One of our leading music awards experts weighs in with his thoughts on the four General Field races at this year's Grammys. Winners will be announced during the Feb. 10 kudocast on CBS.
Album of the Year
A dead heat between Mumford and Sons and The Black Keys. "Babel" has been a consistent seller, though reviews are moderate at best. The Black Keys have also been a consistent seller and have one of the most acclaimed albums of the eligibility period plus a successful field
With the exception of a SOTY snub, the Keys got all of their expected nominations. The Keys are the veteran act in this race and should be highly respected considering their past Grammy history (i.e., edging out AOTY winner Arcade Fire in Alternative Album and beating all those heavyweights for Rock Duo/Group).
The Keys can count on massive support from the alternative and rock field blocks and I think they're winning this. However, watch out for Jack White. He's also a highly respected vet and a past nominee here.
Fun's six nominations were a huge surprise. I don't think they're big enough or acclaimed enough to win all those Grammys.
The three pop records (Fun., Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson) will cancel each other out leaving The Black Keys as the winner here. Voters LOVE rock songs and songs with live instruments in this category.
Song of the Year
This is a very weak category.
"We Are Young" was a huge song that got multiple nominations this year and it's one of only two songs to get ROTY/SOTY bids (the other being Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger").
Since Fun. got a bunch of nods this year, I give them the edge here. This will serve as a consolation prize for losing ROTY and AOTY. The other nominees don't stand a chance.
Best New Artist
With the exception of India.Arie (who lost to Grammy juggernaunt Alicia Keys), every act who has been nominated for ROTY/SOTY/AOTY and BNA in their debut year has won this category.
I cannot bet against that statistic so I think Fun. wins here. However, watch out for Frank Ocean. He got a bevy of nods, too, and has more acclaim. But voters are not too keen on R&B and rap in the General Field (just ask Kanye West).