The Grammys are a bit of an easy target. Whether it's the frequent confusion over what year a given album is eligible for the awards, or the ever-evolving definition of a "new" artist, the show is far from perfect. Still, while some music snobs may not want to admit, it's also a pretty fun night. There's always at least one really embarrassing performance, and usually one legitimately good one. I'll be tuning to catch the show on Sunday night (in between the Sabres-Bruins game, anyway), and when it's 11:30, and I'm good and drunk, I doubt I'll regret the decision.
Now, let's take a look at some of the major awards, and see if we can't figure out who'll be walking away with Grammy gold this Sunday.
Record Of The Year"Lonely Boy" - The Black Keys
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" - Kelly Clarkson
"We Are Young" - fun. featuring Janelle Monáe
"Somebody That I Used to Know" - Gotye Featuring Kimbra
"Thinkin Bout You" - Frank Ocean
"We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together - Taylor Swift
Projected Winner: Frank Ocean - "Thinkin' Bout You"
This is a reasonably strong field. "Lonely Boy" was one of the best rock songs to hit mainstream rock radio in awhile, and while "We Are Young" has been played to death, and then played 10 million more times for good measure, it was pretty cool when it first came out. Taylor Swift had a catchy tune because she's good at writing at catchy tunes, but I think Ocean is the clear winner here. "Thinkin' Bout You" is just one of those songs. It's an instant nominee into the Sad Song Hall Of Fame, right next to "Everybody Hurts," and "Nothing Compares 2 U." Just when you think you've gotten past the hardest part, the "oooh ooohs" come in and you're just sinks. I can't even think about this song without crying, and frankly, it's probably not even the saddest song on the album, but I'll get to that later.
Album Of The YearEl Camino - The Black Keys
Some Nights - Fun.
Babel - Mumford & Sons
Channel Orange - Frank Ocean
Blunderbuss - Jack White
Projected Winner: Frank Ocean - Channel Orange
Once again, a stronger category than in a lot of recent years. I think Ocean takes this partly because he really did have the best album of the year, but also because he has the highest approval rating of anyone in music right now. Everyone loves him, and fighting with Chris Brown (the biggest villain in show business) only helped that cause. All of that is fine, though, because he made a brilliant album, and genuinely deserves to win. His stiffest competition will likely come from Mumford & Sons, who are probably the biggest band around right now, and who already won the hearts of the Grammy community with their great performance with Bob Dylan in 2011. Still, this seems like Frank Ocean's night, and I expect him to come away with the two biggest awards.
Song Of The Year"The A Team" - Ed Sheeran, songwriter (Ed Sheeran)
"Adorn" - Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
"Call Me Maybe" - Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay, songwriters (Carly Rae Jepsen)
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" - Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi, songwriters (Kelly Clarkson)
"We Are Young" - Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe)
Projected Winner: Call Me Maybe
I still don't understand the difference between Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year, and quite frankly, I don't want to understand it. With that said, this is a really easy one. "Call Me Maybe" was every-freaking-where in 2012, and this will be its last hurrah. Maybe "Adorn," would be a better choice, but that song had far less of an impact on pop music. "Call Me Maybe" was the biggest song of the year, and none of us will be getting it out of our heads until 2017.
Best New ArtistAlabama Shakes
Projected Winner: Frank Ocean
To the voters' credit, most of these artists actually are new, and there's nothing as egregious as Bon Iver being nominated last year even though his debut album came out in 2008 (all-time best example of this: Modest Mouse.being nominated in 2005 when their debut album came out in 1996!). Anyway, I have Ocean continuing his big night by bringing home this one, too. Since nostalgia. ULTRA. wasn't a proper album, he is legitimately eligible for this honor, so that's a plus. The one potential upset is fun., because they were one of the most ubiquitous bands of 2012, with "We Are Young," and "Some Nights" constantly popping up in movie trailers and commercials. Plus, they have a distinctive look and sound, and even if you don't like them, you will remember them. Still, I don't think they'll stand in Christopher Breaux's way.
Best Rock AlbumEl Camino - The Black Keys
Mylo Xyloto - Coldplay
The 2nd Law - Muse
Wrecking Ball - Bruce Springsteen
Blunderbuss - Jack White
Projected Winner: The Black Keys - El Camino
An extremely strong field, and I'd be cool with any of these albums winning. Still, I'm going with the Keys here because the Grammy's want to honor them. After being noticed by the mainstream with Attack And Release and Brothers, this was the album that made them one of the biggest bands in the country. Plus, the Keys have been tagged as the band that will "save rock n roll," which is a bit overblown but fairly understandable. Jack White will be their closest competition, as he made a great album while reminding us that the end of the White Stripes is not the end of the world. I thought Wrecking Ball was amazing, and I'd love to see the Boss take this, but the youth movement won't be stopped here.
Best Rap AlbumTake Care - Drake
Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1 - Lupe Fiasco
Life Is Good - Nas
Undun - The Roots
God Forgives, I Don't - Rick Ross
Based On A T.r.u. Story - 2 Chainz
Projected Winner: Drake - Take Care
Once you overlook the fact this album is responsible for the phrase "yolo," what you're left with is an extremely engrossing album by an artist who is not afraid to share his darkest thoughts with the audience. "Marvin's Room" was one of the most brutal breakup songs in recent memory, and as Drake shifts back and forth from the high-flying millionaire lifestyle to his darker personal thoughts, the overall picture depicts a confused young man trying to be as happy as he feels he should be. Really, even though there's no shortage of good albums in this category, Drake should run away with this one. He had the most popular and critically rap album of the year, and everyone will be eating his dust on Sunday.