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As Grammy deadline looms, will upcoming awards look like last year?

September 29, 2008 |  3:48 pm


It's that time again. Grammy season officially gets underway this week, as Tuesday is the final day to release an album in time for Grammy consideration.

That means Jennifer Hudson and Robin Thicke, who both release new albums that day, have made the cut. As did Mercury Rev, who are releasing the spacey sonic exploration of "Snowflake Midnight" this week. But new albums from Kanye West and Taylor Swift will have to wait until 2010 to get Grammy consideration. The Grammys of 2009 may, in fact, may look a little like what the Grammys of 2008 could have been

With the Grammy deadline looming, this is a relatively quiet release week, at least in terms of big, Grammy-loving albums. Last year, for instance, had a new Bruce Springsteen effort, as the Boss put out a vinyl edition of his "Magic" to make the Grammy cut. That's not to say that September has been lacking in blockbuster efforts, as the latest from Metallica and Ne-Yo are both receiving positive reviews and will surely rack up some Grammy noms.

Metallica, mind you, already has seven Grammy wins, but they're all confined to the rock field. It might be a long shot to put "Death Magnetic" in contention for album of the year, even though it comes with the magic touch of producer Rick Rubin (six Grammy wins). So though it was composed a little more than two months ago, The Envelope's midyear Grammy preview probably still holds up, give or take a couple albums.

It wouldn't be shocking to see a host of 2007 releases in the album of the year field for 2009, as releases from Alica Keys, Radiohead, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Jay-Z and the Eagles all missed the 2008 deadline of Sept. 30, 2007, and all hold appeal to Grammy voters. But having just two (or even one?) of the aforementioned artists in the running for an album of the year would be damaging to the Grammys. At a time when an album is out the moment it leaks, the Grammys wouldn't be doing anything to change their behind-the-times image.

It would be nice to see Grammy voters truly surprise everyone and nominate albums from the likes of veteran rocker Nick Cave and folksy upstarts the Fleet Foxes, as there's plenty of good music to go around, but one step at a time. In this increasing volatile market, the music biz is relying on fourth-quarter holiday-timed releases more than ever.

Therefore, the Grammys will not only miss aforementioned releases from West and Swift, but albums from Fall Out Boy, Beyonce, Pink, David Cook, the Killers, Nickelback and Lucinda Williams are all due after the Sept. 30 deadline. Additionally, one of the biggest music stories of the year may be a new, Best Buy-approved Guns 'n' Roses album, but the Grammys will miss it.

Granted, not all of the artists in the above paragraph are Grammy-worthy, but it's time the Recording Academy extended the deadline from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31. Increasingly, the music that's being discussed as the year comes to an end is the music that the Grammys have to wait another 12 months to honor.

Photo: Taylor Swift at the 2008 Grammy Awards. Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times