The Record of the Year nominees at this year's Grammys are:
"Lonely Boy" - The Black Keys
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" - Kelly Clarkson
"We Are Young" - Fun. featuring Janelle Monae
"Somebody That I Used To Know" - Gotye featuring Kimbra
"Thinkin Bout You" - Frank Ocean
"We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Taylor Swift
Let’s immediately eliminate Frank Ocean and Taylor Swift. This is the sole nomination for their songs. Singles that were snubbed in genre fields usually don’t win here. And, in Ocean’s case, an R&B song has never won this category.
Kelly Clarkson was a surprise nominee here and her track is nominated for Song of the Year. But big pop singles almost never win the top prize unless they’re huge with the adult contemporary crowd.
According to Billboard and VH1, “Somebody That I Used to Know” was the most popular song of 2012. However, Gotye was shockingly snubbed in Best New Artist. He was also a dark horse Album of the Year contender.
Voters usually give this prize to veterans (e.g., Ray Charles, Robert Plant) or the hot artist of the moment (e.g., Adele, Amy Winehouse). Gotye and Kimbra don’t fall into either category. In addition, a song that contained a sample has never won in this category. Voters always favor singles with live instrumentation.
I think Fun. and Black Keys will duke it out for the win here. Tracks nominated for Song of the Year usually win this category so that gives Fun. a slight edge. It only helps that Fun. is the only act to score nominations in all four general field categories this year.
However, despite their Song of the Year snub, the Keys are the frontrunners here. Their song is the only one that contains live instrumentation, they had a critically and commercially successful year and they’re the only veterans in this lineup. The four pop songs (and one R&B song) will cancel each other out leaving the Keys with the win.