Boygenius “Not Strong Enough” GRAMMY Nomination Withdrawn for Hidden Messages
LOS ANGELES — November 14, 2023 at 6:58 pm PST — The Recording Academy, organizers of the prestigious GRAMMY Awards, regrets to announce the withdrawal of the nomination of “Not Strong Enough” by boygenius in the Record of the Year category for the 66th annual GRAMMY Awards. This decision comes following the discovery of hidden messages, including “Vote for Dems,” when the track is played backward.
Backmasking, the practice of embedding hidden messages or sounds in audio recordings that become audible when played in reverse, has a long and controversial history in the music industry. While it has been the subject of numerous conspiracy theories and debates over the years, it is rare for such a situation to arise in the context of the GRAMMY Awards.
Integrity for the 2024 GRAMMY Awards
The Recording Academy remains committed to recognizing and celebrating musical excellence, and the integrity of the nomination process is of utmost importance. The discovery of politically suggestive backmasking in “Not Strong Enough” raised concerns about the impartiality of the song’s message and its alignment with the GRAMMY Awards’ non-partisan stance.
In light of this development, the Recording Academy has chosen to withdraw the nomination of “Not Strong Enough” by boygenius, ensuring that the GRAMMY Awards continue to uphold their tradition of fairness and musical merit.
History of Backmasking
Backmasking has been a subject of intrigue and controversy in the music industry for decades. Dating back to the 1960s and 1970s, there were allegations that some artists, when their songs were played backward, included subliminal messages with various purported meanings, from political messages to references to the occult.
It’s important to note that the practice of backmasking is not exclusive to any particular genre or political leaning. Over the years, artists from diverse backgrounds and genres have been associated with backmasking claims, although many of these allegations remain the subject of debate and skepticism.
Regarding boygenius, the trio consisting of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, their music has often been seen as reflective of progressive and left-leaning values, with lyrics that touch on various social and political topics. While their music has resonated with a wide audience, the presence of a politically suggestive message in a song played backward was unexpected and raised concerns about potential bias in the nomination.
The Recording Academy emphasizes that the decision to withdraw the nomination is not a judgment of boygenius as artists or individuals. They are respected musicians known for their talent and artistic contributions. The decision is solely based on the discovery of backmasking that could be construed as having a political agenda.
The Recording Academy remains committed to recognizing outstanding musical achievements across all genres and backgrounds. It is with the aim of maintaining the impartiality and integrity of the GRAMMY Awards that the decision to withdraw the nomination was made.
The 66th annual GRAMMY Awards will proceed as scheduled, with the remaining nominees in the Record of the Year category continuing to vie for the coveted award. The Recording Academy looks forward to celebrating the diverse and exceptional talent within the music industry on the awards show night.
About the Recording Academy
The Recording Academy is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to honoring excellence in the recording arts and sciences and fostering a stronger and more inspiring world for music. Founded in 1957, the Academy serves the music community through its awards, advocacy, education, and preservation efforts.
Boygenius is an indie rock supergroup comprised of three exceptionally talented singer-songwriters: Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus. Each member brings their unique style and lyrical prowess to the group, creating a dynamic and emotionally charged sound that has resonated with music lovers worldwide. Their self-titled EP, released in 2018, received critical acclaim for its introspective songwriting, showcasing their collective ability to craft poignant and relatable narratives. Boygenius has garnered a dedicated following and is celebrated for their live performances, where their individual talents seamlessly blend into a harmonious musical experience.