Grammy’s rock categories typically tend to honor those who have attained a certain tenure in the industry. Grizzled vets get carte blanche, and if you’re an up and comer, you know you’ve been accepted into the rock establishment when the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences starts heaping little golden gramophones on your ass (i.e. Kings of Leon, Green Day, Foo Fighters, The White Stripes, etc.)
This year’s most interesting category overall (to me) is the Best Alternative Music Performance category. Every single album nominated in this category deserves to take home this award. Unfortunately, for most of the nominees, it’s the only chance they have, so a ton of deserving bands will probably go home empty-handed. But there’s a handful of rock dinosaurs who won’t! Let’s take a look at the nominees, shall we?
Category: Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance
Nominees: Run Back To Your Side/Eric Clapton
Helter Skelter/Paul McCartney
Silver Rider/Robert Plant
Angry World/Neil Young
Will Win: Robert Plant is a late-career Grammy favorite, and his Band of Joy album wsa quite well-received. McCartney’s song is a live version of a Beatles classic-twisted logic that could be an asset or a deficit for him. I’m gonna go with Plant as the youth-approved, elders-sanctioned, non-controversial choise.
Should Win: Can’t go wrong with Robert Plant…
…Although…John Mayer’s been a Grammy favorite of late, and “Crossroads” is an evergreen. I’d pick him to win, but he might get shut out this year as a punitive measure following his insane comments to the press over the last year. Neil Young could also sneak in and win this one.
Category: Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
Nominees: Ready To Start/Arcade Fire
I Put A Spell On You/Jeff Beck & Joss Stone
Tighten Up/The Black Keys
Radioactive/Kings Of Leon
Should Win: Black Keys all day. “Tighten Up” was unquestionably the rock song of the year.
Will Win: This award could be split several different ways. Actually, the only thing I really feel comfortable saying is that the Jeff Beck/Joss Stone duet won’t win. Kings of Leon are young and they’ve won in this category before, so I would say that the award leans towards them…
…Although…Arcade Fire’s Album of the Year nomination could put a few more eyes on The Suburbs, perhaps pushing the award their way. Still, I’m comfortable saying that KoL will take the trophy home in this category.
Category: Best Hard Rock Performance
Nominees: A Looking In View/Alice In Chains
Let Me Hear You Scream/Ozzy Osbourne
Between The Lines/Stone Temple Pilots
New Fang/Them Crooked Vultures
Should Win: Hearing Chris Cornell’s tortured howl over some bone-crunching rock is always what the doctor ordered-even if the actual performance is old. “Black Rain” was an awesome track, and as the band’s Conan performance proved, they’ve still got the goods.
Will Win: Grammy loves a supergroup. Them Crooked Vultures came out too late in 2009 to be given any love last year, so Grammy’s gonna play catch-up…
…Although…You always wonder when Ozzy is finally going to get a Grammy Award.
Category: Best Metal Performance
Nominees: El Dorado/Iron Maiden
Let The Guilt Go/Korn
In Your Words/Lamb Of God
World Painted Blood/Slayer
Should Win: Where’s Jesse when you need him?
Will Win: I will spin my Wheel of Death and say…SLAYER!!!…
…Although…I don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about here.
Category: Best Rock Song
Nominees: Angry World/Neil Young, songwriter
Little Lion Man/Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford & Country Winston, songwriters
Radioactive/Caleb Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill & Nathan Followill,
Resistance/Matthew Bellamy, songwriter
Tighten Up/Dan Auerbach & Patrick Carney, songwriters
Should Win: Another category that will be tightly contested (no pun intended). Mumford & Sons’ “Little Lion Man” was the consensus catchy rock song of the year, and I give it a slight edge over The Black Keys and Kings of Leon
Will Win: Mumford’s win in this category will serve as not only a sign that the Grammys are indie-aware, but it will double as a consolation prize when Mumford loses the Best New Artist award…
…Although…Kings of Leon could wind up swiping this one, too.
Category: Best Rock Album
Nominees: Emotion & Commotion/Jeff Beck
Mojo/Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
Le Noise/Neil Young
The Suburbs/Arcade Fire
Should Win: Pearl Jam made their best album in over a decade with Backspacer. Unfortunately, it came out right after Grammy’s 2009 deadline and is one of the oldest albums up for consideration. Out of sight, out of mind for Eddie Vedder and co.
Will Win: This will be the Arcade Fire’s consolation prize for an Album of the Year loss. If an album is up for a big prize and loses, it’s a pretty safe bet that it will get one or two trophies in one of the smaller categories it’s nominated in…
…Although…Tom Petty’s Mojo was a critical hit and didn’t do too bad commercially either. Folks are also picking Muse to win this one, although the Grammy folks have never had particularly prog-leaning tendencies, unless they’re awarding Jethro Tull the Best Heavy Metal Performance award.
Category: Best Alternative Music Album
Nominees: The Suburbs/Arcade Fire
Infinite Arms/Band of Horses
Brothers/The Black Keys
Broken Bells/Broken Bells
Will Win: Interestingly enough, I feel like The Arcade Fire, if they win Best Rock Album, won’t win this category and the trophy will go to The Black Keys (whose album was legitimately the best seller out of the five nominated albums). If Petty or Young grabs the Best Rock Album trophy, then this one definitely goes to the Arcade Fire.
Should Win: Are you serious? Every single nominee here is deserving. I would say that the James Mercer/Danger Mouse project Broken Bells is the least worthy of winning in this category, and even that’s a pretty good album…
…Although there’s a slight possibility that Vampire Weekend could sneak this one out. However, they were robbed of a Best New Artist nod a couple years ago, so maybe this band just isn’t on Grammy’s radar. When you really break it down, I feel as though this is a two-band race.