The Best (And Worst) Of The Grammys’ Best New Artist Category

The Grammys are on Sunday, so let’s investigate its most bizarre category: Best New Artist. Both Christopher Cross and Esparanza Spalding have one. That’s real. And that’s why we’re counting down the ten best winners and the five worst losers. Because maybe we’ll learn something! That’s what I’ll go with.

10. Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee may not have had as gigantic a Billboard career following her Best New Artist win as some of the other stars here, but her debut album is such an assured, unpretentiously poetic, rich listening experience. “Chuck E.’s in Love” and “Young Blood” are whimsical and catchy while “Night Train” and “The Last Chance Texaco” are crackling, despairing portraits. She was also so rad, and that made her bohemian folksiness so much fresher than you’d expect.

9. Sade

If timelessness is a criterion for the music and musicians who win Best New Artist,
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