Much has been made of Adele’s 25 beating Beyoncé’s album Lemonade at the Grammys to win album of the year.  But Beyoncé deserved to lose and Adele didn’t deserve to win.

The list of collaborators on Lemonade is long and includes critical darlings Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend, and Joshua Tillman (AKA Father John Misty). It’s a cynical attempt to achieve the sort of critical appreciation that Beyoncé’s sister, Solange, has achieved with her much-lauded album A Seat at the Table.

Lemonade is an incoherent attempt to appeal to everyone and fail at doing so, the equivalent of throwing a load of A-list actors at a film and expecting an Oscar. Ultimately, an interesting and coherent record would have continued in the same vein as the excellent album opener, Hold Up, or it would have maintained the anger and politics of tracks like Freedom (with a typically brilliant guest spot by Kendrick Lamar). Instead the genres ticked off include country, rock, R&B, pop and hints of several other genres. In short, it’s a mess.

Lemonade had been marketed as an album which took aim at the alleged infidelity of Beyoncé’s husband, Jay-Z. As 2016 wore on the album took on a new life. Tracks like Formation and Freedom skewing the album and its overarching theme towards being a political statement – with that only gaining greater attention as President Trump became a thing and fitting neatly as a musical accompanying piece to the Black Lives Matter movement. Ultimately, the politics is where the power is on Lemonade, but it just doesn’t weave its way through the whole album.

It’s not to say that Beyoncé isn’t a brilliant artist. Her previous album was incredible, a R&B/Pop masterpiece. It had the same surprise-release as Lemonade, it had matching videos for each song as with Lemonade.  But crucially it was more coherent and didn’t try to be all things to all people and included an absolute monster of a song in Drunk in Love.

This isn’t to say that Adele deserved to win. She didn’t. Adele’s album is good, but aside from the Max Martin-produced Send My Love (To Your New Lover), the album was more of the same. There are few better singers on the planet, that’s true, but her third album of ballads, no matter how heart-breaking and carefully produced and engineered, makes it almost forgettable. Put Adele’s back-catalogue on shuffle and see if you can identify which track is from which album.

So, who should have won? The excellent letter-by-record A Sailor’s Guide to Earth by Kentucky-born Sturgill Simpson should have been the clear victor.

Simpson’s album is a joy – a guide to life to Simpson’s first-born son. From the album opener, Welcome to Earth (Pollywog), with its country opening and then Motown-inspired second half, through the tremendous cover of Nirvana’s In Bloom, to the politics of the closing track Call to Arms.  It’s a nine-song masterpiece, which deserves more attention.  To get a sense of Simpson, see him perform All Around You (at the Grammys) with the Dap Kings.

Simpson’s album has continued to break the accepted rules of country music – where artists live or die by airplay on country radio (Simpson has been largely shunned). Sailor’s Guide to Earth has also been a critical success, receiving 8 out of 10 on the notoriously difficult to please Pitchfork, and received an average review of 86% on the review aggregation website Metacritic, which is no mean feat. It topped the Rock and Country charts in the US, peaking at 3 on the full Billboard 200.  The only shame is that more hasn’t been made of the album in the UK, where it has rather disappointingly only reached number 43.   To top it all off, he went and won the Grammy for best country album.

Ultimately, for anyone who wishes to be guided by the Grammys, ignore the noise about Beyoncé, Adele’s apology, the outrage over who won what and head for Simpson’s excellent (Grammy winning) record, which you’ve probably never heard of.  You’re in for a treat.