‘Way Too Early’ 56th Annual Grammy Winner Predictions


So the Grammy nominations just came out, and guess who is already putting his two cents in about who’s gonna win? This guy is! Yep it is technically ‘way too early’, but who cares? How about some December predictions for what’s gonna go down in January?

The Big Four

Record of the Year

41FJb1q2VyL._SL500_AA280_“Get Lucky”, Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams

“Radioactive”, Imagine Dragons

“Royals”, Lorde

“Locked Out of Heaven”, Bruno Mars

“Blurred Lines”, Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell

This is one of the most competitive categories, period.   All five of these are worthy records, which isn’t always true.  If one feels like it’s out of place, it is Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven”, mostly because it is the ‘oldest’ of the bunch.

Both “Blurred Lines” and “Royals” are deserving of love based on their impact, but just because you ruled the Hot 100 certainly doesn’t equate to a Grammy.  If one of these two wins, I’d give the edge to Lorde, who doesn’t have various controversies on her back.  Still, rock would get a huge recognition if Imagine Dragons’ mammoth hit “Radioactive” was awarded here.  Still, doesn’t Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” seem unavoidable here, particularly if the duo is victorious in the Album of the Year category?

Way Too Early Pick:

Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams, “Get Lucky

Album of the Year

41FJb1q2VyL._SL500_AA280_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

I’m not even going to curb my biases – I’m rooting for Kendrick Lamar’s rap opus Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City.   But I won’t even begin to act like it has a shot after hip-hop has been avoided like a plague in this coveted category; its only been a decade since OutKast’s undeniable masterpiece Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was awarded AOTY.  But Kendrick also has killer competition within his own genre with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ breakthrough The Heist, which is certainly considered more ‘friendly’ hip-hop.  I think both cancel each other out, which leaves Sara Bareilles, Taylor Swift, and Daft Punk.  As good as Red is, Taylor Swift has already won for her career-breakthrough, Fearless.  Sara Bareilles’ inclusion over bigger pop albums is shocking, but never count out the surprise nominee… sometimes that’s the album that wins.  Personally, I think Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories is the frontrunner.

Way Too Early Pick:

Random Access Memories, Daft Punk

Song of the Year

41XAtgtU1xL._SL500_AA280_“Just Give Me The Reason” (Pink featuring Nate Ruess)

“Locked Out of Heaven” (Bruno Mars)

“Roar” (Katy Perry)

“Royals” (Lorde)

“Same Love” (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert)

Another big-time category, my goodness! All of the nominees here should be jumping for joy that “Get Lucky” wasn’t nominated in this category.  Again, I’m going to eliminate “Locked Out Of Heaven”, no matter how good it is; I don’t think it’s Bruno’s year.  While I love Pink and approved of “Just Give Me The Reason” (with Nate Ruess of fun.), I’m not sure the no. 1 hit is the best song of the year.  If the voters want to go bold (and political), they vote for the fine “Same Love”, courtesy of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert.  If they don’t, they’re left with the inspirational breakthrough “Roar” and the ubiquitous “Royals”.   If Katy Perry was ever to win a Grammy, “Royals” would be the perfect song.  However, that “Royals” is one unique song contrasting its fellow nominees.

Way Too Early Pick

“Royals” (Lorde)

Best New Artist

51BomNkKT2LJames Blake

Kendrick Lamar

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Kacey Musgraves

Ed Sheeran

Another category where I’m biased to one artist – Kendrick Lamar!  Again though, Lamar is up against heavyweights Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.  Kacey Musgraves unapologetic brand of country is notable from what I heard, but I’m not sure she outpaces the huge hip-hop nominees.  Ed Sheeran feels either a year late or a year early, depending on your perspective, but could certainly play spoils.  James Blake’s nod is a ‘trap’ for the hip-hop favorites, amplified by his Mercury Prize victory for superb sophomore album OvergrownI’m truly torn here, so I’ll go with who I think is most deserving, even if it doesn’t come to pass.

Way Too Early Pick

 Kendrick Lamar

Pop

Best Pop Solo Performance

41XAtgtU1xL._SL500_AA280_“Brave”, Sara Bareilles

“Royals”, Lorde

“When I Was Your Man”, Bruno Mars

“Roar”, Katy Perry

“Mirrors”, Justin Timberlake

Five great performances, but only one can win.  I would eliminate “Brave” first, though I thought it was a brilliant performance by Sara B.  Then I look towards the two male pop cuts potentially cancelling each other out (“When I Was Your Man” and “Mirrors”).  That returns us to the Song of the Year head-to-head.  Again, Katy Perry is due, but Lorde is likely the no. 1 seed, even at just 16.  Remember when Adele left the Grammys victorious pre- 21? Exactly.

Way Too Early Pick

“Royals” (Lorde)

Best Pop Duo / Group Performance

41FJb1q2VyL._SL500_AA280_“Get Lucky”, Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams

“Just Give Me A Reason”, Pink featuring Nate Ruess

“Stay”, Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko

“Blurred Lines”, Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell

“Suit & Tie”, Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z

Four people are going to be disappointed, but I don’t think it will be Daft Punk or Pharrell Williams.

Way Too Early Pick

Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams, “Get Lucky

Best Pop Vocal Album

51C5yP6ZOqL._SL500_AA280_Paradise, Lana Del Rey

Pure Heroine, Lorde

Unorthodox Jukebox, Bruno Mars

Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke

The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience, Justin Timberlake

Here’s my thinking.  I think Lorde will be victorious for “Royals”, but she won’t be awarded for Pure Heroine.  Lana Del Rey’s only Grammy love will come from this nomination – she won’t win.  That leaves Robin Thicke, Bruno Mars, and Justin Timberlake to slug it out.  Robin Thicke had a big year and his nomination is warranted in my opinion.  Even though I enjoyed Blurred Lines, I’m not sure it’s the best pop vocal album. That said, I’m not sure either Bruno Mars or Justin Timberlake’s efforts were either, LOL. Who’s been gone for seven years? Justin Timberlake.  Who was arguably most snubbed for album of the year? Justin Timberlake? Who wins Best Pop Vocal Album? Justin Timberlake.

Way Too Early Pick

The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience, Justin Timberlake

Best Dance / Electronica Album

41FJb1q2VyL._SL500_AA280_Random Access Memories, Daft Punk

Settle, Disclosure

18 Months, Calvin Harris

Atmosphere, Kaskade

A Color Map of the Sun, Pretty Lights

Let’s not belabor this: it’s all Daft Punk.

Way Too Early Pick

Random Access Memories, Daft Punk

Rock

Best Rock Performance

41sZvqJTYcL._SL500_AA280_“Always Alright”, Alabama Shakes (Silver Linings Playbook Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

“The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”, David Bowie (The Next Day)

“Radioactive”, Imagine Dragons (Night Visions)

“Kashmir”, Led Zeppelin  (Celebration Day)

“My God Is The Sun”, Queens of the Stone Age (…Like Clockwork)

“I’m Shakin’”, Jack White

Going with my heart and logic, I’m giving this one to Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive”.  “Radioactive” was too big a rock success to ignore, particularly if it loses in the ROTY category.

Way Too Early Pick

“Radioactive”, Imagine Dragons (Night Visions)

Best Rock Song

512dHC6sh9L._SL500_AA280_“Ain’t Messin ‘Round” (Gary Clark, Jr.)

“Cut Me Some Slack” (Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear)

“Doom and Gloom” (The Rolling Stones)

“God is Dead?” (Black Sabbath)

“Panic Station”  (Muse)

I am a huge fan of “God is Dead?”, but anything with Paul McCartney or Dave Grohl attached might have a slight edge (“God Is Dead?” has a better shot in the metal category).  “Panic Station” is no slouch either.

Way Too Early Pick:

“Cut Me Some Slack” (Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear)

Best Rock Album

510gRIX6xfL._SL500_AA280_13, Black Sabbath

The Next Day, David Bowie

Mechanical Bull, Kings of Leon

Celebration Day, Led Zeppelin

…Like Clockwork, Queens of the Stone Age

Psychedelic Pill, Neil Young With Crazy Horse

This category is a tough one, no question about it.  Kings of Leon and Queens of the Stone Age go up against veteran competition who are all worthy.  I’m not sure that Mechanical Bull has a shot, though it was a solid effort.  …Like Clockwork was a breakout effort for QOTSA, but does it have enough support? Neil Young always releases albums, but he also seems to be quite underrated in part because he’s always releasing albums, LOL.  That leaves who I believe are the strongest contenders: Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and David Bowie.   Black Sabbath and David Bowie both made notable comebacks, stretching nearly 50 years combined.  It would be a travesty if one is not recognized, particularly given a skinny Grammy track record.

Way Too Early Pick  

13, Black Sabbath

Best Alternative Music Album

51Tqebc+IZL._SL500_AA280_The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, Neko Case

Trouble Will Find Me, The National

Hesitation Marks, Nine Inch Nails

Lonerism, Tame Impala

Modern Vampires of the City, Vampire Weekend

The alternative category is always a beast.  However, I hope the voters give my boy Ezra Koenig and Vampire Weekend some love… they should’ve been in the AOTY category.  No offense Trent Reznor.

Way Too Early Pick

Modern Vampires of the City, Vampire Weekend

Urban

Best R&B Performance 

513qVnjWihL._SL500_AA280_“Love And War”, Tamar Braxton

“Best of Me”, Anthony Hamilton (Back to Love)

“Nakamarra”, Hiatus Kaiyote featuring Q-Tip (Tawk Tomahawk)

“How Many Drinks”, Miguel featuring Kendrick Lamar

“Something”, Snarky Puppy with Lalah Hathaway (Family Dinner Volume One)

Three tracks stand out here: “Love And War”, “Best of Me”, and “How Many Drinks?”  “Love And War” is one powerful track, and “Best of Me” is classy, but can the voters ignore a red-hot Miguel or Kendrick Lamar?

Way Too Early Pick  

“How Many Drinks”, Miguel featuring Kendrick Lamar

Best Urban Contemporary Album

51R6Qpg7HKL._SL500_AA280_Love And War, Tamar Braxton

Side Effects of You, Fantasia

One: In The Chamber, Salaam Remi

Unapologetic, Rihanna

New York: A Love Story, Mack Wilds

Tamar Braxton seems to have some support on her side for Love And War.  However, I prefer Fantasia’s Side Effects of You.  The trendy choice, however, is Rihanna’s Unapologetic.  Tough decision… glad I don’t have to make it.  Fantasia been a Grammy staple as far as consistent nominations…

Way Too Early Pick  

Fantasia, Side Effects of You

Best R&B Album

41o5xUIKO+L._SL500_AA280_R&B Divas, Faith Evans

Girl On Fire, Alicia Keys

Love in the Future, John Legend

Better, Chrisette Michele

Three Kings, TGT

I believe this is John Legend’s to lose.  However, don’t underestimate Alicia Keys or one superstar collaborative effort from Tyrese, Ginuwine, or Tank.

Way Too Early Pick

Love in the Future, John Legend

Best Rap Performance

51-mkLBVPoL._SL500_AA280_“Started From the Bottom”, Drake

“Bezerk”, Eminem

“Tom Ford”, Jay-Z (Magna Carta…Holy Grail)

“Swimming Pools (Drank)”, Kendrick Lamar (Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City)

“Thrift Shop”, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

You would think that either Kendrick Lamar or Macklemore & Ryan Lewis would be frontrunners here.  However, could both cancel each other out, or does one shine above the other? “Thrift Shop” was an unexpected no. 1 hit that became a mainstream smash… that carries some weight.  Still, it’s a battle to go up against Drake, Eminem, or Jay-Z.  I’ll go bold here though…

Way Too Early Pick

“Thrift Shop”, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Best Rap / Sung Collaboration

71eGk5WvO4L._SL1500_“Power Trip”, J. Cole featuring Miguel (Born Sinner)

“Part II (On The Run)”, Jay-Z featuring Beyoncé (Magna Carta…Holy Grail)

“Holy Grail”, Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake (Magna Carta…Holy Grail)

“Now or Never”, Kendrick Lamar featuring Mary J. Blige (Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City)

“Remember You”, Wiz Khalifa featuring The Weeknd (O.N.I.F.C.)

So here’s Jay-Z’s issue here… he’s nominated for two performances from the same album.  Luckily for him, one is better and bigger – “Holy Grail”.  However, I personally think the best choice of all these nominations comes from the underrated J. Cole featuring Miguel on “Power Trip”.

Way Too Early Pick

“Power Trip”, J. Cole featuring Miguel (Born Sinner)

Best Rap Song

51-mkLBVPoL._SL500_AA280_“F***in’ Problems”, ASAP Rocky featuring Drake, 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar (Long.Live.ASAP)

“Holy Grail”, Jay-Z featuring Justin Timberlake (Magna Carta…Holy Grail)

“New Slaves”, Kanye West (Yeezus)

“Started From the Bottom”, Drake

“Thrift Shop”, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (The Heist)

Three to watch for here: “Holy Grail”, “Started From the Bottom”, and “Thrift Shop.”  I’ll go for the biggest hit…

Way Too Early Pick

“Thrift Shop”, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Best Rap Album

51BomNkKT2LNothing Was the Same, Drake

Magna Carta…Holy Grail, Jay-Z

Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, Kendrick Lamar

The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Yeezus, Kanye West

Have I mentioned how tough the rap categories are?  Two of the album of the year nominees reside here and I still believe one of them will do the unthinkable and beat out Kanye West.  I believe that The Heist will fare better in the performance categories, but as a complete project, Kendrick Lamar will receive his accolades here.

Way Too Early Pick

Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, Kendrick Lamar

Everything Else! 

Best Country Album

41j7-7yboXL._SY300_Night Train, Jason Aldean

Two Lanes of Freedom, Tim McGraw

Same Trailer Different Park, Kacey Musgraves

Based On A True Story, Blake Shelton

Red, Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is the frontrunner, but she lost Best Country Album the previous time she was nominated (Speak Now) to Lady Antebellum, who aren’t nominated this year.  Kacey Musgraves may try it, but Swift will come out on top. Well, unless the popular Jason Aldean is able to make a push.

Way Too Early Pick

Red, Taylor Swift

Best Blues Album

51dp0nxPTmL._SL500_AA280_Remembering Little Walter, Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia & James Harman

Cotton Mouth Man, James Cotton

Get Up!, Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite

Seesaw, Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa

Down in Louisiana, Bobby Rush

Ben Harper’s blues album was way underrated… hopefully it gets its shine on here.

Way Too Early Pick

Get Up!, Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical

Pharrell Williams-AES-115157Rob Cavallo

Dr. Luke

Ariel Rechtshaid

Jeff Tweedy

Pharrell Williams

It was the rebirth of Pharrell Williams. All hail!

Way Too Early Pick:

Pharrell Williams

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