Many Madonna and Prince fans are upset that their favorite singers didn’t get any Grammy nominations this year. At first, it seems like a definite snub. After all, both Madonna and Prince influenced almost every single act that is in the music business today. Both of them have also created groundbreaking music that stands the test of time.
This year, Madonna released Rebel Heart and the campaign that proceeded it led to one PR disaster after another. Madonna was obviously frustrated that somebody leaked her album before it was even finished. She put part of the album on sale in December, called the leaks “artistic rape” and “a form of terrorism,” and then caused faux outrage when she reposted pictures fans made of civil rights leaders with wires around their faces that symbolized society trying to shut them down. Madonna shouldn’t have expected the social media world to understand.
Right before releasing Rebel Heart, Madonna performed at the BRIT Awards, where she was pulled off stage when her cape didn’t come off. She victoriously got up and finished the song, but — in the end — she stole the show for all the wrong reasons. By the time Rebel Heart came out, the whole project was an afterthought. Only one single, “Bi**h I’m Madonna,” managed to chart. However, the reviews for Rebel Heart were the best she has received in a decade.
In a four-star review, Neil McCormick of the Telegraph said Rebel Heart was a return to form.
“Rebel Heart pairs classic songwriting and contemporary adventure in Madonna’s least desperate album in years… She may be chasing the pop zeitgeist rather than setting it these days but at least Madonna sounds like she’s in the game again.”
The album also received great reviews from Rolling Stone, Billboard, USA Today, The Sun, and many other sources. Her Rebel Heart Tour is the best-reviewed tour of her entire career. Surely, people thought Madonna would get a nomination, but she didn’t.
Prince’s HitNRun: Phase One also received great reviews, although not as good as Madonna’s album did. Still, Entertainment Weekly gave the album a perfect rating.
“HITnRUN is an invigorating, eclectic modern pop record that takes a now-familiar (but still no less impressive) formula–equal parts hedonistic arena rock, chugging funk, and art-mutated pop–and tacks on a handful of new sounds and twists that give is a satisfying, visceral edge.”
The album also received positive reviews from NME, Consequence of Sound, and even the New York Times. Even though some people considered HitNRun a return to form for Prince, he didn’t promote it much. Still, Prince fans are enraged that he did not receive one single Grammy nomination.
It’s really ridiculous that people like Kelly Clarkson (whose album completely bombed) and Meghan Trainor (whom many consider a music industry joke) could receive nominations, while these two icons are ignored. It could be ageism. It could be that people in the music industry just don’t like Madonna and Prince. But it is actually more simple than that.
The reason why Prince and Madonna didn’t receive any nominations is because music from both of these artists were completely off the radar of the public. Is it fair that their music was off the radar? No! But the blame for that should be aimed at radio stations that refuse to play older artists and record companies who don’t promote their music the right way. In Madonna’s case, her management really screwed up the release of what should have been Madonna’s comeback record (not that she really needs a “comeback” since she will make more money than just about every artist in the industry this year). It’s hard to be recognized when people (perhaps wrongly) don’t even remember that you had a record out this year.
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