IT’S MUSIC’S BIGGEST NIGHT!!

Yep folks-Grammy time is just about upon us. The music industry version of the Oscars will be arriving in February, and nominations will be announced Friday night.

I’ve been handicapping the nominees for a coupe of years now, and this year somehow seems a little easier than in years past. Not sure why that is-maybe the pool of successful albums is shallower, maybe my prognostication skills are sharper. However, you look at it, though, this year’s list of nominees will be pop-heavy, as no rock, R&B or hip-hop acts made as big a splash as the likes of Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, and Taylor Swift-all multiple Grammy winners, mind you-did. Here’s my take on who’ll be nominated. Check back Friday night to see how I did.

Record Of The Year

“Blurred Lines”-Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell Williams & T.I.

“Get Lucky”-Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams

Locked Out Of Heaven“-Bruno Mars

“Royals”-Lorde

“Thrift Shop”-Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

“Blurred Lines” is unquestionably the biggest hit of 2013, and that should be enough to ensure a nomination-assuming one of the Gaye children doesn’t hijack all of the ballots. The other songs I see getting nominated were pretty big hits as well. Even though there’s usually a “WTF?” nominee in every category, I don’t see that happening here. Swift”s “I Knew You Were Trouble” and Timberlake’s “Mirrors” could also pop in here as could Avicii’s country-EDM mashup “Wake Me Up,” with Bruno Mars getting dropped. Even Rihanna’s “Diamonds” (which came out right after last year’s deadline) has a shot.

Album Of The Year

The 20/20 Experience Vol. 1-Justin Timberlake

Magna Carta Holy Grail– Jay Z

The Next Day – David Bowie

Random Access Memories-Daft Punk

Red-Taylor Swift

Again, there’s no super-left field choice in this category, and I’m wracking my brain to think of a classic rocker who could end up surprising people in this category. Found one! David Bowie will be the surprise pick here. This year, there’s no real critical consensus, and one obvious omission (Yeezus) might just be too damn polarizing for the Academy to honor. As far as my predictions go; Timberlake released 2013’s biggest selling album by a long shot. Jiggaman’s entry may not have been great shakes from a critical standpoint, but it’s one of only a handful of albums in 2013 to sell a million copies, satisfies the “old guard” position (imagine that!) and was released to the public in an interesting and innovative way. Daft Punk are this year’s comeback kings, and Taylor Swift is Taylor Swift. Bruno Mars is the wild-card here, and I’d have to imagine that the rock community will band together to get at least one album nominated. But what? Springsteen didn’t release an album this year. Foo Fighters didn’t release an album this year. McCartney’s album came out too late. Hmm…

Best New Artist

Florida Georgia Line

Haim

Kendrick Lamar

Lorde

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Emeli Sande

Wow, where did all these new people come from? Apparently 2013 was a great year for new artists, although that didn’t occur to me until I realized all of the hit artists who were eligible this year. Since the Grammy nominating committee loves its R&B singing females, Laura Mvula and Tamar Braxton could also wind up with nominations here. Capital Cities or Imagine Dragons could provide the category with an additional “alternative” kick, along with Lorde. Kendrick Lamar inexplicably got left off last year, so he’ll pop in here, but (and I’m getting ahead of myself, I know,) the real race will be between Lorde and Macklemore as far as who actually wins the prize.

Song Of The Year:

“Just Give Me A Reason” (P!nk/Nate Ruess)

“Mirrors” (Timberlake)

“Royals” (Lorde)

“Same Love” (Macklemore & Lewis)

“Roar” (Katy Perry)

Since the Song Of The Year award ostensibly honors songwriting as opposed to vocal performance or production, these are the folks I think will make the cut. I feel less confident about this category than any other so far, because there are a lot of variables and occasionally some weird shit happens here. But this is what I’m going with.

As for some of the other, secondary categories.

Best Pop Vocal Album:

The 20/20 Experience Vol. 1 – Justin Timberlake

Paradise Valley – John Mayer

Random Access Memories – Daft Punk

Unapologetic – Rihanna

Unorthodox Jukebox– Bruno Mars

Best Contemporary R&B Album:

Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke

The Electric Lady – Janelle Monae

Girl On Fire – Alicia Keys

Love & War – Tamar Braxton

Love In The Future – John Legend

Best Rock Album:

I Wrote A Song For Everyone – John Fogerty

Mechanical Bull – Kings Of Leon

The Next Day – David Bowie

Old Sock – Eric Clapton

Wise Up Ghost – Elvis Costello & The Roots

*I’m assuming that critically acclaimed albums by Queens Of The Stone Age and Vampire Weekend will end up in the “Alternative” category.

Best Rap Album:

Born Sinner – J. Cole

Good Kid; M.A.A.D. City – Kendrick Lamar

The Heist – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Magna Carta: Holy Grail – Jay Z

Yeezus – Kanye West

Best Country Album:

Based On A True Story – Blake Shelton

Crash My Party – Luke Bryan

Golden – Lady Antebellum

Red – Taylor Swift

True Believers – Darius Rucker

The Grammy nominations show is Friday night on CBS. Check back in to see if I got anything right!!

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