Thursday, February 09, 2012

Grammy Winner Predictions for 2012

The main storyline for the 54th Grammy Awards will be how many awards Adele will win. There is no question that she is the heavy favorite to win the majority of the categories she's in, and after the year she's had it would be much deserved. This is also the first year where the the fields have been consolidated to create fewer categories and fewer filler nominees. If anything, it should make the overall competition that much more difficult and increase the standard for winning a Grammy itself. With moves like this and letting Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons into the general categories, I believe that the NARAS is making a strong attempt to stop any further dilution of the award ceremony and increasing their integrity. But of course, they'll have to hand out the statuettes to worthy people first. We'll be able to see this Sunday, Feb. 12 on CBS.

Also, I made predictions as to who would get nominated a few months back, so feel free to check back and see how my picks turned out.

EDIT: Check back here Sunday as I live blog during the ceremony.

Record of the Year

Adele - "Rolling In The Deep"
Bon Iver - "Holocene"
Bruno Mars - "Grenade"
Mumford & Sons - "The Cave"
Katy Perry - "Firework"

Will win: I'm not one to blindly follow popular opinion, but I sort of like Adele's chances here.
Should win: Sure, it's overplayed, but it's hard to find many faults with "Rolling In The Deep."
Overlooked: Kanye West - "All Of The Lights"; Nicki Minaj - "Super Bass"; Pink - "Raise Your Glass"; Wiz Khalifa - "Black and Yellow"

Album of the Year

Adele - 21
Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
Lady Gaga - Born This Way
Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligans
Rihanna - Loud

Will win: Biggest selling album of the year. Lots of positive reviews. Everyone has heard of her. This is Adele's category to lose.
Should win: I can't say that I would give an overwhelming stamp of approval to anyone nominated here, but I thought 21 had a better collection of tunes.
Overlooked: Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Song of the Year

Kanye West feat. Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie (songwriters: Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter & Kanye West) - "All Of The Lights"
Mumford & Sons (songwriters: Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford & Country Winston) - "The Cave"
Bruno Mars (songwriters: Brody Brown, Claude Kelly, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Bruno Mars & Andrew Wyatt) - "Grenade"
Bon Iver (songwriter: Justin Vernon) - "Holocene"
Adele (songwriters: Adele Adkins & Paul Epworth) - "Rolling In The Deep"

Will win: Adele, silly.
Should win: I like "All Of The Lights" the most as a record, but when it comes down to composition, I think "Holocene" is the most interesting tune here.
Overlooked: Marsha Ambrosius - "Far Away"; Foster The People - "Pumped Up Kicks"; Pistol Annies - "Hell On Heels"

Best New Artist

The Band Perry
Bon Iver
J. Cole
Nicki Minaj

Will win: I'm going with The Band Perry in a tough one. They already have one money song under their belt, "If I Die Young," and whenever there's not a clear cut juggernaut (think Carrie, Amy, Norah, etc.), this award usually goes to someone the NARAS thinks makes quality music. Bon Iver would fit in that description, but aside from the nods in the general categories, I'm still not sure he has the mainstream recognition to get enough votes.
Should win: Nicki Minaj's style is too unique to be passed over.
Overlooked: Lykke Li (Yes, I know she's not new, but she was submitted in this category), Tyler, The Creator

Best Pop Solo Performance

Adele - "Someone Like You"
Lady Gaga - "Yoü and I"
Bruno Mars - "Grenade"
Katy Perry - "Firework"
Pink - "Fuckin' Perfect"

Will win: Adele.
Should win: Pink should be rewarded for one of her most vulnerable moments.
Overlooked: MNDR - "Cut Me Out"; Willow - "Whip My Hair"

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse - "Body and Soul"
The Black Keys - "Dearest"
Coldplay - "Paradise"
Foster the People - "Pumped Up Kicks"
Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera - "Moves Like Jagger"

Will win: Tony and Amy should take the sentimental vote in one of the night's toughest categories to call. Foster The People and Maroon 5/Christina also have legitimate shots.
Should win: "Moves Like Jagger" is about as pop as it gets with one of 2011's most memorable choruses to boot.
Overlooked: LMFAO - "Party Rock Anthem"

Best Pop Vocal Album

Adele - 21
Cee Lo Green - The Lady Killer
Lady Gaga - BBorn This Way
Bruno Mars - Doo-Wops & Hooligans
Rihanna - Loud

Will win: I'll still humor everyone and pick Adele.
Should win: Cee Lo's momentum has died down, but The Lady Killer and its singles still remain enjoyable.
Overlooked: Britney Spears - Femme Fatale

Best Dance Recording

deadmau5 - "Raise Your Weapon"
Duck Sauce - "Barbra Streisand"
David Guetta & Avicii - "Sunshine"
Robyn - "Call Your Girlfriend"
Skrillex - "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites"
Swedish House Mafia - "Save the World"

Will win: Robyn is probably the most recognizable name here and is a past nominee. Add to that a Saturday Night Live performance and the fact that few hate her makes her the likely winner, but Skrillex's profile has increased in the past few months.
Should win: Robyn consistently raises the standard for pop and electronic music and "Call Your Girlfriend" was no different.
Overlooked: Martin Solveig & Dragonette - "Hello"

Best Dance/Electronica Album

Cut Copy - Zonoscope
deadmau5 - 4x4=12
David Guetta - Nothing but the Beat
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 3
Skrillex - Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

Will win: Even though Body Talk Pt. 3 is not technically an album, this category tends to reward those who have a healthy balance of mainstream appeal and underground cool. Once again, Skrillex could play spoiler, but I think it plays too much to a younger demographic and could have trouble finding votes in general.
Should win: Cut Copy's Zonoscope was one of the best proper albums of 2011.
Overlooked: Ladytron - Gravity The Seducer; SBTRKT - SBTRKT

Best Rock Performance

Coldplay - "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"
The Decemberists - "Down By the Water"
Foo Fighters - "Walk"
Mumford & Sons - "The Cave"
Radiohead - "Lotus Flower"

Will win: Foo Fighters had one of the biggest hits on modern rock radio last year and nobody would confuse the competition with being the best that those respective artists have to offer, except for Mumford & Sons.
Should win: A Foo Fighters win should be deserved for a tune that could legitimately hold its own against some of their best stuff.
Overlooked: Dom - "Living In America"; My Chemical Romance - "Sing"; The Strokes - "Under Cover of Darkness"

Best Rock Song

Mumford & Sons (songwriters: Mumford & Sons) - "The Cave"
The Decemberists (songwriter: Colin Meloy) - "Down By the Water"
Coldplay (songwriters: Coldplay) - "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"
Radiohead (songwriters: Radiohead) - "Lotus Flower"
Foo Fighters (songwriters: Foo Fighters) - "Walk"

Will win: I'm going with Mumford & Sons, even though a part of me wants to say that this award will go to "Walk" because this category tends to favor veterans and has often overlooked tunes by upstarts.
Should win: Mumford & Sons' "The Cave" has the strongest balance of substance and melody.
Overlooked: The Joy Formidable - "Whirring"; The Strokes - "Under Cover of Darkness"; Wild Flag - "Romance"; Young The Giant - "My Body"

Best Rock Album

Jeff Beck - Rock 'n' Roll Party (Honoring Les Paul)
Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
Kings of Leon - Come Around Sundown
Red Hot Chili Peppers - I'm With You
Wilco - The Whole Love

Will win: Wasting Light should easily win this one.
Should win: Can't say that I'm a huge fan of any these albums, but since I have to choose, it would be between Foo Fighters and Wilco.
Overlooked: Le Butcherettes - Sin Sin Sin; My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys;

Best Alternative Music Album

Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Death Cab for Cutie - Codes and Keys
Foster the People - Torches
My Morning Jacket - Circuital
Radiohead - The King of Limbs

Will win: Bon Iver cracked a lot of top ten lists and coupled with nods in Record and Song of the year, it looks like the album to beat. Foster The People and Radiohead have outside chances, but most of the attention for them seems to be for the singles.
Should win: Even when Radiohead is not at its best, it can still crank out an interesting album.
Overlooked: PJ Harvey - Let England Shake; Van Hunt - What Were You Hoping For?; Lykke Li - Wounded Rhymes; St. Vincent - Strange Mercy; tUnE-yArDs - whokill; Wild Flag - Wild Flag

Best R&B Performance

Marsha Ambrosius - "Far Away"
Ledisi - "Pieces of Me"
Kelly Price featuring Stokley Williams - "Not My Daddy"
Corinne Bailey Rae - "Is This Love"
Charlie Wilson - "You Are"

Will win: "Far Away" had the most success on urban radio and she's also a well known name in the R&B community.
Should win: Marsha Ambrosius delivered the most heartfelt performance accompanied by a smooth track from Just Blaze.
Overlooked: Beyonce - "Countdown"; Chris Brown - "She Ain't You"; Cee Lo Green - "Bright Lights Bigger City"; Jazmin Sullivan - "10 Seconds"

Best Traditional R&B Performance

Eric Benét - "Sometimes I Cry"
Cee Lo Green featuring Melanie Fiona - "Fool for You"
R. Kelly - "Radio Message"
Raphael Saadiq - "Good Man"
Betty Wright & The Roots - "Surrender"

Will win: None of these songs were particularly big hits, but I think that having The Roots on her side will help Betty Wright pull out the win.
Should win: Raphael Saadiq's "Good Man" was one of the best tracks from one of the year's most underrated albums, although I'm a huge fan of the Cee Lo and R. Kelly songs as well.
Overlooked: Fantasia - "Collard Greens and Cornbread"; Jill Scott feat. Anthony Hamilton - "So In Love"

Best R&B Song

Marsha Ambrosius (songwriters: Marsha Ambrosius, Sterling Simms & Justin Smith) - "Far Away"
Cee Lo Green featuring Melanie Fiona (songwriters: Cee Lo Green & Jack Splash) - "Fool for You"
Kelly Price featuring Stokley Williams (songwriter: Kelly Price) - "Not My Daddy"
Ledisi (songwriters: Chuck Harmony, Claude Kelly & Ledisi) - "Pieces of Me"
Charlie Wilson (songwriters: Dennis Bettis, Carl M. Days, Jr., Wirlie Morris, Charlie Wilson & Mahin Wilson) - "You Are"

Will win: I like the chances of "Far Away" due to its visibility, but a veteran like Charlie Wilson can always spoil things in the R&B categories from time to time.
Should win: "Far Away" has held up the best, even though it's a year old at this point.
Overlooked: Beyonce - "Countdown"; Keri Hilson - "Pretty Girl Rock"; Frank Ocean - "Novacane"; Jill Scott feat. Anthony Hamilton - "So In Love"; Jazmin Sullivan - "10 Seconds"

Best R&B Album

Chris Brown - F.A.M.E.
El DeBarge - Second Chance
R. Kelly - Love Letter
Ledisi - Pieces of Me
Kelly Price - Kelly

Will win: Chris Brown had the biggest singles, so I like him for the win, but no nominations elsewhere make me kind of leery and I could also see El DeBarge or R. Kelly grabbing a Grammy here.
Should win: El DeBarge's Second Chance doesn't break any new ground, but it delivers the goods on nearly every track.
Overlooked: Marsha Ambrosius - Late Nights and Early Mornings; Raphael Saadiq - Stone Rollin'

Best Rap Performance

Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes - "Look at Me Now"
Jay-Z & Kanye West (featuring Otis Redding) - "Otis"
Lupe Fiasco - "The Show Goes On"
Nicki Minaj featuring Drake - "Moment 4 Life"
Wiz Khalifa - "Black and Yellow"

Will win: The collective starpower of Jay-Z and Kanye West will be too much for everyone else to overcome.
Should win: Despite a jaw-dropping verse from Busta on "Look At Me Now," "Otis" kept my attention the most throughout the song.
Overlooked: Tyler, The Creator - "Yonkers"

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

Beyoncé featuring André 3000 - "Party"
DJ Khaled featuring Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne - "I'm On One"
Dr. Dre featuring Eminem & Skylar Grey - "I Need a Doctor"
Rihanna featuring Drake - "What's My Name?"
Kelly Rowland featuring Lil Wayne - "Motivation"
Kanye West featuring Rihanna, Fergie & Kid Cudi - "All of the Lights"

Will win: This is another tough category, but "All of the Lights" should take this one mainly due to the fact that it's Kanye and he rarely loses in the rap field at the Grammys.
Should win: "All of the Lights."
Overlooked: Lloyd feat. Andre 3000 & Lil Wayne - "Dedication To My Ex"

Best Rap Song

Kanye West featuring Rihanna, Fergie & Kid Cudi (songwriters: Jeff Bhasker, Really Doe, Kanye West & Malik Yusef) - "All of the Lights"
Wiz Khalifa (songwriters: Wiz Khalifa & Stargate) - "Black and Yellow"
Dr. Dre featuring Eminem & Skylar Grey (songwriters: Alex da Kid, Dr. Dre, Eminem & Skylar Grey) - "I Need a Doctor"
Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes (songwriters: Jean Baptiste, Chris Brown, Ryan Buendia, Diplo, Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes) - "Look at Me Now"
Jay-Z & Kanye West (featuring Otis Redding) (songwriters: Jay-Z, Kanye West, James Brown, Jimmy Campbell, Reg Connelly, Roy Hammond, J. Roach, Kirk Robinson & Harry M. Woods) - "Otis"
Lupe Fiasco (songwriters: Dustin William Brower, Jonathon Keith Brown, Daniel Johnson, Kane & Lupe Fiasco with Isaac Brock, Dann Gallucci & Eric Judy) - "The Show Goes On"

Will win: Common sense says not to bet against Jay-Z and Kanye again.
Should win: A lot of terrific songs here, but awarding the lyrical firepower of "Otis" would serve to keep the integrity of this award.
Overlooked: Beastie Boys - "Make Some Noise; Lil' Wayne - "6 Foot 7 Foot"; Tyler, The Creator - "Yonkers"

Best Rap Album

Jay-Z & Kanye West - Watch the Throne
Lil Wayne - Tha Carter IV
Lupe Fiasco - Lasers
Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday
Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Will win: Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy has more passionate supporters than any of the albums here, and even a good deal of people who feel he was snubbed for Album of the Year.
Should win: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, since I'm in agreement that he was wrongly passed over for AOTY.
Overlooked: Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committe Part II; Slaughterhouse - Slaughterhouse

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical

Danger Mouse
Paul Epworth
The Smeezingtons
Ryan Tedder
Butch Vig

Will win: I wrongly picked The Smeezingtons to win last year, but with Bruno Mars' increased status, I think this is their year.
Should win: Not my favorite group of nominees, but I'd give it to Butch Vig since he made Wasting Light sound like such a huge record.
Overlooked: Dr. Luke

Best Short Form Music Video

Adele - "Rolling in the Deep"
Memory Tapes - "Yes I Know"
OK Go - "All Is Not Lost"
Radiohead - "Lotus Flower"
Skrillex - "First of the Year (Equinox)"

Will win: Adele should win by default since the most people have seen her video, and despite the high quality of the other nominees, none of them were highly buzzed about, which is key to winning in this category.
Should win: OK Go's "All Is Not Lost" was a kaleidoscopic treat that stayed true to their brand of humor.
Overlooked: Lady Gaga - "Born This Way"; Tyler, The Creator - "Yonkers"

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