Now that we've singled out a good deal of the genres, it's time to focus on the fogeys. In 2007, only two icons have a remote chance of getting nominated. One can never count out Bruce Springsteen. He's been on a roll lately and his albums continue to get praise. I honestly think that The Boss gave stronger efforts with Devils and Dust and We Shall Overcome, but in a year this weak, anything is possible. Magic debuted at #1, but it was released right at the end of the eligibility period. I simply don't think the buzz is strong enough for it to garner a nod here, but he's surely a lock for Best Rock Album.
The only other old fogey left is Paul McCartney. The academy has been pretty fair when it comes to McCartney. They feel that if he makes a decent album, he automatically gets an AOTY nod. If he doesn't, well, he gets nominated elsewhere. The thing about McCartney is that no one really talks about him a lot unless he releases an album that doesn't suck. He received nods for Flaming Pie and Chaos and Creation In The Backyard, which everyone seemed to agree didn't suck. Not so much for Driving Rain. Looking at the amount of attention that it got upon its release (mostly due to the Starbucks deal) and the mostly positive reviews, I think that Memory Almost Full has one of the strongest shots at landing that final spot.
Best New Artist
Depending on how the academy defines a new artist, this category could deliver the most head scratches. Before we get into that, let's just state the obvious contenders: Amy Winehouse, Taylor Swift and Daughtry. In the past, the academy has given Best New Artist nominations to "newcomers" like Green Day, Fountains Of Wayne, Kid Rock and Shelby Lynne, who actually won in spite of charting as early as 12 years prior. My main dilemma is to whether I give the academy the benefit of the doubt or take a gamble. I'm going to take a gamble and put Feist in the final five. The academy has shown that they're catching up with the times with nominations for Goldfrapp, Imogen Heap and LCD Soundsystem last year, which could mean that voters are not as square as we thought. Feist's 2004 album, Let It Die definitely got its fair share of attention on the blogosphere and other indie-oriented publications, but when you add a widely seen iPod commercial and a major label debut to the occassion, you could forgive a lot of people for thinking she's new on the scene. Sara Bareilles is another quasi-newcomer who's eligibility is questionable, but she's only had one hit song and not much attention elsewhere. Colbie Calliat's success on the Internet is the kind of story that people can get behind, but I'm not sure how seriously people take her yet as far as longevity. Same goes for Sean Kingston who has yet to deliver another hit song besides "Beautiful Girls". Kellie Pickler has sold enough records to get attention, and with a year short on big fresh faces, she could find herself being a Best New Artist nominee as well, but I'm just not buying it. Since there aren't any more obvious choices, you'll have to look deeper into the pool at artists who have made a lot of attention, but not huge sales. Peter Bjorn and John's VMA nomination for Best New Artist is proof that they're not completely invisible, but I'm not sure how many people know any of their other songs besides "Young Folks". There is no scientific reasoning to this guess, but for some reason, I like Lily Allen in this category. She got a ton of attention at the time of Alright, Still's release and she would by far be the hippest choice here.
Once again, I'm going to take a shot at who I think will get the most nominations:Akon - 8
Kanye West - 6
Amy Winehouse - 6
Taylor Swift - 5
Robin Thicke - 5
Nominations will be announced Dec. 6 and a full list of the nominees will be available at http://www.grammy.com/