Since Affleck snubbed at Grammys, predictions on who will win Sunday
When the Grammy Award
nominations were announced in December, it was shocking to hear that Ben Affleck was snubbed.
After all, soundtracks for “The Descendants,” “Midnight In Paris,””The Artist,” “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” “Hugo” and even that Muppet movie were nominated. But the soundtrack for Allfeck’s “Argo” was left off the list.
That affront to Affleck, and all human decency for that matter, is probably why Affleck cleaned up at the Golden Globes.
But somehow, we must move on and recognize the worthy nominees for the 55th annual Grammy Awards.
The telecast itself should be entertaining. Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Sting, Kelly Clarkson, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, The Black Keys, fun., the Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Frank Ocean, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Jack White, Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Alicia Keys, Maroon 5, and Justin Timberlake are all scheduled to perform. Presenters include Beyoncé, Hunter Hayes, Jennifer Lopez, Pauley Perrette, Prince, Carly Rae Jepsen, Katy Perry, Kaley Cuoco, Neil Patrick Harris, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, and Keith Urban.
But, unless Kanye West shows up to assail the Recording Academy for freezing out Affleck, the awarding of gilded gramophones should be fairly straightforward. However, in the absence of Adele, it is more difficult to predict the winners than it was last year.
But, here goes my predictions for who should win, who will win, and who should not, under any circumstances, win that particular award.
RECORD OF THE YEAR (awarded to performer)
“Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” Kelly Clarkson
“We Are Young,” fun. Featuring Janelle Monáe
“Somebody That I Used To Know,”Gotye Featuring Kimbra
“Thinkin’ Bout You.” Frank Ocean
“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,”Taylor Swift
What will win: Frank Ocean might pull this out, because his feud with Chris Brown doesn’t hurt. Plus, I hate to say it, but his brave move of being open about his sexual orientation should earn him votes.
What should win: Taylor Swift’s single annoyed more people than it delighted, but I was of the latter opinion, who thought the coupling of her acoustic guitar and Max Martin’s Swedish production was inspired. Frank Ocean’s atmospheric, well-produced “Thinkin’ Bout You” conveys heartbreak much more convincingly than Gotye ever could. (Plus, Kimbra steals the song from Gotye.)
What should not win: “We Are Young” is a good song, but it was the wrong fun. song to be nominated. The title track of fun.’s “Some Nights” was the most smartly written record of the entire year, with singer Nate Ruess’ operatic arias about existential loneliness teaming up with heavy percussion and Afrobeat to rousing effect.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
“El Camino,” The Black Keys
“Some Nights,” fun.
“Babel,” Mumford & Sons
“Channel Orange,” Frank Ocean
“Blunderbuss,” Jack White
What will win: With the rock albums canceling each other out, and fun.’s nomination the fruit for two good singles (“We Are Young” and the title track), the race is between Mumford & Sons and Frank Ocean. Mumford & Sons is one of the few acts that plays on country, rock, alt-rock and bluegrass radio stations, and it is difficult to find anyone who downright hates that quartet. The album is more of a accessible crowd-pleaser than Ocean’s challenging album, and will beat out Ocean by a nose.
What should win: “Blunderbuss” was one of the best rock albums of the year, and was in the top-10 of my favorite albums of 2012. But Ocean’s R&B masterpiece was No. 1 on my list.
What should not win: Both “El Camino” and “Some Nights” were simply OK, with a few gems but other than that nothing particularly remarkable or memorable.
SONG OF THE YEAR (awarded to songwriter)
“The A Team,” Ed Sheeran,
“Adorn,” Miguel Pimentel
“Call Me Maybe,” Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen, Josh Ramsay
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin, Ali Tamposi,
“We Are Young,” Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost, Nate Ruess, songwriters
What will win: fun.’s stirring chorus, along with producer Jeff Bhasker’s hip hop-influenced wizardry at the soundboard, will ensure than fun. doesn’t get shut out of the three major categories.
What should win: I have a soft spot for Ed Sheeran’s “The A Team,” which is a deceptively simple song about a young woman addicted to heroin that features an unconventional melody that gets better each time you hear it. But you know what? Is there one person in the world who heard “Call Me Maybe” for the first time and didn’t hum along? It is underwhelming when you look at it lyrically and look to find fault, but it is still irresistible. But too many snobs will pooh-pooh it.
What should not win: Kelly Clarkson had no hand in writing her hit “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” and she needs to find a different schtick beyond girl-power anthems. Great singer, poor material.
BEST NEW ARTIST
What will win: fun. and Frank Ocean dominated the major nominations (Record, Album and Song), with Ocean scoring two noms and fun. scoring three. By a score of 3-2, fun. wins.
What should win: I’ll flat-out say that Frank Ocean should win any category he has a nomination for. Even though Hunter Hayes won’t win, can you think of any other artist besides Prince who ever wrote, produced, and played all of the instruments on his debut record? Plus, the super-talented Hayes is the next big star coming out of Nashville (via Louisiana), with his single “Wanted” becoming the latest country song to cross over onto the pop charts.
What should not win: The Lumineers. I like “Ho Hey” as much as the next guy, but one song doesn’t a Best New Artist make when this category’s competition is so strong.
BEST DANCE/ELECTRONICA ALBUM
“Don’t Think,”The Chemical Brothers
“Title Goes Here,” Deadmau5
“Fire & Ice,” Kaskade
What will win: Skrillex dominated the dance and electronic categories in 2012, so he should do so again despite the rapid ascent of Deadmau5.
What should win: I am biased because Kaskade is a University of Utah grad and once owned a record store here, but even when I put that aside I can’t help but think that “Fire & Ice” was his greatest achievement yet. Being the first EDM artist to book and sell out The Staples Center (where the Grammy Awards will be held) in 2012 illustrates how good he is, and how great he is becoming.
What should not win: In EDM, what is cool one month is passé by the next. Skrillex’s sound defined 2011, but became played out in 2012.
BEST RAP SONG
“Lotus Flower Bomb,” Wale Featuring Miguel
“Mercy,” Kanye West Featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz
“The Motto,”Drake Featuring Lil’ Wayne
“N****s In Paris,”Jay-Z and Kanye West
“Young, Wild & Free,” Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa Featuring Bruno Mars
What will win: Kanye West has had Grammy success in the past, despite reports to the contrary and his repeated petulance at being snubbed for major awards. But Nas’ recent album “Life Is Good” is a welcome return to form for one of the MC’s out there.
What should win: “Daughters” was an insightful, complex reflection on raising a daughter in light of a not-so-righteous life: “She’s seen me switching women, pops was on some pimp s___ / She heard stories of her daddy thugging /So if her husband is a gangster, can’t be mad, I’ll love him.” Plus the soul music samples made this a smooth ride. Honorable mention goes to Kanye West’s drawled rhyming on “N****s In Paris” : “Prince William’s ain’t do it right if you ask me / Cause I was him I would have married Kate & Ashley.”
What should not win: “Young, Wild & Free” is fun, but slight, and the title sounds too much like a One Direction song. Plus, Snoop has turned into a cartoon.
BEST COUNTRY ALBUM
“Uncaged,” Zac Brown Band
“Hunter Hayes,”Hunter Hayes
“Living For A Song: A Tribute To Hank Cochran,”Jamey Johnson
“Four The Record.” Miranda Lambert
“The Time Jumpers,” The Time Jumpers
What will win: In 2010, Miranda Lambert’s “Revolution” was robbed in this same category. Voters won’t make the same mistake. Plus, even though Vince Gill is a new member of The Time Jumpers, no one has heard of them.
What should win: Zac Brown Band’s latest was amusing, but “Four the Record” was just as good as “Revolution,” and heads and shoulders above other country albums. The straight-talking, rocking Texan should win in a landslide.
What should not win: Jamey Johnson’s well-intentioned tribute album to Hank Cochran is something to be admired, rather than enjoyed.
BEST ROCK SONG
“Freedom At 21,: Jack White
“I Will Wait,”Mumford & Sons)
“Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys
“We Take Care Of Our Own,” Bruce Springsteen
What will win: While “Wrecking Ball” was an average album for The Boss, “We Take Care Of Our Own” was the best moment with lyrics that emphasized what Bruce Springsteen does best: celebrate community and the common man with a jab at the government (“From the shotgun shack to the Superdome / We yelled “help” but the cavalry stayed home / There ain’t no-one hearing the bugle blown”). While The Black Keys and Jack White are comparatively young upstarts that are “cooler,” the Recording Academy loves them some Springsteen.
What should win: Jack White’s slinky critique of a woman who has wronged him shows some of the best vocals he’s ever displayed, but my choice goes to Muse, whose “Madness” was one of the year’s best showcases for how EDM can work with guitars to create something truly hypnotizing. It’s 12-bar blues for the 21st century.
What should not win: Mumford & Sons. It’s a bluegrass song.
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