Grammy 2013: fun. Paces Grammy Nominations

Paul Grein
Stop The Presses!

fun. is just the ninth artist in the Grammy Awards' 55-year history to receive nominations for all four of the top awards in the same year. The New York pop trio was nominated for Album of the Year for Some Nights, Record and Song of the Year for "We Are Young" and Best New Artist. fun. co-wrote "We Are Young" with their producer, Jeff Bhasker. They performed it with Janelle Monae.

Frank Ocean did nearly as well. Ocean, 25, is nominated for Album of the Year for Channel Orange and Record of the Year for "Thinkin Bout You." He's also a finalist for Best New Artist. He missed out in just one of the marquee categories: Song of the Year. Ocean is probably best known for his disclosure that his first love was a man. The urban contemporary star's big break came in 2011 when he was featured on "No Church In The Wild," a key track on Watch The Throne by Jay-Z/Kanye West. Ocean is  a member of the hip-hop collective Odd Future.

The Black Keys snagged two nominations in marquee categories. The nominations were announced on a prime-time TV special which was co-hosted by Taylor Swift and LL Cool J. The awards will be announced on Feb. 10.

Album of the Year

Ocean's Channel Orange and fun.'s Some Nights are facing Mumford & Sons' Babel, The Black Keys' El Camino and Jack White's Blunderbuss. It's White's second nomination in this category, following the White Stripes' bid for Elephant in 2003. It's the first nomination in this category for the other four acts.

The Black Keys' last album, Brothers, was voted Best Alternative Music Album of 2010. It beat out Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, which wound up winning Album of the Year.

Albums that were passed over in this category include Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto, Rihanna's Talk That Talk, Drake's Take Care, Bob Dylan's Tempest, Neil Young with Crazy Horse's Americana, The Lumineers' The Lumineers, P!nk's The Truth About Love, Gotye's Making Mirrors, Miranda Lambert's Four The Record, Bonnie Raitt's Slipstream, Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball, John Mayer's Born And Raised, Maroon 5's Overexposed and Dave Matthews Band's Away From The World.

Lionel Richie's surprise smash Tuskegee, which consists of Richie teaming with current country stars to perform his best-known pop and R&B hits, was also passed over, but it wasn't really a snub. The nominations in the top four categories are determined by a panel of Grammy insiders. Some of the panelists probably argued that the nominations should go to the best music of 2012, not songs that are decades old. (The album's failure to receive a nomination for Best Country Album was more surprising.)

Two albums that would have been prime contenders, Taylor Swift's Red and Jason Aldean's Night Train, were released after this year's eligibility period closed.

Record of the Year

Ocean's "Thinkin Bout You" and fun.'s "We Are Young" (featuring Janelle Monae) are facing "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra, the Black Keys' "Lonely Boy," Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" and Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together."

It's the second nomination in this category for Swift, who was a finalist three years ago with "You Belong With Me." It's the first nomination in this category for all the other finalists. (Grammy trivia: This marks the first time that there have been six nominees in this category since 1962.)

Clarkson's nomination marks the first time an American Idol finalist has received a Record of the Year nomination. (Another Idol finalist was passed over just this year: Phillip Phillips was a serious candidate for a nomination for his big hit "Home.")

Among other records that were passed over: Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe," "Take Care" by Drake featuring Rihanna, Adele's "Set Fire To The Rain," Bruce Springsteen's "We Take Care Of Our Own," Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait," Ne-Yo's "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)," "Payphone" by Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa and Katy Perry's "Wide Awake."

"Somebody That I Used To Know," a classy, mid-tempo break-up song which echoes Sting's best work, is likely to win the award. If it does, this would be the second year in a row that the year's #1 best-seller went on to win Record of the Year. Adele's "Rolling In The Deep" achieved both feats last year.

Song of the Year

fun.'s "We Are Young" is facing Ed Sheeran's "The A Team," Miguel's "Adorn," Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" (which she co-wrote with Tavish Crowe and Josh Ramsay) and Kelly Clarkson's hit "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" (which was written by Jorgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin and Ali Tamposi).

Among the songs that were passed over: "I Will Wait" (which the members of Mumford & Sons co-wrote), "We Take Care of Our Own" (which Bruce Springsteen wrote), "Over You" (which Miranda Lambert co-wrote with her husband Blake Shelton), "Take Care" (which Drake co-wrote with Anthony Palman, Noah Shebib and James Smith), "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)" (which Ne-Yo co-wrote with Mike Dis Cala, Mikkel S. Eriksen, Sia Furler, Mark Hadfield and T.E. Hermansen) and "Wide Awake" (which Katy Perry co-wrote with Max Martin, Lukasz Gottwald, Bonnie McKee and Henry Walter).

"Somebody That I Used To Know" wasn't eligible for Song of the Year because of a sampling issue.

Best New Artist

Frank Ocean and fun. will face Alabama Shakes, country star Hunter Hayes and rock band the Lumineers.

Carly Rae Jepsen is conspicuous by her absence. "Call Me Maybe" proved that the 27-year old Canadian can make a classic teen pop record, but the panel apparently wasn't convinced that she has what it takes to go the distance. Jepsen's mentor Justin Bieber fared better two years ago: He was nominated for Best New Artist.

One Direction, the year's hottest boy band, was also passed over. Such boy bands as Backstreet Boys and Jonas Brothers were nominated for the award in past years.

Gotye was also left off the list, despite his nomination for Record of the Year. Miguel and Ed Sheeran were also left off, despite their nominations for Song of the Year.

Also passed over: Tyga, Ellie Goulding, Lana Del Rey, Christina Perri, Brantley Gilbert, The Wanted, Alex Clare, Of Monsters And Men, Scotty McCreery and Emeli Sande.

Looking further down the nominations list, the omissions are virtually as interesting as the nominations. Left out in the nominations for Best Pop Vocal Album were Rihanna's Talk That Talk, Justin Bieber's Believe and Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded. Passed over for Best Urban Contemporary Album were Mary J. Blige's My Life II…The Journey Continues (Act 1), Usher's Looking 4 Myself and Trey Songz' Chapter V. Left out for Best Country Album were Lionel Richie's Tuskegee and Little Big Town's Tornado. Left out for Best Americana Album: Bob Dylan's Tempest. What's left? Read on.

Quickly, here are nominees in other key categories (followed by the most glaring omissions):

Best Pop Vocal Album: Kelly Clarkson's Stronger, Florence + the Machine's Ceremonials, fun.'s Some Nights, Maroon 5's Overexposed and P!nk's The Truth About Love. Left out: Rihanna's Talk That Talk, Justin Bieber's Believe and Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded.

Best  Dance/Electronica Album: Steve Aoki's WonderlandThe Chemical Brothers' Don't Think, Deadmau5's , Kaskade's Fire And Ice and Skrillex's Bangarang. Left out: Tiesto's Club Life Vol. Two—Miami.

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Michael Buble's Christmas, Carole King's A Holiday Carole, Paul McCartney's Kisses On The Bottom. Left out: Michael Feinstein's The Sinatra Project, Vol. II, Glenn Frey's After Hours.

Best Rock Album: The Black Keys' El Camino, Coldplay's Mylo Xyloto, Muse's The 2nd Law, Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball, Jack White's Blunderbuss. Left out: Neil Young and Crazy Horse's Americana.

Best Alternative Music Album: Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel Is Wiser…, Bjork's Biophilia, Gotye's Making Mirrors, M83's Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, Tom Waits' Bad As Me. Left out: David Byrne & St. Vincent's Love This Giant.

Best Urban Contemporary Album: Chris Brown's Fortune, Miguel's Kaleidoscope Dream, Frank Ocean's Channel Orange. Left out: Mary J. Blige's My Life II…The Journey Continues (Act 1), Usher's Looking 4 Myself, Trey Songz' Chapter V.

Best R&B Album: Robert Glasper Experiment's Black Radio, Anthony Hamilton's Back To Love, R. Kelly's Write Me Back, Tamia's Beautiful Surprise, Tyrese's Open Invitation. Left out: Monica's New Life, Eric Benet's The One, Boyz II Men's Twenty.

Best Rap Album: Drake's Take Care, Lupe Fiasco's Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1, Nas' Life Is Good, The Roots' Undun, Rick Ross' God Forgives, I Don't, 2 Chainz' Based On A T.R.U. Story. Left out: Odd Future's The OF Tape, Vol. 2.

Best Country Album: Zac Brown Band's Uncaged, Hunter Hayes' Hunter Hayes, Jamey Johnson's Living For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran, Miranda Lambert's Four The Record, The Time Jumpers' The Time Jumpers. Left out: Lionel Richie's Tuskegee, Little Big Town's Tornado.

Best Americana Album: The Avett Brothers' The Carpenter, John Fullbright's From The Ground Up, The Lumineers' The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons' Babel, Bonnie Raitt's Slipstream. Left out: Bob Dylan's Tempest.