Thursday, February 05, 2015

Grammy Winner Predictions for 2015

The 57th Grammy Awards will take place this Sunday, Feb. 8 on CBS. As I do every year, I took my hand at predicting who will walk away with a miniature gramophone on the big night. I'll also be live blogging the event, so make sure to come back during the show for up-to-date analysis and comments.

Record of the Year

Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX - "Fancy"
Sia - "Chandelier"
Sam Smith - "Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)"
Taylor Swift - "Shake It Off"
Meghan Trainor - "All About That Bass"

Will win: It'll likely be between Sia and Sam Smith, with "Chandelier" taking the edge due to it feeling like more of an event song.
Should win: "Chandelier," because it cracked my top ten singles of 2014.
Overlooked: Arctic Monkeys - "Do I Wanna Know"; Paramore - "Ain't It Fun"

Album of the Year

Beck - Morning Phase
Beyoncé - Beyoncé
Ed Sheeran - x
Sam Smith - In the Lonely Hour
Pharrell Williams - G I R L

Will win: Beyoncé delivered an album worthy of her superstardom and she will be rewarded for it.
Should win: I was pretty fond of the Beyoncé album as well.
Overlooked: Miley Cyrus - Bangerz; Haim - Days Are Gone; St. Vincent - St. Vincent

Best New Artist

Iggy Azalea
Brandy Clark
Sam Smith

Will win: Artists that are nominated in all four categories of the general field tend to win here. Expect a Sam Smith acceptance speech.
Should win: Brandy Clark's 12 Stories, along with some of her previous songwriting credits (Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart," "The Band Perry's "Better Dig Two") lead me to believe that she'll have the more intriguing career out of this bunch.
Overlooked: FKA twigs; ScHoolboy Q< Song of the Year

Hozier - "Take Me to Church" (songwriter: Andrew Hozier-Byrne)
Sia - "Chandelier" (songwriters: Sia Furler & Jesse Shatkin)
Sam Smith -"Stay with Me (Darkchild Version)" (songwriters: James Napier, William Phillips, Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty & Sam Smith)
Taylor Swift - "Shake It Off" (songwriters: Max Martin, Shellback & Taylor Swift)
Meghan Trainor - "All About That Bass" (songwriters: Kevin Kadish & Meghan Trainor)

Will win: "Stay With Me" will benefit from Sam Smith being one of the most popular new artists of the year. It's also doesn't hurt that the song is a very emotional one a in a typically sentimental-leaning category.
Should win: "Chandelier."
Overlooked: Future Islands - "Seasons (Waiting On You)"; Kendrick Lamar - "i"

Best Pop Solo Performance

John Legend -"All of Me" (Live)
Sia - "Chandelier"
Sam Smith - "Stay With Me"
Taylor Swift - "Shake It Off"
Pharrell Williams - "Happy" (Live)

Will win: Sam Smith, although I'm keeping an eye on Taylor Swift.
Should win: Sia.
Overlooked: No one with a real conceivable chance of being nominated, which only  makes me sadder that Jessie Ware's "Say You Love Me" wasn't a bigger hit.

Best Pop Vocal Album

Coldplay - Ghost Stories
Miley Cyrus - Bangerz
Ariana Grande - My Everything
Katy Perry - Prism
Ed Sheeran - x
Sam Smith - In the Lonely Hour

Will win: Sam Smith has the most cross-demographic appeal, which will allow him to garner votes from older voters while Miley, Katy and Ariana will cancel each other out.
Should win: If there were any justice, there would be less focus on Cyrus' antics and more so on a terrific pop album.
Overlooked: Kimbra - The Golden Echo; Sia - 1000 Forms Of Fear

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX - "Fancy"
Coldplay - "A Sky Full of Stars"
A Great Big World feat. Christina Aguilera - "Say Something"
Jessie J feat. Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj - "Bang Bang"
Katy Perry feat. Juicy J - "Dark Horse"

Will win: "Fancy" has to walk away with something, right?
Should win: Not a huge fan of any of these songs, but I did find myself going back to the Coldplay track more often because does it have a sense of adventure to it.
Overlooked: Lady Gaga feat. R. Kelly - "Do What U Want"; Michael Jackson feat. Justin Timberlake - "Love Never Felt So Good"; Tegan and Sara feat. The Lonely Island - "Everything is AWESOME!!!"

Best Rap Album

Iggy Azalea - The New Classic
Childish Gambino - Because the Internet
Common - Nobody's Smiling
Eminem - The Marshall Mathers LP2
ScHoolboy Q - Oxymoron
Wiz Khalifa - Blacc Hollywood

Will win: The closest competition that Iggy has is Eminem, whose album was released so long that it's pretty much faded from memory without recollection of any lasting impact.
Should win: ScHoolboy Q is the only artist here who's currently at their peak.
Overlooked: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib - Piñata ; Pusha T - My Name Is My Name; YG - My Krazy Life

Best Rap Performance

Childish Gambino - "3005"
Drake - "0 to 100/The Catch Up"
Eminem - "Rap God"
Kendrick Lamar - "i"
Lecrae - "All I Need Is You"

Will win: It will likely go to Eminem by default since neither of the songs here were crossover smashes. "Rap God" did have quite the impact upon release.
Should win: It would be refreshing for an uplifting song that maintains its cred like "i" to get a win in the Rap field.
Overlooked: Common feat. Vince Staples - "Kingdom"; Future feat. Pharrell & Pusha T - "Move That Dope"; Pusha T feat. Kendrick Lamar - "Nosetalgia"

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

Common ft. Jhené Aiko - "Blak Majik"
Eminem feat. Rihanna - "The Monster"
iLoveMakonnen feat. Drake - "Tuesday"
ScHoolboy Q ft. BJ The Chicago Kid - "Studio"
Kanye West & Charlie Wilson - "Bound 2"

Will win: The star power of Eminem and Rihanna may be too much for the rest of the nominees. It also topped the Billboard Hot 100, which definitely won't hurt its chances.
Should win: Even though "Bound 2" is nearly a year and a half old at this point, it's still a very striking track that sounds like nothing else on the radio right now.
Overlooked: Jeremih feat. YG - "Don't Tell 'Em"; T.I. feat. Pharrell - "Paperwork"

Best Rap Song

Drake - "0 to 100 / The Catch Up" (songwriters: A. Feeney, Aubrey Graham, A. Hernandez, P. Jefferies, Matthew Samuels & Noah Shebib)
Kendrick Lamar - "i" (songwriters: Kendrick Duckworth & Columbus Smith III)
Nicki Minaj - "Anaconda" (songwriters: Ernest Clark, Jamal Jones, Onika Maraj, Marcos Palacios & Jonathan Solone-Myvett)
Kanye West feat. Charlie Wilson - "Bound 2" (songwriters: Mike Dean, Malik Jones, Che Pope, Elon Rutberg, Sakiya Sandifer, John Stephens, Kanye West, Charlie Wilson & Cydel Young)
Wiz Khalifa -"We Dem Boyz" (songwriters: Noel Fisher & Cameron Thomaz)

Will win: Kanye should be able to get the win over Nicki Minaj if voters find "Anaconda" too goofy.
Should win: "Bound 2."
Overlooked:  Rae Sremmurd - "No Flex Zone"

Best Alternative Music Album

alt-J - This Is All Yours
Arcade Fire - Reflektor
Cage the Elephant - Melophobia
St. Vincent - St. Vincent
Jack White - Lazaretto

Will win: St. Vincent has definitely made some inroads towards the mainstream, but Jack White will likely prove a much more popular name with voters.
Should win: Arcade Fire should have won this award for The Suburbs and they deserve it for another fantastic album in Reflektor.
Overlooked: Future Islands - Singles; The War On Drugs - Lost In The Dream

Best Rock Album

Ryan Adams - Ryan Adams
Beck - Morning Phase
The Black Keys - Turn Blue
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye
U2 - Songs of Innocence

Will win: Although Beck has the Album of the Year nod, "Fever" was enough of modern rock radio hit to keep awareness of The Black Keys high.
Should win: Morning Phase was as sublime as they came in 2014.
Overlooked: The New Pornographers - Brill Bruisers

Best Rock Performance

Ryan Adams - "Gimme Something Good"
Arctic Monkeys - "Do I Wanna Know?"
Beck - "Blue Moon"
The Black Keys - "Fever"
Jack White - "Lazaretto"

Will win: The Black Keys have been favorites of the NARAS for a while now and I believe they'll continue to be so for this year.
Should win: "Do I Wanna Know?" is pure sludgy deliciousness.
Overlooked: Paramore - "Ain't It Fun"; St. Vincent - "Digital Witness"

Best Rock Song

Ryan Adams - "Gimme Something Good" (songwriter: Ryan Adams)
Beck - "Blue Moon" (songwriter: Beck Hansen)
The Black Keys - "Fever" (songwriters: Dan Auerbach, Patrick Carney & Brian Burton)
Paramore - "Ain't It Fun" (songwriters: Hayley Williams & Taylor York)
Jack White - "Lazaretto" (songwriter: Jack White)

Will win: In a classically male-led category, the win will probably go to The Black Keys over the much more appealing "Ain't  It' Fun."
Should win: A win for "Ain't It Fun" would inject some much needed color into this category.
Overlooked: Spoon - "Do You"; Strands of Oak - "Goshen '97"

Best Country Album

Dierks Bentley - Riser
Eric Church - The Outsiders
Lee Ann Womack - The Way I'm Livin'
Brandy Clark - 12 Stories
Miranda Lambert - Platinum

Will win: Lambert will always be in the mix, but Platinum just happened to be her best album since Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. A vote for her would come with a clear conscience.
Should win: Brandy Clark crafted one of the wittiest and observant mainstream country albums in a while. 12 Stories deserves any accolades that come across its way.
Overlooked: Sturgill Simpson - Metamodern Sounds In Country Music

Best Dance/Electronic Album

Aphex Twin - Syro
Deadmau5 - While (1<2)
Little Dragon - Nabuma Rubberband
Röyksopp and Robyn - Do It Again
Mat Zo - Damage Control

Will win: I still think Robyn has enough mainstream goodwill to carry her and Röyksopp to a win over veterans like Aphex Twin and deadmau5.
Should win: Aphex Twin's Syro is in a class of its own among these nominees.
Overlooked: Katy B - Little Red; Skrillex - Recess; Todd Terje - It's Album Time

Best Dance Recording

Basement Jaxx - "Never Say Never,"
Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne - "Rather Be"
Disclosure ft. Mary J. Blige - "F for You,
Duke Dumont ft. Jax Jones- -"I Got U"
Zhu - "Faded"

Will win: "Rather Be" is the most recognizable track here by a long mile and will pick up extra votes from those not familiar with current trends in electronic music.
Should win: "F For You" by Disclosure was already an amazing track before, the incarnation with Mary J. Blige has it flirting with greatness.
Overlooked: DJ Snake feat. Lil' Jon - "Turn Down For What"; Kiesza - "Hideaway"

Best R&B Performance

Beyoncé feat. Jay Z- "Drunk In Love"
Chris Brown feat. Usher & Rick Ross - "New Flame"
Jennifer Hudson feat. R. Kelly - "It's Your World"
Ledisi - "Like This"
Usher - "Good Kisser"

Will win: Queen Bey.
Should win: Usher's "Good Kisser" failed to ignite the charts for reasons that are still baffling to me. It's one of his steamiest tracks. 
Overlooked: Jhené Aiko - "The Pressure"

Best R&B Song

Jhené Aiko - "The Worst"  (songwriters: Jhené Aiko Chilombo, Mac Robinson & Brian Warfield)
Beyoncé feat. Jay Z - "Drunk In Love"  (songwriters: Shawn Carter, Rasool Diaz, Noel Fisher, Jerome Harmon, Beyoncé Knowles, Timothy Mosely, Andre Eric Proctor & Brian Soko)
Chris Brown feat. Usher & Rick Ross - "New Flame"  (songwriters: Eric Bellinger, Chris Brown, James Chambers, Malissa Hunter, Justin Booth Johnson, Mark Pitts, Usher Raymond IV, William Roberts, Maurice "Verse" Simmonds & Keith Thomas)
Luke James feat. Rick Ross - "Options (Wolfjames Version)" (songwriters: Dominic Gordon, Brandon Hesson & Jamaica "Kahn-Cept" Smith)
Usher - "Good Kisser" (songwriters: Ronald “Flip” Colson, Warren “Oak” Felder, Usher Raymond IV, Jameel Roberts, Terry “Tru” Sneed & Andrew “Pop” Wansel)

Will win: Surfbort.
Should win: "Good Kisser."
Overlooked: Kelis - "Jerk Ribs"; Prince - "This Could Be Us"

Best R&B Album

Bernhoft - Islander
Aloe Blacc - Lift Your Spirit
Toni Braxton & Babyface - Love, Marriage & Divorce
Robert Glasper Experiment - Black Radio 2
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Give The People What They Want

Will win: Aloe Blacc gained a lot of crossover clout with "The Man" and had the biggest year out of anyone here.
Should win: Black Radio 2 was a worthy follow-up to its Grammy winning predecessor.
Overlooked: José James - While You Were Sleeping; Kelis - Food;

Best Urban Contemporary Album

Jhené Aiko - Sail Out
Beyoncé - Beyoncé
Chris Brown - X
Mali Music - Mali Is
Pharrell Williams - G I R L

Will win: It'd be more fun to guess who would come in second to Beyoncé, so I'll go with Pharrell.
Should win: Yoncé.
Overlooked: Mariah Carey - Me. I Am Mariah... (The Elusive Chanteuse)

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical

Paul Epworth
John Hill
Jay Joyce
Greg Kurstin
Max Martin

Will win: After nearly two decades of pop dominance, Martin should finally win his first Grammy.
Should win: Max Martin.
Overlooked: DJ Mustard, Mike Will Made It

Best Music Video

Arcade Fire - "We Exist"
DJ Snake feat. Lil' Jon - "Turn Down for What"
Sia - "Chandelier"
Pharrell Williams - "Happy"
Woodkid ft. Max Richter - "The Golden Age"

Will win: "Chandelier," because I've lost count of all the parodies.
Should win: "Turn Down For What" is one of the most insane videos I've ever seen and is almost essential to the song at this point.
Overlooked: Brooke Candy - "Opulence"; FKA twigs - "Two Weeks"

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