Tag Archives: Taylor Swift

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.”

 

Best Pop Solo Performance – Predictions

Best Pop Solo Performance Nominees:

  • “Heartbeat Song” – Kelly Clarkson
  • “Blank Space” – Taylor Swift
  • “Love Me Like You Do” – Ellie Goulding
  • “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran
  • “Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd

Who Should Win: “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran

Performance categories are always hard for me because each artist has a different singing style, so you can’t judge based on their vocal quality.  I mean, if you put Adele in the category (I know she’s not this year, but next year…) she’d win because Adele could sing my grocery list and it’d be flawless.  Therefore, I’d have to judge this based on which performance grabbed me in the most and had struck me the most, and Ed Sheeran did that.  He doesn’t hold back and really grabs the listener into his song. When he sings on this track, it feels like time stands still.


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

I feel like I’m going to write this a lot, but any one of these nominees could win.  They each have very emotive performances, so it probably will come down to politics…

Still, The Weeknd, does have an exceptional vocal performance on “Can’t Feel My Face.”  I personally enjoy when he sings in his lower register.  Still, I’d prefer to see Ed Sheeran win because he does this vocal thing in the last chorus that feels more real than The Weeknd’s performance.  But, again, it’s a gut feeling…

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 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.

Tricking Him into 1989

I have this friend who I think is the only person who is unaware of Taylor Swift’s record breaking album 1989, which officially spent a complete year in the top ten of the the Billboard 200.  He prefers more indie folk/jazz music, particularly if it’s rather unknown, so he doesn’t listen to pop radio or follow artists like Taylor Swift.  No judgement.  We all have different tastes in music.  I’m entitled to listen to T. Swift just like he’s entitled not to.  However, for years he would moan how she’s too “mainstream” and basically wouldn’t give her a chance.  I would tell him he might like one of her songs, but he never gave her a fair shot (in my opinion).

When Ryan Adams released his cover of 1989, naturally I listened to it and enjoyed it (I particularly like his cover of “All You Had to Do was Stay”).  Adams completely took Swift’s album and made it his own, but he made it a completely different genre and made it sound like something from the early nineties.  I knew my friend would like it.  So I sent it to him.

Yesterday we were talking about Ryan Adams and my friend was telling me all about how he listened to the album and actually liked it.  Turns out some of the songs were catchy to him and intrigued him.  Then I told him how Ryan Adams covered the whole album.  That in fact Taylor Swift created the original album  and had written the entire album.  Boy, was he shocked.

True, the performance styles between Taylor Swift and Ryan Adams are different and my friend probably responded to the more folksy sound of Ryan Adams than the bubbly pop of Taylor Swift, but the fact remains you cannot perform a song in any style without it being well written (or written at all).  And the fact Swift’s songs could stand up and still shine through Adams covers shows her incredible songwriting ability.  This is not to say Ryan Adams is not a quality musician – it takes great talent to do what he did.  My point is that instead of my friend writing off Taylor Swift as untalented or lackluster, he should have actually just listened to one of her albums before saying she was a waste of time.  Because whether or not he wants to admit, I know he liked an album Taylor Swift wrote.  And he can never take that away from me.

Bad Blood Orchestra!

I love when people take popular songs and turn them into orchestral arrangements.  Granted, the video below is probably all computer generate instruments, but who cares?  It’s awesome!  It blows my mind when people can take songs and transform them into something else but still keep the integrity of them.  Believe me, I’ve played in many orchestras where they tried to play “popular” songs, but the arrangements really ruined the songs.

Anyway, Taylor Swift tweeted out a link to this video of an arrangement of her song “Bad Blood” and it’s amazing.  You have to listen to it.

I probably shouldn’t have read the tweet to it because I could only think about pirates and Pirates of the Caribbean, but it was still pretty epic.  Listen/watch below.

Wildest Dreams Music Video

Last night, Taylor Swift released the music video for her latest single, “Wildest Dreams.”  The video shows Swift as a ’40s movie star, filming a movie; she falls in love with her character’s love interest and then realizes it was all a “dream” because they were just acting.  I especially though the cinematography was beautifully done.

There was one moment where she’s sitting in front of a lion, and I just kept wondering if she actually did that…I mean, if were me, I’d be praying it wouldn’t eat me.  I’m somewhat skeptically if the animals were actually there though because this music video was directed by Joseph Kahn, the guy who did her previous two videos (“Blank Space” and “Bad Blood”), and both those videos had such well-done effects.  In particular, I remember there’s a scene in “Blank Space” where Swift takes a golf club and destroys her love interest’s car, and I thought she literally was destroying the car because the effects looked so real.  I actually started wondering what they would do if she messed up the take and they had to shoot the scene again: would they buy another car?  But then I realized that it was all CGI.  So if that looked pretty realistic, they could’ve just plopped the lions, zebras, and giraffes into the background.

While I enjoyed the video and think it’s worth the watch (see video above), I don’t think it matches or surpasses the epicness that was “Bad Blood” (like anything could).  However, according to the music video, all of her proceeds from this video will be donated to the African Parks Foundation of America to help with wild animal conservation.

Taylor Swift Brings Back “Smelly Cat” (!!!)

I woke up early this morning and for some reason had the urge to check Twitter.  It was as if the gods were telling me something amazing had happened.  And I saw that Taylor Swift had brought out Lisa Kudrow (as Phoebe Buffay) on her latest show of the 1989 World Tour to play “Smelly Cat.”

I don’t know how long this clip will last on Youtube (they’re bound to pull it down), but Taylor Swift introduces Kudrow as a “singer [who] has only performed in coffee houses before…this is Phoebe Buffay.”  Phoebe finally made it!

They then proceeded to recreate this scene from Friends:

Now, I’m happy to report, “smelly cat” is a top trending topic on Twitter and Facebook.  It’s crazy to think after like twenty years, people still remember Phoebe and her songs.

If you want to see more clips/read more about it, click here.

UPDATE:

I found a clip of the whole performance:

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).

Taylor Swift’s Fifth Single from 1989?

Taylor Swift’s latest album 1989 has launched four top ten hits, three of which went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100.  I was looking at the release history of her singles from this album, and they almost literally were released three months apart.  Since “Bad Blood” was released in May and it is now August, I think there is a very strong possibility the fifth single could be released.  Very soon.

But which song will Swift and her team choose?

I saw someone ask her (I think on Tumblr) what would be the next single, and she replied saying she didn’t know (which I suspect is a slight lie…Ms. Swift has a strong record of being ten steps ahead of everyone and having things planned out in great detail).  I read a lot of speculation from various blogs and Swift-fan Tumblr pages that “New Romantics,” a bonus song from the deluxe version of 1989, will be or should be the next single.  I think the speculation comes from the fact that it’s the only bonus song that is in the setlist of the 1989 World Tour; the others she has performed, but not at every show like “New Romantics.”  Why would she make a song that is not part of the standard version of 1989 (she performs all thirteen songs plus a couple of her past hits during the show) part of the setlist if it was not to be a single.  And she has made bonus songs singles previously (let us remember “Ours” from the deluxe version of Speak Now).

chart

Chart performances on the Billboard Hot 100 for the bonus songs from 1989

Personally, I wouldn’t choose “New Romantics” as the next single.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the song, it has a great beat, message, and it’s great to dance around to with your hands in the air (something I have in fact done).  The first reason is that when they released the bonus tracks as promotional singles a could months ago, “New Romantics” didn’t do the best.  Now, I don’t have the sales figures or anything, I just have the reported chart performances, so I’m using that to estimate that “Wonderland” sold/tested better than “New Romantics” (see above chart).  Also, keep in mind that Swift has had promotional singles, like “Speak Now,” “State of Grace,” and “Out of the Woods,” chart significantly higher on the Billboard Hot 100 based solely on digital downloads (eight, thirteen, and eighteen, respectively).

Early chart performance probably doesn’t matter because Taylor Swift could take her worst song (as if that exists) and make it a top ten hit easy.  The other reason why I wouldn’t choose “New Romantics” is because, to me, it feels like a summer anthem, what with the drum beat and big chorus.  If they released it now as we head out of summer, it wouldn’t have a long shelf life.  Sure, it would get spins during the dog days of August and early September, but as the leaves start to change, we’re no longer dancing on the beach but settling down for autumn.
My suggestion: “Wildest Dreams.”  It’s the perfect fit for where she’s at with the promotion of the album.  Tempo-wise, it changes it up from her past upbeat singles and it slows it down for the summer-ending/autumn-coming season.  Plus, it’s radio friendly with a pretty darn catchy and beautiful chorus.  On top of all that, it was the only non-single/non-promotional-single to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, landing at number seventy-six during the release week of 1989.  In fact, I remember it was a worldwide trending topic during 1989‘s release week.  This all boils down to the fact that while it is a big fan favorite, it has spilled over into non-Swifties (for the purpose of this post, I’m defining a non-Swiftie as someone who would listen to her music, but are only really familiar with her hits from radio.  Like, they’re not hardcore fans for various reasons).  With another mind-blowing music video, “Wildest Dreams” could easily be her fourth number one single from 1989 (fifth overall).

There really isn’t anyway to know what will be the fifth single (if there is to be one) until Swift tells us.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we hear “Out of the Woods” on the radio pretty soon or “New Romantics.” My hope, though, is that in a couple weeks we’ll see “Wildest Dreams” sitting on top of the Billboard 100.  That would be pretty cool.