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[THE GRAMMYS]

Album of the Year

February 11, 2007|Richard Cromelin

Dixie Chicks, "Taking the Long Way"

Gnarls Barkley, "St. Elsewhere"

John Mayer, "Continuum"

Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Stadium Arcadium"

Justin Timberlake, "FutureSex / LoveSounds"

This is the category where Bob Dylan was expected to pick up one more late-career honor, and if the surprising absence of "Modern Times" doesn't exactly taint the race, the strong possibility that Mayer's innocuous "Continuum" could be declared the better album does conjure the Grammys' bad old buttoned-down days. Timberlake's album (for its sensuality) or Gnarls Barkley's (because it's just crazy enough) would be far less embarrassing, but this category's chances for respectability come down to the best back stories: the Dixie Chicks, politically rehabilitated and musically reinvented, and the Chili Peppers, battle-scarred rock survivors brandishing the most ambitious and accomplished album of a long, Grammy-poor career. Give the Chilis a best album trophy with a lifetime achievement subtext and breathe a sigh of relief.

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-- Richard Cromelin

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