On Caitlin Rose’s first album in 9 years, she’s wistful, wiser and having fun again

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Jewly Hight, Contributor, NPR Music

A dozen or so years ago, the title track of Caitlin Rose’s debut album Own Side Now found her torn between craving company and resolving to follow her own whims. “Who’s gonna take me home?” she fretted with crystalline melancholy. ” ‘Cause I don’t wanna go it alone.” But solitude was exactly what her protagonist seemed to be steeling herself for by the song’s end: “I’m on my own side now.”

That’s also a fairly accurate summation of Rose’s standing as an artist back in those days. Though her father was an industry exec and her mother a notable Music Row songwriter, she kept her musical ventures to herself in her teens.

Toward the end of the 2000s, she emerged from the close-knit informality of Nashville’s DIY circles with a grasp of sturdy, classic country, pop and soft-rock song structures alongside an affinity for the casual irreverence and obliqueness of anti-folk and indie rock. To her, there was nothing at all contradictory about swirling those sensibilities together.

“I’m not a serious person,” Rose says by way of explanation at a neighborhood pub that she frequents in Nashville, on a mild enough November afternoon that she’s removed the medical boot from her still-healing broken foot. “But I do take the craft really seriously.”

On CAZIMI, Caitlin Rose’s first new album in nine years, the songwriter has found new ways to add to her music’s depth and dimension. (Courtesy: Laura E. Partain / the artist)

Her artistic approach garnered international buzz but had few analogues at the time, which meant that she was perpetually asked to explain what she was up to and where it fit. “It’s not ‘ahead of my time,'” she muses, “but ‘early to the party,’ maybe.”

Indie troubadour Rayland Baxter and the guitar duo Steelism, composed of Spencer Cullum and Jeremy Fetzer, were among those who accompanied her on recordings before easing into the spotlight themselves. In Rose’s wake, the acclaim of kindred singer-songwriters like Courtney Marie Andrews, Erin Rae and Margo Price registered with slightly more familiarity. Hell, Rose may have even helped prepare Nashville for the moment when Kacey Musgraves would introduce her own brand of cool skepticism to country.

The ways of the industry didn’t come naturally to Rose, though. Case in point: the perverse playfulness with which she once blew off the networking overtures of Jordan Lehning, a well-regarded, fellow second-generation Nashville-music-maker who’s become one of her closest collaborators.

When he joins her at the table, he relishes telling the tale of how he approached her to share a song idea after a show. Instead of giving him her contact info, she scrawled the eBay URL on his arm. It’s because Lehning got Rose’s sense of humor that they forged a connection. They made her second album, 2013’s The Stand-In, together and tinkered with demos in his home studio even as career pressures became so much for her that she went the rest of that decade without releasing a new album.

CAZIMI, which she and Lehning co-produced, is her long-awaited return. The record, released last week, is the product of convening for pre- and mid-pandemic sessions with musicians she already considered friends.

“The studio, to me, is supposed to be fun,” she insists, a sentiment Lehning seconds. “I think some artists can really move through whatever situation they’re in and create something. But for me, it’s this super personal thing. I really do require a level of intimacy to enjoy it. And if I’m not enjoying it, I’m making garbage.”

Instead of churning out junk, Rose has found new ways to add to her music’s depth and dimension, writing of lessons and letdowns, of bracing for inevitable disappointment, of shedding naiveté from a slightly wiser, more wistful remove. More than ever, she’s a low-key master of shaping bewitching pop melodies that curl into subtle uncertainty and delivering them with a knowing twinkle and nervy, nimble phrasing.

During “Modern Dancing,” a guitar-driven track punctuated by synthesizer supernovas, she cannily probes a new relationship for weakness on all sides. “I hope you know what you’re doing,” she warns crisply, letting the line hang in the air before upping the ante: “You don’t know what you’re asking.” She lets the chorus’s final two lines run together, deftly zeroing in on and minimizing what this pairing is up against all at once: “I’ve got a romance with ruin, and we’re only… modern dancing.”

More than ever, Rose is taking it all in, and she’s just released her new album into a radically altered landscape that ought to appreciate it more than ever.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Jewly Hight: When I revisit your old interviews, I’m struck by how much writers focused on pinning down the genre of your music. One reason for that fixation may have been that in the late 2000s and early 2010s, there wasn’t yet a familiar template for a Nashville singer-songwriter serious about her craft but equally influenced by country, indie pop, indie rock and indie folk. How did you make sense of that, and how do you make sense of it now?

Caitlin Rose: Saying it was country music was the most natural thing for me to say for the first four years, because I could shut a conversation down that just seemed like tail-chasing. Having to overexplain myself always made me really uncomfortable. You couldn’t really say, “I’m country music,” because then somebody would say something like, “Oh, like Toby Keith.” You’d just have to constantly change people’s perceptions and at a certain point say, “Just listen to a record. I don’t know what to tell you.”

When did you begin to feel like you were part of a music scene, or scenes, in Nashville?

I think it built off the underage scene. All of my friends [and I] were going to local rock shows. There are a lot of bands here at the time that we loved, and at some point it was sort of like, “Well, I can probably do that, too. I think that would be fun.” And I’d written, and it wasn’t something new to me, going to shows and just being in that environment.

So I skipped the coffee-shop, open-mic-night kind of vibe and it was straight to bars. That was my intro into what I think my genre is, which is Nashville Weirdo. And back in the day there were so many great weirdos here, and some of them have really gone on to do great things, and some of them have left.

When other “Nashville weirdos” began to emerge after your debut album, Own Side Now, had already placed you in the spotlight, was there any sense of kinship for you?

I mean, my trajectory is so specific to me. Nothing was strategy, so I can’t relate to any kind of thing like that. It was all sort of, not accidental, but I was just following the lead of whatever silver thread was happening for me. It’s hard to really pinpoint what that was other than a shift in appreciation for women’s stories, and young women, especially, in their creative visions. It could have just been that musical shift of women coming a little further into the forefront.

It wasn’t like you were thrust into global pop stardom, but there was considerable buzz and blog coverage, and a great deal of interest in your music in the U.K. How did you experience that?

I don’t think I ever had a goal. It’s not like I was sitting around being like, “I’m going to play Glastonbury,” and I ended up playing Glastonbury. The only moments of panic were when I felt like I wasn’t doing something right or when I wasn’t moving forward in a way that was working.

I didn’t know what I was doing. I was 21, and then I was 21 for basically five years and still being called “wise beyond my years,” a “wunderkind” or whatever. There wasn’t a lot of time to mature with myself. It was more just constantly playing catch up with this thing birthed out of whatever I was doing, and it wasn’t something I could really keep up with.

I think the panic [had to do with] having to pick up this understanding of an entire industry. I grew up in the industry, but I didn’t grow up in the Nashville industry. I came up in a local scene, in a local rock scene and a local folk scene. So there really weren’t any clear guidelines for how to do that.

Did you originally think that you would be making another album soon after The Stand-In?

Of course. I can’t think of any artists who would say, “Yeah, I put out a record. It did really good. I put out another record. It did OK. And then I just wanted to quit.” I would have loved to, and certain things hindered my entire creative process, my personal life, my career. I mean, it all kind of falls together.

It’s like with my [broken] foot. The other day, I compared trauma to realizing that you’ve been rolling your foot or breaking your ankle or spraining something for five years because you had a torn ligament. Getting back to that source of what started this thing is really hard and it takes a long time if you didn’t immediately come to terms with it.

And when you’re 21, 22, 23, if something goes wrong, you’re not in a reflective age, you’re not in a mature enough place to really figure out how to move past things, especially if you’re on this career path. It’s not something you have time to bring to a halt and figure this s*** out.

Was there ever a time when you weren’t writing songs?

I didn’t stop writing. I just stopped connecting to me as a writer. I started doing a lot of co-writing. In certain co-writes, I would basically just be sneaking in details of something I would have wanted to write about on my own. But I was having so much trouble doing that.

I was definitely writing with people for pitching and writing with people for personal projects. But for the most part, it was really just to keep going and maybe even start trying to find another path in music, which could have been co-writing. But apparently I didn’t really write much that could have hit the charts. Yeah, I have a cut on the Old 97’s record. I wrote with Andrew Combs a lot, and he cut stuff. It was an insular crew.

I was also reaching out to other people in the Nashville industry. I had a lot of fun getting to know a lot of these bigger writers and learning their processes. Daniel Tashian and I wrote “Nobody’s Sweetheart” probably a year before him and Kacey [Musgraves] started working [on Golden Hour] together, too. So it was a very long building process for me to get out of whatever stall was there.

“Nobody’s Sweetheart” isn’t just the title of one of your new songs — it’s also a figure that appears alongside its foil, nobody’s fool, throughout the album.

You know what it came from? On Instagram for a long time, I was just trying to express myself creatively in any way possible. I started making this series called “Fun with Sheet Music,” where I was collecting old sheet music or researching old sheet music, and tagging them, captioning them with a really snarky response. And one of them was “Nobody’s Sweetheart.” And my caption was, “Nobody’s Fool.” And immediately after I posted it, I took it down, ’cause I was like, “Oh, I have to actually just write that song.”

I hate when people are like, “Oh, every song’s a character.” But in some ways, it is. I mean, every song was sort of a way of creating a version of my own experiences that I could translate.

In so many of the songs on the album, you’re bracing for things to disintegrate. There’s this ruthless realism, like you’re not going to fall for believing in a happy ending.

The only happy endings I saw growing up were Disney movies. It’s not my M.O. to write something like that. I also think that I don’t write from a perspective of present feelings. I have trouble being in the present. It’s always sort of retrospective, and I think that’s led to more of an analytical processing of emotions, which is maybe not so much like, “This is how I feel,” but, “Why do I feel that way?”

The process always comes from dissecting whatever situation I am directly referencing, to the point where I’m sometimes writing that song from the perspective of a different person who was also involved in this situation, which is kind of creepy. But it’s all about understanding. It’s not so much all the time about feeling for me.

Part of what gives these songs such magnetism is your enticing melodies and really shrewd vocal phrasing. You take that in so many different directions — power pop, New Wave, twang pop, indie pop, singer-songwriter pop — but your feel for pop is the through line.

I think with this record, I really went out of my way to make it a little free genre, because that is me. … In a lot of ways, this record is kind of an homage to everything I’ve ever loved, and a very unashamed homage. Did you catch any anime soundtrack [influences]? It’s the anime soundtrack that really sneaks in.

After a long time, you start realizing those things that really inspired you for a long time are important, and there’s no reason to feel weird about it. Growing up with ’90s country — I don’t know if anyone hears that in this record, but it’s in there. It’s the filter. Every single line of mesh in front of a microphone is everything I’ve ever heard and loved. … And this record really kind of went back to revisiting a version of myself that I hadn’t in a long time.

“CAZIMI” album art. (Courtesy: the artist’s Bandcamp)

How did you settle on the astrological concept of a cazimi as the title and central organizing principle?

I just kept shopping it with people I know and love, and everybody kept saying they didn’t like it, and I still liked it at the end. So it’s sort of a stubborn thing. “Cazimi” is definitely becoming a bit more of a buzzword, where people are using it more in pop astrology.

It does represent this brief, shining moment in time where instead of being obliterated by the sun’s power, a planet will be empowered by it. It started just to make a lot of sense. The ideal is to feel empowered in your own creative existence and to feel proud and to feel like it gives you power.

A lot of what I experienced early on, since I wasn’t prepared, was very debilitating. I do love to talk, but as far as really communicating with people, when you don’t feel like you can do that because you’re in an industry that really doesn’t necessarily always clamor for real communication or real intimacy, it just feels like being sunburned, being burned by this whole thing. We all learn in our 30s that phrase, “Give yourself limitless grace.” And that’s what I had to learn how to do.

After making your way through all of that, what was it like actually bringing CAZIMI to completion?

Just finishing the record is something I haven’t topped yet. I don’t know if there’s anything that’s going to top the feeling of finishing it. It was not this big moment. It was a very small moment.

There were a few moments where we did think it was done, but I remember the exact moment it was done, and it was really based on one harmony on “Lil’ Vesta.” It was something that I just kept freaking out about, and we both would be like, “That’s wrong.” Eventually, there was a moment where I sang one more pass at it, and I was like, “That was it.” And it was done.

We took a shot of tequila and took some Polaroids, and it was very uneventful. But inside, it was still the most important moment of this process. It was such a hard thing to do.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The woman who fell to Earth

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Sasha Geffen, NPR Music

In a 1997 documentary about Björk, U2 frontman Bono spoke of the Icelandic pop star’s voice as a weapon. “The girl has a voice like an ice pick. Such a pure sound,” he gushed. “When The Sugarcubes played with U2, I would be preparing in the dressing room, and even if I couldn’t hear the band … I could always seem to hear that voice. It seemed to travel through metal and concrete and glass.”

By then, Björk was four years into her solo career, having parted ways with her Reykjavík alternative band at the start of the ’90s. She snowballed the momentum she’d gathered with The Sugarcubes and, in 1993, broke from rock into a mix of big-band balladeering and rave-inflected Europop with Debut, the album that laid the groundwork for her to become an international star and Iceland’s most visible cultural export.

When asked herself, the artist described her own singing as something that came naturally, a form of expression learned in childhood and preserved since then, as automatic as speech. “When I was small, my mother couldn’t take a bus because I was always singing on the buses. I would stand up on the seats and shout out my favorite songs,” she said during a 1988 magazine interview. “I’ve never learned to sing. I just sang. It’s very easy, just like I can talk.”

(Courtesy: Gabriella Trujillo for NPR)

Yet as it rang across global airwaves, that voice thrilled listeners with its specialness — its unique pronunciations, distinct syntaxes, unselfconscious reveries and abundant power. Music writers splashed bewildered language over the sound.

Björk’s voice was “a heavenly hiccuping thing that almost defies terrestrial description,” “this dazzling, pure instrument that can put the fear of God into you when she lets fly.” It came part and parcel with the uninhibited persona, once summarized as “eccentric Icelandic techno elf,” that manifested in the distinctive look and choreography of her performances and music videos.

As a solo artist in the ’90s, Björk came up amid a generation of women eccentrics that included PJ Harvey, Lauryn Hill, Fiona Apple and Tori Amos — all daring songwriters who inspired as much discomfort as devotion in a patriarchal pop culture. Still, she stood apart.

Her face and accent denoted her otherness, her belonging to a volcanic island at the northern tip of the world. Journalists picked apart the “kooky” ways she moved and dressed ad absurdum. And she sang with a fearlessness that many read as childlike — a little too raw and earnest for the world of adults, too prone to spurts of glossolalia, as if she were still serenading commuters on that bus.

“You’ve got to understand that all the interviews that journalists do to me, they always just ask me for an hour what it’s like being strange,” Björk said while promoting her second album, Post.

At the same time as she was beginning to bristle at its limitations, her stardom took a painful turn: In 1996, she briefly became tabloid fodder after attacking a reporter at a Bangkok airport who had tried to interview her young son. The same year, an obsessed American fan sent her a letter bomb before filming his own suicide.

As spectacular as that voice was, as much as it struck awe into whoever heard it, it vaulted her up to a bizarre and lonely place. To critics, it amplified an intractable weirdness, evidence of individuality so excessive it couldn’t help but result in celebrity. To fans, it held her aloft from the world of other people. Sound became synonymous with personhood: Björk was the voice that leapt out of her.

She would soon tire of that isolated vantage. Her early years in the public imagination had made her rare and in high demand, but she was interested in more than singularity. She wanted to connect.

“Everything’s geared toward self-sufficiency. F*** that,” Björk told Interview in 1995. “For me, the target is to learn how to communicate with other people, which is the hardest thing, after all. What you should be doing is learning how to live with other human beings.”

In the three decades since her solo debut, the artist has worked steadily toward that ideal: a place where her voice can flow into the ears of her listeners and the throats of her collaborators, flexing together with them as a single muscle rather than bowling them over from on high.

To get there, she had to prove she wasn’t just a voice. With her third album, 1997’s Homogenic, she took on the role of producer as well as performer, swirling together orchestral arrangements with harsh industrial beats. Those electronic sounds originated organically, in her own throat: When drum patterns came to mind while she was out touring Post, she’d translate them vocally, calling her engineer and simulating beats into the phone.

“Because I’m not a drum programmer I’d call him up and go, ‘I’d like this: pssht … shtsss … crsht.‘ And by the time I got home, he had built up a library of more than 100 beats. Then I used those to start building a kind of mosaic.”

The resulting album had a newly holistic tenderness: For the first time, her voice sent roots down into its accompaniment rather than soaring above it. When Björk sang of the “emotional landscapes” of a powerful friendship on ‎”Jóga,” she created them as much as she described them. She cracked and faltered in time with the drums on “Unravel,” swelled when the strings did for “Bachelorette.” Her voice was no longer an alien beam striking earth from an outer world, but a gateway to that new realm: a warm, enveloping welcome into unbounded space.

Other voices joined her there. On 2001’s Vespertine, she explored the ego-dissolving mutuality of good sex with help from a full choir. While living in New York after Sept. 11, an era when the dominant culture flattened anything considered un-American into an enemy, she conceived of her next record as a way to play at relationality without borders.

“I had to use ingredients that I trusted, like my voice, my muscles, my bones. I couldn’t really use all the other stuff,” she said of 2004’s Medúlla, on which her voice tangles with those of other idiosyncratic vocalists — Faith No More’s Mike Patton, Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, Roots beatboxer Rahzel. The album largely dispenses with other instruments, letting the collaged voices propel and support each other.

Inside Medúlla‘s playful, interwoven world of voice, Björk’s lost its singularity. The sound of the album paralleled a shift in how the singer conceived of her own image, and she went so far as to declare the persona of her early career, the coy pixie dream woman with the astounding voice, dead and gone. “To a certain extent, the creature that the media collaborated on, she was mass-murdered,” she said in 2003. “You could argue that. She died a tragic death somewhere.”

By burning her own idol, Björk became malleable, a substance to be shaped — and charted a course through ambitious, changeable work full of experiments and collaborations.

The maximalist Volta, from 2007, saw her teaming up with Timbaland and Danja (whose boldly staccato production on Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack” was still pouring out of car radios) on brash, colorful beatwork. With 2011’s multimedia project Biophilia, she dipped into ’90s drum-and-bass to stage a scientific exploration of the natural world.

That affinity with the planet itself has spilled into her most recent work, as she’s pulled back from her more abstract, theoretical tendencies and returned to powerful emotionality. Her 2015 album Vulnicura found kinship in Iceland’s volcanoes as it plumbed the pain of her split from her longtime partner, the artist Matthew Barney. On 2017’s Utopia, a celebration of new love and feminist hope, she sampled South American birdsong, drawing lines among the vibrant vocal expressions of other species, the air whistling through flutes and the sound of her own voice.

Throughout these releases, she has mutated her look as much as her sound. From Volta onward, she’s appeared on her album covers in outré costumes and avant-garde makeup, distorting her unmistakable image. Through her repeatedly mutated morphologies, she has supplanted the idea of Björk the celebrity — an object fixed in place — with a generative force that never sits still. In her 21st century work, she flows out from herself until her original shape disappears.

Björk’s albums (clockwise, from top left) “Volta,” “Biophilia,” “Vulnicura” (physical cover), “Fossora” and “Utopia.” (Courtesy: the artist’s website)

Björk’s 10th solo LP, Fossora, continues excavating the questions of connection across difference that have intrigued her since the early years of her career. The seams between the human being and its neighboring species have inspired her since her debut single, “Human Behaviour,” which scrutinizes the world from the perspective of an alien anthropologist.

Nearly 30 years later, she organizes Fossora around the theme of fungus. The title is an invented word, a feminized version of the Latin fossor, or digger. After Utopia’s skyward gaze, Björk now opts to plunge into the dirt, to look into what the world does under the feet of those who walk on it.

Beneath the mushrooms they sprout, fungi grow vast networks of threaded cells, mycelia, through the soil. These serve as plant communication systems; trees send nutrients back and forth through them while repaying the fungi in sugar.

By studying these networks, scientists have discovered that trees recognize their own kin: “Mother” trees speak to their children, the sprouting seeds that dropped from their own branches, encouraging them in particular to take root and grow. (Or maybe what they do is more like singing, lullabies made of electrolytes instead of sound waves.)

The 2019 documentary Fantastic Fungi, which Björk took as partial inspiration for this album, illustrates these interactions as webs of flickering light — not so different, it suggests, from the neurological structure of the human brain.

Fossora delights in the idea that mushrooms and people might collaborate to solve the problem of connecting with others. Björk populates the album with a vast array of voices, both her own and those of her friends and children. The muddy, teeming undergrowth of her production, which blends woodwind arrangements and gabber beats, evokes those electrochemical whispers carried along invisible chains in the ground.

With nature as a guide, she sketches a model of voice as network: not the imprint of a rarified celebrity, but a web of far-flung filaments that group individuals together. The early interlude “Mycelia” makes the proposition explicit, as Björk chops up wordless segments of her own singing into a simulation of mushrooms chattering away.

The concept has appeared in her music before. “Heirloom,” from Vespertine, paints voice as a fluid that drains over time, but can be refilled by other people: “I have a recurring dream / Every time I lose my voice / I swallow little glowing lights / My mother and son baked for me,” she sings. “While I’m asleep / My mother and son pour into me / Warm glowing oil / Into my wide open throat.”

That striking image established, she then multitracks herself into an army of Björks, who repeat the same lyrics in the plural — each “me” and “my” swapped for “us” and “our.” When one voice dries up, the love of a mother and son revives a host of voices, their elusive rituals with luminous oil multiplying the artist until she’s no longer just one self, but a mysterious, plentiful “we.”

Björk’s son, Sindri, and daughter, Ísadóra, both sing on Fossora. Indirectly, so does her mother, the environmental activist Hildur Rúna Hauksdóttir, who died in 2018. On “Ancestress,” Björk recalls the sound of her mother’s voice feeding and carrying her through childhood: “When I was a girl she sang for me in falsetto / Lullabies with sincerity / I thank her for her integrity.”

Sindri accompanies her, completing “Heirloom”‘s intergenerational triad, as does the famous Hamrahlid Choir, an Icelandic institution, whose conductor Þorgerður Ingólfsdóttir “absolutely insists that every single person in the room, emotionally, goes to the light,” Björk said in a recent Atlantic feature.

Fungi don’t only mimic human communication; occasionally, they facilitate it. Fantastic Fungi touches on the curiosity of psychedelic mushrooms — fruiting bodies that plug right into our neuroreceptors, causing profound hallucinations and, for some, feelings of universal benevolence and connectedness. The documentary highlights the stories of palliative care patients who have found tremendous solace in their late-life trips; in some cases, the mushrooms help them shed their fear of death and find meaning in its approach.

In an interview, celebrity mycologist Paul Stamets recounts his own transformation in the grip of psilocybin: After years of feeling embarrassed by a youthful stutter that didn’t respond to speech therapy, Stamets climbed a tree while tripping and focused on his voice as a thunderstorm rolled in. The next day, he says, he could speak without the stutter and said his first confident “good morning” to the woman he had a crush on. By digging deep into their own head, the psilocybin user can sometimes find a way to get out of it.

Fossora finds its own loosened mode of conversation by enmeshing Björk’s voice with those of her featured guests. “Allow” draws the electropop singer Emilie Nicolas into a fluttering web of syllables, their edges so soft it’s hard to make out which voice comes from whom. On “Fungal City,” she duets with the experimental R&B artist serpentwithfeet, their voices tracing lyrics that map the “celebrational intelligence” of a romantic partnership onto the subterranean pulses of fungi in conversation.

On the closing track, “Her Mother’s House,” Björk ruminates on the ways voice can spill through familial and social fields. “A moist voice comes from abundance,” she and Ísadóra sing together. “A balloon painted with red clay / With lubrication will not crack / But will inflate evenly / And float higher.” A voice fed by the voices of others returns the nourishment supplied; a generous voice begets more voices until a whole ecosystem sings.

The word “voice,” in the context of artistic creation, tends to stand in for “self.” A person’s voice is their brand, a siloed essence that denotes their value. In shared cultural stories about work and merit, exceptional voices earn exceptional rewards.

Celebrity is one of these, a story about how some people are so special they can’t be touched, can’t mingle with the rabble, can’t communicate except with their own kind. The story of celebrity mirrors the larger-scale narrative of human exceptionalism, the idea that our species alone has the power, and the right, to manipulate its environment — that humanity is separate from and above nature.

In the time since her vaunted breakthrough years, Björk’s work has aimed to unstitch both myths, an unraveling beautifully embodied by her latest obsession. Fungi can nourish us, and they can kill us, and they can carry us through previously untrod passageways in our own minds.

But mostly, what they do is devour the dead. A decomposing corpse feeds legions of fungi, who digest it back into nutrient-rich soil. This macabre transformation might be the most intimate point of union between the mammal and the fungal, and Fossora does not neglect to amaze at it.

“Into sorrowful soil our roots are dug,” Björk sings on “Sorrowful Soil,” a eulogy to her mother. The voices of the Hamrahlid Choir echo hers, chasing her words, giving credence to the first-person plural pronoun. No instruments accompany them, save for muted synthesizer bass, and even that carries a warmth that suggests it could have sprung from a human throat.

If Björk’s voice, creased and earthy, can be teased out from the rest of them at the start of the song, it loses itself in the mix by the finish. It dips among the nine other voices, which crest and dissipate like waves, processed so as to sound even more numerous. Lyrics repeat, curling back on themselves. “You did well,” Björk tells her dead mother, and so does everyone else. “You did your best. You did well.”

She could have taken those lines on her own. What could be more singular, more personal, more siloed than assuring your mother, in her recent death, that she did a good job raising you? Who else could speak to such a claim?

But that’s what Björk’s best music does: It enters the vanishing point of the self and comes out the other side, where everyone else is. Mothers die constantly. People grieve as we speak. It can be isolating, to move through such thick loss, but it’s never actually isolated, or we wouldn’t have words for it.

So Björk pours her lament into a choir, lets them sing to the same mother that once replenished her voice in a recurring dream. Her childhood becomes their childhood. Her grief becomes their grief. Her voice melts itself until it doesn’t belong to anyone, and then it belongs to everyone, open and formless as the air it stirs to reach you.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Santigold: Tiny Desk Concert

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Stephen Thompson, Writer/Editor, NPR Music

The Tiny Desk often forces radical changes to an artist’s sound and style, but Santigold faced more than most.

There was the live band assembled for the occasion, which included George Lewis Jr. (aka Twin Shadow) on bass and drummer Chuck Treece, who’s worked with everyone from Bad Brains to Billy Joel. There was the lack of a microphone — and, by extension, vocal amplification — not to mention the fact that, as Santigold herself noted, “I don’t know what I’m doing up here with no dancers.”

Fortunately, Santi White has been revising and reinventing her sound for two decades now. If anything, performing her genre-straddling R&B and electro-pop with a live band represented a return to roots, given that she’d spent the early 2000s singing in the punk band Stiffed — with Treece on drums, in fact.

Everything about this set feels like the culmination of hard work, from the custom arrangements to the singer’s hair/hat combo, an architectural marvel that warrants closer inspection. Given that Santigold had canceled her North American tour weeks earlier — she flew into D.C. for this occasion — it’s a wonder her Tiny Desk debut even happened. Thank goodness it did.

Set list

  • “L.E.S. Artistes”
  • “I’m A Lady”
  • “Shake”
  • “Fall First”
  • “Ain’t Got Enough”


  • Santigold (Santi White): vocals
  • Ray Brady: guitar, synth 
  • Chuck Treece: drums 
  • George Lewis Jr. (Twin Shadow): bass 
  • Melanie Nyema: background vocals 
  • Stephany Mora: background vocals 

Tiny Desk team

  • Producer: Abby O’Neill
  • Director/Editor: Maia Stern
  • Audio Engineer: Josh Rogosin
  • Creative Director: Bob Boilen
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Maia Stern, Joshua Bryant, Michael Zamora, Sofia Seidel
  • Audio Assistant: Natasha Branch
  • Production Assistant: Jill Britton
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Kara Frame, Ashley Pointer
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Rosalía, Jorge Drexler, Bad Bunny win big at Latin Grammys

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The 2022 Latin Grammy Awards, which many expected to be a trophy-filled capper to Bad Bunny’s remarkable year, delivered a diverse array of winners, including Spanish singer Rosalía taking home album of the year for “Motomami.” 

Uruguayan musician Jorge Drexler led the night with six wins, including record and song of the year for “Tocarte” with Mexican rapper C. Tangana, followed by Bad Bunny with five. But the coolest win was undoubtedly a tie in the Best New Artist category featuring 25-year-old Mexican singer Silvana Estrada and 95-year-old Cuban performer Angela Alvarez.

Alvarez told the Washington Post that her father didn’t share her dream of becoming a professional musician, saying, “You sing for the family, but not for the world.” Her grandson, composer Carlos José Alvarez, urged her to change that and helped her record a self-titled album released last year that landed her on stage with a Grammy in her hand.

2022 Latin Grammy winners (full list here)

Album of the year
Motomami, Rosalía

Song of the year
“Tocarte,” Jorge Drexler and C. Tangana

Record of the year
“Tocarte,” Jorge Drexler and C. Tangana

Best new artist
Angela Alvarez; Silvana Estrada

Best urban song
“Titi Me Preguntó,” Bad Bunny

Best urban fusion performance
“Titi Me Preguntó,” Bad Bunny

Best urban album
Un Verano Sin Ti, Bad Bunny

Best reggaeton performance
“Lo Siento BB:/,” Bad Bunny, Tainy, Julieta Venegas

Best hip-hop/rap song
“De Museo,” Bad Bunny

Best pop song
“Tacones Rojos,” Sebastián Yatra; “La Guerrilla De La Concordia,” Jorge Drexler

Best rock album
Unas Vacaciones Raras, Él Mató A Un Policía Motorizado

Best salsa album
“Pa’lla Voy,” Marc Anthony

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‘Weird Al’ Yankovic wants to ‘bring sexy back’ to the accordion

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Terry Gross, Host, Fresh Air

Al Yankovic — aka the parody artist known as “Weird Al” — wants to change the way you think about the accordion. He first learned to play the instrument as a kid in the 1960s. Even back then, he admits, the accordion didn’t have the hippest reputation.

“It was mostly polkas and waltzes and various classical pieces,” he says. “It was hard to join my friends’ rock bands. … For some reason, nobody wanted to have an accordion player in their band.”

So Yankovic forged his own path by teaching himself to play rock ‘n’ roll on the accordion. Decades later, as a parody artist, the instrument would factor into a number of his hits, including “My Bologna” (modeled off of The Knack’s “My Sharona”) and his polka mashup of songs from the musical Hamilton.

“The accordion is actually a beautiful instrument, a very sensual instrument,” Yankovic says. “I’m just trying to bring sexy back to the accordion.”

The music “biopic” parody Weird stars Daniel Radcliffe in an over-the-top version of Yankovic’s life. In the film, making up words to songs that already exist is considered the work of a visionary, playing the accordion is akin to being a guitar hero and Yankovic is asked to be the next James Bond.

Aaron Epstein Daniel Radcliffe stars as Yankovic in the film “Weird.” (Courtesy: Aaron Epstein / Roku Channel)

Although Yankovic never achieved the status his character does in the film, he’s been quite successful. He’s the third music performer, after Michael Jackson and Madonna, to have a top 40 single in each decade since the ’80s, with parodies like “Eat It,” “Like a Surgeon,” “Amish Paradise” and “White & Nerdy.”

Yankovic says that even though courts generally rule in favor of parody artists, he never riffs on another musician’s material without first getting the blessing of the original songwriters: “If an artist doesn’t want me to do their song, I will back off. No matter what the courts or the law says, I just want to do good by them because I respect artists and I don’t ever want them to feel like I’m stepping on their toes.”

Interview highlights

On being a nerd:

I knew I was a dork. I didn’t really fit in at school or with my friends. I was eating lunch by myself at the lunch tables a lot. So I didn’t think I was a social butterfly or a big man on campus. I was a nerd. And this is back before being a nerd was considered cool. Like, nowadays, people are like, “Oh, I have always been a nerd,” or they brag about their nerd cred. And when I was in high school, that was not a thing you bragged about.

On his “Weird Al” persona:

That nickname was given to me in my dorms in my freshman year in college. It was a nickname that I think a couple of people were calling me because they found me to be weird. I did not fit in, and they just thought I was just a strange guy wandering the halls of the dorm. And they said, “Oh, there goes Weird Al.”

It was kind of derogatory at the time, but I decided to take it on professionally when I started doing college radio because everybody on the air needed some kind of wacky nickname. And I thought, “Oh, I’ve already got a wacky nickname. It’s Weird Al.” So it was the Weird Al show every Saturday night, and it just stuck. …

When I’m performing, especially on stage, I’m a little bit more outgoing and weird, I suppose, than I am in normal life. But it’s not like some entirely different being up on stage.

Al Yankovic, shown here in 2014. (Courtesy: Casey Curry / Invision / AP)

On his parents’ support of him pursuing music:

[My mother] told me more than once that there are “evil people in Hollywood” and I should be very careful. And she’s not wrong. But she was just a little leery about me doing anything involving show business. But I was always very adult-minded. It’s not like I ran away to L.A. to become a rock star or anything like that. I went to college. I got my degree in architecture. I remained a fairly good student and I was pretty adult minded.

I actually didn’t quit my day job until I was on the Billboard charts. So I think they knew that I wasn’t some kid that just had stars in his eyes, and I was going to do this crazy thing for a living because I didn’t think I’d be able to make a living out of it either, things just kind of worked out that way.

On parodying rap:

I can understand why some people might think that that’s problematic. But I think the fact that I respect the music so much goes a long way towards making people feel better, because I’m not making fun of rap music or hip-hop music. I’m really taking pains to emulate the sound and the intonations. And, in fact, I got a lot of nice compliments, like from Chamillionaire. When I did [the “Ridin’ ” parody] “White & Nerdy,” he was really impressed by my rapping skills. …

I’m not being like, “white guy doing rap music, ha ha” — that’s not the joke. I’m just using the music to do my comedy, like I have for any other music I’ve ever done in my life. And I love doing rap music for a number of reasons, one of which being that there are a lot of words to play with because for a lot of pop songs, it’s limiting because it’s either repetitive or there aren’t that many syllables. And I have to be very concise in my humor and jokes because I only have a finite amount of space to be funny in. But in rap music, there are a lot of words and it just opens it up and gives me more breathing room.

On the sudden death of his parents by carbon monoxide poisoning in 2004:

As best as we can figure out, the flue in the fireplace was closed. There was a fire in the fireplace. And I guess they went to sleep not knowing that, and they both passed from carbon monoxide poisoning. My wife called me. I was on the road at the time, so she called me. I was handed the phone on my tour bus and my wife was weeping and she told me, and it was the worst moment of my life. …

I was literally in the middle of a tour, and I certainly didn’t want to be performing that night or any time in the near future. But I realized that I had a small army of people working for me. I had people that had bought tickets to all these seats, and I didn’t want to disappoint anybody.

So I kind of wanted to keep it under wraps. I wanted to grieve privately and quietly and not even let people know what was going on, because I didn’t want people walking on eggshells around me. I didn’t want people who would ostensibly come to a comedy show, watch a guy trying to suppress his grief on stage.

So my initial thought was, OK, well, I’m going to somehow get through these shows, but I just don’t want anybody to know what’s going on. But within an hour, it was like global news and everybody knew about it.

I did a tribute to my parents … before the concert, and then got through it. And, you know, for two hours every night, I would just try to put on a smile and pretend like my life wasn’t crumbling and do the show. … I just wanted to do my job and then just get back to the bus and grieve quietly and honestly.

It was a bit therapeutic for me because it was nice to have the outpouring of love from the fans because the fans know what was going on in my life. And it was just really nice to have them respond so supportively. And it kind of helped me move on a bit from where I was.

On how it felt becoming famous:

It was a little odd for me because I’ve always had an outsider status, especially starting out because I was just this weirdo kid from L.A. playing the accordion and making fun of all the people on the inside … like, all the big rock stars and the pop stars and all these famous people. And here was this dorky kid, like, making fun of them.

And now all of a sudden, I was finding myself inside that bubble. I was at the same awards shows, sometimes the same parties, and rubbing elbows with the people that I was making fun of. So that was a little bit of an adjustment. I’m still kind of getting used to it. It’s kind of strange.

I’m by nature actually a very shy person. And being somewhat famous has helped me be more social and talk to people. I mean, I would always be the person, like, hanging on to the wall at parties and waiting for somebody to come up and talk to me — which is nice, having some notoriety — because now people do: People will come up and talk to me.

Heidi Saman and Susan Nyakundi produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Bridget Bentz, Molly Seavy-Nesper and Beth Novey adapted it for the web. You can find the full interview here.

Copyright 2022 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Horace Andy: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert

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Bob Boilen, Host, All Songs Considered

Today, right here, we get to peek into the decked-out living room of producer Adrian Sherwood’s home and watch masters of reggae playfully chill. We hear Horace Andy‘s gruff tenor tell stories with 55 years of experience, rasp and wear.

“You’ve got to live, live, live for today, for tomorrow might never come your way,” he pleads as he sings “Today Is Right Here,” a track on his 2022 album Midnight Rocker. And then the lines I love best, “My mama told me when I was a child, said all the best things take a little while. But mama was wrong, wrong, wrong, the best things in life come and they go in the blink of an eye.”

All the while, a single snare drum and hi-hat keep the beat, and the band of bass, guitar, keyboard, sax, trumpet and cello warmly support the emotions pouring from Horace Andy.

Sitting on the right side of the screen is Adrian Sherwood, the hugely influential dub producer, banging out stuttered rhythms and textures. Adrian Sherwood produced Midnight Rocker, and six months later its younger, dubbed-out sibling, Midnight Scorchers. Seeing all these pioneers pouring out these chill vibes for this Tiny Desk (home) concert is a total thrill.

Set list

  • “Today Is Right Here”
  • “Safe From Harm”
  • “This Must Be Hell”


  • Horace Andy: vocals
  • Adrian Sherwood: live FX
  • Charlie “Eskimo” Fox: drums
  • Crucial Tony: guitar
  • Doug Wimbish: bass
  • Cyrus Richards: keyboards
  • Ivan ”Celloman” Hussey: cello
  • Dave Fullwood: trumpet
  • Richard Doswell: saxophone
  • Skip McDonald: guitar


  • Video: Joshua Thompson, Dave Meyer
  • Audio: Matthew Smyth

Tiny Desk team

  • Producer: Bob Boilen
  • Video Editor: Sofia Seidel
  • Audio Mastering: Josh Rogosin
  • Tiny Production Team: Bobby Carter, Maia Stern, Joshua Bryant, Kara Frame, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Ashley Pointer
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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Sheku Kanneh-Mason: Tiny Desk Concert

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Tom Huizenga, Producer, NPR Music

One measure of an artist’s popularity is how long it takes to book them for a Tiny Desk concert. In the case of British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, it took about three years.

Granted, the pandemic got in the way, but ever since his 2018 breakthrough performance at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, he’s been — needless to say — in demand. Nearly 2 billion people worldwide saw his royal performance on television.

At the Tiny Desk, Kanneh-Mason played for only a handful of NPR staffers, and the performance felt like a direct communication from his luminous cello (built in 1700) to our heartstrings. It was especially true in Kanneh-Mason’s own arrangement of “Myfanwy,” the mournful Welsh folk song the cellist first heard from his grandmother. Accompanying himself with left-hand pizzicato, Kanneh-Mason makes his instrument sing like a sad old Welshman with a tear in his eye.

Aside from his expressive playing, Kanneh-Mason excels at arranging pop songs for his instrument. “No Woman, No Cry,” one of his calling cards, explores the tender and bittersweet side of the Bob Marley classic.

Still only 23, Kanneh-Mason’s stature commands the attention of composers. Last year, the fine young Brit Edmund Finnis wrote a set of solo preludes for Kanneh-Mason. The music reveals the cello’s many voices, from growling urgency to supple soliloquy to full-throated cry.

While we can’t guarantee 2 billion views on our platforms, those who do watch this Tiny Desk performance will witness a rising young star who, whether he knows it or not, represents nothing less than the future of classical music.

Set list

  • Bob Marley: “No Woman, No Cry” (arr. Sheku Kanneh-Mason)
  • Edmund Finnis: Preludes I-III for solo cello
  • Joseph Parry: “Myfanwy” (arr. Sheku Kanneh-Mason)


  • Sheku Kanneh-Mason: cello

Tiny Desk team

  • Producer: Tom Huizenga
  • Director/Editor: Joshua Bryant
  • Audio Engineer: Andie Huether
  • Audio Mix: Josh Rogosin
  • Creative Director: Bob Boilen
  • Series Producer: Bobby Carter
  • Videographers: Joshua Bryant, Sofia Seidel
  • Audio Assistant: Hannah Copeland 
  • Production Assistant: Jill Britton
  • Tiny Desk Team: Suraya Mohamed, Marissa Lorusso, Hazel Cills, Kara Frame, Maia Stern, Ashley Pointer
  • VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins
  • Senior VP, Programming: Anya Grundmann
Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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What makes us dance? It really is all about that bass

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Mia Venkat, Christopher Intagliata

A recent study in the journal Current Biology found that people danced 12% more when very-low-frequency bass was played. The study was done by scientists at the LIVElab at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, who wanted to see what musical ingredients make us want to dance.

“We look at things like what kinds of rhythms most pull people into that steady beat that we groove along with, and what kinds of interesting, syncopated, complex rhythms make us really drawn in and want to move more,” said Daniel Cameron, a neuroscientist and the lead author of the study.

Now, the lab for this experiment wasn’t the classic fluorescent lights, white coats and goggles setup. Instead, the LIVElab space was converted into an electronic dance music concert, and EDM duo Orphx performed live for volunteers adorned with headbands that had a motion-capture sensor.

The lab was equipped with special special speakers that can play a very low frequency bass, undetectable to the human ear. The set lasted about an hour, and researchers introduced that very low bass every 2.5 minutes and found that the concertgoers moved more when the speakers were on, even though they couldn’t hear it.

Orphx performing at the LIVELab. (Courtesy: LIVELab)

Cameron said our vestibular system can help explain why.

“It’s the inner-ear structures that give us a sense of where our head is in space,” he said. “That system is sensitive to low-frequency stimulation, especially if it’s loud. We also know that our tactile system — that’s our sense of touch — is also sensitive to low-frequency stimulation, low-frequency sound.”

So that feeling you get at a concert when you’re next to a speaker and you can feel it shaking in your chest is the tactile stimulation of sound when it’s loud. “And that’s feeding into our motor system in the brain, the movement control system in our brain,” Cameron said. “So it’s adding a little bit of gain. It’s giving a little more energy … from that stimulation through those systems.”

Some people hear music and can’t help but sway or bop along, whether there are low, silent bass frequencies or not. So why do humans dance? Cameron says it’s hard to test this, but there has been some work on why we may have evolved this way.

“We know that moving together in synchrony when we’re making music together and dancing together leads to social bonding. We feel better about the people we’re with. We feel more connected with them,” he said. “So you can imagine this has potential advantages for groups throughout the long history of our species.”

Getty Images If you dance more when the bass hits, it could be because of your vestibular system. (Courtesy: Flashpop / Getty Images)

We also see the use of music and movement for things like regulating emotions, Cameron said, especially when it comes to taking care of babies. “We try to soothe them. We sing to them, and we rock them along. So this idea of moving and singing and modulating arousal is also a functional thing to do,” he said.

Evolution aside, Cameron finds value in knowing his study has uncovered just one of the ingredients for what makes us want to dance a little bit more.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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The request show isn’t original to 88Nine, but it’s the lifeblood of community radio

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Ah, the radio request show. A time-honored tradition that dates back to a time when *gasp* you couldn’t pull up any number of streaming services to listen to any song, anytime, anywhere. Instead, you’d call in to your local radio station and beg a disc jockey to play your single favorite song. And, if you were lucky, they would.

On 88Nine, we pay homage to that AM/FM institution with “Let’s Hear It,” our listener-request show that airs Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we added some extra interaction to our listeners’ days by hosting a weekday request hour from noon to 1 p.m. via Facebook comments. We had so much fun, it’s now a permanent part of the schedule.

The most important part of a request show — outside of the actual requests from you, our listeners — is the host. We’re lucky enough to have one of the smoothest in the game, Marcus Doucette, hosting ours. He can talk to just about anybody, brainstorms themes like a wizard and consistently puts together a show with flow.

More iconic pair: Hall and Oates, or Marcus Doucette and listener requests?

Before I started working at 88Nine, I listened to the Saturday request show regularly. I tried to guess the theme before Marcus shared it out loud. I reveled in the quirky, long-winded and sometimes truly heartfelt phone calls Marcus aired from listeners who called in. I marveled at the musical aptitude and creativity of the listeners.

To me, the request show represents everything that’s beautiful about 88Nine. It’s real humans talking to real humans and sharing their mutual love of music. It’s radio with heart. And we’re so lucky to have Marcus making space for these conversations and giving them a home on our airwaves.

Another great thing about the request show is how it’s accessible to everyone. Every day, Marcus poses the theme in the form of a Facebook post. While that’s always been on Radio Milwaukee’s page, I’m here to let you know those request-show posts will move to the new 88Nine Facebook page, which we launched in concert with our brand extension earlier this year. You can also text requests to 414-892-8899.

Let’s keep the requests coming. Keep sharing our love of music. Go right now and follow the 88Nine Facebook page, and we’ll see you on the radio.

Every day, our mission drives us to share more great music and stories. But it’s our members who fuel that mission. If you aren’t one yet, what are you waiting for? Become a member today!

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Beyoncé leads the field as the Grammys reveal 2023 nominations

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The Grammy nominations are here, and hoo boy are there a lot of them.

Did you know there are 91 different categories? We only see a fraction of them on the main broadcast and in our news feeds, but The Recording Academy cuts a pretty wide swath across the world of music. Even the very long list below doesn’t come close to the whole thing, which you can check out here if you want to dive quite deep on the proceedings.

Let’s do some highlights, though. In most of the categories we think of as “the big ones,” the Godzilla vs. Kong everyone will talk about is Adele vs. Beyoncé. Those two earned a spot in the running for Record, Album and Song of the Year along with Lizzo, Harry Styles and Kendrick Lamar. Beyoncé also led the way with nine nominations, just ahead of Kendrick Lamar’s eight, and Adele and Brandi Carlile with seven. 

Other artists we currently play on 88Nine didn’t do too shabby, either. Steve Lacy is up for Record and Song of the Year, Madison Cunningham popped up in Best American Roots Performance and Best Folk Album, and Beck and Spoon were among the rock nominees.

Below are a few more categories for you to digest in the seven or so weeks between now and when they hand out the statuettes Feb. 5 in Los Angeles:

Record of the Year

  • “Don’t Shut Me Down,” ABBA
  • “Easy On Me,” Adele
  • “BREAK MY SOUL,” Beyoncé
  • “Good Morning Gorgeous,” Mary J. Blige
  • “You And Me On The Rock,” Brandi Carlile Featuring Lucius
  • “Woman,” Doja Cat
  • “Bad Habit,” Steve Lacy
  • “The Heart Part 5,” Kendrick Lamar
  • “About Damn Time,” Lizzo
  • “As It Was,” Harry Styles

Album of the Year

  • Voyage, ABBA
  • 30, Adele
  • Un Verano Sin Ti, Bad Bunny
  • RENAISSANCE, Beyoncé
  • Good Morning Gorgeous (Deluxe), Mary J. Blige
  • In These Silent Days, Brandi Carlile
  • Music Of The Spheres, Coldplay
  • Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, Kendrick Lamar
  • Special, Lizzo
  • Harry’s House, Harry Styles

Song of the Year

  • “About Damn Time” Lizzo
  • “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (The Short Film),” Taylor Swift
  • “As It Was,” Harry Styles
  • “Bad Habit,” Steve Lacy
  • “BREAK MY SOUL,” Beyoncé
  • “Easy On Me,” Adele
  • “GOD DID,” DJ Khaled Featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Legend & Fridayy
  • “The Heart Part 5,” Kendrick Lamar
  • “Just Like That,” Bonnie Raitt

Best New Artist

  • Anitta
  • Omar Apollo
  • DOMi & JD Beck
  • Muni Long
  • Samara Joy
  • Latto
  • Måneskin
  • Tobe Nwigwe
  • Molly Tuttle
  • Wet Leg

Best Pop Solo Performance

  • “Easy On Me,” Adele
  • “Moscow Mule,” Bad Bunny
  • “Woman,” Doja Cat
  • “Bad Habit,” Steve Lacy
  • “About Damn Time,” Lizzo
  • “As It Was,” Harry Styles

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

  • “Don’t Shut Me Down,” ABBA
  • “Bam Bam,” Camila Cabello Featuring Ed Sheeran
  • “My Universe,” Coldplay & BTS
  • “I Like You (A Happier Song),” Post Malone & Doja Cat
  • “Unholy,” Sam Smith & Kim Petras

Best Pop Vocal Album

  • Voyage, ABBA
  • 30, Adele
  • Music Of The Spheres, Coldplay
  • Special, Lizzo
  • Harry’s House, Harry Styles

Best Dance/Electronic Recording

  • “BREAK MY SOUL,” Beyoncé
  • “Rosewood,” Bonobo
  • “Don’t Forget My Love,” Diplo & Miguel
  • “I’m Good (Blue),” David Guetta & Bebe Rexha
  • “Intimidated,” KAYTRANADA Featuring H.E.R.
  • “On My Knees,” RÜFÜS DU SOL

Best Dance/Electronic Music Album

  • RENAISSANCE, Beyoncé
  • Fragments, Bonobo
  • Diplo, Diplo
  • The Last Goodbye, ODESZA
  • Surrender, RÜFÜS DU SOL

Best Rock Performance

  • “So Happy It Hurts,” Bryan Adams
  • “Old Man,” Beck
  • “Wild Child,” The Black Keys
  • “Broken Horses,” Brandi Carlile
  • “Crawl!” Idles
  • “Patient Number 9,” Ozzy Osbourne Featuring Jeff Beck
  • “Holiday,” Turnstile

Best Metal Performance

  • “Call Me Little Sunshine,” Ghost
  • “We’ll Be Back,” Megadeth
  • “Kill Or Be Killed,” Muse
  • “Degradation Rules,” Ozzy Osbourne Featuring Tony Iommi
  • “Blackout,” Turnstile

Best Rock Song

  • “Black Summer,” Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • “Blackout,” Turnstile
  • “Broken Horses,” Brandi Carlile
  • “Harmonia’s Dream,” The War On Drugs
  • “Patient Number 9,” Ozzy Osbourne Featuring Jeff Beck

Best Rock Album

  • Dropout Boogie, The Black Keys
  • The Boy Named If, Elvis Costello & The Imposters
  • Crawler, Idles
  • Mainstream Sellout, Machine Gun Kelly
  • Patient Number 9, Ozzy Osbourne
  • Lucifer On The Sofa, Spoon

Best Alternative Music Performance

  • “There’d Better Be A Mirrorball,” Arctic Monkeys
  • “Certainty,” Big Thief
  • “King,” Florence + The Machine
  • “Chaise Longue,” Wet Leg
  • “Spitting Off The Edge Of The World,” Yeah Yeah Yeahs Featuring Perfume Genius

Best Alternative Music Album

  • WE, Arcade Fire
  • Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You, Big Thief
  • Fossora, Björk
  • Wet Leg, Wet Leg
  • Cool It Down, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Best R&B Performance

  • “VIRGO’S GROOVE,” Beyoncé
  • “Here With Me,” Mary J. Blige Featuring Anderson .Paak
  • “Hrs & Hrs,” Muni Long
  • “Over,” Lucky Daye
  • “Hurt Me So Good,” Jazmine Sullivan

Best Traditional R&B Performance

  • “Do 4 Love,” Snoh Aalegra
  • “Keeps On Fallin’,” Babyface Featuring Ella Mai
  • “’Round Midnight,” Adam Blackstone Featuring Jazmine Sullivan
  • “Good Morning Gorgeous,” Mary J. Blige

Best R&B Song

  • “CUFF IT,” Beyoncé
  • “Good Morning Gorgeous,” Mary J. Blige
  • “Hrs & Hrs,” Muni Long
  • “Hurt Me So Good,” Jazmine Sullivan
  • “Please Don’t Walk Away,” PJ Morton

Best Progressive R&B Album

  • Operation Funk, Cory Henry
  • Gemini Rights, Steve Lacy
  • Drones, Terrace Martin
  • Starfruit, Moonchild
  • Red Balloon, Tank And The Bangas

Best R&B Album

  • Good Morning Gorgeous (Deluxe), Mary J. Blige
  • Breezy (Deluxe), Chris Brown
  • Black Radio III, Robert Glasper
  • Candydrip, Lucky Daye
  • Watch The Sun, PJ Morton

Best Rap Performance

  • “GOD DID,” DJ Khaled Featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Legend & Fridayy
  • “Vegas,” Doja Cat
  • “pushin P,” Gunna & Future Featuring Young Thug
  • “F.N.F. (Let’s Go),” Hitkidd & GloRilla
  • “The Heart Part 5,” Kendrick Lamar

Best Melodic Rap Performance

  • “BEAUTIFUL,” DJ Khaled Featuring Future & SZA
  • “WAIT FOR U,” Future Featuring Drake & Tems
  • “First Class,” Jack Harlow
  • “Die Hard,” Kendrick Lamar Featuring Blxst & Amanda Reifer
  • “Big Energy (Live),” Latto

Best Rap Song

  • “Churchill Downs,” Jack Harlow Featuring Drake
  • “GOD DID,” DJ Khaled Featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Legend & Fridayy
  • “The Heart Part 5,” Kendrick Lamar
  • “pushin P,” Gunna & Future Featuring Young Thug
  • “WAIT FOR U,” Future Featuring Drake & Tems

Best Rap Album

  • GOD DID, DJ Khaled
  • I Never Liked You, Future
  • Come Home The Kids Miss You, Jack Harlow
  • Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, Kendrick Lamar
  • It’s Almost Dry, Pusha T

Best Country Solo Performance

  • “Heartfirst,” Kelsea Ballerini
  • “Something In The Orange,” Zach Bryan
  • “In His Arms,” Miranda Lambert
  • “Circles Around This Town,” Maren Morris
  • “Live Forever,” Willie Nelson

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

  • “Wishful Drinking,” Ingrid Andress & Sam Hunt
  • “Midnight Rider’s Prayer,” Brothers Osborne
  • “Outrunnin’ Your Memory,” Luke Combs & Miranda Lambert
  • “Does He Love You – Revisited,” Reba McEntire & Dolly Parton
  • “Never Wanted To Be That Girl,” Carly Pearce & Ashley McBryde
  • “Going Where The Lonely Go,” Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Best Country Song

  • “Circles Around This Town,” Maren Morris
  • “Doin’ This,” Luke Combs
  • “I Bet You Think About Me (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault),” Taylor Swift
  • “If I Was A Cowboy,” Miranda Lambert
  • “I’ll Love You Till The Day I Die,” Willie Nelson
  • “’Til You Can’t,” Cody Johnson

Best Country Album

  • Growin’ Up, Luke Combs
  • Palomino, Miranda Lambert
  • Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville, Ashley McBryde
  • Humble Quest, Maren Morris
  • A Beautiful Time, Willie Nelson

Best Latin Pop Album

  • AGUILERA, Christina Aguilera
  • Pasieros, Rubén Blades & Boca Livre
  • De Adentro Pa Afuera, Camilo
  • VIAJANTE, Fonseca
  • Dharma +, Sebastián Yatra

Best Música Urbana Album

  • TRAP CAKE, VOL. 2, Rauw Alejandro
  • Un Verano Sin Ti, Bad Bunny
  • LEGENDADDY, Daddy Yankee
  • La 167, Farruko
  • The Love & Sex Tape, Maluma

Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album

  • El Alimento, Cimafunk
  • Tinta y Tiempo, Jorge Drexler
  • 1940 Carmen, Mon Laferte
  • Alegoría, Gaby Moreno
  • Los Años Salvajes, Fito Paez
  • MOTOMAMI, Rosalía

Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano)

  • Abeja Reina, Chiquis
  • Un Canto por México – El Musical, Natalia Lafourcade
  • La Reunión (Deluxe), Los Tigres Del Norte
  • EP #1 Forajido, Christian Nodal
  • Qué Ganas de Verte (Deluxe), Marco Antonio Solís

Best Tropical Latin Album

  • Pa’lla Voy, Marc Anthony
  • Quiero Verte Feliz, La Santa Cecilia
  • Lado A Lado B, Víctor Manuelle
  • Legendario, Tito Nieves
  • Imágenes Latinas, Spanish Harlem Orchestra
  • Cumbiana II, Carlos Vives

Best American Roots Performance

  • “Someday It’ll All Make Sense (Bluegrass Version),” Bill Anderson Featuring Dolly Parton
  • “Life According To Raechel,” Madison Cunningham
  • “Oh Betty,” Fantastic Negrito
  • “Stompin’ Ground,” Aaron Neville With The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
  • “Prodigal Daughter,” Aoife O’Donovan & Allison Russell

Best Americana Performance

  • “Silver Moon [A Tribute To Michael Nesmith],” Eric Alexandrakis
  • “There You Go Again,” Asleep At The Wheel Featuring Lyle Lovett
  • “The Message,” Blind Boys Of Alabama Featuring Black Violin
  • “You And Me On The Rock,” Brandi Carlile Featuring Lucius
  • “Made Up Mind,” Bonnie Raitt

Best American Roots Song

  • “Bright Star,” Anaïs Mitchell
  • “Forever,” Sheryl Crow
  • “High And Lonesome,” Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
  • “Just Like That,” Bonnie Raitt
  • “Prodigal Daughter,” Aoife O’Donovan & Allison Russell
  • “You And Me On The Rock,” Brandi Carlile Featuring Lucius

Best Americana Album

  • In These Silent Days, Brandi Carlile
  • Things Happen That Way, Dr. John
  • Good To Be… Keb’ Mo’
  • Raise The Roof, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
  • Just Like That… Bonnie Raitt

Best Folk Album

  • Spellbound, Judy Collins
  • Revealer, Madison Cunningham
  • The Light At The End Of The Line, Janis Ian
  • Age Of Apathy, Aoife O’Donovan
  • Hell On Church Street, Punch Brothers

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media

  • ELVIS, Various Artists
  • Encanto, Various Artists
  • Stranger Things: Soundtrack from the Netflix Series, Season 4 (Vol 2), Various Artists
  • Top Gun: Maverick, Harold Faltermeyer, Lady Gaga, Hans Zimmer & Lorne Balfe
  • West Side Story, Various Artists

Best Song Written for Visual Media

  • “Be Alive [From King Richard],” Beyoncé
  • “Carolina [From Where The Crawdads Sing],” Taylor Swift
  • “Hold My Hand [From Top Gun: Maverick],” Lady Gaga
  • “Keep Rising (The Woman King) [From The Woman King],” Jessy Wilson Featuring Angelique Kidjo
  • “Nobody Like U [From Turning Red],” 4*Town, Jordan Fisher, Finneas O’Connell, Josh Levi, Topher Ngo, Grayson Villanueva
  • “We Don’t Talk About Bruno [From Encanto],” Carolina Gaitán – La Gaita, Mauro Castillo, Adassa, Rhenzy Feliz, Diane Guerrero, Stephanie Beatriz & Encanto – Cast

Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media (Includes Film And Television)

  • The Batman, Michael Giacchino, composer
  • Encanto, Germaine Franco, composer
  • No Time To Die, Hans Zimmer, composer
  • The Power Of The Dog, Jonny Greenwood, composer
  • Succession: Season 3, Nicholas Britell, composer

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