This year, the Recording Academy has apparently decided Kacey Musgraves put a little too much pop in her new pop-country album, star-crossed. Her fourth studio album will be the first of her albums deemed ineligible for the Grammys’ Country Album of the Year category, Billboard reports.
The decision came from last week’s annual screening committee meeting, where members can reject recordings they feel do not fit into the selected genre. The genre screening committees for the Recording Academy are made up of fellow country professionals and artists. The exclusion led to outcry from Cindy Mabe, president of Universal Music Group Nashville, which has released all of Musgraves’ work.
In her letter to the Academy president-CEO Harvey Mason Jr., Mabe calls out the continued lack of diversity in musicians and sound within country music.
She also makes her case for Musgraves’ continued presence in the genre.
“This decision from the country committee to not accept star-crossed into the country albums category is very inconsistent and calls into question the other agendas that were part of this decision,” Mabe writes.
Star-crossed was released earlier this year via the country-oriented Universal Music Group Nashville in partnership with pop label Interscope Records. According to the Academy’s descriptions, to be eligible for Best Country Album, an album must contain “51% playing time of new country recordings.” Any work rejected by the committee is eligible for album of the year and could be recommended for another category. For star-crossed, this means it will most likely be bumped into the pop category.
Mabe lays out all of the production logistics behind star-crossed, furthering her argument that it is indeed a country album by meeting the set requirement.
“Sonically, it’s got more country instrumentation than Golden Hour which won Country Album of the Year in 2019. To compare Golden Hour to star-crossed, both albums were produced by Ian Fitchuk, Daniel Tashian and Kacey Musgraves. Both albums were mixed by Shawn Everett. On Golden Hour, Ian, Daniel and Kacey wrote 7 of the 13 songs and on star-crossed they wrote 11 of the 15. Both albums complete each other with Golden Hour telling the story of falling in love and star-crossed telling the conclusion of the breakup. There is no departure in sound from these two projects. This album was consistently classified as country throughout it’s [sic] metadata and overall labeling across the DSP accounts and partners. star-crossed appeared on every major country playlist of every DSP.”
According to Rolling Stone, the song “Camera Roll” has been classified as a country song contender for the Grammys, despite star-crossed not making the cut.
In Grammys past, Musgraves won Best Country Album for Golden Hour and Same Trailer Different Park. In 2015, her sophomore album Pageant Material was also nominated for Best Country Album. Over her career, Musgraves has picked up nominations in the Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance categories.