Are the Grammys ready to throw their support behind dance music?
For Album of the Year, they face off against a pair of newcomers (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar), along with a previous winner who is this year’s youngest nominee (Taylor Swift) and Sara Bareilles who, at 34, is the second oldest contender in the category. However, as “The Blessed Unrest” is just her third album, she’s less seasoned than the decade-younger Swift.
Granted, Daft Punk aren’t what I’d call old-timers. Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter are 39 and 38 respectively — a moment to weep for musicians over 40 — and their nominated disc, “Random Access Memories,” is only their fourth. But, they’ve been making music for 20 years; they first met back in 1987, before Swift was born.
Thus, they are the elder statesmen of this year’s crop of contenders, and the Grammys often like to tip their hats to the veteran in this category: Tony Bennett (“MTV Unplugged,” 1994), Bob Dylan (“Time Out of Mind,” 1997), Santana (“Supernatural,” 1999), Steely Dan (“Two Against Nature,” 2000), Ray Charles (“Genius Loves Company,” 2005), U2 (“How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb,” 2005), Herbie Hancock (“River: The Joni Letters,” 2007), and most recently Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (“Raising Sand,” 2008). Since then, the Grammys switched gears to younger, cooler acts like Swift, Arcade Fire, and Adele.
It may be harder for Daft Punk to win Record of the Year. Dance music nas never prevailed there. Everyone from Lady Gaga and Gorillaz to Cher and Madonna have lost. Even though Daft Punk’s nominated collaboration with Pharrell, “Get Lucky,” is a big hit (triple platinum in the US) the Grammys prefer their top Record to be adult-contemporary, like recent winners Lady Antebellum (“Need You Now,” 2010), Adele (“Rolling in the Deep,” 2011), and Gotye (“Somebody That I Used to Know,” 2012).
While Daft Punk aren’t the frontrunners in either race according to our predictions, they’re a close second in both. For Record they get 9/4 odds, just behind another up-tempo hit, “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke (9/5). And for Album their odds are 12/5 against frontrunners Macklemore and Lewis’s “The Heist” (2/3).
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