Various Artists

1999 Grammy Nominees: Mainstream

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The votes are in! And the merchandising streams on, with this pristine sampler of industry gold medalists from the last Grammy show of the first millennium. This collection feels pop-heavy, even in non-pop categories, which makes sense given the nature of the necessary "listenability factor" of all Grammy contenders, particularly from the last decade -- with notable exceptions, particularly in the steadily "respectable" (though untameable) hip-hop/pop departments. Included are songs as common to the radio as the time of day: Brandy and Monica's "The Boy Is Mine"; the unsinkable Celine Dion and her "My Heart Will Go On"; the Goo Goo Dolls' ponderous "Iris"; and the strangely compelling era-of-spirituality totem "Ray of Light" by Madonna. Country & western envelopes included Shania Twain's "You're Still the One" and the unapologetic crossover to dead-on pop "Wide Open Spaces" by the Dixie Chicks. The Backstreet Boys make an unsubtle announcement with "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)," Sting gets it straight with "You Were Meant for Me," Natalie Imbruglia scores with "Torn," and something like funk checks in with Eagle-Eye Cherry's "Save Tonight." Others include "Amor ti Vieti" by Andrea Bocelli, "My Father's Eyes" by Eric Clapton, "Anytime" by Brian McKnight, and "Lullabye" by Shawn Mullins. The evening's (and year's) sensation swept across the awards' board as well the world: hip-hop diva Lauryn Hill with "Doo Wop (That Thing)." Starry, starry night, and interesting to know that these awards' recordings are actually procurable within milliseconds of the winning announcements.

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