Reaction – 58th Annual Grammy Awards Nominees


Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly © Aftermath : Interscope

The 58th Annual Grammy Awards Nominees have been announced and you know what that means? Yours truly is about to dig in and give his opinion whether the nominees are HOT or NOT – in the most musical way of speaking! Here’s my reaction to some of the categories from the 58th Annual Grammy Awards Nominees!

1. Record of the Year

“Really Love,” D’Angelo And The Vanguard (Black Messiah)

“Uptown Funk,” Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars (Uptown Special)

“Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran (X)

“Blank Space,” Taylor Swift (1989)

“Can’t Feel My Face,” The Weeknd (Beauty Behind The Madness)

Ultimately, the ROTY category is well-rounded, though you might question, where’s “See You Again?” Yes, I know which record that folks are going to pounce on that’s different than the rest – D’Angelo And The Vanguard’s “Really Love.” Yes, it’s the outlier, but the outlier has been victorious in the past, so don’t count it out. Furthermore, D’Angelo deserved at least one big nomination for his exceptional Black Messiah.

Chris Stapleton, Traveller © Mercury

2. Album of the Year

Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes

To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar

Traveller, Chris Stapleton

1989, Taylor Swift

Beauty Behind The Madness, The Weeknd 

So Brent, what are your feelings on this category? Overall, I’m okay with it, save for the snub of D’Angelo and the Vanguard’s Black Messiah. The only surprise that made the nominations is Chris Stapleton’s Traveller. Don’t be surprised if it proves to be an upset over favorites Kendrick Lamar (To Pimp A Butterfly) and Taylor Swift (1989).

3. Song of the Year

“Alright,” Kendrick Lamar (To Pimp A Butterfly)

“Blank Space,” Taylor Swift (1989)

“Girl Crush,” Little Big Town (Pain Killer)

“See You Again,” Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth (Furious 7)

“Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran (X)

The SOTY category is another thoughtfully nominated one – am I really saying this? The pleasant surprise nominees are Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” and Little Big Town’s fine “Girl Crush.” Is there a weakness in this category at all?

4. Best New Artist

Courtney Barnett

James Bay

Sam Hunt

Tori Kelly

Meghan Trainor

Ah, I have a quibble here. Where’s George Ezra and that killer baritone/bass voice of his? Personally, I’m familiar with everyone on this list save for Courtney Barnett, who must’ve taken Ezra’s spot. But like the rest of the big categories, this works.

5. Best Pop Solo Performance 

“Heartbeat Song,” Kelly Clarkson (Piece By Piece)

“Love Me Like You Do,” Ellie Goulding (Fifty Shades of Grey)

“Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran (X)

“Blank Space,” Taylor Swift (1989)

“Can’t Feel My Face,” The Weeknd (Beauty Behind The Madness)

The biggest problem with this category is how in the world do you choose one over another to win! All five performances are top-notch and if you had to pick one a shade less notable, perhaps you go with Clarkson’s “Heartbeat Song” – no shade Kelly!

Kelly Clarkson, Piece By Piece © RCA

8. Best Pop Vocal Album

Piece By Piece, Kelly Clarkson

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Florence + The Machine

Uptown Special, Mark Ronson

1989, Taylor Swift

Before This World, James Taylor 

Is there a potential upset in this category? A couple. Kelly Clarkson has pulled off unexpected wins in this category twice (Breakaway and Stronger), so you can never count her out. But, there may be an even bigger upset – and by upset we mean someone who can keep Taylor Swift from getting her hands of this Grammy for 1989. That would be veteran James Taylor, whose Before This World gave him his first no. 1 album at 67 years old.

12. Best Rock Performance 

“Don’t Wanna Fight,” Alabama Shakes

“What Kind of Man,” Florence + The Machine (How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful)

“Something From Nothing,” Foo Fighters (Sonic Highways)

“Ex’s & Oh’s,” Elle King (Love Stuff)

“Moaning Lisa Smile,” Wolf Alice (My Love Is Cool)

This is a tight category – quite competitive. Yes, Alabama Shakes stands out thanks to that album of the year nod, but isn’t Florence + The Machine due? Then again, look at a phenomenal breakthrough track like “Ex’s & Oh’s” which came out of nowhere?

Muse, Drones © Warner Bros

15. Best Rock Album

Chaos And The Calm, James Bay

Kintsugi, Death Cab For Cutie

Mister Asylum, Highly Suspect

Drones, Muse

.5: The Gray Chapter, Slipknot

This is one of the more, um, interesting categories. Interestingly, Grammy darlings Foo Fighters are left out of the mix. James Bay is treated as a rock artist, but couldn’t he have easily been considered pop? Highly Suspect? Huh? Who?

Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color © ATO Records

16. Best Alternative Music Album

Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes

Vulnicura, Björk

The Waterfall, My Morning Jacket

Currents, Tame Impala

Star Wars, Wilco 

This category is always one of the most difficult to win. This year, there are some glaring omissions, despite overall solid picks. The two big omissions – Father John Misty’s masterpiece I Love You, Honeybear and Sufjan Steven’s chilling Carrie & Lowell. At least Father John Misty got some love for BEST BOXED OR SPECIAL LIMITED EDITION PACKAGE.

 17. Best R&B Performance 

“If I Don’t Have You,” Tamar Braxton (Calling All Lovers)

“Rise Up,” Andra Day (Cheers To The Fall)

“Breathing Underwater,” Hiatus Kaiyote (Choose Your Weapon)

“Planes,” Jeremih featuring J. Cole

“Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey),” The Weeknd 

I don’t get the R&B performance anymore. The performances choses are often random and being a big R&B enthusiast, performances that should be nominated are snubbed. I’m on board with three of the nominations: Tamar Braxton, Andra Day, and The Weeknd. Where’s Jazmine Sullivan’s “Forever Don’t Last” or Miguel’s “Coffee”? SMH!

The traditional R&B category (not covered on this article) is more well-rounded.

Miguel, Wildheart © RCA

20. Best Urban Contemporary Album 

Ego Death, The Internet

You Should Be Here, Kehlani

Blood, Lianne La Havas

Wildheart, Miguel

Beauty Behind The Madness, The Weeknd 

Again, R&B has became an interesting field because the nominees are no longer who you expect. Two nominees aren’t surprising though and should be the frontrunners – Miguel and The Weeknd.

Andra Day, Cheers To The Fall © Buskin/Warner Bros

21. Best R&B Album 

Coming Home, Leon Bridges

Black Messiah, D’Angelo and the Vanguard

Cheers To The Fall, Andra Day

Reality Show, Jazmine Sullivan

Forever Charlie, Charlie Wilson 

This is the best picked category of the R&B fields. It is sad that Tyrese and Jill Scott are missing in action, but hard to dispute these five. The weakest might be Leon Bridges’ Coming Home which is a solid album if at times somewhat safe, but his soulful pipes and throwback appeal are hard not to honor. The nominee I’m happiest for? Charlie Wilson – he’s deserved this recognition for some time. That said, won’t this be D’Angelo’s to lose?

22. Best Rap Performance

“Apparently,” J. Cole (2014 Forest Hills Drive)

“Back To Back,” Drake

“Trap Queen,” Fetty Wap (Fetty Wap)

“Alright,” Kendrick Lamar (To Pimp A Butterfly)

“Truffle Butter,” Nicki Minaj featuring Drake & Lil Wayne (The Pinkprint)

“All Day,” Kanye West featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney 

Interesting list. As far as rap performances, this year has been wide open so I’m not surprised by such a varied list here.

Dr. Dre, Compton A Soundtrack © Aftermath:Interscope

25. Best Rap Album

2014 Forest Hills Drive, J. Cole

Compton, Dr. Dre

If You’re Reading This Its Too Late, Drake

To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar

The Pinkprint, Nicki Minaj

Perfect. Couldn’t have picked this one any better myself!

Sam Hunt, Montevallo © MCA Nashville

29. Best Country Album

Montevallo, Sam Hunt

Pain Killer, Little Big Town

The Blade, Ashley Monroe

Pageant Material, Kacey Musgraves

Traveller, Chris Stapleton

Can you say DOGFIGHT? Kacey Musgraves has been victorious previously, so you can’t count her out. Little Big Town’s Pain Killer not only has “Girl Crush,” but also gave us the thrilling “Day Drinking.” Sam Hunt exploded. Chris Stapleton blew up. Ashley Monroe could be fifth, but personally knowing the least about her or her album, I’ve still read positive things. My gut says Hunt, Little Big Town, and Traveller are the ones to watch.

Fifty Shades Of Grey (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) © Republic

58. Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media

Empire: Season 1

Fifty Shades of Grey

Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me

Pitch Perfect 2


This is another competitive, well selected category.

60. Best Song Written For Visual Media

“Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey),” The Weeknd (Fifty Shades of Grey)

“Glory,” Common & John Legend (Selma)

“Love Me Like You Do,” Ellie Goulding (Fifty Shades of Grey)

“See You Again,” Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth (Furious 7)

“Til It Happens To You,” Lady Gaga (The Hunting Ground)

You won’t have to worry about whether The Weeknd or Ellie Goulding fight over the Grammy here – Common and John Legend have it locked.

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