Saturday, January 25, 2014

The 56th Annual Grammy Awards: Predicting the Winners

Tomorrow night is Grammy night, the music industry's biggest honor where hundreds of artists gather to perform an enormous concert on CBS, and also maybe hand out a few awards or something. Yes, the Grammys are the easiest award show to pick on. They try way too hard to prove their relevancy in an industry that is expansive in ways no other facet of showbiz is, and musical taste is so much more varied from person-to-person than just about anything else. So every year pretty much dumps on the Grammys for what they nominate, what they reward, and mostly who they failed to acknowledge, proclaiming that it's a broken ceremony that's completely out-of-touch with what America/Twitter/the people want. Yet year after year, we keep crawling back.


I will say this for the Grammys: even if your favorites aren't among the nominees, you owe it to yourself to check out who was. If nothing else, these nominations are a great tool for exploring new music, and can be seen less as "these are the best songs/albums from this year" and more as "hey, check out this thing you might have missed." That's what I do, at least, and through that I've been introduced to some great stuff that I wouldn't have listened to otherwise.

So here are my predictions for who should win the Grammy in a handful of top categories, and who I think will end up taking home the prizes. Of course, predicting the Grammys is like trying to predict who will be President of the United States in 2052, so take these with a gram of salt. Sound off on what you think in the comments.

Predictions begin after the break.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

"Get Lucky," Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams
"Radioactive," Imagine Dragons
"Royals," Lorde
"Locked Out of Heaven," Bruno Mars
"Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams & T.I.

Should win: "Get Lucky"
Will win: "Get Lucky"
Spoiler: "Locked Out of Heaven"

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

The Blessed Unrest, Sara Bareilles
Random Access Memories, Daft Punk
good kid, m.a.a.d. city, Kendrick Lamar
The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Red, Taylor Swift

Should win: good kid, m.a.a.d. city
Will win: Random Access Memories
Spoiler: The Blessed Unrest

SONG OF THE YEAR

"Just Give Me a Reason," Pink featuring Nate Ruess
"Locked Out of Heaven," Bruno Mars
"Roar," Katy Perry
"Royals," Lorde
"Same Love," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert

Should win: "Royals"
Will win: "Same Love"
Spoiler: "Royals"

Fun fact: if "Same Love" does indeed win, it would be the first hip-hop song to ever win Song of the Year.

BEST NEW ARTIST

James Blake
Kendrick Lamar
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Kacey Musgraves
Ed Sheeran

Should win: Kendrick Lamar
Will win: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Spoiler: Kendrick Lamar

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

"Brave," Sara Bareilles
"Royals," Lorde
"When I Was Your Man," Bruno Mars
"Roar," Katy Perry
"Mirrors," Justin Timberlake

Should win: "When I Was Your Man"
Will win: "Brave"
Spoiler: "Mirrors"

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

"Get Lucky," Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams
"Just Give Me a Reason," Pink featuring Nate Ruess
"Stay," Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko
"Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams & T.I.
"Suit & Tie," Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z

Should win: "Get Lucky"
Will win: "Get Lucky"
Spoiler: "Just Give Me a Reason"

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

Paradise, Lana Del Rey
Pure Heroine, Lorde
Unorthodox Jukebox, Bruno Mars
Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke
The 20/20 Experience: The Complete Experience, Justin Timberlake

Should win: Pure Heroine
Will win: The 20/20 Experience: The Complete Experience
Spoiler: Unorthodox Jukebox

BEST DANCE RECORDING

"Need You (100%)," Duke Dumont featuring A*M*E and MNEK
"Sweet Nothing," Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch
"Atmosphere," Kaskade
"This is What It Feels Like," Armin Van Buuren featuring Trevor Guthrie
"Clarity," Zedd featuring Foxes

Should win: "Clarity"
Will win: "Atmosphere"
Spoiler: "Sweet Nothing"

BEST ELECTRONICA/DANCE ALBUM

Random Access Memories, Daft Punk
Settle, Disclosure
18 Months, Calvin Harris
Atmosphere, Kaskade
A Color Map of the Sun, Pretty Lights

Should win: Random Access Memories
Will win: Random Access Memories
Spoiler: Settle

BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE

"Always Alright," Alabama Shakes
"The Stars (Are Out Tonight)," David Bowie
"Radioactive," Imagine Dragons
"Kashmir (Live)," Led Zeppelin
"My God is the Sun," Queens of the Stone Age
"I'm Shakin'," Jack White

Should win: "Always Alright"
Will win: "Radioactive"
Spoiler: "Kashmir (Live)"

BEST METAL PERFORMANCE

"T.N.T.," Anthrax
"God is Dead?," Black Sabbath
"The Enemy Inside," Dream Theater
"In Due Time," Killswitch Engage
"Room 24," Volbeat featuring King Diamond

Should win: "God is Dead?"
Will win: "God is Dead?"
Spoiler: "The Enemy Inside"

BEST ROCK SONG

"Ain't Messin' 'Round," Gary Clark Jr.
"Cut Me Some Slack," Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and Pat Smear
"Doom & Gloom," the Rolling Stones
"God is Dead?," Black Sabbath
"Panic Station," Muse

Should win: "Doom & Gloom"
Will win: "Cut Me Some Slack"
Spoiler: "God is Dead?"

BEST ROCK ALBUM

13, Black Sabbath
The Next Day, David Bowie
Mechanical Bull, Kings of Leon
Celebration Day, Led Zeppelin
…Like Clockwork, Queens of the Stone Age
Psychedelic Pill, Neil Young with Crazy Horse

Should win: The Next Day
Will win: …Like Clockwork
Spoiler: Mechanical Bull

BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM

The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, Neko Case
Trouble Will Find Me, the National
Hesitation Marks, Nine Inch Nails
Lonerism, Tame Impala
Modern Vampires of the City, Vampire Weekend

Should win: Modern Vampires of the City
Will win: Modern Vampires of the City
Spoiler: Hesitation Marks

BEST R&B PERFORMANCE

"Love & War," Tamar Braxton
"Best of Me," Anthony Hamilton
"Nakamarra," Hiatus Kaiyote featuring Q-Tip
"How Many Drinks?," Miguel featuring Kendrick Lamar
"Something," Snarky Puppy featuring Lalah Hathaway

Should win: "Nakamarra"
Will win: "Love & War"
Spoiler: "Best of Me"

BEST TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE

"Please Come Home," Gary Clark Jr.
"Get It Right," Fantasia
"Quiet Fire," Maysa
"Hey Laura," Gregory Porter
"Yesterday," Ryan Shaw

Should win: "Please Come Home"
Will win: "Yesterday"
Spoiler: "Get It Right"

BEST R&B SONG

"Best of Me," Anthony Hamilton
"Love & War," Tamar Braxton
"Only One," PJ Morton featuring Stevie Wonder
"Pusher Love Girl," Justin Timberlake
"Without Me," Fantasia featuring Kelly Rowland & Missy Elliot

Should win: "Pusher Love Girl"
Will win: "Love & War"
Spoiler: "Without Me"

BEST URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM

Love & War, Tamar Braxton
Side Effects of You, Fantasia
One: In the Chamber, Salaam Remi
Unapologetic, Rihanna
New York: A Love Story, Mack Wilds

Should win: Love & War
Will win: Love & War
Spoiler: Unapologetic

BEST R&B ALBUM

R&B Divas, Faith Evans
Girl on Fire, Alicia Keys
Love in the Future, John Legend
Better, Chrisette Michele
Three Kings, TGT

Should win: Love in the Future
Will win: Love in the Future
Spoiler: Girl on Fire

BEST RAP PERFORMANCE

"Started from the Bottom," Drake
"Berzerk," Eminem
"Tom Ford," Jay Z
"Swimming Pools (Drank)," Kendrick Lamar
"Thrift Shop," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Wanz

Should win: "Swimming Pools (Drank)"
Will win: "Thrift Shop"
Spoiler: "Berzerk"

BEST RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION

"Power Trip," J. Cole featuring Miguel
"Part II (On the Run)," Jay Z featuring Beyonce
"Holy Grail," Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake
"Now or Never," Kendrick Lamar featuring Mary J. Blige
"Remember You," Wiz Khalifa featuring The Weeknd

Should win: "Power Trip"
Will win: "Holy Grail"
Spoiler: "Now or Never"

BEST RAP SONG

"Fuckin' Problems," A$AP Rocky featuring Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and 2 Chainz
"Holy Grail," Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake
"New Slaves," Kanye West
"Started from the Bottom," Drake
"Thrift Shop," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Should win: "New Slaves"
Will win: "Started from the Bottom"
Spoiler: "Holy Grail"

BEST RAP ALBUM

Nothing was the Same, Drake
Magna Carta Holy Grail, Jay Z
good kid, m.a.a.d. city, Kendrick Lamar
The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Yeezus, Kanye West

Should win: good kid, m.a.a.d. city
Will win: good kid, m.a.a.d. city
Spoiler: Nothing was the Same

BEST COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE

"I Drive Your Truck," Lee Brice
"I Want Crazy," Hunter Hayes
"Mama's Broken Heart," Miranda Lambert
"Wagon Wheel," Darius Rucker
"Mine Would Be You," Blake Shelton

Should win: "Wagon Wheel"
Will win: "Mine Would Be You"
Spoiler: "Mama's Broken Heart"

BEST COUNTRY DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

"From This Valley," the Civil Wars
"Don't Rush," Kelly Clarkson featuring Vince Gill
"Your Side of the Bed," Little Big Town
"Highway Don't Care," Tim McGraw featuring Taylor Swift & Keith Urban
"You Can't Make Old Friends," Kenny Rogers with Dolly Parton

Should win: "From This Valley"
Will win: "Highway Don't Care"
Spoiler: "From This Valley"

BEST COUNTRY SONG

"Begin Again," Taylor Swift
"I Drive Your Truck," Lee Brice
"Mama's Broken Heart," Miranda Lambert
"Merry Go 'Round," Kacey Musgraves
"Mine Would Be You," Blake Shelton

Should win: "Merry Go 'Round"
Will win: "Begin Again"
Spoiler: "Merry Go 'Round"

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM

Night Train, Jason Aldean
Two Lanes of Freedom, Tim McGraw
Same Trailer Different Park, Kacey Musgraves
Based on a True Story, Blake Shelton
Red, Taylor Swift

Should win: Same Trailer Different Park
Will win: Red
Spoiler: Based on a True Story

BEST MUSIC VIDEO

"I'm Shakin'," Jack White
"Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film," Jay Z
"Safe & Sound," Capital Cities
"Suit & Tie," Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z
"Can't Hold Us," Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton

Should win: "I'm Shakin'"
Will win: "Suit & Tie"
Spoiler: "Safe & Sound"

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