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Grammy preview: Who should win, who was snubbed and where is Miley?
Music » Critic assesses who should win and who was snubbed, and asks, “Where is Miley?”


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Who got snubbed » Chance the Rapper, Earl Sweatshirt and J. Cole all deserved Jay Z’s spot on this list. Danny Brown’s 2013 album was released a week after the deadline for consideration as a 2014 nominee, but he should get nominated in 2015 simply because he had A$AP Rocky guest on his album with the astute lyric, "So many numbers in my phone book / I could start a m-----f------ phone book."

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The 56th annual Grammy Awards will be telecast by CBS, Ch. 2, on Sunday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m.

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BEST COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE

"I Drive Your Truck," Lee Brice

"I Want Crazy," Hunter Hayes

"Mama’s Broken Heart," Miranda Lambert

"Wagon Wheel," Darius Rucker

"Mine Would Be You," Blake Shelton

Who should win » Every artist here, with the exception of that guy from "The Voice." "I Want Crazy" is a fun song from the most talented person in country music, Miranda Lambert’s "Mama’s Broken Heart" is a firecracker co-written by the up-and-coming Kacey Musgraves, and "Wagon Wheel" originated from the pen of Bob Dylan. But in the end, Lee Brice’s beautifully sung ode to a brother who died in action in the United States Army is the most moving country song that isn’t about momma or trains or trucks or prison or gettin’ drunk.

Who should not win » Blake Shelton is the odd man out in this otherwise strong category.


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Who got snubbed » The three members of Lady Antebellum, who elevated "Wagon Wheel" to heaven with their backing vocals, but didn’t get any credit in this category or Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

BEST COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK FOR VISUAL MEDIA

"Django Unchained," Quentin Tarantino, compilation producer

"The Great Gatsby (Deluxe Edition)," Baz Luhrmann, compilation producer

"Les Misérables (Deluxe Edition)," Cameron Mackintosh, Lee McCutcheon & Stephan Metcalfe, compilation producers

"Muscle Shoals," Stephan Badger & Greg Camalier, compilation producers

"Sound City: Real to Reel," Butch Vig, compilation producer

Who should win » Another category packed with deserving candidates: Quentin Tarantino, the best compilation producer in show business; "The Great Gatsby," an unpredictable and fresh collection; and "Les Misérables," featuring an undeservedly criticized Hugh Jackman. (Sure, he’s no Alfie Boe, but who is?) For my money, though, I would pick the soundtrack from one of two Sundance-debuted films: "Muscle Shoals," an eye-opening reminder of the great music that has come from that northern Alabama hamlet.

Who should not win » The film "Sound City" was an impressive and fun debut from Dave Grohl, but the accompanying soundtrack — each track written and recorded exclusively for the film within its own 24-hour session on the famed Sound City console, reinstalled in Grohl and his Foo Fighters’ own 606 Studios — was self-indulgent and filled with half-finished songs. You would think one of the tunes, a song with the surviving members of Nirvana led by Paul McCartney, would be killer, but this was an even worse song than Macca’s "Wonderful Christmastime."

Who got snubbed » The soundtrack of another Sundance-debuted and now Oscar-nominated documentary, "20 Feet From Stardom." The compilation does what the film aspired to do: Push backing singers to the front of the stage to show their firepower. Among the songs included on the album are a new recording of "Lean on Me," featuring Darlene Love, and the iconic Rolling Stones song "Gimme Shelter" performed by Merry Clayton, who sang backup on the same song by the Stones.

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR, NON-CLASSICAL

Rob Cavallo

Dr. Luke

Ariel Rechtshaid

Jeff Tweedy

Pharrell Williams

Who should win » This is always one of the most interesting categories, assessing the year’s oeuvres from prominent and prolific producers. Even though 2013 often seemed like the Year of Pharrell, Rob Cavallo helmed high-quality, great-sounding works from artists as varied as Josh Groban, Green Day, Tegan and Sara, Gary Clark Jr., Lindsey Buckingham and Regina Spektor. He deserves not just a Grammy, but a ribbon.

Who should not win » If Ke$ha’s mother is to believed, Dr. Luke bullied the singer into developing an eating disorder.

Who got snubbed » While the number of his production credits over the past year is dwarfed by most of those nominated, Alex Da Kid’s hip-hop sensibility and sound blended EDM with other genres with uncommon skill. The Brit, years after producing the pop-rap crossover success "Love the Way You Lie" (with Eminem and Rihanna), is a big factor in Imagine Dragons’ runaway success, with rock and dubstep working together to make the Utah-born band’s sound the most emulated of the year. Alex Da Kid also steered singer Skylar Grey’s sophomore album, "Don’t Look Down," to No. 8 on the Billboard album chart. Perhaps Alex will be nominated next year for his production work on Eminem’s "The Marshall Mathers LP 2," released after the cutoff date of Sept. 30, 2013.



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