By Brian Ives 

Safe to say, when Beck‘s Morning Phase was announced as one of the 2015 GRAMMY nominees for Album of the Year, most everyone was surprised.

Not that it’s a bad album. It’s just that, as Buzzfeed‘s Reggie Ugwu says, “Beck isn’t the center of culture. He’s not near the center of culture. He’s more on the fringe, and catering to an established fan base.”

With Morning Phase, Beck cut through the noise by simply being quiet. As sort of a companion piece to his 2002 release Sea Change, this album once again puts Beck in an introspective mood, with none of the flash or snark that comes with his more well-known hits like “Loser,” “Where It’s At,” Devil’s Haircut” and “Sexx Laws.”

It’s an album that found its way to fans merely by being great.  And if you didn’t notice it amongst the parade of flashier, impressions-hungry, zeitgeist-baiting celebrities in 2014, that’s understandable (but it’s your loss).

So, what are Beck’s chances of actually winning Album of the Year? According to most of our panelists, slim to none. This seems to be a case where the cliché “It’s an honor to be nominated” applies. But if that nomination led to a few more people discovering and enjoying this new album, as well as Sea Change and his wide-ranging back catalog, than that’s its own victory—even if it doesn’t come with a trophy.


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