Grammy Nominations 2016: Dance Nominees Are Deserving, But Can't Catch a Major Category Break

Jamie XX 2015
Stefan Hoederath/Redferns

Jamie XX performs live on stage during Day 1 of Melt! Festival on July 17, 2015 in Graefenhainichen, Germany. 

Once hailed as a watershed moment, Daft Punk's five-Grammy breakthrough now looks like an outlier.

The Recording Academy may finally be getting hip to dance/electronic music, but it still appears ignorant of the genre's overall impact and importance.

The 2016 Grammy nominees for best dance/electronic album and best dance recording are mostly defensible -- save for one colossal snub in Major Lazer & DJ Snake's "Lean On" -- with no cringe-worthy surprises like 2013's Al Walser fiasco.

Grammy Nominations 2016: See the Full List of Nominees

Grammy voters rightfully renewed their love affair with Skrillex, who took home six Grammys in 2012 and 2013, nominating both his Jack Ü album with Diplo and the LP's crossover hit "Where Are U Now" -- which offers featured vocalist Justin Bieber a good shot at taking home his first Grammy Award.

Jamie xx's solo debut In Colour deservedly earned him his first Grammy nod in the best dance/electronic album category, where he'll go up against Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack ÜDisclosure's underrated Caracal, Caribou's critically acclaimed Our Love and The Chemical Brothers' eighth LP Born in the Echoes.

For best dance recording, Grammy voters wisely rewarded Galantis' efforts to revitalize main-stage EDM by nominating festival staple "Runaway (U&I)" alongside tracks by trance titans Above & Beyond ("We're All We Need") and The Chemical Brothers ("Go"), while Flying Lotus' overdue Grammy nod for "Never Catch Me" helped cap Kendrick Lamar's impressive 11 total nominations. But the baffling decision to omit Spotify's most-streamed song of all-time in spite of its critical and commercial success casts a pall over this category.

Grammy Nominations 2016: Dance Artists & Industry Leaders React

Despite a crossover year in which styles like tropical house and trap ruled the charts, dance/electronic acts still struggle for recognition outside of their niche. Once hailed as a watershed moment, Daft Punk's five-Grammy breakthrough, which included album of the year and record of the year wins for Random Access Memories and "Get Lucky," now looks like an outlier. Following a fruitless 2015 Awards, dance was once again blanked in the four major categories this year.

While the record of the year merits of "Where Are You Now" may be debatable, there's no rationalizing away Jamie xx's album of the year snub. And coming off a banner year for emerging electronic talent, it's sad to see not one dance act (Galantis? Kygo?) nominated for best new artist. Skrillex is arguably the only proper dance artist to ever register in the historically maligned category, losing to Bon Iver in 2012. At least he's in the good company -- just look at what happened to 2016 marquee nominees Lamar and Ed Sheeran two years prior.

Grammy Reactions From Meghan Trainor, Ed Sheeran & More

If the Academy wanted to reward a "new artist" one year removed from their breakthrough hit, why not DJ Snake over Meghan Trainor? Both had three Hot 100 charting singles this year, and Snake's outperformed hers across the board. Grammy voters can afford to ignore chart numbers, but not cultural impact.

The Recording Academy may have avoided embarrassment in 2016, but it's showing its age by continuing to prioritize yesterday's genres in major categories at the expense of the electronic movement currently defining youth music culture.

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Best Dance Recording
• We're All We Need
      Above & Beyond Featuring Zoë Johnston
      Andrew Bayer, Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness & Paavo Siljamäki, producers; Jono Grant, Tony McGuinness & Paavo Siljamäki, mixers

• Go
      The Chemical Brothers
      Tom Rowlands & Ed Simons, producers; Steve Dub Jones & Tom Rowlands, mixers

• Never Catch Me
      Flying Lotus Featuring Kendrick Lamar
      Steven Ellison, producer; Kevin Marques Moo, mixer
      Track from: You're Dead!
      [Warp Records]

• Runaway (U & I)
      Linus Eklöw, Christian Karlsson & Svidden, producers; Linus Eklöw, Niklas Flyckt & Christian Karlsson, mixers
      Track from: Pharmacy
      [Big Beat/Atlantic]

• Where Are Ü Now
      Skrillex And Diplo With Justin Bieber
      Sonny Moore & Thomas Pentz, producers; Sonny Moore & Thomas Pentz, mixers
      Track from: Skrillex And Diplo Present Jack Ü
      [Owsla/Mad Decent/Atlantic]

Best Dance/Electronic Album
• Our Love
      [Merge Records]

• Born In The Echoes
      The Chemical Brothers

• Caracal
      [Capitol Records]

• In Colour
      Jamie XX
      [Young Turks Recordings]

• Skrillex And Diplo Present Jack Ü
      Skrillex And Diplo
      [Owsla/Mad Decent/Atlantic]

2016 Grammys