Songs from the Greta Gerwig film “Barbie” — a canny collection of contemporary pop hitmakers finding creative ways to wrestle with the film’s themes — are everywhere in this year’s nominations. Billie Eilish’s familiarly melancholy “What Was I Made For?” is up for record and song of the year, and Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night” is also nominated for song of the year. “Barbie World” by Nicki Minaj and Ice Spice will compete for best rap song. Tracks from the soundtrack also hog up four of the five available slots in best song written for visual media. CARAMANICA
Emerging Latin stars get left behind.
After a year in which Latin music continued to explode on streaming services and forge all sorts of cross-cultural hybrids, this year’s Grammy nominations are, well, puzzling. Edgar Barrera, the Mexican American songwriter who has collaborated on hit after hit for singers across the Americas, is rightfully a nominee for songwriter of the year. But there’s no best new artist nomination for Peso Pluma, the cutting-voiced Mexican songwriter whose career skyrocketed in 2022 and 2023 — he’s touring arenas this year — and who bridges regional Mexican corridos and Latin trap. Peso Pluma’s 2023 album, “Génesis,” is just tucked among the nominees for música mexicana. Other emerging Mexican-rooted acts that had a blockbuster year — among them Eslabon Armado, Grupo Frontera, Grupo Firme, Christian Nodal and Natanael Cano — go unmentioned.
Then there’s the oddity of the música urbana category. Its three — only three — nominees are deserving: the reggaeton producer Tainy, the electronics-loving pop experimenter Rauw Alejandro and the Colombian songwriter Karol G, whose 2023 album, “Mañana Será Bonito,” was the first Spanish-language album by a woman to reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200. But música urbana — encompassing reggaeton, Latin hip-hop, dembow, Latin trap and more — is a crowded, competitive, hugely popular format. The Grammys couldn’t find five nominees? All they had to do was turn on the radio. JON PARELES
Olivia Rodrigo takes on … the Rolling Stones.
The Grammys’ rock categories are reliable head-scratchers, but best rock song provides an unexpected delight this time: Olivia Rodrigo’sgoes up against the Rolling Stones’ pitting some of this year’s oldest nominees (average Stones age: 78) against one of the youngest (at 20, Rodrigo is still not old enough to order a celebratory champagne). Rodrigo is the only nominee in the category who isn’t part of a band, but her track has the fewest number of writers: just two, herself and the producer Daniel Nigro. (The other competitors include boygenius, Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age.)
“Ballad of a Homeschooled Girl,” with its gleeful pop-punk thrash, is an ode to social awkwardness that draws on ’90s rockers like Veruca Salt; “Angry” is built on a classic Stones riff with plenty of room to breathe — unlike the troubled relationship Mick Jagger describes in its lyrics. Both describe uncomfortable situations; both sound like a load of fun. And it’s nice to see Rodrigo’s latest album, “Guts,” recognized in the rock field, where it belongs. CARYN GANZ
A powerful Paul Simon LP goes unrewarded.
If anyone should have been able to count on respect from the Grammys, it’s Paul Simon. His 2023 album, “Seven Psalms,” plays as a thoughtful, complex, tuneful farewell, anticipating his death. It’s a major statement couched in intimate acoustic arrangements, with the craftsmanship and artistic ambition that awards shows claim to recognize. Simon has won 16 Grammys, dating back to his days with Simon and Garfunkel. But “Seven Psalms” was shut out of high-profile categories like album of the year, and got just one obscure nomination, for best folk album, where Simon competes with the touching comeback (and beloved, familiar songs) of “Joni Mitchell at Newport.” The Grammys used to reward late-career albums by musicians like Steely Dan (“Two Against Nature”), Bob Dylan (“Time Out of Mind”) and Tony Bennett (“MTV Unplugged”). Now, Simon’s knotty confrontation with mortality seems to have gotten stranded between Grammy generations. PARELES