Various Artists

Grammy Nominees 2005

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Grammy Nominees 2005, much like the Grammy-themed compilations before it, is a lopsided roundup of the previous year's commercial hits. Appealing to the type of casual music fan who listens to mainstream radio and maybe watches some videos every now and then, it's also a time capsule, even if the majority of people within the music industry will be hard-pressed to recall who was nominated for what in a few years. Here, there's a pronounced slant toward safer material, even by Grammy standards. Usher's rowdy "Yeah!" is the only nominee for Record of the Year not included, but his Confessions is nominated for Album of the Year, giving the compilers the opportunity to choose the less-imposing ballad "Burn" to represent the biggest pop star of 2004. In the Best Female Pop Vocal Performance category, Björk is left out in order to leave room for the more traditional likes of Joss Stone, Norah Jones, and Sheryl Crow. Just as tellingly, Beastie Boys' average "Ch-Check It Out" and the Black Eyed Peas' sporting-event favorite "Let's Get It Started" are included from the Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group category, while far more imaginative and unique tracks from Terror Squad and Snoop Dogg are left out. Since there is a good deal of overlap between the primary categories, the disc is able to cover most of the nominees in some form. Alicia Keys' "If I Ain't Got You," Green Day's "American Idiot," U2's "Vertigo," Maroon 5's "She Will Be Loved," Gretchen Wilson's "Redneck Woman," and Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up" are some of the other inescapable hits that are included. If it wasn't already evident that this is a grownup's view of 2004, the presence of undeserving selections from Brian Wilson, Seal, Ray Charles, Elvis Costello, and -- this really hurts -- Prince, make it as plain as...well, an Elvis Costello song.

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