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Will win » West has had Grammy success in the past, despite 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 best MC’s out there.
Should win » "Daughters" was an insightful, complex reflection on raising a daughter in 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 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."
Music’s big show
The 55th annual Grammy Awards will air on CBS (Channel 2) on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m. The show is tape-delayed in our time zone.
Shouldn’t 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
Will win » In 2010, Lambert’s "Revolution" was robbed in this same category. Voters won’t make the same mistake twice. Plus, even though Vince Gill is a new member of The Time Jumpers, no one has heard of them.
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.
Shouldn’t win » 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
"Madness" » Muse
"We Take Care of Our Own" » Bruce Springsteen
Will win » While "Wrecking Ball" was just an average album for The Boss, "We Take Care of Our Own" was its best moment, thanks to lyrics that emphasized what 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 White are comparatively young upstarts who might be "cooler," the Recording Academy loves Springsteen.
Should win » 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.
Shouldn’t win » Mumford & Sons’ "I Will Wait" is a bluegrass song, not rock.
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