The 56th Grammy Awards air Sunday, January 26th. Staff writer Victoria Hilshey gives us her predictions!
When the Grammy nominations first become published, people like to focus on what’s called “The Big Four”. These categories are not genre specific, so I’ll be focusing on those four. In many cases what does win and what should win are two very different things and that is the way that my predictions will be broken down. Before diving in, when it comes to voting for the Grammys it’s important to understand the differences between song and record of the year because these are two words that people tend to use interchangeably. Song of the Year rewards the songwriter and ideally focuses solely on the quality of the lyrics. Record of the Year rewards the piece as a whole; the artist, the producers, the engineers, and mixers all get credit. Album of the Year is the mot self-explanatory and rewards a whole body of work and all involved in it’s creation.
Ladies and gents, here are my predictions for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist.
Record of the Year
Get Lucky - Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers
Radioactive - Imagine Dragons
Royals - Lorde
Locked Out of Heaven - Bruno Mars
Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell
Will Win: Get Lucky - Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers, peaked at #2 behind Blurred Lines
Should Win: Get Lucky - Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers, peaked at #2 behind Blurred Lines
Daft Punk returned to 2013 with their 3rd album Random Access Memories and their lead single "Get Lucky” peaked at #2 on the Billboard Top 40 only second to Blurred Lines. Production wise, Daft Punk went in with a clear vision to recreate vintage sounds of 70s and early 80s disco by stepping away from computer technology and recording all the instruments live. A wide variety of listeners can connect with this track because the vintage/modern sound fusion of it feels timeless and I think that academy will recognize this.
Song of the Year
Just Give Me A Reason - Pink Featuring Nate Ruess
Locked Out Of Heaven - Bruno Mars
Roar - Katy Perry
Royals - Lorde
Same Love - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Will Win: Royals - Lorde
Should Win: Same Love - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
In the second half of 2013, ”Royals" left the masses spellbound by anti-pop hero Lorde. With a simple beat that requires minimal attention, you become truly drawn to the lyrics which rally behind the unpopular opinion to reject riches and luxuries. The potency of the lyrics makes “Royals” and incredibly successful song and puts Lorde as a top contender for this category.
“Same Love” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis made hearts cry across the planet. Ben Haggerty's lyrics paired with the Mary Lambert sample in the chorus creates a poignant experience that leaves listeners replaying it over in their head hours, days, and weeks after it's release. The lyrics on gay rights are powerful and simple without being offensive or overbearing. Personally I'm really pulling for this song to win the award, and I hope the academy voters don’t overlook “Same Love”, it deserves recognition and would make a beautiful statement for society.
Album of the Year
The Blessed Unrest - Sara Bareilles
Random Access Memories - Daft Punk
Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City - Kendrick Lamar
The Heist - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Red - Taylor Swift
Will Win: The Heist
Should Win: Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City or Random Access Memories
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are the perfect quirky pop/hip-hop crossover duo to win the award for Album of the Year. The last time a hip-hop act took it home was in 2004, Outkast won with their album Speakerboxx/The Love Below which was also a successful pop/hip-hop crossover. In 2013, The Heist had critical and commercial success, their beats are radio friendly and their lyrics touch upon personal experiences that transcend many social boundaries. In addition, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis built up a huge fan base, with the amount of positive exposure they received in comparison to the other nominees, it safe to say that most academy voters have an idea of who they are and will most likely cast their votes for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.
However, I think that either Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City or Random Access Memories should win this award. Both these acts pushed the boundaries within their respective genres and came out on top with bodies of work rich in quality that take the listener through feelings of elation, tension, and in the end a peace of mind is reached. With the exception of Get Lucky, Daft Punk received commercial success mainly in the dance/electronic community. The same can be said for Lamar who spent 2013 promoting his album and getting exposure via popular collaborations like “F**kn Problems” by A$AP Rocky. His success within the hip-hop/rap community landed him a slot opening for Kanye West this fall and he continues to grow as an artist. All that being said, I will be shocked and excited if one of these acts nabs an award for Album of the Year because they both deserve it.
Best New Artist
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Will Win: Ed Sheeran
Should Win: Kendrick Lamar
Ed Sheeran quietly moved through 2012 until his debut album + blew up and and nabbed a nomination for Song of the Year at last year’s Grammy Awards. Then Taylor Swift decided to bring him on her massive stadium tour as an opening act and his popularity only grew from there. Ed Sheeran was present as an artist in 2012, he played in small venues like the House of Blues, and one year later he sold out Madison Square Garden three nights in a row. It’s hard to consider him a new artist at this point in his career but in 2013 he seriously established a name for himself and that will be recognized.
I have made it pretty clear how I feel about Kendrick Lamar’s potential as an artist. He released Good Kid, M.A.A.D City late last year and it picked up a lot of speed in 2013. With it’s critical success, Lamar toured heavily across the United States at summer festivals and then on Kanye West’s Yeezus tour in the fall. 2013 was a great building year for Kendrick Lamar and really was one of the best new artists out on the music scene. In 2014 he’ll only continue his rise to popularity. He probably won’t win the award for Best New Artist. Either way, Kendrick Lamar is a winner in my book.
Do you agree with my picks? Disagree? Let me know by dropping a comment below.