Tag Archives: Grammys

2017 Best New Artist Grammy Nominees Prediction

While the 2017 Grammy nomination period officially comes to a close September 30th, I’ve been thinking a lot about potential nominees, particularly Best New Artist.  Now the rules state that the nominee has to release “the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist” during the period,  which would mean the album would be released October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016.  I don’t know how strictly they enforce this because, for instance, Ed Sheeran’s album + was released in America in June 2012, but he was nominated for the 2014 Best New Artist – the release date was within the 2013 Grammy period.  Regardless, I thought I’d throw a list together.  It’s fun for me.

Halsey really made waves this past year with her album Badlands, which showcased her unique take on electronica/alternative.

Twenty One Pilots are a shoo-in for the nomination and win.  They blew up last summer with “Stressed Out” and have been dominating the charts this summer and breaking records.

Rachel Platten was pretty big last summer with her hit “Fight Song” and made some more waves with “Stand By You.”  She’d be an underdog, but Platten has proven people wrong time and time again, so she could get nominated.

Charlie Puth burst on to the scene with his “See You Again” collaboration with Wiz Khalifa, but this past year he shaped pop music with his album Nine Track Mind.

Shawn Mendes rose to prominence in 2015 with his hit “Stitches,” and his album.  Personally, I think it’d be a stretch for him to be nominated, although he does have an incredible voice.

Marren Morris made her debut in late 2015 with her hit “My Church” and is the country darling following in the steps of hitmakers like Sheryl Crow and Kacey Musgraves.

So…that’s what I got so far.  I’ll probably add to it and create more lists, but it’ll be interesting to see who gets nominated in December!

Why Wasn’t Selena Gomez “Good For” a Grammy?

So, I will admit that recently I’ve had “Good For You (feat. A$AP Rocky)” by Selena Gomez stuck in my head.  I think it has some clever lyrics and interesting vocalizations.  The more I listen to it, the more I pay attention to Gomez’s vocals, which has got me wondering why she wasn’t nominated for a Grammy for her vocal work.

Revival is Gomez'a second solo studio album, her fifth overall (she has three with her band Selena Gomez & the Scene) and features "Good For You."

Revival is Gomez’s second solo studio album, her fifth overall (she has three with her band Selena Gomez & the Scene) and features “Good For You.”

If you forget the fact that it’s Selena Gomez singing and listen to how she sings the song, it’s actually quite substantial for the 2014-2015 music period.  She does this soft, murmured vocal that effectively grabs the listener in, in rather a haunting way.  This is something that wasn’t done through the year, and it is a huge step outside of Gomez’s past work.  While the song as a whole includes influences of hip-hop, R&B, and electric slow jam, it’s her vocals that really create the character and life of the song.

If Gomez sang the song solo (without the feature), I think she could’ve gotten nominated for the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance.  Maybe. Probably.  If politics didn’t come into play.  However, because she has A$AP Rocky featured on the track, it couldn’t qualify for the solo performance category.  It could’ve, on the other hand, been nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, but it never stood a chance with this year’s nominees.  When you have five nomination spots in a year of major collaborative hits (e.g. “Uptown Funk,” “See You Again,” “Bad Blood,” etc.), it was obviously going to lessen the odds of “Good For You” being nominated.  This  has to do with the fact that Gomez’s vocals and A$AP Rocky’s rap don’t meld as fluidly as Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar on “Bad Blood” or Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth on “See You Again.”  Both those songs feature two artists from opposite musical worlds coming together to create a unified front.  Meanwhile, Gomez and Rocky aren’t necessarily dependent on each other.  I think a strong collaboration would require the song’s success to be due to the fact all parties involved hold equal weight in it and elevate the song.  If we look back at “Bad Blood” – a song released to radio in both a solo and duo format (the song originally was a Swift-only song before Lamar remixed it and added his verses) – the song was transformed and elevated with the collaboration.  Sure, the solo song is strong, but the version with Kendrick Lamar is a completely different animal and is elevated from the original.  If you take Lamar out of “Bad Blood” it doesn’t stay the same.  However, the Gomez-only and the Gomez-Rocky version of “Good For You” literally sound the same. You could take out the rap or put it in and it wouldn’t help or hurt the integrity of the song.  That isn’t a slight against either artist, it’s just how the song is structured.

Just my thoughts.  For you.

Album of the Year – My Predictions

Album of the Year Nominees:

  • 1989 – Taylor Swift
  • To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar
  • Traveller – Chris Stapleton
  • Sound & Color – Alabama Shakes
  • Beauty Behind the Madness  – The Weeknd.

Who Should Win: 1989 – Taylor Swift

This is not my inner Swiftie shining through, I truly think Swift had the strongest albums of the 2015 season after listing to all nominees.  In fact, Billboard reported it as being a “cultural juggernaut,” a term they did not use for any of the other nominees.  The fact that it had such a powerful impact in pop culture and is such a sonically strong and cohesive album, it deserves the Grammy.  The other nominees are certainly strong contenders, but none of them are “juggernauts” like 1989.

Who Will Win1989 – Taylor Swift

There is a chance 1989 will not win simply because Taylor Swift has already won Album of the Year.  Only a handful of artists have won this top prize more than once.  This seriously isn’t a reason not to vote for her, but politics do come in to play with Grammys…unfortunately.  But, I can’t see the Grammys giving this to anyone else as 1989 had such a huge impact on music.  Although, we were all surprised last year when Beck won for Morning Phase against Beyoncé’s self-titled album, which many considered the shoo-in.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance – My Predictions

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Nominees:

  • “Ship to Wreck” – Florence + The Machine
  • “Sugar” – Maroon 5
  • “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
  • “Bad Blood” – Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar
  • “See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth

Who Should Win: “Bad Blood” – Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar

While Florence Welch’s voice in “Ship to Wreck,” like anything she sings, is pure gold, and while “Uptown Funk” and “See You Again” were perhaps the anthems of 2015, “Bad Blood” has the most cohesive collaborative nature to it.  The song emits the anger and frustration through Swift’s parts but it is even more enforced by Lamar’s sharp raps and attitude.  Swift and Lamar come from two different worlds (the former from the country-pop, the latter from rap/hip hop), and yet they can cohesively make a song together.  If you read the collaboration on paper before listening to it, it would look like a joke and like it shouldn’t work.  But it fits like a glove.

Who Will Win: “See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth or “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

If we vote based on which song is the biggest, it would be a tie between “See You Again” and “Uptown Funk” (although, I was reading in Billboard that “Uptown Funk” was the number one song of 2015 by a significant margin), so it’s close which one will win.  I, again, think “See You Again” will win simply for the fact it’s an ode to the late Paul Walker…I also think it’s this reason why it will win the Golden Globe and get nominated and win the Academy Award.  I’m not suggesting it’s not a good song or isn’t deserving of any recognition, it just has that aspect of it to make it shine a little brighter in a group of close nominees.

Recipients of Album of the Year

As I’m listening to and studying the nominees for the 2016 Grammys, I’ve started looking at past recipients and how the awards have changed over the years.  For instance, the biggest award of the show, Album of the Year, was originally just given to the main artist, but they expanded it to include the main artist, the featured artist(s), the producer(s), the engineer(s) and/or mixer(s) and the mastering engineer(s).  Basically it’s given to everyone who contributes to the album making process, which I think is great because it recognizes everyone’s work and how it contributed to make the album the best of the year.  I actually think they should do this for the genre categories for best album (e.g. Best Country Album is just given to the main artist and not the whole team).  That being said, Album of the Year recognizes everyone except songwriters.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and the Grammys should include the songwriters in this group.  For instance, Taylor Swift won Album of the Year in 2010 for her second album Fearless .  Liz Rose, Swift’s long time cowriter and collaborator, was not part of this Grammy-winning team despite the fact she cowrite four of the songs on the album with Swift (Rose did win Best Country Song with Swift that year for “White Horse,” a songwriter’s award).  Three of those songs Rose cowrote were three of the five hit singles from the album (“White Horse,” “You Belong with Me,” and “Fearless”), one of which won two Grammys (“White Horse”) and one nominated for three (“You Belong with Me”).  It could be argued that without Liz Rose, Fearless would not have been the album that it was because Swift might not have finished the four songs Rose cowrote, or if she did it would not have been at the level they were at that won her Album of the Year.

Swift and Rose winning Best Country Song for “White Horse”

Colbie Caillat, on the other hand, cowrote one song (“Breathe”) with Swift and provided background vocals, earning her the role of featured artist.  This therefore entitled her to the Album of the Year Grammy despite the fact that she worked on only one song on the album whereas Rose worked on four.

Without the songwriters, the album literally could not be made.  How can you produce, record, sing, or make an album if there is nothing written?  You would have nothing to perform.  And is it really fair to give someone who is only featured in only seconds of one song on the album the biggest award of the music industry just because they’re “featured” and not someone who literally is the root creator of the album?

I realize the Grammys have to draw a line of recipients because obviously it take a lot more people to create and promote an album than who would get the award, but I think songwriters are too important to overlook.  Granted, nowadays a lot of the songwriters are the performer and/or producer, but like Rose, some are solely writers.  You can’t have a great album without great songs, and you can’t have great songs without great songwriters.

Best New Artist – My Predictions

Best New Artist Nominees:

  • Meghan Trainor
  • James Bay
  • Tori Kelly
  • Sam Hunt
  • Courtney Barnett

Who Should Win: Meghan Trainor

I’ve been a Meghan Trainor fan for a couple different reasons.  Yes, she comes from my neck of the woods so I feel a certain kinship to her, but I’m really inspired how she combines elements from different genres into her own to transpire her personality.  She is the only artist this year who really expanded the definition of the all encompassing pop music.  I mean, she added horns, the caribbean kettle drum, acoustic bass, ’50s doo wop, and sass to her album to reimage what we’ve called pop for many years.

I can’t say that Trainor’s album or artistry is the supreme best, but out of all the nominees I feel she rose to a level of defining her genre of music in her own terms.

Who Will Win: I don’t really know.

I know, great prediction.  But this is one category where I seriously have no idea who will win.  Partly because Best New Artist is such a loose category in that your not really judging the artist on one particular song or album or piece of work, your judging them on their whole artistry.  This year, they managed to nominated five incredible artists.  And after listening to all their albums (I’m very proud of myself for doing that…usually I skim through, but I made myself do that…partly out of dedication but also because I was stuck in massive traffic and had nothing else to do…) I could see each one easily winning it.

Record of the Year – My Predictions

Record of the Year Nominees:

  • “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
  • “Blank Space” – Taylor Swift
  • “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran
  • “Really Love” – D’Angelo And The Vanguard
  • “Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd

Who Should Win: “Blank Space” – Taylor Swift

If I were a Grammy voter, I would determine my vote for Record of the Year by looking at the production of the song, the performance, the message, and it’s impact in music and pop culture.  I would see which song left it’s mark and would essentially be remembered in the future.  Essentially which song was embraced the most by listeners (which is why “Shake it Off” should’ve won last year…anyway…).

This year is full of songs that each fulfill those qualities, but my vote goes to “Blank Space” because it has, I would say, the most unique production style and is structured perfectly to transcend the joke.  Also, I think it has the most impact on pop culture because we still refer to it, it’s still on radio, and it’s music video still gets views on YouTube.  Meanwhile, I don’t think I’ve heard “Uptown Funk” for over a year.

 

Who Will Win:  “Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd.

Like I said before, this is a close category and I could see most of these nominees winning.  “Can’t Feel My Face” is no different because it features a great bass lines and drum beats that sets it apart, plus I think The Weeknd’s lower register vocals grabs the listener in.  Also, it just fits a pattern I kind of noticed over the past few winners, style wise.

I will say that “Uptown Funk” is a close second to “Can’t Feel My Face” in terms of likelihood of winning…but I felt I should put my money on one song…. I’m 60% “Can’t Feel My Face” and 40% “Uptown Funk.”

 

Song of the Year – Predictions

Song of the Year Nominees:

  • “Blank Space” by Max Martin, Shellback, and Taylor Swift (Taylor Swift, artist)
  • “See You Again” by DJ Frank E, Charlie Puth, Wiz Khalifa, and Andrew Cedar (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, artists)
  • “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge (Ed Sheeran, artist)
  • “Girl Crush” by Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, and Liz Rose (Little Big Town, artist)
  • “Alright” by Kendrick Duckworth, Mark Anthony Spears, and Pharrell Williams, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar, artist)

Should Win: “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge (Ed Sheeran, artist)

While all the nominees this year are very strong contenders and each could easily win the Grammy as each made their mark in the 2014-2015 period, “Thinking Out Loud” is by far the most timeless song.  Whether you listen to it in the car tomorrow on the way to work or in fifty years while you watch your grandchildren grow up, “Thinking Out Loud” will always be relevant.  The magic behind it is that it draws you in and makes you feel something in your heart.  Whether you’re in love or not, it makes feel the warmth and passion that is Sheeran’s love.

Will Probably Win: “See You Again” by DJ Frank E, Charlie Puth, Wiz Khalifa, and Andrew Cedar (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, artists)

I just got a gut feeling on this one.  As much as I think Sheeran deserves this Grammy and I would love to see Swift up there (specifically because she successfully utilized satire in “Blank Space” while crafting a ingenious pop song),  I feel like the fact “See You Again” was a tribute to Paul Walker will lead it to victory.

But, as I said, it’s really close and I wouldn’t be shocked to see any one of these songs winning.

On a random but fun note, Liz Rose, a cowriter of “Girl Crush,” was a long time cowriter with Swift.  They wrote the majority of Swift’s first album together.  They were nominated together for “You Belong with Me” in 2010 for Song of the Year and the won the Grammy for Best Country Song for “White Horse” that year.  Funny how they’re nominated against each other this year.

My Predictions

I decided this year I’m really going to do my best and listen to all the nominees in the eighty-three categories for the 2016 Grammys and make make my decision of who should win and who will probably win.

I’m not actually sure if I will have the time or the mental will power to get through all those categories…even the most devout audiophile have their limits.  But, I decided that in forthcoming posts I will analyze the nominees of a category after I listened to all of them and detail who I believe who should win and who will probably win.  Kind of like what I did last year, but in more detail and depth.

Wish me luck!

Grammy Nominations Are Finally Here!

A couple days ago the 2016 Grammy nominations came out!  I realize I’m a little behind here, but I’ve been rather busy…Anyway, the reason I get so excited for the Grammys is because it’s a celebration of music.  I mean, even if your favorite artist, album, or song doesn’t get nominated, at least there is a show embraces the value of music and celebrates the fact that every year music is made and shared with people.

This year, I wasn’t disappointed with the nominations.  I was practically bouncing off the walls with all of Taylor Swift’s nomination (including her third nomination for Album of the Year (and hopefully her second win)).  I would also like to mention that she was nominated for the first time in the Best Music Video category (for “Bad Blood”)…something I previously mentioned could and should happen…

I was very pleased they nominated Cam for “Burning House,” although I thought it also deserved a Best Country Song nod.  I was even pleased to see Elle King get nominated for “Ex’s & Oh’s,” which is such a great song.  However, I think Meghan Trainors Title did deserve a nom for Best Pop Vocal Album (she did get nominated for Best New Artist) and Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” deserved some sort of recognition.

Once I sink my teeth into the nominated albums and songs (I’ll admit I’m not familiar with all the nominees in the eighty-three categories), I’ll post my predictions.

Let the countdown begin to Feb. 15th!