Grammys, you got a job on Sunday: give Beyoncé album of the year (2023)

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The math is clear, so let's start there.

If Beyoncé takes home at least four awards at Sunday's 65th Annual Grammy Awards, the singer, songwriter, producer, dancer, actress, designer and hot sauce lover will become the most successful person in Recording Academy history. More winners than Michael Jackson, more than Paul McCartney, more than Stevie Wonder and U2 and Aretha Franklin. And with nine nominations ahead of her this year — a feat she shared with husband Jay-Z for the most nominations of all time (88) — Beyoncé could set the record even if she lost more Grammys than she would win. . sits amidst the stars gathered in the Arena.

But for all the ways she could land her 32nd Grammy — Georg Solti, the late classical maestro, holds the current record at 31 — many eyes will be on just one award: Album of the Year, for which Beyoncé capped "Renaissance." , ” her stirring and meticulous tribute to the history of black and queer dance music.


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It's the fourth time she's up for the top Grammy Award, following previous nominations for 2008's "I Am... Sasha Fierce," 2013's "Beyoncé," and 2016's "Lemonade" — all of which missed out on Album of the Year. (You'll remember losing "Lemonade" when Adele said in her acceptance speech that she shouldn't have won.) In fact, Beyoncé's dozens of Grammy wins threaten to obscure the fact that she's the world's most ambitious superstar pop nothing goes on general main categories of the ceremony; all but one of her 28 wins - for Song of the Year, which she wrote in 2010 for "Single women (put a ring on it)”-came in genre-based categories like R&B Music and Urban Contemporary Album.


That should change on Sunday.

It's not that genre accolades don't matter or tell some part of Beyoncé's rise to fame; Certainly no other duo or group pulled off a better R&B performance in the year that Beyoncé's former band Destiny's Child won for Slinky and Audacious."say my name." But the focus of these awards is out of sync with the breadth and powerful thrust of Beyoncé's music, which reaches a dizzying new height on "Renaissance."

Said songwriter and producer The-Dreamin a conversationlast fall with The Times about his years of collaboration with Beyoncé: "This is probably her best record. There is no way around it for me. This is one of themus.“

Grammys, you got a job on Sunday: give Beyoncé album of the year (2)

Beyoncé accepts the R&B Performance Award at the 63rd Grammy Awards 2021.

(Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Big on scale but meticulously planned, Renaissance is obsessed with tradition while looking to the future. It's a masterpiece of both form and feel, featuring some of Beyoncé's best vocals - snarling, sensual, playful, angelic - amid inspiring arrangements (and the occasional sample or interpolation) from a deep archive of disco, funk, techno, afrobeats, Hip hop and lounge music. Appearances and contributions from Grace Jones, Honey Dijon, Nile Rodgers, Skrillex, Syd, Sheila E., Raphael Saadiq and the late Donna Summer create a moving intergenerational conversation about love, sex, family and the quest for liberation from Jason King, the newcomer Dean of USC's Thornton School of Music is comparable to the Oscar-nominated film Everything Everywhere All at Once.

"I think Beyoncé absorbed the energy of multiversal possibility," says King. "It conjures up an alternate reality that serves as a testament to the power of what recorded music can be."

Song after song the thrill comes, which is why the '90s tour "Break My Soul" was nominated for a Grammy for Record and Song of the Year, while three other tracks - "Jungfrau Groove,” “Plastic from sofa"e"handcuff“- are in the running for multiple R&B awards. But the way "Renaissance" plays together, with its intricate transitions and clever callbacks, is the real wonder to behold; is by far the biggest album of the 10 LPs competing for album of the year.


Still equating to a Grammy for Best Picture despite the fragmentation caused by digital streaming, Album of the Year's recipe for success has always been an eclectic mix of commercial power, critical acclaim and cultural impact. And while Beyoncé's impact is clear — just look at the frenzy that erupted on social media this week when she announced her upcoming world tour — the rousing "Renaissance" isn't the biggest box-office hit of its kind. Bad Bunny's "Un Verano Sin Ti" has nearly five times as many streams; 30 by Adele, Harry's House by Harry Styles and Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers also has more to offer.

Dan Runcie, writing for popular music business newsletter Trapital, points out that Beyoncé's decision not to release music videos for songs from "Renaissance" (at least not yet) may have curtailed the album's momentum in the market. Still, it's not just critics who are drumming for Beyoncé; An informal poll of Grammy voters and industry executives showed widespread support for "Renaissance" to win Album of the Year.

"She's one of our biggest artists and has never won an album award," says Lenny Beer, editor of Hits magazine. “His new music is current and nostalgic, accessible and progressive. Your time is now.”



Throwback: Beyoncé's 'Renaissance' is a haunting expression of black joy (and danceable to it)

"Renaissance" reveals a deep knowledge of rhythm and harmony that puts her on the same level as an arranger and bandleader with Prince and Stevie Wonder.

So what are the obstacles on your way? On the one hand, the Recording Academy has never shown much love for dance music in the top Grammy categories; In its constituency of over 11,000 music professionals are many musicians and engineers interested in preserving the practice of recording "real" instruments in carefully maintained physical spaces. (Note that French dance duo Daft Punk won 2014's Album of the Year with an LP, Random Access Memories, which they specifically described as embracing old-school studio vibes.)

As an institution, the Grammys were also wary of the kind of highly collaborative recording that characterizes "Renaissance," whose writers, producers, and recognized artists number several dozen. "They tend to celebrate the individualistic folk writer," says King, referring to artists like Adele, Taylor Swift and Beck, whose "Morning Phase" made "Beyoncé" album of the year - and whose music nonetheless made it one Idea emphasizes Illusory, a close personal autobiography about the most expansive and multi-faceted narrative that the "Renaissance" develops.

Of course, the faces of past Grammy winners cannot help but recall the racial component, which also plays a role here. No black woman has won Album of the Year since Lauryn Hill's 1999 "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill"; Only two other black women, Whitney Houston and Natalie Cole, have won the category in the Grammys' 65-year history, an absurd distortion of its relevance to the pop music field as a whole. This error is one of the reasons a growing number of prominent black artists, including Drake and Frank Ocean, are refusing to participate in the Academy's annual ceremony and other rituals.

Do these concerns about lack of representation mean that a belated win for Beyoncé — whose career is doing pretty well without a Grammy Album of the Year — would benefit science at least as much as it did the artist?

"To see Beyoncé up there on stage with that trophy — I think that would help with the perception issue," says Runcie. "At the very least, it could stem further decline." The academy says it admitted nearly 2,000 new members in the past year, 44% of whom come from "traditionally underrepresented communities." And it's worth noting that when it comes to inclusion, there's no shortage of reasons to celebrate other potential winners: "Un Verano Sin Ti" would be the first Spanish-language project to win Album of the Year; Brandi Carlile's In These Silent Days, which some respondents hope will triumph, would be the first winning album by an openly gay person.

These achievements are important; they make room for more in the music industry. But "Renaissance" extends beyond that conversation, even as Beyoncé plays a crucial role in it.


Smart, funny, happy, passionate and such,Thenenjoyable, "Renaissance" is already the album of the year. The Grammys need to keep up with this reality.

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