And the winner for best spoken word Grammy is . . .

February 5, 2015 11:50 PM

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And the winner for best spoken word Grammy is . . .

All of us who listen to music, that is, which roughly translates as: All of us. The Grammys, which air live this Sunday at 8 p.m., differ from the various movie awards, literary prizes, and TV pageants in that they work hard to throw a wide net and pull in as many corners of popular culture as possible. If you’re into classicalmusic, or bluegrass, or EDM, or rap, orcountry, or New Age — wait, does that stillexist? — there’s a Grammy category for you. Contemporary Christian, gospel, Latin jazz, Latin pop, Latin urban pop, Tejano, American roots, reggae? The National Academy ofRecording Arts and Sciences has you covered. There are, in fact, 83 Grammy categories this year. That’s like the Oscars making room for Most Egregious Product Placement or Best Performance by an Actress Not NamedMeryl Streep.

The Grammy micro-niches, welcome as they are, are actually an accurate reflection of the fragmented state of American music, that aural landscape in which our headphones and iPods play only what we know. The categories speak to their constituencies, rarely outside of them. To find the music that’s t...

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