Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Grammy Predictions for 2006

Grammy nominations will be announced tomorrow morning. I know it's running a bit late, but hopefully you guys will see this in time. Grammy nominations will be up at This is what I believe will be nominated.

Album Of The Year

Corinne Bailey Rae-Corinne Bailey Rae

In what will be a pattern during announcements tomorrow, Corinne Bailey Rae is a sure shot in this category, and in many others. She has all the ingredients that have been included in Grammy success in the past. She's an attractive new artist with a classic sound (see: Alicia Keys, Norah Jones), her music crosses many demographics, including boomers, soul enthusiasts and the Starbucks crowd, and she writes her own songs and plays an instrument. With increasing public visibility and a gold album, there is too much momentum for Bailey Rae to be denied.

Justin Timberlake-FutureSex/LoveSounds

Not only is Timberlake a past nominee in this category for Justified and the one pop star you're not afraid to admit to liking, but the album has only been out for three months and is still fresh in voters' minds. FutureSex/LoveSounds debuted impressively at #1 with 600,000+ and boasts one of the year's biggest catchphrases with "SexyBack". But what really edges Timberlake into one of the five slots is that not only is he a voter favorite and a commercial success, but the album itself is ambitious and actually pretty damn good.

Dixie Chicks-Taking The Long Way

It's been four years since a country album was nominated for Album Of The Year. Guess who it was. The original DC3 are no stranger to this category with past nominations for Fly and Home. The Dixie Chicks released one of the few albums that created headlines this year and will not be too easily forgotten.

The last two slots are where things get a bit sketchy. There is usually a slot reserved for "old fogeys" in this category (Springsteen, Santana, Dylan, Steely Dan, U2), but none of this year's eligible fogeys stand a terribly strong chance. Johnny Cash's American Recordings V comes at the end of Cashmania, which reached its zenith between his death and the release of the motion picture, Walk The Line. Bruce Springsteen's We Shall Overcome was a strong record, but it wil probably get relegated to the traditional rock or folk categories. Out of all the old guys, Bob Dylan's Modern Times stands the best chance of cashing in on the old fogey vote, but while it is still a loved album, it has not received the gushing stratospheric praise of his two previous efforts, which also garnered Album Of The Year nods.

The Grammys have shown that they're ready to embrace rock again in this category in recent years (U2, Green Day, White Stripes), but only if it is an event album. The biggest selling rock album of the year belongs to Nickelback, but the fact that it's Nickelback, I won't even mention the title or further entertain the thought. The Red Hot Chili Peppers' numbers for Stadium Arcadium are impressive, but it didn't have even half the cultural impact as the White Stripes' Elephant, which sold considerably less. John Mayer's Contiuum appears to be generally well-liked, but it's fallen from out the public eye since its release. Snow Patrol's Eyes Open stands a good shot of getting a nod, but that's only on the basis of one song, their smash hit "Chasing Cars". As it stands now, rock music may get left out this year.

Another possibility includes Madonna's Confessions On A Dancefloor, but it was released right at the beginning of eligibility for this year way back in October of 2005 and might be too club-oriented to reach a wide range of voters. Christina Aguilera's Back To Basics stands another fantastic chance at getting nominated since voters will appreciate her more classier approach and remind themselves of why she was voted Best New Artist in the first place. Like Timberlake, they might warm up to a pop act experimenting with their sound and getting agreeable results. I really don't have a reason why it can't be nominated, but I'm just going with my gut at this point.

R&B and hip hop music has been on a roll this decade. Depending on how Corinne Bailey Rae is defined, we may see another urban act in this category. T.I.'s King boasted one of the biggest songs of the year and cemented his status as a universal MC that appeals to both the roughest street corners and top 40 radio stations, but Grammy voters have yet to embrace the "hardcore" rapper, unless their name is Eminem. Mary J. Blige's The Breakthrough got some of the best reviews of her career, but past R&B and hip hop nominees in this category have been event albums, and The Breakthrough, while a commercial and artistic success, does not have the reach of say a College Dropout, a Confessions, or a Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. She is one of the most respected and well-loved artists that we have, but she stands a better chance in the other two general categories. Another artist whose nomination depends on how their genre is defined is Gnarls Barkley. If the voters think they are urban enough, St. Elsehwhere will get the nod. Like I said, it honestly depends on where Bailey Rae's other nominations will land (pop? R&B?). I don't see all three of them getting the nod.

And now we come to the last slot, which will be a battle of the newcomers: James Blunt vs. KT Tunstall. I will make this simple. Blunt will get plenty of nominations for "You're Beautiful", but Back To Bedlam was one of the worst albums I've heard this year. Eye To The Telescope gets the last slot by default, but mainly since she shares the same Grammy bait qualites that Corinne Bailey Rae has (universally loved, writes own songs, plays own instrument, new artist).

Record Of The Year

Gnarls Barkley-Crazy

Sing this on the train platform. Watch as the masses flock around you and sing along.

Nelly Furtado F/ Timbaland-Promiscous

With Timberlake's FutureSex/LoveSounds sure to get some love, the Timbaland coronation will continue in this category (and may also garner him a Producer Of The Year nod). Last year's nomination of "Hollaback Girl" in this category shows that the Grammys aren't afraid to honor quirky rap-lite, pop. "Promiscous" was a #1 single and is about 17 times better than "Hollaback Girl."

Christina Aguilera-Ain't No Other Man

Grammy voters will show their appreciation for Xtina's new look and sound with a nomination in this category.

Corinne Bailey Rae-Put Your Records On

India Arie's "Video" seemed like an unlikey nominee for Record Of The Year back in 2002 and so does "Put Your Records On", especially with this categories focus on pop, R&B and rock in the past few years. "Put Your Records On" was not an event record, but this is Bailey Rae's year and this song is the kind of sunny and safe material that goes over well with voters.

James Blunt-You're Beautiful

As much as it disguts me to admit it, this has a pretty good chance of getting a nod, especially with the lack of strong rock contenders for this year. And no, I don't really consider Blunt "rawk", but he will have to do for this year.

Here are some other possibilities:
Shakira-Hips Don't Lie (If Aguilera doesn't make it, watch out for this one. Another song that you couldn't escape. )
KT Tunstall-Black Horse And The Cherry Tree (Not a typical nominee in this category, a lot of people are crazy about this song.)
T.I.-What You Know (Too rough for the Grammys. Will get more nominations in the Rap categories.)
Mary J. Blige-Be Without You (Would stand a better chance if The Breakthrough was a bigger album.)
Justin Timberlake-SexyBack (I for one think that the melody for this song is a bit lazy and as far as dancefloor starters, it's not in the league of past nominees such as "Yeah!" or "Gold Digger".)
Cassie-Me & U
Rihanna-S.O.S (Rescue Me)
Pussycat Dolls-Buttons

Song Of The Year

I always do horribly in this category, but I think I can net one or two this year. It's hard to explain the logic sometimes in this category. It's often a mishmash of sentimental favorites, ballads, uplifting songs and doesn't depend as much on commercial success as Record Of The Year

Corinne Bailey Rae-Put Your Records On
James Blunt-You're Beautifuly
Mary J. Blige-Be Without You
Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars
Dainel Powter-Bad Day

other possibilities

Gnarls Barkley-Crazy
KT Tunstall-Black Horse And The Cherry Tree
Mariah Carey-Don't Forget About Us
John Mayer-Waiting For The World To Change

Best New Artist

The obvious ones here of course are Corinne Bailey Rae, James Blunt and KT Tunstall. That leaves us with two slots that could go to a number of people. One person who might be a surprise is Lupe Fiasco. "Kick Push" is the kind of hip hop song that folks that aren't fans of hip hop can enjoy. Plus, he's another Kanye West protege, the same as last year's winner, John Legend. But the only rappers that are ever nominated in this category are those who have a substantial amount of mainstream success. Daniel Powter possesses one of the biggest hits of the year, but his album has been absent from the charts. Same thing with Fort Minor. As far as rock goes, Panic! At The Disco stands the best chance, but if eligibility counts for anything, their record was released during last year's period. Wolfmother had some moderate modern rock radio success, but they can't be taken too seriously in this category. Often times, there will be a country artist that I've never heard of nominated in this category. I've heard of Carrie Underwood, and she was the biggest new artist in country this year, which is why I'm going with her. The only main genre left is R&B, and we are left we three major contenders: Ne-Yo, Cassie and Chris Brown. Ne-Yo has the album sales behind him, but I don't think he has much appeal outside of the R&B realm and who knows how many Grammy voters are even aware that he is one of the hottes songwriters around right now. Cassie had one great single, but not much has been heard from her otherwise. That leaves us with the teenage phenom, Chris Brown. His album has been out for well over a year and has spawned multiple hit singles, plus the fact that he is still in his teens and has become such a huge success will not be lost on voters.

I believe that Corinne Bailey Rae will get the most nominations, along with these people in descending order:

James Blunt
Mary J. Blige
KT Tunstall
Justin Timberlake
Gnarls Barkley

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