And here we are, the last week day before the Grammy Awards; attempting to predict the winners of the “Big 4″ categories. I must admit-this year has been significantly more difficult to predict than years past. There is no front-runner, and I think there’ll be more parity in the winner’s circle than any year I can think of. No Adele. No Norah Jones. Not even a Ray Charles. I mean, there’s the chance that someone (Frank Ocean, Mumford & Sons or Fun.) will run the table, but it’s doubtful.
So, without further ado…
BEST NEW ARTIST
GRAMMY PICKS: Initially, I thought Frank Ocean would be a shoo-in. Now I’m not so sure. Lumineers has expanded on the burgeoning popularity of folk-inflected rock and taken it to the top of the singles charts, and Hunter Hayes represents a fresh-faced spin on modern country. He’s essentially Taylor Swift with a penis (and minus the annoying breakup drama.) Hell, any one of these five artists (even the not as well known Alabama Shakes, who have plenty of appeal to the older folks voting) could win. I’m going to hedge my bets here and say either Frank Ocean or Lumineers win. Hell, it could even be a tie.
BIG MONEY PICKS: I was actually disappointed in the Lumineers’ album. If we’re asking which of these five artists is least likely to succumb to the “Best New Artist curse,” I would actually go with Mr. Ocean.
SONG OF THE YEAR
“The A Team” | Ed Sheeran, songwriter
“Adorn” | Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
“Call Me Maybe” | Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay, songwriters
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” | Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi, songwriters
“We Are Young” | Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters
GRAMMY PICKS: Although the award is supposedly meant to award songwriting prowess, it went to Beyonce’s horribly-composed and threadbare “Single Ladies” a few years ago, which means that voters are going (at least) as much for name recognition as they are for lyrical and musical genius. That actually cancels out the two best written songs in the group-Ed Sheeran’s “A Team” and Miguel’s “Adorn.” I say Grammy voters straddle the line and give the award to Fun.’s “We Are Young.” They won’t embarrass themselves by giving it to a one-hit wonder (sorry, Carly Rae,) “We Are Young” is smartly written and an earworm besides.
BIG MONEY PICKS: If this were the Big Money Awards, Sheeran’s affecting story about a drug addict would very slightly bump Miguel’s smooth love jam from the winner’s circle.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
El Camino | The Black Keys
Some Nights | Fun.
Babel | Mumford & Sons
Channel Orange | Frank Ocean
Blunderbuss | Jack White
GRAMMY PICKS: This category’s a doozy-any of the five nominees could potentially win. Frank Ocean and Jack White have the critical cred, while Mumford & The Black Keys have the sales (both albums are platinum-plus.) I truthfully have no clue who’s gonna wind up taking this award, although my spidey sense seems to be tingling most for The Black Keys and least for Jack White. If I were gonna rank the nominees from most likely to win to least likely, I’d go 1) Black Keys 2) Frank Ocean 3) Mumford 4) Jack White 5) Fun.
BIG MONEY PICKS: If I was voting, I’d go with Channel Orange, although I actually own all five nominated albums and enjoy all five nominated albums.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
“Lonely Boy” | The Black Keys
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” | Kelly Clarkson
“We Are Young” | Fun. featuring Janelle Monae
“Somebody That I Used to Know” | Gotye featuring Kimbra
“Thinking ‘Bout You” | Frank Ocean
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” | Taylor Swift
GRAMMY PICKS: Come on. Taylor Fucking Swift is in this category, if she doesn’t win, I’ll eat my sh…OK, let’s just say I’d be very surprised. I’m not going to write any checks that my digestive system can’t cash.
BIG MONEY PICKS: Hmmmm…”We Are Young” and “Somebody That I Used to Know” were omnipresent but not sickening. I’d go with either of those, maybe giving the edge to Fun. because of the anthemic-ness of it. “We Are Young” will be played at graduation ceremonies for years to come (although the line about “getting higher than the Empire State” will probably be excised from all editions.)
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