2015 Grammy Nominations/Predictions

Ah, The Grammys. I’ve been doing these recaps for years, and only remember the nominations are coming up because of other end of the year business. Hell, people probably take their fantasy league more seriously than The Grammys. Then again, maybe we should; it’s an almost surefire marketing bump and instant validation for the winners. Example: you could argue that Lorde starting 2014 with a few Grammy wins spurred what’s been a successful year for her, despite no new solo material.

Either way, it’s a good bit of harmless fun, and I’ve proven time and time again I’m awful at predicting how these things actually go, so let’s get cracking. And, like always, friendly reminder that the eligibility window was October 1st, 2013 to September 30th, 2014, so it’ll be a year until we see Taylor Swift’s 1989 nominated for goddamn everything.

Record of the Year
Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX – Fancy
Sia – Chandelier
Sam Smith – Stay With Me
Taylor Swift – Shake It Off
Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass
Comments and Prediction: “Record of the Year” refers to the quality of the engineering and the production of the track; it’s literally a category of “which one of these sounds the best?” For my money, that’s the explosive, eerie “Chandelier”, but in a category that’s favored classicists in recent years (Gotye, Daft Punk, Adele, and Lady Antebellum), Sam Smith is in front.

Album of the Year
Beck – Morning Phase
Beyonce – Beyonce
Ed Sheeran – x
Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour
Pharrell – GIRL
Comments and Prediction: The Grammys are clearly trying to promote potential industry workhorses Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran, guys who mix raw talent with conventional methods, crossover productivity, and populist appeal. I’d be on-board with their nominations if their albums weren’t so underwhelming; In the Lonely Hour is a way less interesting Adele style acoustic blue-eyed soul record, while x apes Taylor Swift’s Red without the latter’s quality control. GIRL and Morning Phase land in the category of “professionally done, but uninteresting.” But enough bullshitting, you and I know Beyonce deserves it by a mile.

Song of the Year
Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass
Sia – Chandelier
Sam Smith – Stay With Me
Taylor Swift – Shake It Off
Hozier – Take Me to Church
Comments and Prediction: I think it’d be fun to see unconventional pop-dirges like “Chandelier” or “Take Me to Church” win. Weirdly enough, I think of “Shake It Off” as a non-entity in this category; Swift and Martin have always been bridesmaids for SotY nods. The Grammys could repeat last year and give the statue to an upstart artist with smart production and a vaguely socially conscious lyrical message, but I remember how broke I went betting against Adele in 2012. Sam Smith‘s my pick because I’m a cynic.

Best New Artist
Iggy Azalea
Brandy Clark
Sam Smith
Comments and Prediction: I’m going to go against every inclination I have and predict Iggy Azalea for this one, if only because last year confirmed that “white people rapping” is officially a prestige category. But, by rule of Grammy Bait, I have to consider Sam Smith as a contender. But, none of the others winning would surprise me; this isn’t a blowout category this year.

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
Comments and Prediction: As none of the nominees here are Queen of the Clouds, I have no skin in this game. Actually, of all people, I’m going to stump for Ed Sheeran in this category; for what it is, x is reasonably well-done and comfortable. Grande’s a close second, but Sheeran gets some of Sam Smith’s runoff classicist points (Smith himself is only excluded because In the Lonely Hour‘s songs work better on their own than as a whole).

Best Rock Song
Paramore – Ain’t It Fun?
The Black Keys – Fever
Beck – Blue Moon
Ryan Adams – Gimme Something Good
Jack White – Lazaretto
Comments and Prediction: In another year, any one of these choices would be considered the fringe nominee only incorporated for cool points. The Black Keys are an arguable favorite, but “Fever” sadly isn’t as powerful as “Lonely Boy”. The Grammys like known qualities, which eliminates Adams in this bunch. I’m going to go with Paramore, who wrote the song here with some of the biggest guitars, and hid them in plain sight.

Best Rock Album
Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
Beck – Morning Phase
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – Hypnotic Eye
U2 – Songs of Innocence
Comments and Prediction: The “Best Rock Album” category is always reserved for straight-laced industryheads, hence why this is the only place on the planet that Songs of Innocence is equated with “best of the year” [ed: you’d think so, right?]. Of the bunch, Adams made the album I enjoy the most, but I’m going to go with The Black Keys for taking it home. Kinda puzzled why Jack White isn’t here, to be honest.

Best Alternative Music Album
Alt-J – All This Is Yours
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Cage the Elephant – Melophobia
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
Jack White – Lazaretto
Comments and Prediction: Oh hi, Jack. White’s presence in this category means we get a chance at a rambling, incoherent, Johnny Depp-as-a-blues-man acceptance speech if Lazaretto gets the top spot, or more likely, Jack squinting/glowering as Arcade Fire accept the statue in formal wear cut from disco balls.

Best R&B Song
Beyonce ft. Jay-Z – Drunk In Love
Usher – Good Kisser
Chris Brown ft. Usher and Rick Ross – New Flame
Luke James – Opinions
Jhene Aiko – The Worst
Comments and Prediction: Points to Usher for blatantly rewriting last year’s winner, Justin Timerlake’s “Pusher Love Girl”. It’s a solid effort, and Usher brings some more punch to Chris Brown’s otherwise mediocre “New Flame”. Going against  Beyonce and Jay-Z is a fool’s errand, and while I’m a fool at heart (“The Worst” is actually my favorite in-category), I know when to shut up and bow down. “Drunk in Love” still works pretty well, though.

Best Urban Contemporary Album
Jhene Aiko – Sail Out
Beyonce – Beyonce
Chris Brown – X
Mali Music – Mali Is…
Pharrell – GIRL
Comments and Prediction: The “Urban Contemporary” album is The Grammys recent effort to split a broad genre between tasteful neo soul and R&B and newer/more electronic/artier offerings. It’s an okay idea marred by loaded execution; is there any way to call something “urban” without it translating to “like…you know…maybeforblackpeopleIguessbutnothingIwouldeverdealwith”? Anyway, if they announce this one during broadcast and Beyonce doesn’t win, y’all better duck and cover from Twitter.

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
Comments and Prediction: If we’re taking this category to it’s logical conclusion, Eminem‘s six minutes of pontificating on “Rap God” walks away with it clean. I actually like Kendrick’s switch-ups on “i” and Gambino’s delivery on “3005” more (Lecrae’s good, but outclassed here), but if we’re talking performance only, it’s hard to top Eminem going off the chain.

Best Rap Song
Nicki Minaj – Anaconda
Kanye West – Bound 2
Kendrick Lamar – i
Wiz Khalifa – We Dem Boyz
Drake – 0 to 100/The Catch Up
Comments and Prediction: Hey, remember what I just said about liking Kendrick’s “i” more as a song? That counts here. I’m absolutely tickled that “Anaconda” got a nod, if only because it’s actually a great song underneath the troll-y nature of it. But, ultimately, I’m going with Kanye, mostly because it’s a relatively even field, and he comes into this category with home court advantage.

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
Comments and Prediction: I like Because the Internet and Nobody’s Smiling well enough, but I don’t see either of them winning. Oxymoron is the critic’s choice here, but history shows that Eminem is favored to win here; MMLP2 is a decent late-period Em record, and shit, if he could win in stronger years with lesser albums, what’s to stop him now? Just please God, not Iggy.

Full list of nominees can be viewed/condescended at here, The Grammys themselves will air on February 8th.

About bgibs122

I enjoy music and music culture; I hope you do, too.
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