And now it’s time for the biggies…
Best New Artist
Zac Brown Band
The Ting Tings
First off, let me just say that whoever wins this will be in pretty good company. Artists such as the Beatles, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Sade, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, and Alicia Keys have all been named the Best New Artist in previous years and have gone on to have phenomenal careers.
It is also clear by looking at the past winners of this category that female artists usually dominate. Hell, the past three GRAMMY ceremonies attest to this trend with Carrie Underwood (2006), Amy Winehouse (2007) and Adele (2008) taking home the trophy. This could work in Keri Hilson’s favor since she’s the lone female act amongst a category filled with duos and groups. Nonetheless, I get the sense that she may not be as respected as the other nominees.
The Ting Tings and Silversun Pickups are extremely talented bands but will most likely suffer the fate of not being as familiar to NARAS voters as others.
Initially, I was set on predicting the Zac Brown Band due to their combination of commercial success and industry admiration. However, MGMT may have enough juice to upset seeing as though their debut album Oracular Spectacular made it on Rolling Stone Magazine’s best albums of the past decade list. Factoring in their Pop Group mention for “Kids” as well, I’m going with my gut on this one.
Runner-Up: Zac Brown Band
Song of the Year
“Poker Face,” Lady Gaga & RedOne, songwriters (Lady GaGa)
“Pretty Wings,” Hod David & Musze, songwriters (Maxwell)
“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It),” Thaddis Harrell, Beyoncé Knowles, Terius Nash & Christopher Stewart, songwriters (Beyoncé)
“Use Somebody,” Caleb Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill & Nathan Followill, songwriters (Kings Of Leon)
“You Belong with Me,” Liz Rose & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
Hands down, this is my favorite line-up of nominees this year. Not one bad stinker in the bunch and every song would be worthy to win. But, when one is predicting these awards, it becomes important to put yourself in the mind frame of a typical GRAMMY voter. Usually, they are pretty conservative when it comes to choosing winners (especially in Song and Record for some reason).
With that being said, it is safe to eliminate “Poker Face” and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” as possible victors. As catchy and well written as they are, they lack an element of seriousness that is often needed to win here. Ditto for “You Belong with Me” which will probably fare better in Record.
Maxwell is certainly due for this sort of recognition and “Pretty Wings” has a very classic feel that could appeal to older voters. Nevertheless, “Use Somebody” seems to have all the components needed to finish first. It’s very well written, has serious subject matter and was one of the biggest songs of the past year. Also, Kings of Leon managed to beat the likes of Coldplay and Radiohead for Rock Group last year with a much more minor hit (“Sex On Fire”). Enough said.
Winner: “Use Somebody,” Caleb Followill, Jared Followill, Matthew Followill & Nathan Followill, songwriters (Kings Of Leon)
Runner-Up: “Pretty Wings,” Hod David & Musze, songwriters (Maxwell)