2016 Grammy Nominations & Predictions

For some, the Grammy Awards are just another awards show. However, it’s the biggest music award in the business. Say what you will, but the Grammys still hold more weight than say an MTV award. Now for all that the Grammy Awards get right in the nominations, there’s still a lot that I have issues with. I probably should’ve done this analysis when the nominations were announced, but hey, now I get to make my predictions (or alternatively, what I WANT to happen).

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
  • Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
  • Chris Stapleton, Traveller
  • Taylor Swift, 1989
  • The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness

The only album I’ve actually listened to of the bunch is Beauty Behind the Madness, and as much as I like it, I don’t think it’s AOTY. I feel like it’s probably going to end up being 1989, which honestly Taylor Swift annoys me so I’d rather not have it win.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

  • D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Really Love
  • Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk
  • Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud
  • Taylor Swift, Blank Space
  • The Weeknd, Can’t Feel My Face

“Uptown Funk” deserves the win, hands down. One year later and I’m still not tired of hearing it. That’s saying something.

SONG OF THE YEAR

  • “Alright” (Kendrick Lamar)
  • “Blank Space” (Taylor Swift)
  • “Girl Crush” (Little Big Town)
  • “See You Again” (Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth)
  • “Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran)

Remember, this category awards the songwriters. I’d like to see Little Big Town win it here because “Girl Crush” is just such a musically bare but well-written track. Although “Thinking Out Loud” sort of falls in the same category, the fact that it became so overplayed is causing me bias. So ideally, “Girl Crush” wins for me. If not, I’d say “See You Again” should win; you can’t help but get a little emotional when you hear it because you know what it stands for.

BEST NEW ARTIST

  • Courtney Barnett
  • James Bay
  • Sam Hunt
  • Tori Kelly
  • Meghan Trainor

I’m happy to say there’s no “WHO ARE YOU?” in the category. Admittedly, I haven’t listened to Courtney Barnett’s music, but I had heard her name prior to her nomination, so there’s that. Now there’s something about this category this year that makes me feel like it is drastically different from recent years. You look at last year’s nominees  and really, you just knew Sam Smith was going to win. In 2014, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won, but it could have been Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar, or Kacey Musgraves; however, it didn’t really matter to me who won. Same goes with 2013 when Fun won. This year, maybe it’s because I have two artists I absolutely love nominated, which means I will be super happy if either James Bay or Tori Kelly win. I’ve been going back and forth about this, but ideally I think I want Tori to win, with James winning for his other categories – that way it spreads the love and recognition!

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

  • Kelly Clarkson, Heartbeat Song
  • Ellie Goulding, Love Me Like You Do
  • Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud
  • Taylor Swift, Blank Space
  • The Weeknd, Can’t Feel My Face

Do you even have to ask? I want Kelly Clarkson to win, duh! Second choice would be The Weeknd.

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

  • Florence + The Machine, Ship to Wreck
  • Maroon 5, Sugar
  • Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk
  • Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar, Bad Blood
  • Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth, See You Again

This is the one category where I’m really conflicted. First choice is Maroon 5, obviously, because I’m forever a M5 fan. I love “Sugar” so frickin’ much and it just always instantly puts a smile on my face when I hear it. “Uptown Funk” is second, because like I said before, it’s still a great song to listen to. “See You Again” is my third because again, still a great song but miscategorized – should’ve been in Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. “Ship to Wreck” really has no faults, I just haven’t listened to it enough. And then “Bad Blood” is just whatever.

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

  • Kelly Clarkson, Piece by Piece
  • Florence + The Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
  • James Taylor, Before This World
  • Mark Ronson, Uptown Special
  • Taylor Swift, 1989

Odds are 1989 takes it (*groan*). Ideally, Piece by Piece wins. I however, wouldn’t be surprised if James Taylor ends up winning because the Grammys can still surprise sometimes.

BEST ROCK SONG

  • “Don’t Wanna Fight” (Alabama Shakes)
  • “Ex’s & Oh’s” (Elle King)
  • “Hold Back the River” (James Bay)
  • “Lydia” (Highly Suspect)
  • “What Kind of Man” (Florence + The Machine)

Like SOTY, this awards the songwriters (now that I think of it, I’m surprised there isn’t a Pop category equivalent). I don’t know who Highly Suspect are and I don’t listen to Alabama Shakes, which leaves Elle King, James Bay, and Florence. And as stated above, I want James to win, not that there’s anything wrong with the other two, just preference.

BEST MUSICAL THEATER ALBUM

  • An American in Paris
  • Fun Home
  • Hamilton
  • The King and I
  • Something Rotten!

All well-deserved nominations, but let’s be real, Hamilton is TOTALLY winning this one. Not to mention, they get to perform during the telecast? Just give it to them already.

BEST COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK FOR VISUAL MEDIA

  • Empire: Season 1
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
  • Pitch Perfect 2
  • Selma

As much as I love Pitch Perfect 2, I don’t think the soundtrack stacks up as well as the first movie. I say Empire takes it.

BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA

  • “Earned It” from Fifty Shades of Grey
  • “Glory” from Selma
  • “Love Me Like You Do” from Fifty Shades of Grey
  • “See You Again” from Furious 7
  • “Til It Happens to You” from The Hunting Ground

For the category to say Visual Media, I’ve noticed that there aren’t many nominations from TV. To consider, we have two songs from Fifty Shades of Grey nominated, but nothing from Empire. Not even “You’re So Beautiful”? Really? Lame. All for naught though, because I’m pretty sure “Glory” is going to win, with “See You Again” coming in as a close second.

Other Notable Nominations (or the other nominations that I care about):

  • James Bay’s Chaos and the Calm for Best Rock Album!
  • Amy Poehler is nominated in Best Spoken Word Album for the audiobook of Yes Please. In other words, I think Amy’s winning a Grammy before she wins an Emmy
  • Pentatonix is nominated again in the Best Arrangement category. This time, it’s for “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from their That’s Christmas to Me album.

To summarize this post, I want all my faves to win (duh) and I’d rather not see Taylor Swift win, even though she probably will. Also, so excited to see James Bay and Tori Kelly perform together during the show! AND, it’s too early to call but Adele is just going to win all the awards next year right? Like no question? 🙂

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57th Grammy Award Nominations

Last Friday (Dec. 5th), the nominations for the 57th Grammy Awards were announced. In an attempt to change things up, the Grammys announced nominations for a handful of categories on the CBS Morning Show, which was then followed by random announcements throughout the day by various artists on Twitter, a more-or-less complete nomination list by mid-afternoon, and topped off by the Album of the Year announcement on their A Very Grammy Christmas special. Yeah, it was really weird. I appreciate the effort but I would rather them have stuck to one way of announcing nominees; the nomination concert followed by the posting of the entire list seemed to have worked well in recent years.

Anyways, here are my thoughts on the big category nominees, as well as a select number of other categories.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • Beck, Morning Phase
  • Beyonce, Beyonce
  • Ed Sheeran, X
  • Pharrell Williams, GIRL
  • Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve been able to say that I’ve actually listened to the majority of the albums nominated in this category. Last year, the only album nominated that I had heard in full was Sara Bareilles’ The Blessed Unrest, which was a surprise nominee. This year, the only album I haven’t heard is Beck. To be honest, I was a little surprised to see Pharrell nominated in this category, not to say that GIRL was a bad album (it’s really solid, actually) but when I think “Album of the Year” I think an album that made a huge impact in the past year. By that logic, I think Beyonce might be the frontrunner, though don’t count out the ongoing momentum Sam Smith is enjoying right now. It’s possible that Sam Smith might sweep up all the wins.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

  • Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, Fancy
  • Sia, Chandelier
  • Sam Smith, Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)
  • Taylor Swift, Shake It Off
  • Meghan Trainor, All About That Bass

Like AOTY, I feel that this category encompasses the biggest songs of the year, that made the biggest impact. So it was no surprise to see Fancy, Chandelier, and Stay With Me nominated in the category. (Though it is curious to see that Stay With Me is nominated here and elsewhere with the Darkchild version.) I suppose I expected Shake It Off to get nominated because Taylor Swift is a popular choice these days, even if I personally find her and the song annoying. I absolutely don’t understand the appeal of All About That Bass; such an overrated and overplayed song. As far as snubs go, I’m quite surprised that Beyonce & Jay-Z’s Drunk in Love wasn’t nominated or even Ed Sheeran’s Sing.

SONG OF THE YEAR

  • Sia, Chandelier
  • Sam Smith, Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)
  • Taylor Swift, Shake It Off
  • Meghan Trainor, All About That Bass
  • Hozier, Take Me to Church

It should be noted/remembered that this category is awarded to the songwriters, to differentiate from ROTY, and I’ve listed the track’s artist just to make things easier (some songs can have a handful or more songwriters who all worked on it, meaning it can get pretty lengthy). Despite the differences, we have an almost identical nominee list to ROTY, with Hozier taking over Iggy Azalea’s spot. While ROTY typically takes the more popular route, I like to think that SOTY is where the Grammys can really make some offbeat choices in their nominations. Yeah, it can sometimes take a lot of people to craft the perfect pop song, but how about recognizing songs with substance and stands for something? As much as I love Sam Smith and Stay With Me, I want Chandelier to win here. Not only is it a fantastic song, but it would be such a big win for Sia who has written so many great songs for other artists over the years, that this would almost be like an all-encompassing win for her.

BEST NEW ARTIST

  • Bastille
  • Brandy Clark
  • HAIM
  • Iggy Azalea
  • Sam Smith

I’ve heard of all these people! There’s not a single “Who?!” in the bunch (though Brandy Clark is almost that nominee). I’m honestly trying to think of what other “new” artists (as defined by the weird Grammy rules) came out in the past year who could’ve been recognized and I’m kind of drawing a blank. Regardless, I’m fairly certain it’s going to be Sam Smith for the win.

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

  • John Legend, All of Me (Live)
  • Sia, Chandelier
  • Sam Smith, Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)
  • Taylor Swift, Shake It Off
  • Pharrell Williams, Happy (Live)

Honestly, I kind of don’t like the idea of a live version of a song being nominated. By all accounts, All of Me and Happy could’ve been nominated last year, but the Grammys probably pulled the “it’s eligible this year because it became popular within this eligibility period” despite the fact that the songs got released LAST summer. To that end, there could’ve been so many other performances to consider. Where’s Ed Sheeran’s Sing? Colbie Caillat’s Try? Jason Mraz’s Love Someone? Lorde’s Team? Justin Timberlake’s Not a Bad Thing? And don’t even get me started on songs/performances that aren’t big enough to be recognized by the Grammys (of which there are MANY).

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

  • Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, Fancy
  • Coldplay, A Sky Full of Stars
  • A Great Big World ft. Christina Aguilera, Say Something
  • Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj, Bang Bang
  • Katy Perry ft. Juicy J, Dark Horse

As always, what qualifies as pop in this category confuses me, though this year is a little bit more cohesive than most. You can argue that this is pop in the most general of terms, in that it means “popular.” I mean I would’ve put Fancy in the Rap/Sung Collaboration category, and I’m not sure how A Sky Full of Stars is more or less pop than Paramore’s Ain’t It Fun (which was nominated in the Best Rock Song category). Considering Maroon 5 performed in the Grammy Christmas special, I was expecting them to at least get a nod here for Maps, but I guess not. And I was thinking about this the other day, but The Script still aren’t big enough to get any Grammy recognition? Because I would’ve liked to see them nominated here for Superheroes. Actually, you know what song I’m surprised didn’t get a nod? Michael Jackson featuring Justin Timberlake, Love Never Felt So Good.

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

  • Coldplay, Ghost Stories
  • Miley Cyrus, Bangerz
  • Ariana Grande, My Everything
  • Katy Perry, Prism
  • Ed Sheeran, X
  • Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour

Really? Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande and Katy Perry all got nods? And again, even though I’m happy they did get nominated, I wouldn’t have pegged Ghost Stories as a pop album. I definitely think Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz deserved nods for their albums Gypsy Heart and Yes!, respectively. I’ve made it known how I feel about Maroon 5’s venture into mainstream pop, but I’m surprised that V didn’t get nominated. I mean, Overexposed got nominated and that was a weaker album in my opinion (though Hands All Over didn’t get nominated either, which again, was a completely underrated album and deserved more love than it got)

BEST COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK

  • American Hustle
  • Frozen
  • Get On Up: The James Brown Story
  • Guardians of the Galaxy, Awesome Mix Vol. 1
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

I have but one complaint: WHERE IS THE NOMINATION FOR MY BEGIN AGAIN?! That soundtrack is perfection!

BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA

  • Tegan and Sara ft. The Lonely Island, Everything Is Awesome!!! (The Lego Movie)
  • Ed Sheeran, I See Fire (The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug)
  • Glen Campbell, I’m Not Gonna Miss You (Glen Campbell, I’ll Be Me)
  • Idina Menzel, Let It Go (Frozen)
  • Scarlett Johansson & Joaquin Phoenix, The Moon Song (Her)

One egregious snub: WHERE IS MY LOST STARS?! Come on now! How am I supposed to have faith that it’ll get nominated for the Oscar, if it doesn’t get nominated for a Grammy?!

Other Notables:

  • With her nominations this year, Beyonce became the most nominated female singer in Grammy history, beating previous record holder Dolly Parton.
  • Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) nominated for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Album.
  • James Franco is now a Grammy nominee. He’s nominated in the Best Spoken Word Album category.
  • Pentatonix have officially hit the big time! The group is nominated for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or Acapella for their Daft Punk Medley found on PTX, Vol. 2.
  • Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ and Pharrell Williams’ ‘Happy’ will duke it out in the Best Music Video category.

At the end of it all, Beyonce and Sam Smith lead all nominations with 6 each. The Grammy Awards will air on CBS, February 8th, 2015.

56th Grammy Award Nominations

It’s once again that time of year – awards season is upon us and music’s big night just announced their nominations for the past year. Last year’s awards and nominations weren’t that great, coming off a slightly lackluster year (for this music fan anyways). But this year bounced back with some big albums (Justin Timberlake’s return!) and some big singles. So who was nominated this year?

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • Sara Bareilles, The Blessed Unrest
  • Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
  • Kendrick Lamar, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist
  • Taylor Swift, Red

First of all, SARA BAREILLES GOT NOMINATED!!!! You have no idea how excited I got when I heard her name get called. I was literally jumping up and down, and I’m glad no one was around to see me with all my reactions to the nominations. All I kept thinking was “Finally! FINALLY! People recognize how talented she is!” The happiness was a little short-lived after I heard Taylor Swift’s name called, and realized that Justin Timberlake wasn’t nominated for The 20/20 Experience. Really? Best selling album of the year gets no nod? How does that even remotely make sense? Regardless, Sara’s album is the only one I’ve heard in full, so I’m obviously rooting for her, even though she’s the underdog. My bet’s on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis winning though, which is truly great considering they’re technically indie artists, self-releasing their album (re: not through a big label).

RECORD OF THE YEAR

  • Daft Punk & Pharrell, Get Lucky
  • Imagine Dragons, Radioactive
  • Lorde, Royals
  • Bruno Mars, Locked Out of Heaven
  • Robin Thicke ft. T.I. & Pharrell, Blurred Lines

The only surprise from these nominations is that Justin Timberlake wasn’t nominated for “Mirrors.” I know I’m a JT fan, so I’m a little biased, but come on, “Mirrors” deserved to be nominated. All these songs, admittedly, were some of the biggest songs of the year. Actually, now that I’m looking at the list again, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis weren’t nominated either, which is interesting to me – I would’ve thought “Can’t Hold Us” would be nominated. Considering he was performing, I figured Robin Thicke would be nominated for something, but I have to admit I’m still a little surprised that he was nominated. With all the controversy associated with “Blurred Lines” (the song, the video, the MTV VMA performance…), I foolishly thought it wouldn’t get nominated. I think ideally, I’d want Lorde to win (lies, I’d still want JT to win even though he’s not even nominated), but I’d be okay with any of the other ones (except maybe “Blurred Lines”).

SONG OF THE YEAR

  • Pink ft. Nate Ruess, Just Give Me A Reason
  • Bruno Mars, Locked Out of Heaven
  • Katy Perry, Roar
  • Lorde, Royals
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Same Love

On here, it’s the third category. On the Grammy Nominations Live! concert, it was announced first, so as soon as I heard Katy Perry get nominated for “Roar” I was very upset. I kind of figured that with how this stupid world works, “Roar” was going to get nominated and Sara Bareilles’ “Brave” wasn’t (the fact that Sara got nominated for Album of the Year later on made me feel better). Not only did I get upset that “Roar” got nominated, but I also got angry real fast over the JT snub. Again, JT fan, I’m biased, whatever. To repeat, this was the first category to be announced, so seeing how JT was snubbed already, did not bode well for me for the rest of the telecast. Now if I had to choose who would win, I might go with “Same Love” because it has a great message, and this award is technically handed out to the writers of the song, so to have this song be filled with so much meaning might actually give it an edge. That’s not to say the other songs are void of meaning because that’s not true. It’s just that “Same Love” has that strong message that differentiates it from the rest.

BEST NEW ARTIST

  • James Blake
  • Kendrick Lamar
  • Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
  • Kacey Musgraves
  • Ed Sheeran

I definitely expected Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to be nominated, and kind of figured Kacey Musgraves and Kendrick Lamar would get nods as well. James Blake is a name I’ve read but have never listened to any of his songs, so he’s the only question mark for me. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t expecting Ed Sheeran to be nominated because I expected it to happen last year. I know per Grammy rules, if you’re a “new artist” nominated for any award the previous year and you don’t win, you are still eligible for Best New Artist in the current year. With how big “The A-Team” was last year, and with it being nominated for Song of the Year last year, I thought he was going to be nominated in this category LAST YEAR. I was ultimately disappointed when he wasn’t, but now that he is, it just seems weird. So now this year, I’m completely disappointed that Lorde wasn’t nominated in this category, because I legitimately thought she was a lock to be nominated. If she doesn’t win in any of the other categories in which she’s nominated, that means she’s nominated by default in this category next year, right? When it comes down to it, it’s a toss-up between Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Ed Sheeran. It’s been a long time since a rap act has won Best New Artist, so this might be the year things change. We’ll have to see.

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

  • Sara Bareilles, Brave
  • Lorde, Royals
  • Bruno Mars, When I Was Your Man
  • Katy Perry, Roar
  • Justin Timberlake, Mirrors

I had said prior to the nominations that it would be hilarious if both “Brave” and “Roar” were nominated in this category. And would you look at that? They both are! If it was just those two songs nominated, I would choose “Brave” in a heartbeat but there are other people nominated, one of them being Justin Timberlake for “Mirrors.” Clearly, JT is my pick to win.

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

  • Daft Punk & Pharrell, Get Lucky
  • Pink ft. Nate Ruess, Just Give Me A Reason
  • Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko, Stay
  • Robin Thicke ft. T.I. & Pharrell, Blurred Lines
  • Justin Timberlake ft. Jay Z, Suit & Tie

Most years, the Grammy’s can stretch their definition of pop music, but this year was pretty on point. I personally would’ve put “Stay” under R&B and “Get Lucky” in the Dance category; not a huge deal that they’re in the Pop category though. “Suit & Tie” for the win.

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

  • Lana Del Rey, Paradise
  • Lorde, Pure Heroine
  • Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox
  • Robin Thicke, Blurred Lines
  • Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience

With Justin releasing two albums within the eligibility period and how the label packaged the albums, particularly when the second album came out, I figured that the two albums would be submitted as one for consideration. Being that it is 21 songs of awesomeness, of course I’m going with JT for the win. Interesting takeaway: none of these albums are nominated for Album of the Year, but Sara Bareilles’ album, which should’ve been included here, is nominated for the big prize.

BEST TRADITIONAL POP ALBUM

  • Tony Bennett & Various Artists, Viva Duets
  • Michael Buble, To Be Loved
  • Gloria Estefan, The Standards
  • Cee Lo Green, Cee Lo’s Magic Moment
  • Dionne Warwick, Now

I normally don’t pay attention to this category, but for one thing, Michael Buble is nominated (yay Canadian! And also, the only album of the bunch I’ve listened to). Secondly, I got caught completely off guard by seeing Cee Lo Green being nominated here. A quick Google search reminded me that this was his Christmas album.

BEST R&B SONG

  • Anthony Hamilton, Best of Me
  • Tamar Braxton, Love and War
  • PJ Morton ft. Stevie Wonder, Only One
  • Justin Timberlake, Pusher Love Girl
  • Fantasia ft. Kelly Rowland & Missy Elliot, Without You

There’s also a category called Best R&B Performance, which should not be confusing at all. Like the difference between Record & Song of the Year, the Best Song is awarded to the songwriters, but to make it easier, I list who is singing the song. I didn’t expect Justin to get nominated for “Pusher Love Girl,” let alone in this category, so I am extremely happy about it. But I am also so incredibly happy to see PJ Morton nominated for his wonderfully sweet song “Only One.” PJ, for those who don’t know, is currently playing with Maroon 5 on piano/keys and back-up vocals; he’s such an amazing talent and I love his album.

BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA

  • Coldplay, Atlas (from Catching Fire)
  • Jessie J, Silver Lining (from Silver Linings Playbook)
  • Adele, Skyfall (from Skyfall)
  • Colbie Caillat & Gavin DeGraw, We Both Know (from Safe Haven)
  • Lana Del Rey, Young & Beautiful (from The Great Gatsby)
  • Regina Spektor, You’ve Got Time (from Orange Is The New Black)

It’s an interesting list of nominees and though I’m excited for Colbie & Gavin’s nomination, let’s be real – Adele is totally taking this.

Some other quick thoughts:

  • Jay Z’s “Holy Grail” featuring Justin Timberlake is nominated for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration and Best Rap Song. In the Best Rap Song category however, they are nominated against Drake’s “Started From the Bottom” and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop.” I think Jay Z & JT will take Rap/Sung, but lose to Macklemore in Rap Song.
  • Kelly Clarkson is nominated with Vince Gill for their song “Don’t Rush” in the Best Country Duo/Group Performance. I’m not usually big on country, but it’s Kelly, so I’m obviously rooting for her.
  • I’m not sure how Taylor Swift’s Red qualifies as country, but she’s still nominated for Best Country Album.
  • There’s no way Pharrell loses Producer of the Year (Non-Classical), right? Such a great year for him.
  • Justin Timberlake & Jay Z’s video for “Suit & Tie,” directed by the awesome David Fincher, is nominated for Best Music Video.

At the end of the day, Jay Z leads all nominations with 9. Justin Timberlake ended up with 7 nods, the number I thought he would end up with, but I thought he was going to get nominations in the big 3 (which instead means he SHOULD’VE ended up with 10 nominations). Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Pharrell also have 7 nominations. Any surprises? Shocking snubs?

The 56th Annual Grammy Awards air January 26th, 2014 on CBS and CityTV in Canada.

55th Annual Grammy Award Winners + Performers

Music’s biggest night came and went last night, and with no real indication as to who would come out on top, it was an interesting affair to say the least. I’ve made my comments on the nominees, but here’s a rundown of some of the winners and quick thoughts.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • The Black Keys, El Camino
  • fun., Some Nights
  • WINNER: Mumford and Sons, Babel
  • Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
  • Jack White, Blunderbuss

The nominees was a bunch of very solid albums, but I do think Mumford and Sons’ win for their album “Babel” was very much deserved. “Babel” was one of the big successes of 2012, selling 600,000+ copies in its first week of release in September. Critics were fair with the album and without a doubt, Mumford are a part of time in music where real music is once again being appreciated.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

  • The Black Keys, Lonely Boy
  • Kelly Clarkson, (What Doesn’t Kill You) Stronger
  • fun. ft. Janelle Monae, We Are Young
  • WINNER: Gotye ft. Kimbra, Somebody That I Used to Know
  • Frank Ocean, Thinkin’ About You
  • Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

“Somebody That I Used to Know” is a perfectly fine song, but because radio played it to death, I have negative feelings towards it. I really wanted Kelly to win it and thought that fun. would probably take it instead (and I was going to be fine with that), but not so fond of Gotye winning.

SONG OF THE YEAR

  • Ed Sheeran, The A-Team
  • Miguel, Adorn
  • Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe
  • Kelly Clarkson, (What Doesn’t Kill You) Stronger
  • WINNER: fun., We Are Young

Again, I figured “We Are Young” would win, but was really hoping for “Stronger” to take it.

BEST NEW ARTIST

  • Alabama Shakes
  • WINNER: fun.
  • Hunter Hayes
  • The Lumineers
  • Frank Ocean

I honestly thought it would’ve been great if Frank Ocean had won. However, considering the track record of R&B/rap/hip-hop acts winning the category, chances were slim. Not so surprised by fun.’s win.

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

  • WINNER: Adele, Set Fire to the Rain [Live]
  • Kelly Clarkson, (What Doesn’t Kill You) Stronger
  • Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe
  • Katy Perry, Wide Awake
  • Rihanna, Where Have You Been

The only 2 possible winners in my book were Adele and Kelly. Kelly’s had a spectacular year, so I was really hoping for her to take the win, but I am perfectly happy with Adele winning.

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

  • Florence + the Machine, Shake It Out
  • fun., We Are Young
  • WINNER: Gotye ft. Kimbra, Somebody That I Used to Know
  • LMFAO, Sexy and I Know It
  • Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa, Payphone

Of course I was pulling for Maroon 5 to win, but alas, Gotye ended up the winner. At least LMFAO didn’t win.

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

  • WINNER: Kelly Clarkson, Stronger
  • Florence + the Machine, Ceremonials
  • fun., Some Nights
  • Maroon 5, Overexposed
  • P!nk, The Truth About Love

I hate the idea that I would vote against Maroon 5 winning, but in this case, I had to give it to Kelly. I have been listening to Stronger ever since it came out, and I’m still not tired of it. So call me super excited when I heard Kelly’s name called out as the winner for this amazing album.

Other notable winners:

  • BEST RAP PERFORMANCE/BEST RAP SONG – Jay-Z & Kanye West, N****s in Paris
  • BEST RAP ALBUM – Drake, Take Care
  • BEST COUNTRY SONG/BEST COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE – Carrie Underwood, Blown Away
  • BEST COMEDY ALBUM – Jimmy Fallon, Blow Your Pants Off
  • BEST URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM – Frank Ocean, Channel Orange

PERFORMANCES

Let’s talk about the performances, shall we? To me, this year’s telecast was one of the best in recent memory. Overall, almost all the performances were incredible, really bringing back the musicianship of it all.

Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together: Taylor opened up the show, with some sort of circus/Wonderland theme. Vocals were on the iffy side.

Ed Sheeran & Sir Elton John, The A-Team: I still contend that Ed Sheeran should’ve been nominated for more awards, but it was certainly a treat to have Sir Elton John perform alongside Ed on this track. This performance really kicked off the show.

fun., Carry On: Nothing says “this is a live performance!” like bringing out the rain machine.

Miranda Lambert & Dierks Bentley, Over You/Home: What should have seemed like a no-brainer in the duet department, the set up for this pairing felt a little off somehow. Although I still don’t understand how Miranda got snubbed for that wonderful song of hers that she co-wrote with Blake Shelton.

Miguel & Wiz Khalifa, Adorn: I had no idea who Miguel when nominations were announced, but the short performance of this song got me intrigued. I have to say though, how hilarious is it that after they performed, they were giving the award for Best Country Solo Performance? Can we say random?!

Mumford and Sons, I Will Wait: These guys are a no-fuss bunch, and simply bring the music.

Justin Timberlake, Suit & Tie/Pusher Love Girl: This was the highly anticipated performance of the night, and JT did not disappoint. Starting off with his new single, the telecast turned the performance to black+white, giving the song the extra amount of class. I haven’t made my thoughts known on the new single, so here’s what I have to say about it – with its retro/throwback vibe, while still sounding current, it may not have been what people expected from JT, but it’s exactly what radio needs right now. Jay-Z came up for his verse, and JT subsequently followed with a new track off of “The 20/20 Experience” (out March 19th!). Highlight of the night, hands down (says the biased JT fan).

Maroon 5 & Alicia Keys, Daylight/Girl on Fire: I’m a little taken aback by how well these two songs meshed together. The way they changed up the songs to suit each other, made me like the songs more. I want this version of Daylight that M5 performed here, to be how they perform it on tour. To be honest, I was never a big fan of Girl on Fire, but I enjoyed this version.

Rihanna ft. Mikky Echo, Stay: Usually one for a dance spectacle, Rihanna surprised with the performance of her new single, a ballad that showed off her vocals in a way we hadn’t seen.

Black Keys, Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Lonely Boy: There was so much going on the wardrobe front, but with such a lively performance, nothing mattered but the music.

Kelly Clarkson, Tennessee Waltz/Natural Woman: Kelly paid tribute to Lifetime Achievement honorees, Patti Page and Carole King. With the latter song, I got total Idol flashbacks to when Kelly had performed it back then, and as always, she KILLED the vocals.

Bruno Mars, Sting, Rihanna, Damien Marley and Ziggy Marley, Locked Out of Heaven/Walking On The Moon/Could You Be Loved: It’s hard to imagine that Bob Marley never won a Grammy, but he has made an indelible mark on music today. It was certainly fun to hear Bruno Mars’ hit song segway oh so perfectly into The Police song, but then getting Damien & Ziggy Marley to come out with Rihanna and completely giving tribute to Bob Marley was a moment that the Grammys are made for.

The Lumineers, Ho Hey: Everyone’s new favourite song. Though to be honest, their performance was a little too short for my liking.

Jack White, Love Interruption/Freedom at 21: I still haven’t taken a listen to Blunderbuss, but will certainly have to now. I liked the two different sounds we heard for each of his songs, and it definitely got me interested.

Carrie Underwood, Blown Away/Two Black Cadillacs: It was a big night for the 2 biggest stars to come out of the Idol Machine. I’ve really come to enjoy Carrie’s music, but I thought she sounded a little under-the-weather here. I mean, we’ve heard Carrie perform numerous times before and know she’s great, so this felt a little disappointing. And that dress! I actually don’t know what to think about it, though it seemed a little distracting.

Levon Helm Tribute, The Weight: Amongst the artists who contributed to this tribute were Sir Elton John, Zac Brown, T-Bone Burnett, Mumford and Sons, Mavis Staples, and Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes. It was an uplifting tribute and certain proof of real musicianship.

Frank Ocean, Forrest Gump: This was interesting…I’ve listened to Channel Orange and thought that it was an interesting album to say the least. Though I do agree with a lot of people in wondering why he didn’t opt to perform his breakthrough song “Thinkin Bout You” instead, which would’ve gotten more people on board with his music.

LL Cool J, Chuck D, Z-Trip, Tom Morello, and Travis Barker, Whaddup/No Sleep Till Brooklyn: LL Cool J as host, jumped into a performer mode to close out the show, performing a new song and following up with a the Beastie Boys song as tribute to the late Adam Yauch. The timing felt off, with the performance coming on after a commercial break, after the last award of the night was given out.

55th Annual Grammy Award Nominations

The nominations for the 2013 Grammy Awards were announced in part during the now annual Grammy Nominations Live Concert. A full comprehensive list of all the nominees are posted on the official Grammy website. Here is a rundown of some of the categories, plus some of my thoughts.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • The Black Keys, El Camino
  • fun., Some Nights
  • Mumford and Sons, Babel
  • Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
  • Jack White, Blunderbuss

To be honest, I haven’t listened to all of these albums in their entirety so I can’t comment too much. I am a little disappointed that Kelly Clarkson and Coldplay didn’t get included, but given all the buzz about the albums that were nominated, I must admit it’s a really solid collection.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

  • The Black Keys, Lonely Boy
  • Kelly Clarkson, (What Doesn’t Kill You) Stronger
  • fun. ft. Janelle Monae, We Are Young
  • Gotye ft. Kimbra, Somebody That I Used to Know
  • Frank Ocean, Thinkin’ About You
  • Taylor Swift, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

When I posted my predictions for who would get nominated, I ruled out “We Are Young” and “Somebody That I Used To Know” for the simple fact that they were technically released in the previous eligibility period (meaning for last year’s awards show). That aside, now that they are full-fledged nominees, I’m not entirely surprised by their inclusion. My bias is that Kelly Clarkson should win, but the impact that “We Are Young” had is too big to ignore.

SONG OF THE YEAR

  • Ed Sheeran, The A-Team
  • Miguel, Adorn
  • Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe
  • Kelly Clarkson, (What Doesn’t Kill You) Stronger
  • fun., We Are Young

First of all, I’m sorry to have listed the nominees by who sang the song, because this award technically goes to the songwriters, but it was just easier. That being said, I can’t believe “Call Me Maybe” is nominated here and you can’t honestly tell me that they could win with lyrics like “Hey I just met you and this is crazy. But here’s my number, call me maybe.” Though I am so happy that Ed Sheeran is nominated, I’m sticking with my guns that it’s between Kelly Clarkson and fun. If “We Are Young” ends up winning ROTY, “Stronger” will probably win in this category.

BEST NEW ARTIST

  • Alabama Shakes
  • fun.
  • Hunter Hayes
  • The Lumineers
  • Frank Ocean

Prior to this morning, while reading up on critics/journalists predictions for nominations, I had no idea who Alabama Shakes were. But there were a lot that were hoping that they would get nominated, so win for the journalists here. I figured fun. would get nominated and Hunter Hayes as well, while The Lumineers’ nomination was a pleasant surprise. I must say though, I can’t believe I forgot to include Frank Ocean in my predictions because he really had a banner year. I think it’ll be a toss-up between fun. and Frank Ocean for the win, but you never know.

Certainly disappointed that Ed Sheeran and Emeli Sande (though the latter was a rather big long shot) didn’t get nominated. Now, would it be mean to say that I’m happy the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen and One Direction didn’t get nominated?

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

  • Adele, Set Fire to the Rain [Live]
  • Kelly Clarkson, (What Doesn’t Kill You) Stronger
  • Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe
  • Katy Perry, Wide Awake
  • Rihanna, Where Have You Been

Adele and Kelly Clarkson were a given in the category (though I have to wonder why they went with the live version of “Set Fire to the Rain”), and I am completely happy about it. However, I have a serious issue with the other three nominees. One, Rihanna’s song is more of a dance track. Two, you’re really going to pick these three songs over Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up”, John Mayer’s “Shadow Days”, and Ed Sheeran’s “The A-Team”?! REALLY???!!! The songs I named are far superior to the three songs that were nominated in their place. Unacceptable, Grammys. Unacceptable.

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

  • Florence + the Machine, Shake It Out
  • fun., We Are Young
  • Gotye ft. Kimbra, Somebody That I Used to Know
  • LMFAO, Sexy and I Know It
  • Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa, Payphone

Soooo, whoever could’ve predicted that LMFAO would EVER be nominated for a Grammy? Like seriously, which one of these things is not like the other? Anyways, moving on…I had “One More Night” pegged as Maroon 5’s nomination, but I suppose it really could’ve gone either way. The Grammys clearly bent the rules for Gotye and fun., though I kind of assumed that if “We Are Young” was ineligible, fun. would’ve been nominated for “Some Nights” anyways. I would’ve put “Shake It Out” in my initial predictions, but I wasn’t entirely sure when it got officially released, but doesn’t matter now anyways.

And seriously? LMFAO got nominated?!

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

  • Kelly Clarkson, Stronger
  • Florence + the Machine, Ceremonials
  • fun., Some Nights
  • Maroon 5, Overexposed
  • P!nk, The Truth About Love

I got three out of five correct in my predictions! Again, I really should’ve seen fun.’s nomination coming and for some reason I dismissed P!nk’s album, possibly because I thought it didn’t make the cutoff for the eligibility period – but I’m happy that I turned out to be wrong. A considerably strong set of pop albums nominated, without a doubt.

I’m a little indifferent on the rest of the full categories. However, some quick thoughts on individual nominees or non-nominees:

  • A little shocked there wasn’t more love for Coldplay’s album Mylo Xyloto, save for a nod in the Best Rock Album category and a single nom in Best Rock Performance for “Charlie Brown”
  • They’re still giving Chris Brown nominations? This one in Best Urban Contemporary Album for his latest.
  • I incorrectly assumed that the Grammys would be weird and end up nominating the Taylor Swift and The Civil Wars collaboration of “Safe and Sound” under Best Pop Duo/Group Performance – it ended up going under Best Country Duo/Group Performance. The song also got a nod in the Best Song Written for Visual Media category.
  • Miranda Lambert’s song “Over You” (co-written with Blake Shelton) was surprisingly not nominated for anything. Damn shame, because it’s a really good song.
  • Jimmy Fallon’s Blow Your Pants Off nominated in Best Comedy Album! I just really love “History of Rap.”
  • Though Jason Mraz’s album Love Is A Four Letter Word didn’t receive a nomination in Best Pop Vocal Album, it at least did get recognition in the Best Engineered Album Non-Classical category.

After all is said and done, it certainly looks like fun. is the artist/band to beat heading into awards night, but hopefully Kelly Clarkson can steal a few awards away from them. Thoughts on this year’s crop of nominees? Any surprises? Shocking snubs? Sound off in the comments!

The 55th annual Grammy Awards will air on February 10th, on CBS.