The best way I can describe the trajectory of the Grammys over the last few years is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
2011 was the year that (WHO IS) Arcade Fire(??) won album of the year and the indie kids felt vindicated; 2012 marked Adele’s soulful sweep of Best Record, Best Song, and Best Album, 2013 officially made folk bands who forwent percussionists in favor of stomping vintage boots the thing that got people turnt; and 2014 rewarded French robots and cultural appropriation (let us not forget Miley “BANGERZ” Cyrus’s contributions to the latter at the VMAs months prior), so where the hell does that leave us in 2015?
Will there be an upset victory, a subsequent Tumblr taunting the winner, and then a meme mocking the Tumblr that’s taunting said winner in an endless ouroboros of trolling? Will Pharrell’s hat fall off his head, crack open a wormhole to an astral realm and shatter our understanding of time/space/aging? Will Katy Perry’s left shark be there?
Suffice it to say there is no way to know how the night will unfold for the nominees, attendees, and viewers. Here are my guesses anyway.
Let’s start off with two well-deserved gimmes:
Best Comedy Album
“Weird Al” Yankovic – Mandatory Fun
Jim Gaffigan – Obsessed
Louis C.K. – Oh My God
Patton Oswalt – Tragedy Plus Comedy Equals Time
Sarah Silverman – We Are Miracles
Who should win: “Weird Al” Yankovic – Mandatory Fun
Who will win: “Weird Al” Yankovic – Mandatory Fun
All the nominees in this category deserve recognition for putting out great comedic LPs, but only one artist managed to own the zeitgeist for an entire week, a week during which we especially needed irreverent levity, and that artist was our dear friend “Weird Al”. Mandatory Fun saw Al parodying songs that were still relevant by the time he finished recording an album, truly a feat in 2014. Not only that, but he ascended to the wireless throne of the internet for an entire week and scored his first number-one record. I definitely expect his accomplishments to be recognized with a lil golden gramophone thingy on Sunday.
Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
Get On Up: The James Brown Story
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1
The Wolf of Wall Street
Who should win: Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1
Who will win: Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1
Duh. This was hands down the most narratively intertwined and emotionally resonant soundtrack of the year. Sure, Frozen had “Let It Go”, but the Awesome Mix Vol. 1 had every ooga-chak-ing thing you could possibly ask for in a 70s pop-only mix. It was the way we found out about Peter Quill’s relationship to his mom, and ultimately allowed us to see him as a sympathetic protagonist. We’re really excited to see what will be on the Awesome Mix Vol. 2, so we went ahead and made our own, which you can check out just below:
Best Alternative Music Album
Alt-J – This Is All Yours
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Cage the Elephant – Melophobia
St. Vincent – St. Vincent
Jack White – Lazaretto
Who should win: St. Vincent – St. Vincent
Who will win: Jack White – Lazaretto
I like Jack White as much as the next guac-loving rock fan, but I wasn’t as blown away by Lazaretto as I was by St. Vincent’s truly artful and inventive self titled album. Whereas White tread over well-worn, muddy paths, Annie Clark once again reinvented how she made her guitar yawp and squeal in order to explore how the internet is making aliens out of us all. Its truly a disquietingly beuatiful album that sorely deserves recognition.
Best Rap Album
Iggy Azalea – The New Classic
Childish Gambino – Because the Internet
Common – Nobody’s Smiling
Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP2
ScHoolboy Q – Oxymoron
Wiz Khalifa – Blacc Hollywood
Who should win: Childish Gambino – Because the Internet
Who will win: Igloo Australia–ahem–I mean, Iggy Azalea – The New Classic
Donald Glover’s rap alter ego Childish Gambino has never really received a lot of critical praise, and perhaps it was because many couldn’t separate Troy from Community from Glover the standup comedian/writer from Childish the rapper. I honestly think that Because The Internet, even a year later is reversing many people’s suppositions about Glover’s ceilings as a hip-hop artist. His album was impeccably produced and his lyrics took an astounding leap forward in wit and gravity. I think he should be rewarded, but I fear that Iggy Azalea’s chokehold on American Top 40 music–you already knowwwwww–will lead her to victory. Sigh.
Best Rock Album
Ryan Adams – Ryan Adams
Beck – Morning Phase
The Black Keys – Turn Blue
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – The Hypnotic Eye
U2 – Songs of Innocence
Who should win: Beck or Ryan Adams
Who will win: U2 – Songs Of Innocence
U2 pissed off a lot of people this year when they Beyonce’d their album directly into your iTunes without asking if you even wanted a new U2 record in the first place. Consent, in all areas of life, is important. However, I would take a guess that the majority of people who were pleasantly surprised by the album (it was fine. I was not blown away by it, but I was also not angry about it) and went on to enjoy it were roughly of the same age as the people who will vote for Songs of Innocence to win this Grammy. Remember that U2 beat Kanye’s Graduation (a really great album) in 2008, so I am just expecting them to win out again.
Best New Artist
Who should win: Haim
Who will win: Sam Smith
First of all, LOL at “New Artist”. Not to be all bohemian about it, but these performers have all been around for at least two years. There is something about commercial viability and brand-newness that just does not compute (the exception being Lorde, but that was phenomenon). I love Haim and Sam Smith, but I know that Smith is probably going to go all Adele on us and sweep up a few of the bigger Grammys, so why not let the Haim sisters, whose funky indie rock still has us making faces like bassist Este, walk away with this one.
Song Of The Year
Meghan Trainor – “All About That Bass”
Sia – “Chandelier”
Taylor Swift – “Shake It Off”
Sam Smith – “Stay with Me (Darkchild Version)”
Hozier – “Take Me to Church”
Who should win: ohhhh man, I like all these songs but I am going to say [closes eyes and points at] “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith
Who will win: [With eyes still closed, points to] “Shake It Off” by Taylor “This Sick Beat” Swift
Listen dudes, this one is a tossup. I think the Grammy voters are sympathetic to the vintage soul sound that Sam Smith brings to this year’s Grammys, perhaps reminding them of a time of yore when it was wildly more mainstream (keep in mind, these are the same people that awarded Adele with a hat trick, and Sam Smith has been compared to her from the get-go). However, they also love T-Swift and so does the American public and Keds. This one could be debated for hours and who has the time? Good luck to everyone–we’re going to keep hearing all these songs on the radio no matter what so, ya know, they’re all winners.
Album Of The Year
Beck – Morning Phase
Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Ed Sheeran – X
Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour
Pharrell Williams – G I R L
Who should win: Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Who will win: Beyoncé – Beyoncé
Remember when we were discussing U2 and I used Beyoncé as a verb? That’s why she will win this category. Her surprise visual album full of her most sensual, raunchy, confident, and emotional music to date was easily one of the most impressive releases of 2013/2014. She flounced convention with her best album to date, and it marketed itself because she is goddamn Beyoncé. #Flawless
Who do you dudes think will be walking away with a handful of Grammys this year? God I hope Katy Perry’s left shark is at this ceremony. Give the people what they want, KP!!!