The biggest night in music is coming one month early this year!
It’s hard to believe that The Grammys are upon us once again, and this year’s nominees didn’t come without a little controversy. To breakdown The Academy’s nominations, and make a few predictions of our own, I’ve enlisted the help my good friend Terron Moore, an extraordinary writer and social media rock star that has quite the impeccable taste in music. Be sure to tune into the 2014 Grammy Awards on January 26th, 2014 on CBS. And now, here we go!
Record of the Year (Nominees): ‘Get Lucky’ – Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams; ‘Radioactive’ – Imagine Dragons; ‘Royals’ – Lorde; ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ – Bruno Mars; ‘Blurred Lines’ – Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell Williams and T.I.
CC: I’m quite surprised that my homie Justin Timberlake isn’t in this category with ‘Mirrors’, but I will have to say that the contenders listed are all well deserving of this honor. ‘Radioactive’ was technically sent to radio in April 2012, and then again in October 2012, so I see how it made the cut. But if I were to choose, I’d say that Bruno is totally going to take this win.
TM: This is a tough category here, probably one of the only battles where I don’t see any real missteps. Five really good songs that had a massive impact on the year, but let’s be honest: “Blurred Lines” is likely out of here first. I don’t see a song that sexy winning the Grammy over “Locked out of Heaven” or “Get Lucky”, which is definitely the frontrunner of this bunch. “Radioactive” is a dark horse, but even darker is Lorde’s “Royals”, the Academy’s way of trying to stay hip and cool. With Grammy picks being so notoriously hard to call, Lorde would be a risky man’s call.
Song of the Year (Nominees): ‘Just Give Me A Reason’ – P!nk; ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ -Bruno Mars; ‘Roar’ – Katy Perry; ‘Same Love’ – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert; ‘Royals’ – Lorde
TM: Just for clarification, the Song of the Year Award is different from Record of the Year in that it is for the writers of the song, not the artists. Here, my gut goes for “Just Give Me A Reason”, simply because Pink is exponentially underrated as an artist. But that would take her knocking out “Royals” and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love”, and if there’s any song tailor-made for a songwriting award, it’s the rap song about supporting homosexuality, where a rapper confesses he once thought he was gay.
CC: I was just speaking with someone the other day about the amazing evolution that P!nk’s career has experience since she came on the scene almost 13 years ago. I absolutely love the production of this song, and I think hearing a familiar voice like Nate Ruess’ gives so much more to the song. I’m going with this for the win too.
Album of the Year (Nominees): ‘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
TM: The critics have been abuzz with Justin Timberlake being “snubbed” in this year’s Big Four, but Album of the Year is where his presence is most sorely missed. Sara Bareilles’ ‘The Blessed Unrest’ and the extremely aged ‘Red’ (the Grammys love Taylor Swift, no matter what) are the biggest culprits in who took ‘The 20/20 Experience’s spot, as JT finds himself out of the Album of the Year category for the first time. I’m thrilled that ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D City’ has a chance at a deserved win, but my gut is telling me ‘Random Access Memories’ may have this locked. I personally find ‘The Heist’ the weakest of all, but it could be a Grammy favorite. You know, other than Taylor Swift.
CC: Still bummed not to see JT in this category because ’20/20′ was so highly anticipated, and I agree with you that Sara and Taylor are probably the reasons why he didn’t make the cut. But I think it’s absolutely fantastic to see a hip-hop album (and a great one at that) to be nominated. ‘The Heist’ in my opinion is the weakest album nominated, so I’m going to go with Taylor Swift’s ‘Red’ winning this one.
Best New Artist (Nominees): James Blake, Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar, Ed Sheeran, Kacey Musgraves
CC: Surprised not to see Ariana Grande or Lorde not in this category, and confused as to why Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are even listed (can you tell that I’m not really a big fan of these two?). I enjoy James Blake, but I really want my boy K. Dot to take this one home — it would be a HUGE win for hip-hop.
TM: The Best New Artist category is the one that usually causes the most uproar, because the Grammys are least likely to pick the person most deserving (remember when Kanye freaked after losing to Maroon 5?). That being said, it’s overwhelmingly obvious that this is Macklemore’s fight to lose, and it would be shocking to see them defeated by any peers in the running. But everyone in this category is always a contender, and you really never know who will come out on top. I’m eyeing Kendrick Lamar for a steal. (Sidenote: where is the eligible Lorde in this category? Very strange oversight.)
Best Pop Solo Performance (Nominees): ‘Brave’ – Sara Bareilles; ‘Royals’ – Lorde; ‘When I Was Your Man’ – Bruno Mars; ‘Roar’ – Katy Perry; ‘Mirrors’ – Justin Timberlake
TM: This category always feels like a consolation prize, a holdover Grammy for those who couldn’t hack it for Record or Song of the Year. With that in mind, it may be reserved for Justin Timberlake, whose “Mirrors” was a chart-topper. But the other nominees are pretty strong as well; I’m not seeing it for Katy’s “Roar”, and the Academy may just stick it to her by giving it to “Brave”, the song it reportedly copies. But then again, you clearly shouldn’t count out “Royals”, a great pop solo if there ever was one. It’s a murky mess of picks this year.
CC: Agreed. While I’m confident that Justin will walk away with this one because the song performed so well on the charts, I wouldn’t be surprised to see ‘Royals’. I probably wouldn’t have chosen ‘When I Was Your Man’ for Bruno Mars, but it’s a solid song. Everyone has been singing ‘Royals’ since the summertime (it’s just so darn catchy!) so I could see it walking away with the gold too. ‘Roar’…I just don’t even know why.
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (Nominees): ‘Get Lucky’ – Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams; ‘Just Give Me A Reason’ – P!nk feat. Nate Ruess; ‘Stay’ Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko; ‘Blurred Lines’ – Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell Williams & T.I.; ‘Suit & Tie’ – Justin Timeberlake feat. Jay Z
CC: First, let’s acknowledge the fact that Pharrell has two opportunities to win, which makes him twice as awesome. Secondly, this is such a robust list of nominees, and each song reminds me a different, yet great part of 2013. With that said, my gut is telling me that ‘Blurred Lines’ has got this one in the bag — but I won’t be surprised if ‘Get Lucky’ walks away with the prize either. We grooved to both songs throughout the summer , but how can you not love seeing T.I. get his Bill Cosby on?!
TM: This is a really stunning category: say what you want, but I really like Rihanna’s “Stay” here. It’s the best ballad she’s done yet, but still, she’s the weakest link against four incredible tracks, all of which I have equally strong soft spots for. I think “Suit & Tie” is a contender and I’ve already stated my love for Pink and Daft Punk, but this is really where Robin Thicke and co. have their fairest shot at a golden gramophone, and I think they’ll take it.
Best R&B Song (Nominees): ‘Best of Me’ – Anthony Hamilton; ‘Love & War’ – Tamar Braxton; ‘Only One’ – PJ Morton; ‘Pusher Love Girl’ – Justin Timberlake; ‘Without Me’ – Fantasia feat. Kelly Rowland
TM: Color me incredibly surprised that Justin Timberlake, Tamar Braxton, and Fantasia’s excellently dark “Without Me” found their way into this category. Once in a while, the Grammys will pay homage to a non-single track, and “Pusher Love Girl” almost certainly trumps those other two surprise nods, though I don’t know if I see him surpassing the Grammy-made Anthony Hamilton. But I’m even more shocked that Janelle Monae wasn’t given honors in this category, especially for her sultry Prince duet “Givin’ Em What They Love”. It’s probably the biggest oversight in a year of relatively right calls.
CC: I think it’s pretty cool that JT has a nod in the R&B category, FINALLY! ‘Pusher Love Girl’ is my favorite cut on ’20/20′ and it is the most R&B sounding on the album. But in all honest, I want my girl Tamar to take this one because she sings DOWN on ‘Love & War’. When I first heard it, I was blown away at how strong her voice was and the overall production of the song. I’ve had the biggest crush on PJ Morton since before his days with Maroon 5, and just love ‘Only One’, so I’m happy to see him nominated. But I must say, to not see Janelle Monae nominated at ALL hurts my feelings because ‘The Electric Lady’ is a magnificent album. Her time is coming though — I just know it.
Best Rap Performance (Nominees): ‘Started From The Bottom’ – Drake; ‘Bezerk’ – Eminem; ‘Tom Ford’ – Jay Z; ‘Swimming Pools’ – Kendrick Lamar; ‘Thrift Shop’ – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
CC: Tom Ford has had me crunk since the 4th of July, but there’s something about ‘Started From The Bottom’ that everyone can relate to, and with that I think Drizzy may take the Grammy home. I don’t pop molly, but I’m not rocking Tom Ford either — sorry Shawn.
TM: There are some really hard hitting tracks in here, but I think you can rule out “Tom Ford” and “Berzerk” almost immediately, leaving “Started From The Bottom” (the most classic sounding), “Swimming Pools” (the risky but deserved pick), and “Thrift Shop” (the statement piece). Drake is a Grammy darling already and Macklemore has as good a shot here as anywhere else, but the most important rap song of the past year—to me, anyway—is Kendrick’s. Being realistic: this is Macklemore’s to lose.
Best Rap Song (Nominees): ‘F***in’ Problems’ – ASAP Rocky feat. Drake, 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar; ‘Holy Grail’ – JAY Z feat. Justin Timberlake; ‘Started From The Bottom’ – Drake; ‘Thrift Shop’ – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
TM: I suppose Best Rap Song differs from Best Rap Performance in that it goes to the songwriters, so ASAP Rocky being heralded a Grammy-worthy songwriter is news to me. That being said, my mind immediately goes to “Started From The Bottom” as the top pick in this category. It’s current, it’s an anthem, and—nerd alert—I’m particularly fond of his rhythm and cadences on the track. Still, never count out “Thrift Shop”, and certainly don’t forget “Holy Grail” here. Jay and Justin are almost guaranteed to leave with gold, and this may be where they get credit for putting their genius together.
CC: ‘F***in’ Problems’ is JAM! I’m low-key hype to see it nominated because it was definitely a club banger throughout the summer. But I’m pretty sure that the Legends of The Summer are going to take the crown with ‘Holy Grail’ — I mean, how can you not love the ode to ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’? While I’m loving ‘Yeezus’ more and more these days, I think ‘New Slaves’ is a close contender as well. ‘Thrift Shop’ is the poppiest song in this category and doesn’t stand a chance.
Best Rap Album (Nominees): ‘Nothing Was The Same’ – Drake; ‘Magna Carta…Holy Grail’ – Jay Z; ‘Good Kid, M.A.D.D. City’ – Kendrick Lamar; ‘The Heist’ – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis; ‘Yeezus’ – Kanye West
TM: Best category hands down, and it nearly always is. But after ruling out MGHC—I don’t think the Academy will see it for Jay Z’s Samsung album—and shelving The Heist, you only have three real contenders. Kanye has won this award for every album except 808s and Heartbreak, but I think Yeezus may be out as well, and that leaves Drake, who took this category in 2013, and Kendrick, who actually released the best rap album of the past year, actual fact. Do with that what you will, Academy.
CC: Now THIS is going to be the category that will keep me on the edge of my seat January 26th! Kendrick’s album was incredible, MCHG was strong and as I previously stated, Yeezus was great too. All three albums are full of substance and tell a story of not only the artist, but their unique relationship with fame. I wholeheartedly want Kendrick to take the trophy home for this one because the album is phenomenal. I really didn’t like but a few tracks on ‘NWTS’, so we shall see how The Academy does with that.