Grammy Nominations 2022: The Good, the Bad, and the Meh

by Christopher Ehlers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Monday November 21, 2022

Grammy nominations week is always an interesting time. Will the notoriously secretive and non-transparent Recording Academy issue nominations that reflect the tastes of the public? Or will the nominees be littered with surprise inclusions that no one saw coming?

The usual suspects showed up in the expected places, artists like Adele, Beyonce, Harry Styles, Brandi Carlile, and Lizzo, all of whom will duke it out across major categories like Album and Record of the Year. But this year, like every year, for as many good choices as were made, there were just as many headscratchers.

Picking up where we left off last year, here are the good, the bad, and the meh, 2022 edition:

The Good

Beyonce leads the way and breaks records.

The most nominated artist of the year with nine nominations, this is the sixth time that Beyonce has led (or co-led) the annual Grammy nominations. It also means that she tied her husband's 88 career nominations, making them the most nominated people in Grammy history. That's not all: she moved ahead of Frank Sinatra this year to become the artist with the most career Record of the Year nominations, and she is the first woman of color to receive four Album of the Year nominations, surpassing records previously held by Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and H.E.R.

Omar Apollo gets in for Best New Artist.

When the Grammy race began in earnest a year ago, openly gay rising star Omar Apollo wasn't even on most people's very long prediction lists for Best New Artist. But with two back-to-back tours, a brilliant new album, a spot on Barack Obama's summer playlist, and a late-breaking viral hit with his song "Evergreen," Apollo prevailed and earned his first Grammy nomination. And if we have anything to say about it, he should handily win the award as well.

Kendrick Lamar triumphs.

One of the best albums of the year, rap god Kendrick Lamar earned an Album of the Year nomination for his exquisite "Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers," making it his fourth consecutive album to do so. This makes him the first artist in any genre to be nominated with four consecutive studio albums since Billy Joel's hot streak from 1979 to 1983.

Kim Petras and Sam Smith make history.

Something of a surprise given how recently "Unholy" was released, this naughty earworm earned Petras, a German trans songstress, her very first Grammy nomination. "Maybe I'll b a tranny with a grammy," she tweeted. "TRAMMY." Alongside Sam Smith, who is non-binary, they become the first trans and non-binary nominees in the Best Pop Duo category.

Bonnie Raitt, at last.

Over her long career, Bonnie Raitt has won 12 Grammys from a total of 28 nominations. But believe it or not, this year she earned her very first Song of the Year nomination for "Just Like That." Well deserved.

Taylor Swift's opus could win big.

It goes without saying that Taylor Swift is no stranger to the Grammys. But despite all her many wins, three of which are for Album of the Year, Swift has never won a Song of the Year Grammy. Considering the fact that she's one of the greatest songwriters of all time, it feels a bit egregious at this point. But her wish might finally come true this year with her 10-minute version of "All Too Well," an expanded version of her 2012 hit that she re-recorded this year and has called her favorite song she's ever written.

Doja Cat proves she's a force.

Although she seemingly came out of nowhere back in 2020, Doja Cat has demonstrated time and time again that she's a major force in the music industry. Impressively, she has amassed 16 Grammy nominations over three years, including five more this year. With her Record of the Year nomination this year for "Woman," she joins Roberta Flack and Billie Eilish as only the third female artist in history to receive Record of the Year nods three years in a row.

Randy Rainbow surprises.

Randy Rainbow's song parodies are beloved, and over the last several years he has achieved mainstream success that even a few years ago seemed unthinkable, including two Emmy nominations. But with his recent comedy album "A Little Brains, A Little Talent," he joins comedy legends Dave Chappelle, Louis C.K., Patton Oswalt, and Jim Gaffigan in a fight that will no doubt be one of the evening's most competitive.

Bad Bunny makes history.

He's the biggest star on the planet and his album continues to break record after record, so it was no surprise that his "Un Verano Sin Ti" earned an Album of the Year nomination, making it the first Spanish-language album to achieve that feat. What's more, it's the first album to receive Album of the Year nominations at both the Grammys and the Latin Grammys.

The Bad

Bad Bunny deserved more.

While he triumphed in the Album of the Year category and landed a surprise nomination for Best Pop Solo Performance, he received only one other nomination this year for Best Musica Urbana Album. We don't mean to undersell his achievements, but given the year he's had, he deserved more, namely in the Song and Record of the Year categories.

Rosalia misses out on Album of the Year.

With Bad Bunny making history with his Album of the Year nod, it seemed unlikely that this would be a year when two Spanish-language albums made it into the top category. But Rosalia's "Motomami" was thought to be a dark horse in this race, and the album remains one of the best of the year. She did, however, score two nominations, for Best Latino Rock, Urban, or Alternative Album as well as Best Music Film. Interestingly, at the Latin Grammys last week, she took home Album of the Year, trumping even Bad Bunny himself.

Drake and The Weeknd sit this one out. Again.

Both Drake and The Weeknd released two of the year's best albums with "Honestly, Nevermind" and "Dawn FM," respectively. But after years of bickering with the Grammys over miscategorizing his music, Drake has decided not to submit his music for Grammy consideration any longer. Similarly, two years ago, Grammy pundits everywhere had The Weeknd slated for a sweep of that year's awards for his album "After Hours" and his single "Blinding Lights." When the nominations were announced and The Weeknd was left out in the cold, he declared that the Grammys were corrupt and would no longer allow his label to submit his music. While both superstars are justified, it's a shame that they'll no longer be a part of music's biggest night.

Elton John and Dua Lipa snubbed.

An unlikely hit from two massive stars, "Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)" is an infectious earworm that continues to burn up the airwaves—and our hearts—15 months after its release. The song became Elton John's 28th top ten hit, making him one of only ten artists to reach the top 10 in four different decades. Many thought this would be a shoo-in for Record of the Year, coinciding spectacularly with John's retirement.

DJ Khaled for Song of the Year?

Remember, Song of the Year is a songwriting award. While this would have been a more tolerable choice in the Record of the Year category, DJ Khaled is somehow up for a writing award this year for a song whose brilliant lyrics include such gems as "got a kilo on a plate, send 'em on a freight." Not for nothing, but any song that begins with his trademark "we the best music" scream is, in fact, not the best music.

The Meh

ABBA? For that?

Over their long, illustrious, hit-filled career, ABBA had never received a single Grammy nomination. They managed their first nomination last year for Record of the Year—an award they didn't stand a chance of winning—and they're back at it this year with four nominations including Album of the Year. Sadly, the album is not very good and they've taken four spots away from more deserving artists, which has left a bad taste in our mouth. Our feeling? Either reunite or don't. But this half-assed project (and a London hologram concert) isn't doing anyone any favors.

Coldplay. Again?

For the love of God, will these guys ever give us a break? While we love Coldplay from the days of "Parachutes" and "X&Y," they haven't released a good album in over a decade. Still, this is their second consecutive Album of the Year nod for an album that doesn't deserve to be anywhere near the Grammy awards.

Sorry, but Mary J. Blige.

We love the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, but her most recent effort, "Good Morning Gorgeous," is hardly deserving of Album and Record of the Year nominations. Still, out of a career thirty-six nominations, she's won nine, and is up for six more this year. Her triumphant Super Bowl Halftime performance this year—for which she won an Emmy—may have buoyed her in the minds of voters this year, we just wish her big noms were for more substantial material.