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2013 Grammy Nominations: Surprises, Snubs, And 'Walsergate'

Friday, December 14, 2012

Al Walser, a relative unknown, received a 2013 Grammy nomination for Best Dance Recording. (Courtesy of the artist)

Last week the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 2013 Grammy Awards. Critics have noted that this new crop of nominees -- many of them newcomers like fun. and Frank Ocean (each with six nominations) -- could represent a changing of the guard in pop music.

But Billboard editor and Soundcheck regular contributor Joe Levy says that while these aren't the "big-tent" artists that the Grammys typically favor, some of them sound a lot like veteran acts. Levy explains:

"When you stop to think about it, all those albums -- even Frank Ocean -- are fairly classicist. Black Keys are stripped down Zeppelin, fun. are poor man's Queen, Mumford & Sons are every strummy troubadour from Simon & Garfunkel to Dave Matthews.

Frank Ocean is the most interesting of any of them, not particularly beholden to any vision of the past or future we've had before. But what's striking is the old-school moral center of that record -- it's bad that there aren't any parents around, and drugs and decadence lead to an emptiness older than Los Angeles itself."

Levy also points out the snubs, including the absence of women from the major categories, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. He also addresses some surprises, including the nomination of relative unknown dance music producer Al Walser in the Best Dance Recording category, alongside industry heavyweights Skrillex and Swedish House Mafia.

The Grammy Awards will be announced on Feb. 10, 2013.


Joe Levy

Comments [1]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

NOWADAYS ITS POLITICAL AND REACHES DOWN TO THE LOWEST DENOMINATOR. CLASSICAL ARTISTS ARE LISTED IN A SNAKE TRAVELING FAST AT THE VERY CLOSE OF THE PROGRAM. THE SO-CALLED SINGERS ARE MORE SPEAKERS THAN SINGERS AND THEIR VOCAL TIMBRES ARE SIMILARLY UNDISTINGUISHED. The New York City Opera because of the Koch brothers taking over the former State Theater of Lincoln Center appears to be forced to go under. Their orchestra also was one of the best. If young singers have no place to prepare for the big time except to sing in smaller European opera houses, where the interest there is to help their own citizen, then BIG TIME STUPIDITY HAS TAKEN OVER OUR "CULTURE." What is the point of reducing our so called spending budgets to the point where nothing of value exists in the USA? My cousin MICHAEL BLANKFORT wrote both the books and screenplays for the 1953 film THE JUGGLER Hollywood film made in Israel starring KIRK DOUGLAS and the 1950 Hollywood film BROKEN ARROW starring JAMES STEWART and JEFF CHANDLER [Cochise]. The music for THE JUGGLER was composed by opera composer GEORGE ANTHEIL, in whose opera VOLPONE I sang the tenor leading role [Mosca] in its professional world premiere in NEW YORK in 1953. ANTHEIL, famous for his opera TRANSATLANTIC and BALLET MECHANIQUE looked exactly like Peter Lorre. I am a romantischer heldentenor. I have sung four solo concerts in the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall. As part of my Ten Language Solo Debut concert at the Isaac Stern Auditorium of Carnegie Hall, I opened my three hour concert with the Invocazione di Orfeo from Jacopo Peri's opera EURIDICE composed in 1600, the first opera, composed in the same year as Shakespeare wrote HAMLET. It, and from the same concert, can be heard my singing Florestan's "Gott, welch Dunkel hier ! from Beethoven's FIDELIO and "Sound an Alarm" from Handel's JUDAS MACXCABAEUS in the live performance on my three websites,, ,, and It received rave critical notices in newspapers and magazines. My voice teachers were the legendary MET OPERA singers Alexander Kipnis, Friedrich Schorr, Frieda Hempel, Martial Singher, John Brownlee, Karin Branzell and Margarete Matzenauer. As an opera composer myself ["Shakespeare" and "The Political Shakespeare"] I fully comprehend the assumed urgency of recognition of the still living. I am the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute in Boonton, NJ where I train actors in all the Shakespeare roles and big-voiced singers in all the Wagner opera roles. My singing of TRISTAN, GOTTERDAMMERUNG SIEGFRIED, SIEGFRIED, SIEGMUND, RIENZI, LOHENGRIN, WALTHER VON STOLZING PARSIFAL, ELEAZAR, FEDERICO, ORFEO and OTELLO can also be heard at RECORDED SELECTIONS on the


Dec. 26 2012 08:53 AM

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