Saturday, October 25, 2014

First 2015 Grammy Predictions: Record of the Year

Predicted Nominees
Idina Menzel "Let it Go"
Sia "Chandelier"
Sam Smith "Stay With Me"
Taylor Swift "Shake It Off"
Pharrell Williams "Happy"

Other Contenders - Beyonce feat. Jay-Z "Drunk In Love", Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX "Fancy", Eminem feat. Rihanna "The Monster", Ed Sheeran "Don't", Miley Cyrus "We Can't Stop", John Legend "All of Me (Live)", Bastille "Pompeii (Live)', Aloe Blacc "The Man", Hunter Hayes "Invisible", Katy Perry feat. Juicy J "Dark Horse", Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea "Problem", Meghan Trainor "All About that Bass", Jessie J, Ariana Grande, & Nicki Minaj "Bang Bang", Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)", Lorde "Yellow Flicker Beat", Barbra Streisand and Michael Buble "It Had to Be You", Chari XCX "Boom Clap", MAGIC "Rude", Coldplay "A Sky Full of Stars", Miranda Lambert "Automatic", Maroon 5 "Maps", Tegan and Sara "Everything is Awesome", Kendrick Lamar "i", Nicki Minaj "Anaconda", Jack White "Lazaretto", The Black Keys "Fever", U2 "The Miracle (Of Joey Ramone)", Kings of Leon "Wait for Me", Mariah Carey "You're Mine (Eternal)"

Commentary - I don't know why I try to predict the Grammys, because they are scientifically proven to throw all of us a curve ball, but what the hell, might as well give them a shot. First is an interesting battle brewing between the two big Oscar contenders for last year's Best Original Song. Let it Go, like everything that Frozen touched, lit up the charts, and became a smash pop hit on its own. The Grammys have a history of rewarding visual media songs when their big hits, and this one fits right into their canon. The only major problem is that it has been awhile since a soundtrack, and its singles have had the power of Frozen's. Newer voters may not be as inclined as the old school bunch of a decade ago. The other big one is Happy, and I personally think this one is a lock. Unlike let it go, Happy became a hit disassociated from its original origins in Despicable Me 2. In fact a lot of voters may forget that it was originally connected to a movie, because it became so viral as a stand alone hit. And after Pharrell's stellar year last year, he is fresh on voters' minds. Sam Smith is being hailed as the male version of Adele, and while his singles and album weren't quite 19, 21, Rolling in the Deep, Chasing Pavements, or Someone Like You, he still has had a monster year, and his pop style is right in line with what Grammy voters like. Stay With Me is still blasting on the radio, and I expect it to strike a chord with Grammy voters. Speaking of pop, as you can tell, I think it is going to be a monster year for the genre in this category. For example, one of the inescapable hits this year was Sia's power-pop ballad Chandelier. It it fresh enough to play well on radio and with single sales, but I think it will appeal to the industry as a whole as well. These four seem like safe bets (although, as I previously mentioned nobody is really safe), but what about slot number five? Beyonce is set to have a monster year in terms of nominations, including, most likely, an Album of the Year nod. So it is probably a safe bet to put her in ROTY and SOTY, right? I am hesitating on this one right now. None of her hits have been smash singles compared to some of her previous work, and I think there is a lot of competition from artist whose singles really did take the charts by storm. Of the bunch, the best bet is Drunk in Love, which would be a double whammy with Jay-Z also in the mix, but right now I have them on the outside looking in. Two major rap stars have real bets here. Of the two I actually think The Monster has a great shot. It was a huge hit, great single reviews, and features two Grammy-winning superstars in Rihanna and Eminem. Fancy is still all over the place, but both Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX are untested newcomers. I honestly don't know how voters will react to Iggy Azalea. When Nicki Minaj hit the scene, she missed the cut on general categories, and has still yet to win a Grammy Award. In the male dominated industry, Iggy's climb might be too high. Aloe Blacc hit the ground running when Avicii took his song and added a nice beat to it, and then his hit The Man sailed on its own. It could be the type of feel-good R&B record that gives the genre its general nod. John Legend and Bastille couldn't technically submit All of Me or Pompeii, so they decided to go with live versions. This may work as both songs were popular, or the live aspect may block their chances. Ariana Grande has apparently decided not to submit for Best New Artist (which I don't know why), but she has two big hits that could play here, Bang Bang (my personal favorite of the two) with the star power of Nicki Minaj and Jessie J, and Problem feat. Iggy Azalea. Legends Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett teamed up with hotshots Lady Gaga and Michael Buble, and could get back into major Grammy races with new adaptations of old classics. Grammy favorites like Lorde, The Black Keys, Jack White, Miranda Lambert, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Maroon 5, and the ever present U2 should also be on all of our horizons. Instead though, I am going to go with a safe bet in Taylor Swift. Last year was the first time she didn't win a bunch of awards, so their enthusiasm may be waning. But Shake It Off is catchy as hell, is a brazen new pop classic from the country starlet, and I refuse to underestimate her...again.

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