Our category-by-category dissection of the last 20 years of questionable (and occasionally appropriate) Grammy decisions continues!
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Blandest Nominee: If someone knows how Train managed to get nominated in 2002 for the abhorrent "Drops of Jupiter," please don't ever tell me. [Mark says: Celina Dion, "Because You Loved Me" (1996)]
Nominee That Had the Least Chance of Winning: My first inclination was to say Nelly and Kelly Rowland for 2003's "Dilema" (remember when that was a song?), but honestly, the honor goes to the Foo Fighters last year, if only because even if anyone could remember the song ("The Pretender"?), there was no way it was getting past "Rehab," "Irreplaceable," and "Umbrella." (It also singlehandedly sunk '08's chances in the "Best Field" category, for bonus points.) [Mark says: M.I.A., "Paper Planes" (2009)]
Most Justified Winner: Tough to pick a winner here because I so rarely like the songs that win this award. Even when they do give it to a song I love (Coldplay's "Clocks" in 2004), it ends up beating out even more deserving songs (see "Best Field" below) and I can't feel 100% good about it. That happens to the runner-up here: Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" in 2006, which was great...but great enough to best Gorillaz's "Feel Good Inc." Kanye's "Gold Digger," Mariah's "We Belong Together," and "Hollaback Girl"? It's at least a close call.
Which is why I'm actually giving it to the 1994 winner -- that's right -- Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." Say what you will, but the song has endured, and more than that, it beat out a grand total of one good song (Neil Young's "Harvest Moon") and three absolutely hideous ones (Billy Joel's "The River of Dreams," Sting's "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You," and "A Whole New World" from Aladdin). [Mark says: Shawn Colvin, "Sunny Came Home"]
Best Field: Check out the genius of 2004: Coldplay's "Clocks" (the winner, and a song that's become underrated via the Coldplay backlash of '05-'09), Beyonce's "Crazy in Love," Eminem's "Lose Yourself," and Outkast's "Hey Ya!" Four indisputable classics of pop music (undisputable!). Even the weak-sister fifth nominee (The Black Eyed Peas and JT on "Where Is the Love") isn't nearly bad enough to tarnish the above four.
Distant (distant!) runner-up status goes to 2001, whose five nominations are all much weaker, but still represent a highly defendable cross-section of what everybody (everybody!) was listening to that year: U2's "Beautiful Day," N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye," Madonna's "Music," Macy Gray's "I Try," and Destiny's Child's "Say My Name." [Mark says: 2000]
Worst Field: 2003, which was kind of given to Norah Jones ("Don't Know Why") by default over Eminem's "Without Me" (which, in retrospect, is a seriously weak Eminem entry), the aforementioned "Dilema," Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles," and Nickelback's "How You Remind Me." I will pay you cash if you've listened to any of these songs on purpose in the last three years. [Mark says: 2005]
Worst U2 Nomination: This category has actually been fairly circumspect when it comes to Dublin's finest. Back-to-back wins in '01 and '02, sure, but that's been it, at least since "Joshua Tree," and "Beautiful Day" and "Walk On" are certainly defendable picks. "Walk On," I suppose, but I'm not really putting my back into it. [Mark says: "Beautiful Day"]