Tag Archives: Grammys

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!

My 2016 Grammy Nominations Predictions

The 2016 Grammy nominations are being announced Monday and I decided to list out my predications of who might be nominated like I do every year.  The list is not complete, these are just brain waves I had and wanted to put out there.

Album of the Year

1989 – Taylor Swift

To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

The Beauty Behind the Madness – The Weeknd

If You Reading This It’s Too Late – Drake

Song of the Year

“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)

“Here” by Andrew “Pop” Wansel, Isaac Hayes, Warren “Oak” Felder, Alessia Caracciolo, Terence Lam, Samuel Gerongco, Robert Gerongco, and Coleridge Tillman (Alessia Cara, artist)

“Glory” by John Stephens, Lonnie Lynn, and Che Smith (John Legend feat. Common, artists)

“Girl Crush” by Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, and Liz Rose (Little Big Town, artist)

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten and Dave Bassett (Rachel Platten, artist)

Record of the Year

“Blank Space” or “Bad Blood (feat. Kendrick Lamar)” by Taylor Swift

“Here” by Alessia Cara

“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

“See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth

“Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd

“FourFiveSeconds” by Rihanna feat. Kanye West and Paul McCartney

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

Best New Artist

Meghan Trainor

Hozier

Elle King

The Weeknd

Tori Kelly

Walk the Moon

Fetty Wap

Sam Hunt

Best Pop Vocal Album

1989 – Taylor Swift

Title – Meghan Trainor

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence and the Machine

Beauty Behind the Madness – The Weeknd

Honeymoon – Lana Del Rey

Best Pop Solo Performance

“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift

“Lips Are Movin'” by Meghan Trainor

“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran

“Here” by Alessia Cara

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

“Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar

“Like I’m Gonna Lose You” by Meghan Trainor feat. John Legend

“See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth (*they may put this under the Rap category)

Best Song Written For a Visual Media

From Selma, “Glory” by John Stephens, Lonnie Lynn, and Che Smith (John Legend feat. Common, artists)

From Furious 7, “See You Again” by DJ Frank E, Charlie Puth, Wiz Khalifa, and Andrew Cedar (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, artists)

From Spectre, “Writing’s on the Wall” by Sam Smith and Jimmy Napes (Sam Smith, artist).

Anyway, those are the thoughts I had at the moment and I’ll add to it until Monday when they release the official list.  Some of these probably won’t be nominated, but I figure they deserve a shout out because they were great in 2015.  Just as a fun fact, Adele cannot be nominated this year for “Hello” or 25 because both were released well outside the nomination period.  She’ll definitely be nominated for the 2017 Grammys.

Early 2016 Grammy Predictions

I was out biking this morning as usual, listening to my biking playlist on shuffle.  Rachel Platten’s song “Fight Song” came on, and I started to think about how great that song is.  It just has such passion and a ring of freedom, and I wondered if it would be nominated for any Grammys the coming year.  I know the Grammys are months away, but the entry period is ending in September, so I was thinking about which songs/artists will get nominations in December.  While reflecting on all that, there are some definite contenders that seem sure to get nominated.

I’m not sure if Rachel Platten will get any nominations.  I know she deserves it and I’d be a proud fan to see her there, but the only categories I think she could qualify for are Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance (all for “Fight Song”).  My gut is telling me she won’t get nominated (I’m not really sure why, I just have a feeling), but my head thinks that she deserves at least a nod for Song of the Year as the song is so well written musically and lyrically.  Plus it has a great, timeless message (like last year’s nominee “Shake it Off,” which deserved those Grammys…).  But, there were so many great songs this year by other, more-known artists, and while I think fame shouldn’t be a judging factor, I sometimes feel these awards shows are slightly biased and political.  Then again, none of the music blogs I saw (except mine) thought Meghan Trainor had a chance for either of her Grammy nominations last year for “All About That Bass,” and a lot of people were shocked.  So, you never know.

Anyway, I wanted to kind of make note of which artists I think are most likely to get nominated so far.  Again, it’s early and probably too soon to call, but it’s fun for me:

Taylor Swift:  With out a doubt, Taylor Swift will be nominated for several awards, especially Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for 1989.  In all sincerity, 1989 is by far one of the best albums put out in a decade and is so cohesively and thematically well done it should be no surprise that it will get nominations.  I also feel Swift has a chance again this year to pick up a nomination for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Pop Solo Performance, though I’m not quite sure which song.  I totally thought “Blank Space” could be nominated for Record of the Year, but with the recent success of “Bad Blood (feat. Kendrick Lamar),” I think that could be nominated.  I also think she could get her first nomination for Best Music Video, again either for “Blank Space” or “Bad Blood.”  I think she has a better shot at it being for “Bad Blood” since it has such a strong theme of feminism; “Blank Space,” I believe is Swift’s most viewed music video on Youtube/Vevo, so that may be nominated over “Bad Blood.”  Similarly, “Bad Blood” could be nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (or Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, depending on how they categorize it…I mean, it’s a pop song, but Kendrick Lamar does have a fair amount of rapping and I’m not sure of the official rule).  Anyway, I’m not sure about the song/video categories, but I’m almost certain that 1989 will get those two album nominations.  If not, then I’m boycotting the Grammys because it seriously deserves it.

Meghan Trainor: While Meghan Trainor was a surprise at last year’s Grammys, I think she quite honestly deserves a Best New Artist nomination.  She couldn’t qualify last year because her “significant work” (aka Title) was not released during the period.  Since Trainor has really incorporated a lot of different twists into her music and defined pop music in a new way, she definitely deserves some sort of nomination.  I also think she could get nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album for Title because her vocal work is incredible on that album.  There is the possibility she could get nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for her duet with John Legend “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.”  I doubt “Lips Are Movin,'” her follow up hit to “All About That Bass” will get any nominations despite it being a great song, but there is always the possibility it could get a Best Pop Solo Performance, Song of the Year, and/or Record of the Year nomination.

Mark Ronson:  Who can forget “Uptown Funk.”  Literally, every radio station in my area played it non-stop for like four months.  So, I think “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars could get nominated for Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

Wiz Khalifa: “See You Again” was such a huge anthem this year that it definitely deserves nods in Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and possibly Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (or Best Rap/Sung Collaboration…again, I’m not sure how they define that).  It also could be nominated for Best Song Written for a Visual Media because I believe it was written for Furious 7.

Kendrick LamarTo Pimp a Butterfly was another huge album this past year, and I think Kendrick Lamar will be nominated for Best Rap Album, and quite possibly Album of the Year again.

The Weeknd:  Undoubtedly the Weeknd had an incredible year with the release of his massive hits “Earned It,” “Can’t Feel My Face,” and “The Hills,” as well has album Beauty Behind the Madness.  His works definitely makes him a contender for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album (or whatever genre they categorize his album) for Beauty Behind the Madness, and possibly Song and Record of the Year for either “Can’t Feel My Face” or “The Hills.”  I personally think he’ll get the nomination for “Can’t Feel My Face” for Record of the Year and has a good shot at winning it.  I also think he could perhaps get a nod (and maybe win) Best New Artist, but I don’t know if he qualifies.  Best New Artist is one of those categories that I’m not sure how the Grammys defines the qualifications.  It’s supposed to be an artist who releases a breakthrough album that establishes the artist during the Grammy period, like the Weeknd seemed to do, although he did have a big debut with his first album Kiss Land.    However, Ed Sheehan released “The A Team” and was nominated for Song of the Year a couples years ago and then the following year after that nomination he was nominated for Best New Artist, even though the prior year would have been the year he “established” himself.  There have been other instances like that were it doesn’t quite add up.  But, I definitely think the Weeknd should fit that category.

 

Anyway, those are the thoughts that I had while biking this morning, and I just wanted to put them out there…if I have anymore brainwaves, I’ll add to the list.  Again, take this all with a grain of salt because I’m getting way ahead of myself and you never really know who will get nominated.  Although, I’d like to point out that I predicted all the nominees last year for Record of the Year (and I was pretty spot on with the others, but Record of the Year was the only category I guessed them all right).

2015 Song of the Year Nominees!

  • Kevin Kadish and Meghan Trainor for “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor

  • Taylor Swift, Max Martin, Shellback for “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift

  • Sia Furler and Jesse Shatkin for “Chandelier” by Sia

  • Sam Smith, James Napier, William Phillips for “Stay with Me” by Sam Smith

  • Andrew Hozier-Byrne for “Take Me to Church” by Hozier

Best New Artist 2015 Nominees!

  • Bastille
  • Iggy Azalea
  • Sam Smith
  • HAIM
  • Brandy Clark

I was right about Iggy and Sam Smith….I actually had considered Bastille…I don’t know why I didn’t put them down.

I’m going to say it again, this “let’s tweet out the nominees” is really stressful because you have to keep refreshing…