If the Grammys Were Held In August… [Part 1]


Taylor Swift, 1989 © Big Machine Records 

Let’s keep it short and sweet – if the Grammys were held in August, would these be the nominees. Here are some thoughts on the most coveted categories – Record, Album, and Song of the year, and Best New Artist! 

Record of the Year

Mark Ronson, Uptown Special © RCA

Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!”

Taylor Swift, “Bad Blood”

The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face”

Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again”

Walk The Moon, “Shut Up And Dance”  

Record of the year has become a highly coveted category at the Grammys. Honestly, as we witnessed last year, the hype for winning this award (Sam Smith being victorious) was much more pronounced than AOYT (Beck shocked the world). With nearly all of the eligibility year finished, these above-mentioned have a shot at a nomination. The top three – Ronson, Swift, and The Weeknd – seem to be in the best position in my opinion.

Others: Maroon 5, “Sugar”; Andy Grammer, “Honey I’m Good”; OMI, “Cheerleader”; Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”; Meghan Trainor, “Lips Are Movin”

 

Album of the Year

D'Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah © RCA 

Taylor Swift, 1989

D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah

Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly

Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways and/or Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color / Muse, Drones

Florence + The Machine, How Big How Blue How Beautiful  

2015 has been a great year for hip-hop albums, but across the genres as a whole, there hasn’t necessarily been lasting albums that warrant a nod for album of the year. Three albums in particular stand out – Swift’s, D’Angelo’s, and Kendrick Lamar’s. That said Swift gets nominated based upon the success of her records/songs rather than the album as a whole necessarily. Honestly, if it were decided today, it should be a race between D’Angelo’s R&B masterpiece and Lamar’s rap magnum opus.

So, who fills the other two, potentially three spots? There are plenty of sensational alternative albums, not to mention a dueling rap album like Drake’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late or J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive, which could potentially steal some votes. In the rock world, there always seems to be one album nominated, but this year that’s tough. Foo Fighters are always good for a nod, but is Sonic Highways deserving of such lofty honors? What about a choice between say, Alabama Shakes, Muse, or even a Florence + The Machine? So far, it seems wide open beyond the top three.

Song of the Year

The Weeknd, Beauty Behind The Madness © Republic

Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!”

Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”

Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again”

The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face”

Andy Grammer, “Honey I’m Good”

My guess is that the song of the year category will look much like the record of the year. To me, the “song” should be more artistically crafted, but that’s not always the way it ends up once the award is given. For example, while Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” was deserving, there’s a huge argument that bodes better for Hozier’s “Take Me To Church,” a truer songwriter’s song. Still, it seems likely this year those lines will truly be blurred. It would nice to see something drawing less commercial attention be nominated and potentially be victorious here, but it’s hard to picture unless it by a veteran artist like James Taylor, Alan Jackson, Willie Nelson, or so on and so forth. 

Best New Artist

Meghan Trainor, Title © Epic

Sam Hunt

George Ezra

Charlie Puth

Twenty One Pilots

Meghan Trainor

Is best new artist a done-deal for anybody this year? No. There are reasons any of these five artists could be victorious, or not. Sam Hunt might have an edge. That said what about that Meghan Trainor with all those hits?

 

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