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48th Grammy Awards

Carey, West top Grammy nominations

By Renée Graham
Globe Staff / December 9, 2005

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Perhaps ''The Emancipation of Mimi" should have been called ''The Resurrection of Mariah Carey." The R&B diva's career comeback took yet another dramatic upswing yesterday, when Carey earned eight Grammy nominations, including best album, record of the year, and song of the year.

Also scoring eight nominations were Kanye West, whose sophomore effort ''Late Registration" has been both a commercial and critical success, and R&B singer, songwriter, and pianist John Legend. Among West's nominations are best album, and record of the year for ''Gold Digger." For the always-cocky rapper-producer, that makes 18 Grammy nods in two years. His 2004 debut, ''The College Dropout," earned a whopping 10 nominations, and won three awards, including best rap album. As producer on ''Late Registration," Jon Brion, a former Bostonian, is up for best album and record of the year.

''I'd like to thank the Academy for paying attention to my music, not my mouth," said West, referring to a controversial statement he made during a televised Hurricane Katrina benefit earlier this year.

Last December, Legend, a West protege, performed for about 100 students at a ''Neo-Soul Night" show sponsored by Boston College's Black Student Forum. Now, he's a multiple nominee, whose ballad ''Ordinary People," from his well-received debut, ''Get Lifted," received a song of the year nod. He'll also compete for best new artist against R&B singer Ciara, pop rockers Fall Out Boy, melodic Coldplay knockoffs Keane, and country trio SugarLand.

Still, the story of this Grammy season is Carey, whose career seemed derailed by well-publicized emotional troubles, a laughable movie debut in 2001's ill-conceived vanity project ''Glitter," and the severing of her high-profile deal with Virgin Records, which gave Carey a $28 million payoff just to go away.

Now, Carey, a two-time Grammy winner (though she hasn't picked up an award since 1990), is having the last laugh with one of the year's biggest albums.

''The Emancipation of Mimi" has rarely been out of Billboard's Top 10 since it was released last April and has spawned a string of hits, including ''We Belong Together," nominated for both record and song of the year.

In addition to West, Carey also will vie against the Damon Albarn-led band -- represented by cartoon characters -- Gorillaz, featuring De La Soul (''Feel Good Inc."); Green Day (''Boulevard of Broken Dreams"); and Gwen Stefani (''Hollaback Girl") for record of the year, which recognizes the artist and producers.

Also making a sizable splash was Stefani, whose inescapable solo debut, ''Love. Angel. Music. Baby.," was cited for five nominations, including album of the year. 50 Cent's ''The Massacre," the year's best-selling album, received six nominations, but only in the rap categories.

Things could get interesting if 50 wins for best rap performance by a duo or group, or best rap song for ''Hate It or Love It." It's a collaboration with The Game, the West Coast rapper who was once 50's protege and is now his arch-nemesis.

And though Coldplay had one of the year's big albums, ''X&Y," and received three nominations, including best rock album, none was in a major category. Some predicted the British band would receive a best album nod.

Other multiple nominees include: Beyonce, who received six nods -- one for solo work on the ''Roll Bounce" soundtrack, another for ''So Amazing," a collaboration with Stevie Wonder on a Luther Vandross album of the same name, and four for ''Destiny Fulfilled," her final album as a member of Destiny's Child.

Speaking of Wonder, he also garnered six nominations, including five for ''A Time to Love," his first studio album in a decade. In the best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals, Wonder shares the nod with his daughter Aisha Morris, the inspiration for his 1970s classic ''Isn't She Lovely."

As usual, veteran performers were well represented, though the biggest surprise may have been Paul McCartney's best album nod for ''Chaos and Creation in the Backyard." Sir Paul was also cited for best pop vocal album and best male pop vocal for ''Fine Line."

Grammy perennials U2 -- the band's won 16 awards since 1987's landmark ''Joshua Tree" -- received five nominations, including best album for ''How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb." And Bruce Springsteen's ''Devils & Dust," the title track of his latest album, received a song of the year nomination. This is a songwriter's award, and the Boss, who received five nominations, will compete against Carey, Legend, Rascal Flatts's ''Bless The Broken Road," and U2's ''Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own."

On the other end of the spectrum, Kelly Clarkson, the inaugural ''American Idol" winner, and Fantasia, the 2004 winner, try to become the first graduates of that popular televised talent show to win a Grammy. Clarkson will have two chances, with nominations for best pop vocal album (''Breakaway") and best female pop vocal (''Since U Been Gone"). Fantasia received three nominations, for best female R&B vocal (''Free Yourself"), best traditional R&B vocal performance (''Summertime"), and best R&B album (''Free Yourself").

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