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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Pop Cultured Summer 2015 – June

Summer is upon us! Which means its that special time of year where a lot of things happen, but also don’t happen. The movie blockbusters are coming in at full force, while TV takes it easy (sorta). There will also be plenty of concerts and events to fill up those wonderful summer days and nights. So here are some of the things I’m looking forward to!

JUNE

Yeah, that thing I said about TV taking it easy? Well, by the look of things, it doesn’t really look like it. First of all, my favourite summer show, So You Think You Can Dance (June 1), is back! Some changes are afoot for season 12, the first being that Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo will be on the judging panel. I understand having Paula as a judge, Jason not so much. The biggest change for SYTYCD however, is that they will be doing Stage vs. Street – meaning the Top 20 will consist of 10 dancers with formal training (Stage) and 10 dancers with no formal training (Street). The logistics of how that will ultimately change the show’s fundamentals can be read here. Syfy continues to add some interesting new shows to their lineup with Dark Matter (June 12) and Killjoys (June 19), both of which are Canadian-made and American co-produced. Dark Matter, based on the comic book of the same name, is about a spaceship crew that awakens with no memory of who they are or how they even got there, and now must work together to figure out those secrets and survive. In Killjoys, Hannah John-Kamen, Luke Macfarlane, and Aaron Ashmore play a trio of interplanetary bounty hunters. While we’re on the topic of space, I’m actually quite excited to check out The Astronaut Wives Club (June 16), based on the true story of the women who were left behind as their husbands ventured into space. It’s an interesting time period to look at, but I’m actually just really excited about the cast involved: Joanna Garcia Swisher, Odette Annable, Yvonne Strahovski, Wilson Bethel, Bret Harrison, and Desmond Harrington are the more recognizable names. Then there’s Zoo (June 30), based on author James Patterson’s book about a not-so-distant future that sees all the animals in the world revolt against humanity for how we’ve treated them over the years. The so-called limited series (though CBS said the same thing about Under the Dome and Extant, which are going into seasons 3 and 2) is a suspense thriller with a slight tinge of sci-fi – all good considering one of the writers and executive producers on the show is Jeff Pinkner, one of the men responsible for Fringe. Lastly, June sees the return of Suits (June 24) and Graceland (June 25). Season 5 of Suits will see the fallout from last season’s ender, with Donna leaving Harvey and working instead for Louis, and of course, there’s that little thing of Mike and Rachel being engaged! Meanwhile, with season 3 of Graceland, we finally get the answer to whether Mike is dead or alive (he has to be alive though right? Hurt/damaged but alive.)

On the movie side of things, the only movie I’m REALLY looking forward to is Inside Out (June 19). It’s a Pixar movie, featuring a voice cast that includes Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling! I’m sorry, that’s just a no-brainer. I’m excited for everyone to see Love & Mercy (June 5), a movie about Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys, during two very critical times in his life. It’s a film I saw at last year’s TIFF and just really great.

June will see the release of two albums that I’m really looking forward to!. The first is Tori Kelly‘s “Unbreakable Smile” (June 23). After this post, I went and downloaded more of Tori’s previous releases. I’m still in love with her song “Nobody Love” and can’t wait to hear what the rest of the album sounds like. Joy Williams, formerly of The Civil Wars, will be releasing her first solo album “Venus” (June 30), since the band’s break-up (she released 4 albums prior to forming The Civil Wars). Based on her first single, “Woman” (which for the record, is co-written by Matt Morris, a wonderfully talented musician in his own right), Joy’s new sound is a departure from what people may expect (that is, if they’re expecting just The Civil Wars’ sound but solo) but it is entirely refreshing.

Music Monday: Keeping Up With New Music

I will be the first to admit that I am not on the top of my game when it comes to discovering new music. And even so, TV has taken up so much of my time that even if I find out about somebody new or a new song, it takes me a while to actually go and listen. Last week, I get a random text from a friend asking if I have heard of James Bay. This is the gist of our conversation following that question:

Me: I’ve heard OF him. Haven’t gotten around to listening to his music.

Friend: He’s amazing! He’s playing a show in Toronto tonight. I’ve been looking for tickets but it’s sold out.

M: [quickly goes to YouTube, listens to a song] HE’S GOOD! You have to give me notice about these things!

F: You’re supposed to be the concert guru!

M: Only if I know about them!

Basically, our conversation just made me fully realize just how much I’m slacking when it comes to new music. Actually, I’m slacking all together when it comes to music because I missed out on some concert news that have resulted in sold out shows. FAIL. So in my attempt to rectify my recent music situation, I finally checked out the music of two artists I had been hearing so much about: James Bay and Tori Kelly.

I’ve quickly become a fan of James Bay, who is yet another British import, though very much different from his contemporaries Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith. He’s got a very raspy/soulful tone that reminds me of James Morrison, but with a slightly more folk rock sound.

Tori Kelly is a pop/R&B singer/songwriter, who started out like many people do these days, on YouTube, though she’s more than proven her talent. The first single from her debut album “Nobody Love” puts her sound alongside the likes of Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez, very mainstream pop. Go back a couple years to some of her older songs and they are reminiscent of JoJo and maybe even a little Jessie J.