Entertainment » Music

Who Will Win the Grammy?

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Friday Feb 8, 2013

While last year's Grammy Awards was as all about girl power, the 55th Grammy Awards, which airs on CBS Feb. 10, lack a fierce female presence. A year ago, Adele cleaned up and took home the Grammy for Record of the Year, Album of the Year and Song of the Year. Additionally, three out of the five nominees for Album of the Year were female musicians.

But this year, all the nominees for Album of the Year are men, which is incredibly strange as women dominated music in 2012: Taylor Swift released one of the best selling albums of all time but only received one nomination for "Red:" "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (she was nominated for two others awards for her duet a song with the Civil Wars, which appeared on the "Hunger Games" soundtrack).

Still, Nicki Minaj was snubbed, Carly Rae Jepsen’s phenomenal LP "Kiss" was not nominated and Fiona Apple’s stellar "The Idler Wheel..." was only nominated for Best Alternative Album. Thankfully, the Grammy’s did acknowledge the pop-powerhouse, "Call Me Maybe" as it was nominated for Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. Kelly Clarkson also scored as her single "Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)" was nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

Not only were women ignored this year, a lot of up and coming artists were recognized - a sign that perhaps the Grammy’s are in a transition period; in the past, names like Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan littered the Grammy Award nomination’s list. For the 55th awards, however, the Boss was not nominated in any of the major categories (he did score three nods though and is receiving the MusiCares Person of the Year Award) and even though Dylan put out his 35th studio album "Tempest" in 2012 he did not garner any Grammy love.

And who are replacing the dad rockers that used to dominate the music award show? Fresh faced youngsters: the power pop band fun. picked up six nominations as did R&B superstar Frank Ocean, who made a splash in the LGBT community last year for announcing on Tumblr that he was once in love with a man.

Still, Jay-Z and his BFF Kanye West managed to pull out six nominations, but none were for the major categories. They did, however, rule the rap categories and were both nominated for Best Short Form Music Video.

Another sign that the Grammy Awards are beginning a sort of sea change is their acceptance of alternative artists into the major categories. Last year, Bon Iver took the award for Best New Artist, while Arcade Fire won Album of the Year for "The Suburbs" in 2011.

But this year’s awards are missing the special little indie act that gives the Grammy’s some cred. It’s hard to tell if they just missed the mark or thought all the cool kids were jamming out to fun... the Black Keys and Jack White.

Nevertheless, the Grammy’s are hardly tastemakers or a barometer of what "good" music actually is. Still, it’s fun(.) to see who was selected as the cream of the crop and which musicians were unjustly forgotten (Justin Bieber is still pretty peeved).

Here we are handicapping some of the major awards. We will predict who will win and who should win.

Record of the Year:

The Black Keys - "Lonely Boy"
Kelly Clarkson - "Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)"
fun. feat. Janelle Monae - "We Are Young"
Gotye feat. Kimbra - "Somebody That I Used to Know"
Frank Ocean - "Thinkin Bout You"
Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

(Most people are confused on what the difference is between Record of the Year and Song of the Year. So before we move on, let’s clear it up now: Record of the Year is given to an artist who performs the song and the people who produce the track; but Song of the Year is also given to the person who initially wrote the track. Subtle differences, but they apparently matter.)

Who Will Win: It’s more likely than not that fun. and Ocean will battle it out this Sunday for the top awards, so don’t be surprised when the three piece band is handed a golden gramophone in this category. The song was all over the airwaves this year and was pretty much impossible to escape. While Ocean was more critically revived, I think he will come up short for this award.

Who Should Win: Taylor Swift proved herself this year that she’s not just a country artist and not just a pop artist but an authentic and talented musician that can transcend genre. Although the Max Martin produced "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" isn’t the most sophisticated song on "Red," it was a force to be wrecked with and has all of the perfect elements to earn a Grammy.

Album of the Year:

The Black Keys - "El Camino"
fun. - "Some Nights"
Mumford & Sons - "Babel"
Frank Ocean - "Channel Orange"
Jack White - "Blunderbuss"

Who Will Win: This category is difficult to pin down. We can most likely rule out the Black Keys, even though they’ve been steadily working up a big time nomination over the past few years, and we can nix Jack White, one half of the infamous rock group the White Stripes, even though he surprisingly made a number of critics’ year end lists. Like the Black Keys, Mumford & Sons have been nominated several times in the past two years but never won a Grammy so Sunday night may be their time to shine but I still believe it will be between fun. and Ocean. If the Grammy’s want to play it safe, fun. will win but if they want to stay hip and relevant Ocean will take home the coveted award.

Who Should Win: Without a doubt Ocean. Of the artists nominated, Ocean’s debut record is a cohesive and brilliant effort from start to finish that is full of fantastic songwriting and wonderful melodies.

Song of the Year:

Ed Sheeran - "The A Team"
Miguel - "Adorn"
Carly Rae Jepsen - "Call Me Maybe"
Kelly Clarkson - "Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)"
fun. - "We Are Young"

Who Will Win: Most likely fun. will take the award but Clarkson and Jepsen both have a good chance.

Who Should Win: "Call Me Maybe" is a no-brainer here. It is one of the best pop songs of the past 10 years and newcomer Jepsen should be awarded accordingly. Though, a part of me would love to see Miguel take it for the sexy R&B song "Adorn."

Best New Artist:

Alabama Shakes
Hunter Hayes
The Lumineers
Frank Ocean

Who Will Win: Again it will be between fun. and Ocean and it may depend who comes out on top in the previous awards.

Who Should Win: Ocean! He garnered a ton of attention in 2012 and rightfully so: he’s written songs for Bieber and Beyonce and is now shinning for his stellar songs "Pyramids," "Thinkin Bout You" and "Bad Religion."

Best Rock Album:

The Black Keys - "El Camino"
Coldplay - "Mylo Xyloto"
Muse - "The 2nd Law"
Bruce Springsteen - "Wrecking Ball"
Jack White - "Blunderbuss"

Who Will Win: Springsteen will most likely take this category. The Grammy’s love him and since the Boss wasn’t nominated in any of the major categories, this is the award’s "I’m sorry" to Springsteen.

Who Should Win: The albums nominated range from mediocre to actually terrible but Coldplay should win because...they’re Coldplay.

Best Alternative Music Album:

Fiona Apple - "The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do"
Bjork - "Biophilia"
Gotye - "Making Mirrors"
M83 - "Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming"
Tom Waits - "Bad as Me"

Who Will Win: Fiona Apple. She’s been nominated before but 2012 was Apple’s time to shine with her stellar record as it got rave reviews and was on almost every critic’s year end list. I would be surprised to see the award go to someone else.

Who Should Win: Half of me is pulling for Apple but the other half would also love to see M83 pick up the Grammy. His epic album, which came out in 2011, was a personal favorite but Apple has the better comeback story.

Best R&B Song:

Miguel - "Adorn"
Tamia - "Beautiful Surprise"
Trey Songz - "Heart Attack"
Anthony Hamilton - "Pray for Me"
Elle Varner - "Refill"

Who Will Win: The Grammy’s are always up for a surprise so don’t be shocked if Varner beats out Miguel.

Who Should Win: Easy: Miguel for his sleek and addictive "Adorn."

Best Rap Song:

Nas - "Daughters"
Wale - "Lotus Flower Bomb"
G.O.O.D. Music - "Mercy"
Drake - "The Motto"
Kanye West & Jay-Z - "Niggas in Paris"
Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa - "Young, Wild & Free"

Who Will Win: This is another tough category but I think West will be battling against himself. Both "Mercy" by G.O.O.D. Music (West’s record label, which features a number of signed artists including Yeezy) and "Niggas in Paris" were on everyone’s iPods and Spotify playlists. But I expect "Mercy" to get the award.

Who Should Win: As much as I would love Drake to take the award, "The Motto" wasn’t one of his best singles. So I would love West and Jay-Z to take it for "Niggas in Paris" - thankfully, they have a good shot at doing so.

Best Rap Album:

Drake - "Take Care"
Lupe Fiasco - "Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album. Pt. 1"
Nas - "Life is Good"
The Roots - "Undun"
Rick Ross - "God Forgives, I Don’t"
2 Chainz - "Based on a T.R.U. Story"

Who Will Win: The award could go to the Roots, Nas or Drake. 2 Chainz most likely won’t win since this is his debut and he is relatively new and it would be surprising if Fiasco won because that record is terrible.

Who Should Win: Another easy one: Drake. "Take Care" was a phenomenal album and spawned a number of excellent singles, including "Take Care," "Marvin’s Room" and "HYFR (Hell Ya Fucking Right)."

Best Short Form Music Video:

Foster the People - "Houdini"
Jay-Z & Kanye West - "No Church in the Wild"
M.I.A. - "Bad Girls"
Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris - "We Found Love"
Woodkid - "Run Boy Run"

Who Will Win: It was surprising to see Adele win last year for her video for "Rolling in the Deep" since she basically just sat in a chair for the entire clip. The Grammy’s seem to award this category to whichever artist has picked up the most awards so it could be between Jay-Z and West and Rihanna, because there is no denying that video is amazing.

Who Should Win: Even though the music video for "We Found Love" came out in 2011, Rihanna threw down the gauntlet and changed the game. Though, if she somehow doesn’t win it would be great to see M.I.A. take it home for "Bad Girls." Several publications and critics named it the best video of the year and, rightfully so. The controversial rapper pulled out all the stops for the clip.


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