Grammy Dissection, Part 2: Rock Categories

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The Black Keys should have a solid night within the Rock fields.

Best Rock Performance

  • “Hold On,” Alabama Shakes (Boys & Girls)
  • “Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys (El Camino)
  • “Charlie Brown,” Coldplay
  • “I Will Wait,” Mumford & Sons (Babel)
  • “We Take Care Of Our Own,” Bruce Springsteen (Wrecking Ball)

Commentary:

Don’t count “The Boss” out.

“Lonely Boy” seems to be the favorite here. Had “I Will Wait” been nominated in the larger categories given the parent’s album nomination (Babel), I my have given it more weight.  You can never count out Coldplay or Springsteen.  Honestly, I love the Springsteen record and was pleasantly surprise to see it received the nomination.  And Alabama Shakes are awesome. “Lonely Boy” by The Black Keys has the edge with Mumford & Sons and Springsteen on its heels.

Surprise Omissions:

No Jack White performance is recognized? Hmm.

 

Best Rock Song

  • “Freedom At 21,” Jack White (Blunderbuss)
  • “I Will Wait,” Mumford & Sons (Babel)
  • “Lonely Boy,” The Black Keys (El Camino)
  • “Madness,” Muse
  • “We Take Care Of Our Own,” Bruce Springsteen (Wrecking Ball)

Commentary:

Jack White is up against stiff competition despite great musicianship on Blunderbuss.

So there is a three-way race here and it doesn’t included Jack White’s excellent “Freedom At 21” or Muse’s modern-influenced “Madness.” Split decisions have happened in this category, so its possible that Bruce Springsteen or Mumford & Sons could be rewarded here even if The Black Keys won Best Rock Performance.  That said, I would expect a ‘winner takes all,’ so I’m going to put my ‘eggs in one basket’ and crown The Black Keys.  If not them, I believe there is a bigger chance for a ‘split decision,’ though I also think either Springsteen/Mumford win both categories.

Best Rock Album

  • El Camino, The Black Keys [Nonesuch]
  • Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay [Capitol]
  • The 2nd Law, Muse [WB]
  • Wrecking Ball, Bruce Springsteen [Columbia]
  • Blunderbuss, Jack White [Columbia]

Commentary:

Coldplay seems unlikely to win against the likes of Springsteen, The Black Keys or Jack White here.

Muse (The 2nd Law)  will not win this one, even if they won for their last album; it is a weaker affair. Similarly, I don’t think Coldplay will win for Mylo Xyloto.  Sure, it managed a couple of nominations, but if it were on that Viva La Vida ‘swag,’ it would have also landed at least one larger nomination (album of the year, etc.).  So it comes down to Springsteen, Jack White, and The Black Keys. I personally think Jack White is on pace to have the worst night of the album of the year nominees despite having one of the year’s best, so I don’t have much faith he will win this category (it could happen, but I’m not high on his odds). Springsteen is a veteran and is always nominated so if her were to upset The Black Keys, would that be shocking? Again, putting my eggs into one basket, I’m going for El Camino for the win.

Surprising Omissions:

There are some albums that seem to be ignored like Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth and what about Grammy darlings Green Day whose ¡Uno! Album was eligible?

 

Best Alternative Music album

  • The Idler Wheel Is Wiser…, Fiona Apple [Epic]
  • Biophilia, Björk [Nonesuch]
  • Making Mirrors, Gotye [Universal Republic]
  • Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, M83 [Mute]
  • Bad As Me, Tom Waits [Anti]

Commentary:

Björk’s Biophilia was an exceptional album by all means.

If only more albums could grace this always competitive category.  I can vouch for three of these albums – Fiona Apple, Björk, and Gotye.  I have heard “Midnight City” from M83’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming and am completely unfamiliar with Tom Waits’s album.  The odd man out seems to be veteran Tom Waits.  M83’s single was incredibly popular, but is that enough to make a case for the album? That said, my top three choices are the three albums I am most familiar with – Apple, Björk, and Gotye.  Gotye might get a boost from voters because of “Somebody That I Used To Know.” There are no more notable singles, but the most important one is certainly a juggernaut and the album is solid.  Björk and Fiona Apple’s albums are nearly if not flawless and both very different. Apple opts for stripped means but delivers excellent songwriting and musicianship while Biophilia by Björk is an odd, eccentric, and beautiful masterpiece.  I’d opt for either Apple or Björk, but this may be the sole category where voters reward Gotye.

Surprising Omissions:

There are always multiple candidates that deserve to be included within this category. I would have liked to have seen Passion Pit (Gossamer) or Lost In The Trees (A Church That Fits Our Needs) pick up a nomination here. Cases could also be made by a host of others including Beach House (Bloom), Walk The Moon, etc.

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