Madonna’s “MDNA,” however, was indeed overlooked. The misstep that was its first single -- the rah-rah- “Give Me All Your Luvin’ ” -- set the album off on the wrong foot, yet it was the exception on a record that covered a range of grown-up emotions. Another worthy pop-dance record voters missed was Santigold’s “Master of Make-Believe,” whose worldly beats moved with a social-conscious groove.
For the second year running, voters also overlooked hip-hop in the album of the year field. Though the Roots’ terrific “undun” is recognized in the rap album category, the album -- released toward the end of 2011 -- excels at offering a snapshot of hard living over a mix of gospel, jazz and hip-hop.
Finally, plenty of independent artists are missing from the nominations tally. Cat Power’s “Sun” was equally lively and foreboding, El-P’s “Cancer for Cure” was doomsday hip-hop at its most sci-fi surreal and Bobby Womack’s “The Bravest Man in the Universe” was the sound of survival at its most soulful.
And, of course, local rapper Kendrick Lamar, whose sarcastically sinister hip-hop would have been a nice contrast to all the acoustic instruments in the new artist field. That’s just a scratching of the surface.