#56th Annual #GRAMMYs (Winner Predictions)

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The GRAMMYs are this Sunday so let’s get right to it!

Record of the Year

Daft Punk f. Pharrell & Nile Rodgers, “Get Lucky”

Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive”

Lorde, “Royals”

Bruno Mars, “Locked Out of Heaven”

Robin Thicke f. T.I. & Pharrell, “Blurred Lines”

To be honest, any of these records would be worthy winners and each has x factors when considering a frontrunner.  As the biggest rock song of the eligibility period, “Radioactive” cemented Imagine Dragons’ place as staples on multiple radio formats and album sales charts.  Another newcomer making big waves is Lorde whose “Royals” had the advantage of peaking as nominations were announced (and close to the ceremony re: recent success on Urban radio).  Then there’s “Get Lucky”, which has Daft Punk limiting  use of electronic instruments for real ones and sounding fresher than ever.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see the French duo and their funky collaborators Pharrell and Nile Rodgers prevail here.  However, I believe the chances of the last two records are a bit stronger.  “Blurred Lines” and “Locked Out of Heaven” are both feel-good productions with a throwback feel and massive appeal.  While they are also risqué in nature, my hunch tells me Mars will finally win this after three nods in four years.

Winner: Bruno Mars, “Locked Out of Heaven”

Runner-Up: Robin Thicke f. T.I. & Pharrell, “Blurred Lines”

Album of the Year

Sara Bareilles, The Blessed Unrest

Daft Punk, Random Access Memories

Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d city

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist

Taylor Swift, Red

First off, I applaud the blue ribbon panel (a select group of NARAS voters who choose nominees for the big 4 categories) for this amazing batch of contenders!  Not a single dud in the bunch.  As much as I adore Bareilles and The Blessed Unrest, there seems to be a consensus among Grammy enthusiasts that the nomination is the reward.  There may be weight to this sentiment because of the non-mention in Pop Vocal Album.  From there, we have two rap newcomers in Lamar and M&RL who broke new ground in their respective genre.  While a victory for either one would be huge (seeing as how Hip-Hop hasn’t been lauded a lot here), my sense is the two will cancel each other out.  With the biggest selling album and second AOTY nod since her debut in 2006, Swift is definitely a force of nature with Red.  Had she not won in 2008 for Fearless, I would have easily declared her the frontrunner this time.  That being said, Daft Punk proved they are just as relevant and commercially/artistically viable with Random Access Memories as they were with earlier successes.  I’m confident they’ll take this.

Winner: Daft Punk, Random Access Memories

Runner-Up: Taylor Swift, Red

Song of the Year

Winner: “Same Love,” Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert & Ryan Lewis (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f. Mary Lambert)

Runner-Up: “Royals,” Joel Little & Ella Yelich O’Connor (Lorde)

Best New Artist

Winner: Kendrick Lamar

Runner-Up: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Best Pop Solo Performance

Winner: Lorde, “Royals”

Runner-Up: Bruno Mars, “When I Was Your Man”

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Daft Punk f. Pharrell & Nile Rodgers, “Get Lucky”

P!nk f. Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me a Reason”

Rihanna f. Mikky Ekko, “Stay”

Robin Thicke f. T.I. & Pharrell, “Blurred Lines”

Justin Timberlake f. Jay-Z, “Suit & Tie”

Upon initial review, my gut told me this was a three-horse race.  As the big night approaches, my feelings haven’t changed and “Stay” along with “Suit & Tie” don’t seem to have enough steam to win.  Then there’s “Just Give Me a Reason,” a SOTY nominee that many thought would be included in Record as well.  Sure, P!nk and Ruess are competitive but it’s risky betting against two ROTY nominees.  NARAS has shown in the past they don’t always go with the “biggest” song which bodes well for “Get Lucky”.  Nonetheless, Thicke and Company created a cultural phenomenon in “Blurred Lines” and voters may feel more comfortable rewarding it here than for the big prize.

Winner: Robin Thicke f. T.I. & Pharrell, “Blurred Lines”

Runner-Up: Daft Punk f. Pharrell & Nile Rodgers, “Get Lucky”

Best Pop Vocal Album

Winner: Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox

Runner-Up: Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience

Best Dance Recording

Winner: Calvin Harris f. Florence Welch, “Sweet Nothing”

Runner-Up: Zedd f. Foxes, “Clarity”

Best Dance/Electronica Album

Winner: Daft Punk, Random Access Memories

Runner-Up: Calvin Harris, 18 Months

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

Winner: Michael Bublé, To Be Loved

Runner-Up: Tony Bennett & Various Artists, Viva Duets

Best Rock Performance

Winner: Led Zeppelin, “Kashmir”

Runner-Up: Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive”

Best Metal Performance

Winner: Black Sabbath, “God Is Dead?”

Runner-Up: Anthrax, “T.N.T.”

Best Rock Song

Winner: “Cut Me Some Slack,” Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear, songwriters (Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic & Pat Smear)

Runner-Up: “God Is Dead?,” Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi & Ozzy Osbourne, songwriters (Black Sabbath)

Best Rock Album

Black Sabbath, 13

David Bowie, The Next Day

Kings of Leon, Mechanical Bull

Led Zeppelin, Celebration Day

Queens of the Stone Age, …Like Clockwork

Neil Young w. Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill

Obviously, this category is stacked!  Veterans…legends in the making…perennials who get nominated for almost everything they release due to immense industry respect.  All things considered, x factors plus quality of the work are most important when predicting a winner.  With this being the sole mention of Mechanical Bull and Psychedelic Pill, we can safely eliminate them as possibilities.  Black Sabbath appear to have stronger chances elsewhere and the same could be said for Led Zeppelin (though they’re most likely to spoil).  That leaves The Next Day to duke it out against …Like Clockwork.  Although both are the most critically acclaimed here, my guess is QotSA comes out on top due to being more commercially successful.

Winner: Queens of the Stone Age, …Like Clockwork

Runner-Up: David Bowie, The Next Day

Best Alternative Music Album

Winner: Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City

Runner-Up: Nine Inch Nails, Hesitation Marks

Best R&B Performance

Tamar Braxton, “Love and War”

Anthony Hamilton, “Best of Me”

Hiatus Kaiyote Featuring Q-Tip, “Nakamarra”

Miguel f. Kendrick Lamar, “How Many Drinks?”

Snarky Puppy w. Lalah Hathaway, “Something”

I must say, this category has recently become one of my favorites due to the left field choices being selected to contend.  While never hearing “Nakamarra” and “Something” prior to nomination day, they are definitely worthy mentions even if not competitive enough to win.  Although Anthony Hamilton is turning out to be a perennial nominee for consistently great work, my senses tell me this is a two-horse race between Braxton and Miguel/Lamar.  In the end, “Love and War” settles for second place to “How Many Drinks?” which is TOO big of a collabo for voters to pass up.

Winner: Miguel f. Kendrick Lamar, “How Many Drinks?”

Runner-Up: Tamar Braxton, “Love and War”

Best Traditional R&B Performance

Winner: Gary Clark, Jr., “Please Come Home”

Runner-Up: Fantasia, “Get It Right”

Best R&B Song

Winner: “Pusher Love Girl,” James Fauntleroy, Jerome Harmon, Timothy Mosley & Justin Timberlake, songwriters (Justin Timberlake)

Runner-Up: “Love and War,” Tamar Braxton, Darhyl Camper, Jr., LaShawn Daniels & Makeba Riddick, songwriters (Tamar Braxton)

Best Urban Contemporary Album

Winner: Rihanna, Unapologetic

Runner-Up: Tamar Braxton, Love and War

Best R&B Album

Winner: Alicia Keys, Girl on Fire

Runner-Up: John Legend, Love in the Future

Best Rap Performance

Winner: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f. Wanz, “Thrift Shop”

Runner-Up: Kendrick Lamar, “Swimming Pools (Drank)”

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

Winner: Jay-Z f. Justin Timberlake, “Holy Grail”

Runner-Up: Kendrick Lamar f. Mary J. Blige, “Now or Never”

Best Rap Song

Winner: “Thrift Shop,” Ben Haggerty & Ryan Lewis, songwriters (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f. Wanz)

Runner-Up: “Holy Grail,” Shawn Carter, Terius Nash, J. Harmon, Timothy Mosley, Justin Timberlake & Ernest Wilson, songwriters (Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl & Krist Novoselic, songwriters) (Jay-Z f. Justin Timberlake)

Best Rap Album

Drake, Nothing Was the Same

Jay-Z, Magna Carta… Holy Grail

Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d city

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist

Kanye West, Yeezus

I find it interesting that three previous winners in this category (Drake, Jay-Z and Kanye West) will likely sit this one out and leave room for a newcomer to prevail.  Just who that newcomer will be is a little tricky to call.  It was no surprise NARAS nominated good kid, m.A.A.d city and The Heist for AOTY seeing as how they both invigorated rap/hip-hop music.  While Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are likely to be awarded elsewhere in the rap field, Kendrick Lamar’s impact this past year may be too deafening to be ignored here.

Winner: Kendrick Lamar, good kid, m.A.A.d city

Runner-Up: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist

Best Country Solo Performance

Winner: Miranda Lambert, “Mama’s Broken Heart”

Runner-Up: Darius Rucker, “Wagon Wheel”

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

Winner: Tim McGraw f. Taylor Swift & Keith Urban, “Highway Don’t Care”

Runner-Up: Kenny Rogers w. Dolly Parton, “You Can’t Make Old Friends”

Best Country Song

“Begin Again,” Taylor Swift, songwriter (Taylor Swift)

“I Drive Your Truck,” Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington & Jimmy Yeary, songwriters (Lee Brice)

“Mama’s Broken Heart,” Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally & Kacey Musgraves, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

“Merry Go ‘Round,” Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Kacey Musgraves)

“Mine Would Be You,” Jessi Alexander, Connie Harrington & Deric Ruttan, songwriters (Blake Shelton)

Honestly, a case could be made for any of these five contenders being the likely winner.  “I Drive Your Truck” won the equivalent SOTY prize at the CMA Awards recently.  “Mine Would Be You” may be fresher in voters’ minds since it peaked this past November.  “Begin Again” is written by someone who has never lost in this category (so far) and is featured on an AOTY nominee.  “Mama’s Broken Heart” is arguably the biggest hit for a singer whose status in country music continues to grow.  Then, there’s “Merry Go ‘Round” which may be the most critically acclaimed song of the bunch.  Since Kacey Musgraves landed in BNA and Country Album over some bigger selling acts, I believe “MGR” will eek out a win here (deservingly so).

Winner: “Merry Go ‘Round,” Shane McAnally, Kacey Musgraves & Josh Osborne, songwriters (Kacey Musgraves)

Runner-Up: “Mama’s Broken Heart,” Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally & Kacey Musgraves, songwriters (Miranda Lambert)

Best Country Album

Winner: Taylor Swift, Red

Runner-Up: Blake Shelton, Based on a True Story…

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical

Winner: Pharrell Williams

Runner-Up: Dr. Luke

Best Music Video

Capital Cities, “Safe and Sound”

Jay-Z, “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f. Ray Dalton, “Can’t Hold Us”

Justin Timberlake f. Jay-Z, “Suit & Tie”

Jack White, “I’m Shakin’”

As worthy as they are, the nominations are rewards for “PB: APAF” and “I’m Shakin”.  While “Safe and Sound” is a strong spoiler, I get the feeling “Can’t Hold Us” or “Suit & Tie” are the frontrunners.  The latter seems a bit more likely for the win due to it edging out the former in Best Pop/Duo Group Performance and having David Fincher (director) helming it.

Winner: Justin Timberlake f. Jay-Z, “Suit & Tie”

Runner-Up: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f. Ray Dalton, “Can’t Hold Us”

Best Music Film

Winner: Paul McCartney, Live Kisses

Runner-Up: Mumford & Sons, The Road to Red Rocks

And there you have it!  As always, feel free to give us your feedback in the comments section and we’ll be watching the GRAMMYs along with you this Sunday on CBS (8 PM ET/5 PM PT).

Posted by Brian Buchana (@dynasty86) Powered by Dynasty Music Entertainment [DME]

The Hit Music Academy | 2014

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One comment

  1. dynasty86 · January 26, 2014

    So far…not so bad. Congrats to all the early winners! I wonder if M&RL will take AOTY now?

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