Grammy Predictions: 2014

My favorite awards show of the year is just a few days away! I’m not as excited about it as I have been in the past, mainly because most of the nominees are so mainstream. It’s great that the Academy is noticing current trends in music and making some more “hip” selections, but a lot of really deserving artists got shut out in favor of artists we heard over and over on the radio for the better part of last year.

Even though a lot of my favorites weren’t nominated, I thought I would have a little fun this year anyway and make some predictions for the bigger categories. If you’d like to read the full list of nominees, hop on over to the official Grammy site and read them here. So without further ado, here’s a list of nominees and my winner predictions for several of the biggest categories.

RECORD of THE YEAR:
Nominees: Get Lucky – Daft Punk, featuring Pharrell & Nile Rogers, Radioactive – Imagine Dragons, Royals – Lorde, Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars, Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke, featuring T.I. and Pharrell.

Who Should Win: Royals – Lorde
Who Will Win: Royals – Lorde
Why: She’s 17, incredibly talented and the type of artist the Grammy voters normally love.

ALBUM OF THEYEAR:
Nominees: The Blessed Unrest – Sara Bareilles, Random Access Memories – Daft Punk, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City – Kendrick Lamar, The Heist – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Red – Taylor Swift

Who Should Win: The Blessed Unrest – Sara Bareilles
Who Will Win: Red – Taylor Swift

Why: Sara Bareilles was a surprise nomination in this category and as much as I’d like to see her take home a Grammy, I think this award will go to Taylor Swift who also won this category back in 2010.

SONG OF THE YEAR:
Nominees: Just Give Me A Reason – Pink, featuring Nate Ruess, Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars, Roar – Katy Perry, Royals – Lorde, Same Love – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Who Should Win: Locked Out of Heaven – Bruno Mars
Who Will Win: Same Love – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Why: This award is a song writers award – it’s not actually given to the artists. Same Love will win because of the equality message it’s built around.

BEST NEW ARTIST:
Nominees: James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Kacey Musgraves, Ed Sheeran

Who Should Win: Kacey Musgraves
Who Will Win: Kacey Musgraves
Why: Kacey’s more traditional country sound and non-traditional lyrics are turning more than a few heads outside of Nashville. It’s nice to see a country artist writing about things that matter instead of beer and trucks.

POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE:
Nominees: Brave – Sara Bareilles, Royals – Lorde, When I Was Your Man – Bruno Mars, Roar – Katy Perry, Mirrors – Justin Timberlake

Who Should Win: Brave – Sara Bareilles
Who Will Win: Mirrors – Justin Timberlake
Why: This category is especially tough and really anyone except Katy Perry could walk away a winner, but Justin Timberlake hadn’t had new music for 7 years so expect him to conquer this category.

ROCK PERFORMANCE:
Nominees: Always Alright – Alabama Shakes, The Stars (Are Out Tonight) – David Bowie, Radioactive – Imagine Dragons, Kashmir – Led Zeppelin, My God is the Sun – Queens of the Stone Age, I’m Shakin’ – Jack White

Who Should Win: Radioactive – Imagine Dragons
Who Will Win: Radioactive – Imagine Dragons
Why: Imagine Dragons had a great year and Radioactive was everywhere in radio, movies and TV. Some of the more classic artists in this category could could sway the vote for sentimental reasons, but I’d be surprised if anyone else won in this category.

COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Nominees: I Drive Your Truck – Lee Brice, I Want Crazy – Hunter Hays, Mama’s Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert, Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker, Mine Would Be You – Blake Shelton

Who Should Win: Mama’s Broken Heart – Miranda Lambert
Who Will Win: I Drive Your Truck – Lee Brice
Why: The song’s about a man dealing with the death of his brother who died while serving in the Army. It’s based on a true story and a it a pretty moving song, which is why I think it will take home the Grammy.

COUNTRY ALBUM:
Nominees: Night Train – Jason Aldean, Two Lanes of Freedom – Tim McGraw, Same Trailer, Different Park – Kacey Musgraves, Based on a True Story – Blake Shelton, Red – Taylor Swift

Who Should Win: Same Trailer, Different Park – Kacey Musgraves
Who Will Win: Based on a True Story – Blake Shelton
Why: Blake Shelton’s career is at an all time high and his status as the favorite judge on the Voice will seal his victory in this category. (Side note: If Taylor Swift takes wins this award, I’ll be outraged. Red is not a country album. It’s a pop album and should not have been nominated in this category.)

So there you have it. My predictions. Feel free to disagree and tell me why. Join me on Twitter Sunday night where I’ll be live-tweeting the show: @lostbetweenpgs.

2013 Grammy Awards Recap

The Grammy Awards are my favorite awards show all year – partly because I’m such a huge fan of music and partly because I enjoy picking the winners and seeing how many I get right. I’ve been watching the Grammys for as long as I can remember & still have several years in the late 90s taped on old VHS tapes. (Side note: I’m still bitter about Paula Cole and her hairy armpits robbing Hanson of the Best New Artist Grammy in 1998 – it was a tragic moment for a 14-year-old super fan.)

The past few Grammy Awards have just been so-so, but last night was one of the best I had seen in a long time. There were a few, good surprises, like Kelly Clarkson’s AMAZING album Stronger winning (and beating Fun, the favorite to win) for Best Pop Vocal Album. And as a long-time fan of the female-fronted rock band Halestorm, I was pleasantly surprised to see them win their first Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal performance.

The Black Keys had a fantastic performance and went on to win best Rock Album, best Rock Song and best Rock Performance for Lonely Boy. 

In the Country category, Little Big Town is FINALLY getting some recognition from the recording industry and stealing awards away from Lady Antebellum, who in my opinion, shouldn’t be winning them anyway. I am disappointed that Miranda Lambert lost to Zac Brown Band for the Best Country album, though.

The Grammys got it right by awarding Mumford and Sons’ Babel the Album of the Year and it’s refreshing to see a fantastic folk-rock band like Mumford and Sons winning in major categories as well as outselling Justin Beiber on the charts.

So let’s talk about the performances. Taylor Swift opened the show with We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and while she sounded great, her performance was really quite baffling. Why she chose a stage get-up resembling something from Alice in Wonderland is beyond me, but it really just did not work. She should take a few cues from Kelly Clarkson, whose tribute to Carol King and Patti Page was simple and straight-forward but showed that if you’ve got the voice, you don’t need all the flashy gimmicks to go along with your performance. I believe KC could sing anything and it would sound amazing.

I’m not a fan of reggae, but the Bob Marley tribute with Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Sting and Ziggy and Damien Marley was a pretty fun time. Bruno Mars has been killing it lately with his songs and stint as a SNL host and I think his star is only going to get brighter.

Speaking of Rihanna, it was nice to see her do a stripped down performance for once. The song may not have been that exciting, but sometimes her vocals can get lost in her flashy performances. It was nice to be reminded that the girl can actually sing. Now if only she’d use her brain to ditch Chris Brown.

Let’s talk let-downs. Country wasn’t cool last night. Miranda Lambert’s duet with Dierks Bentley sounded weak and strained. Over You was one of the best Country songs last year, but the beautiful melody somehow got lost in the overpowering backing band. A real disappointment.

Carrie Underwood’s color-changing dress distracted everyone from her flawless performance, not to mention she had to stay in one spot throughout her medley of Blown Away/Two Black Cadillacs.

Frank Ocean’s performance was off-key and bland. His song, Forest Gump, sounded like a bunch of random ideas thrown together over a few piano chords. I do not get this guy at all.

While, the Lumineers easily have one of the catchiest and sweetest songs of the year,  they’re just not meant to play for big stadiums. Their style and sound works best in a theater or intimate club & while it’s great to see an indie act get some well-deserved recognition, I have a feeling they’re going to be a one-hit wonder.

I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for this, but Justin Timberlake’s new song is terrible. It conjures images of leisure suits, disco ball and the Bee Gees and I can’t help but think that if this song is the best thing he can come up with after a seven year hiatus from music, then he should probably stick to writing funny songs with Andy Sandberg for SNL skits.

All in all, though, it was a pretty good night of performances and well deserved winners. Only 364 days until the 2014 Grammys 😉