SIOUX CITY | The nominations for a host of Grammy awards for 2018 were announced this week.
The list includes a huge number of artists up for the honors, from relative newcomers to old names in the music biz.
The most coveted Grammy award is Album of the Year. This year's nominees for that include Jay-Z's "4:44," Kendrick Lamar with "DAMN," Bruno Mars' "24K Magic," Childish Gambino's "Awaken, My Love!" and Lorde's "Melodrama."
Those chosen to win Album of the Year sometimes draw puzzled reactions. One example was in 2000, when 1970s vets Steely Dan won for "Two Against Nature." That was quite surprising because a great band, Radiohead, put out a great album, "Kid A."
Some people were also put off when Beck won in 2014 with "Morning Phase" -- as in Kanye West's legendary rush to the stage.
Looking back for this century, here is a list of the Top 5 discs that won Album of the Year since 2000. Taylor Swift won twice in that span, with "Fearless" in 2009 and "1989" in 2015, which just fell short of making this list.
21," Adele, in 2012. This sophomore effort broke the record for longest No. 1 album by a woman in Billboard history. With hits including "Someone Like You," Rolling in the Deep" and "Set Fire To The Rain," she dissected relationships and shredded many listeners' emotions. Incidentally, those songs made Adele the first solo female artist to have three top 10 singles in the Billboard Hot 100 and gave a highly regarded Grammy acceptance speech. She went on to win an Oscar for the theme to "Skyfall" and continues to turn out critically and commercially successful discs.
"Morning Phase," Beck, in 2015. It may have surprised some people, but Beck has morphed from his 1990s get-fresh-flow weirdness. After he burst onto the scene with the single "Loser" and then album "Odelay," Beck got more mature into the 2000s with following albums. "Morning Phase" was a capstone to where he had moved, with the sedate songs "Morning" and "Waking Light."
"Speakerboxxx/The Love Below," Outkast, in 2004. Andre 3000 and Big Boi wrote some great tunes that broadened the scope of hip hop. The album was diverse sprawl of styles, with some psychedelic flourishes and big hits such as "Hey Ya!" and "The Way You Move."
"The Suburbs," Arcade Fire, in 2011. This album was so much more deserving than the product by other nominees Lady Gaga and Katy Perry. But it still was unexpected in some quarters, including in the mind of Arcade Fire leader Win Butler, who on stage said, "What the hell?" The alternative rock disc's big single was "Ready to Start."
"How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb," U2, in 2006. It is weird to think that an unadulterated masterpiece by U2, The Joshua Tree, did not win the 1987 Album of the Year, which went to Graceland by Paul Simon. U2 put out consistently strong albums into the early 1990s, then became more spotty in output. "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb," which includes the hit "Vertigo" and "Miracle Drug" was a fine return to form and helped them make younger fans. As with many U2 albums, it also had a closer that mined into the religious, with "Yahweh" in this case.