Charles Bright: Grammys predictions in four top races
The four General Field categories are considered the pinnacle of the Grammy Awards. Below, my predicitions as to who will prevail in each of these races. (Click on each category to be taken to an overview.)
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
X - The Black Keys, "El Camino"
Fun., "Some Nights"
Mumford & Sons, "Babel"
Frank Ocean, "Channel Orange"
Jack White, "Blunderbuss"
With Fun.’s expected sweep of the rest of the General Field, you would think this would be an easy win for the group. But so far, I don’t hear anyone really espousing that view for this race.
Mumford & Sons had all the buzz prior to nominations being released but they only received six, tying several of their competitors in this category and the reviews for their album have been mixed at best. “Babel” has the second lowest Metacritic score of the nominated albums (63) with “Some Nights” not too far behind (60).
Frank Ocean had the best reviewed album at Metacritic this year (92) and could pull off the upset, but it doesn’t feel like the passion is there for him.
This leaves Jack White and The Black Keys, whose albums both scored 84 at Metacritic. Both have good backing, but with recent swings to alternative music by NARAS and they’re further general field support, I’m going with the Black Keys on this one.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
The Black Keys, “Lonely Boy”
Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”
X - Fun. featuring Janelle Monae, “We Are Young”
Gotye featuring Kimbra, “Somebody That I Used to Know”
Frank Ocean, “Thinkin Bout You”
Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
While only two of the nominees have corresponding nominations for Song of the Year, I will not disqualify the other four for just that. Over the past 54 Grammy ceremonies, 12 Record of the Year winners did not have a Song of the Year nomination (it’s happened 12 times vice versa as well) with half of those instances occurring in the past 20 years.
Fun. is out front on this one and will most likely go home the victor. There is a lack of one strong alternative to “We Are Young” that also makes the song likely to succeed in this race.
I do not believe that support for The Black Keys is spill over from the Album of the Year race, Ocean’s song is not nominated in the R&B field, Kelly Clarkson feels like she could upset but there’s not a strong backing for her and I think the entire world is ready for a break from the whole Taylor Swift phenomenon.
There is a voice in the back of my head that says Gotye could take this one even though he lost out on nods for Best New Artist and Album of the Year. “Somebody” was the most popular song of last year but I still think Fun.’s summer anthem will win here.
SONG OF THE YEAR
“The A Team”, Ed Sheeran, songwriter (Ed Sheeran)
“Adorn”, Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
“Call Me Maybe”, Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay, songwriters (Carly Rae Jepsen)
“Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi, songwriters (Kelly Clarkson)
X - “We Are Young” Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun. Featuring Janelle Monáe)
I don’t think Ed Sheeran or Miguel have the type of passion behind them that would make a win here possible. I have a very hard time seeing “Call Me Maybe” winning a songwriter’s award, though I guess anything’s possible.
Between “Stronger” and “We Are Young”, the latter just seems to be the better fit.
BEST NEW ARTIST
X - Fun.
To me it’s a real toss-up between Fun. and Ocean. Even though I’m pretty sure an R&B male vocalist has never won this trophy I would normally give the edge to Ocean.
However, Fun. got nominated in all four General Field categories and when that happens that person or group has always won the Best New Artist trophy with only one exception (Alicia Keys over India.Arie in 2001). Fun. has the edge and Ocean is right behind.
I don’t see Alabama Shakes, Hunter Hayes or The Lumineers coming through as an alternative that could play a spoiler.