As part of the SKPop Grammys roundup of 2022, here's a look at the category of Best Alternative Music Album.
As popular music keeps expanding its horizons, the definition of alternative music keeps undergoing a constant transformation as well. Alternative music lurks on the edge of the mainstream. It is more daring, more eclectic and more creator-driven.
In 2019, the recording academy issued the following statement to clarify the Grammy category's intentions:
"Alternative is defined as a genre of music that embraces attributes of progression and innovation in both the music and attitudes associated with it. It is often a less intense version of rock or a more intense version of pop and is typically regarded as more original, eclectic, or musically challenging. It may embrace a variety of subgenres or any hybrids thereof and may include recordings that don't fit into other genre categories."
While the definition of 'alternative' music will continue to be redefined, this year's Grammy nomination pool is undeniably captivating and that's purely on a musical front.
A brief glance at the nominees for this year's Grammy Awards for Best Alternative Music Album
Fleet Foxes - Shore
Fleet Foxes, led by singer-songwriter Robin Pecknold, have always been known for their refined instrumentation and vocal harmonies. Their brand of unpretentious yet high-caliber folksy tunes hold a quiet grace.
On Shore, the Foxes take their aesthetic a step ahead, while making their lyrics more personal and complex, despite the apparent simplicity of it all. Deceptively deep, indeed.
Standout track: Wading In Waist High Water
Halsey - If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power
Halsey has always been a pop outsider. While she gained worldwide fame via her feature on a Chainsmokers track, her solo music has always had a rebellious edge.
On If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power, Halsey enlists the help of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails to create an album laced with pop punk and grunge pop influences, while her lyrics deal with feminist themes and the joys and horrors of motherhood. Clattering drums clash with fiery words.
Standout track: The Tradition
Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee
Lo-fi indie rock darlings Japanese Breakfast are the brainchild of Korean-American musician, director, and author Michelle Zauner, who even directs their intricately haunting, plotted music videos.
The band has been active since 2013 (but were nominated for Best New Artist this year) and have released a string of acclaimed experimental pop records. Their latest album, Jubilee (2021), is much more joyful than their previous works, and much more boundless in energy as a result.
Standout track: Posing In Bondage
Arlo Parks - Collapsed in Sunbeams
Arlo Parks' ruminative groovy, lush but sweet, indie pop tunes are the stuff of pure slice-of-life pleasure.
Her debut album, Collapsed In Sunbeams (2021) is versatile and vulnerable. It's the kind of universal album that has a story for everyone, coupled with melodies that alternate between upbeat and laid-back. It is dreamy, jazzy and warm.
Standout track: Black Dog
St. Vincent - Daddy's Home
Annie "St. Vincent" Clark has played with a seriously spooky wide array of pop styles and instrumentations in throughoutr career, also playing with polysemic lyrics along the way.
Daddy's Home sees her experiment with a dash of lounge and retro pop, steeped in lush sonic details that reveal themselves with each successive listen. It is a fully fleshed concept album accentuated with deep grooves.
Standout track: Pay Your Way In Pain
Who do you think will take the Best Alternative Music Album Grammy home?