at snatching the Grammy away from this year's Dylan, 52-year-old guitarist/sentimental favorite Carlos "I Have Friends in Matchbox 20" Santana.

The Woodstock vet has sold 5 million copies of "Supernatural" to date and the Grammys have noticed, rewarding his name-dropping efforts with 10 nominations.

Could Santana be the Christopher Cross of the '99 broadcast?

That's exactly the sort of excitement that keeps the Grammy viewer coming back for more (not to mention the threat of another spontaneous outburst from Ol' Dirty Bastard himself, who was robbed, by the way, in the best rap album category).

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