Get ready for the Grammys
Daniel Gallen, Editor in Chief
January 25, 2010
Filed under Arts & Entertainment
It’s Grammy season again. With the nominees announced for the 52nd annual installment of what are usually considered the most prestigious awards in music, “The Patriot” is taking a look at what viewers should expect to see on January 31 when they tune in. Here’s a look at some of the most prominent categories.
Record of the Year
This award, given to the artist, producers, engineers, and mixers of tracks, looks like it will come down to Swift’s “You Belong With Me” and “Halo” by Beyonce. The Black Eyed Peas are lurking as usual with “I Gotta Feeling” while Lady Gaga burst onto the scene with “Poker Face.”
But the star power of Swift and Beyonce dims the shine of Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas, while Kings Of Leon’s “Use Somebody” is all but blotted out. Swift has had a late surge this year after the release of the platinum edition of 2008’s “Fearless,” giving her a slight edge.
Pick: “You Belong With Me” – Taylor Swift
Album of the Year
Four of the five artists from the Record of the Year category return for Album of the Year, with the Dave Matthews Band’s “Big Whiskey and the Groogux King” replacing Kings of Leon. Again, the competition will come down to Beyonce and Swift, as Lady Gaga’s “The Fame” and The Black Eyed Peas’ “The E.N.D.” are overshadowed by the hits they’ve produced. They do not have the cohesiveness seen in “I Am… Sasha Fierce” and “Fearless.”
Pick: “I Am… Sasha Fierce” – Beyonce
Song of the Year
“You Belong With Me,” “Poker Face,” and “Use Somebody” all appear again, but this time are joined by “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” by Beyonce and “Pretty Wings” by Maxwell. The Swift-Beyonce battle continues, as both are light years ahead of the competition with these songs in terms of general popularity. “Single Ladies” and “You Belong With Me” are both logical choices for this Grammy, but this time, overall appeal comes ahead of fan base size and recent exposure.
Pick: “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” – Beyonce
Best New Artist
It’s tough to break this to the selection committee, but Silversun Pickups and MGMT are not new artists. Silversun Pickups released their debut full-length in 2006, while MGMT released an album in 2005 and EPs in 2005 and 2008. Besides this, The Ting Tings, Keri Hilson, and the Zac Brown Band all have cases, but Hilson has the strongest. The Ting Tings are known for only two songs, while the Zac Brown Band hasn’t had nearly the same exposure as Hilson.
Pick: Keri Hilson
Best Dance Recording
With the absence of both Beyonce and Swift in this category, the field is wide open. Both The Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga put forth strong prospects with “Boom Boom Pow” and “Poker Face,” while two queens of pop, Britney Spears and Madonna enter the fray with “Womanizer” and “Celebration.” David Guetta’s “When Love Takes Over (feat. Kelly Rowland)” also earned a nomination. The Black Eyed Peas seem to be at every Grammy Awards, but the beats of “Poker Face” make it a very tight race.
Pick: “Boom Boom Pow” – Black Eyed Peas
Best Rock Song
This is one of the weakest categories out there, with “Use Somebody” appearing again, along with Bruce Springsteen’s “Working On A Dream,” U2’s “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight,” Green Day’s “21 Guns,” and Pearl Jam’s “The Fixer.” Kings of Leon have become much more appealing to the Grammys since the release of “Aha Shake Heartbreak” in 2005, and 2008’s “Only By The Night” sets them up perfectly to win. However, Green Day, a three-time winner, hopes to ride their commercial success to their first win since 2006, when “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” won Record of the Year.
Pick: “Use Somebody” – Kings of Leon
Best Alternative Music Album
Finally, a category with some substance. Death Cab For Cutie’s “The Open Door,” Phoenix’s “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix,” and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “It’s Blitz!” all immediately take the lead over the David Byrne-Brian Eno collaboration “Everything That Happens Will Happen Today” and Depeche Mode’s “Sounds of the Universe.” Phoenix was a breakthrough artist this year, while Death Cab and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have all been household names for some time now. This relative newness of Phoenix helps make them the leading contender, as “Wolfgang” boasts such hits as “1901” and “Lisztomania.”
Pick: “Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix” – Phoenix
Best Rap Solo Performance
This field features rappers from both ends of the experience spectrum, with the seasoned Jay-Z, with “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” Eminem, with “Beautiful,” Mos Def, with “Casa Bey,” and relative newcomers Kid Cudi and Drake, with “Day ‘N’ Nite” and “Best I Ever Had,” respectively. All of these tracks are strong, but the live instruments used on “D.O.A.” make it the most appealing track.
Pick: “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” – Jay-Z
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration
“I’m On A Boat” was nominated for a Grammy. This in itself is amazing, although it feels like T-Pain’s presence had a lot to do with it, still, digest that fact: The Lonely Island was nominated for a Grammy that doesn’t involve comedy. That being said, it’s no sure thing to win, going up against tracks like “Run This Town (feat. Rihanna and Kanye West)” by Jay-Z, “Ego (feat. Kanye West)” by Beyonce, “Knock You Down (feat. Kanye West and Ne-Yo)” by Keri Hilson, and “Dead and Gone (feat. Justin Timberlake)” by T.I. All five of these collaborations are loaded with star power. That being said, the one with the most ego and star power packed into one song will take away the prize.
Pick: “Run This Town (feat. Rihanna and Kanye West)” by Jay-Z
Dan Gallen can be reached for comment at email@example.comGet ready for the Grammys,