Can Fiona Apple beat Gotye for the Alternative Album Grammy?

By Daniel Montgomery
By Daniel Montgomery
Jan 05 2013 08:57 am
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According to our Grammy predictions, Gotye is the frontrunner to win Best Alternative Album for his breakthrough disc, "Making Mirrors," getting field-leading 27 to 20 odds. It's the only category he's expected to win; his hit "Somebody That I Used to Know" is predicted to lose both Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group to Fun.'s "We Are Young."

But not so fast. Two of our six editors and more than 40 users think Fiona Apple actually has the edge for her critically acclaimed fourth studio album, "The Idler Wheel..." Apple would seem to be at a disadvantage; Alternative Album is her only bid, and history usually favors artists with general-field nominations. For instance, Best New Artist-winner Bon Iver won this category last year, beating Grammy darlings Radiohead.

But Gotye may be vulnerable. Despite his Record nomination for "Somebody," he was notably absent from the New Artist lineup, losing out to breakout stars Fun, Frank Ocean, and Hunter Hayes, along with lesser known Alabama Shakes and The Lumineers.

After such a breakthrough year, a New Artist bid should have been all but guaranteed for Gotye, so his snub may be telling. Given the massive success of his single – "Somebody" went six-times platinum – perhaps voters fear he's a one-hit wonder.

Fiona Apple, on the other hand, is no one-hit wonder. Though she has yet to repeat the sales success of her 1996 debut, "Tidal," for which she won her only Grammy (Female Rock Vocal for "Criminal"), she has consistently been a critics' darling and has earned at least one nomination for every album she's produced. It has been 15 years since her last win, so she can be considered due another turn in the winner's circle.

A poll in our message board disagrees with our prediction center odds, with 54% of respondents predicting Apple; Gotye is a distant second with 24%.

But our posters don't necessarily think it's a two-way race. They explain why Tom Waits, Bjork, and M83 may also be major challengers for the win. Read some of their comments below, and join the discussion here.

Renaton: Fiona and Waits benefit from huge breaks they had between albums. Considering how loyal and passionate their fan-bases are, they salivate at any sign of them doing anything, and it only helps both albums were excellent and had much acclaim.

MovieManiac405: It's between Fiona, Gotye, and Bjork... They might give it to Bjork as a win for her career, but "The Idler Wheel" was the far more acclaimed album here, and Grammy loves Fiona.

blueprint: Tom Waits, respected veteran, can totally win this and is Fiona's biggest threat. Both albums received equally great acclaim and I think it will come down to voters' taste.

Icky: Considering all the acclaimed female artists that they've had the opportunity to award here – PJ Harvey, Bjork, Tori Amos, the female-led Yeah Yeah Yeahs – it's clear that having a uterus doesn't help in this category. Honestly, anyone can win this.

ProfessorChaos: The Gotye album rightfully deserves this, especially after the [Album of the Year] snub, by far a much more artistically accomplished album than Fun. Also, in this year reflecting the merging of indie rock into mainstream, Gotye is the commercial beneficiary riding the coattails of the movement (as are M83).

 
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