It’s just under four weeks until the big, overblown nominations concert event on CBS. I feel like I’ve got a solid 80% of each category predicted correctly, but there’s always that one wild card. Anyway, there’s still some time to try to correct that. I’ll submit my final picks on the 29th.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Born This Way, Lady Gaga
So Beautiful or So What, Paul Simon
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West
Still in the hunt: Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Jay-Z & Kanye West
The skinny: Now that 21 has surpassed 4 million in sales in the U.S. alone, is there any point in figuring out the other nominees? It’s a generation-bridging album and a towering achievement. Of course, many of us more elite types want to see Kanye West finally win the big prize, and he certainly deserves it, but this race is basically over.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
“Rolling in the Deep,” Adele
“If I Die Young,” the Band Perry
“Pumped Up Kicks,” Foster the People
“Born This Way,” Lady Gaga
“Party Rock Anthem,” LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett and GoonRock
Still in the hunt: Pitbull, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry
The skinny: I feel pretty set on these five, but there’s still the possibility that the Bruno Mars’s “Grenade” and Katy Perry’s “Firework”—two chart-dominating songs with ridiculous lyrics that somehow took six people to write—could find their way into the final group.
SONG OF THE YEAR
“Rolling in the Deep,” Adele (written by Adele, Paul Epworth)
“If I Die Young,” the Band Perry (written by Kimberly Perry)
“Born This Way,” Lady Gaga (written by Stefani Germanotta, Jeppe Laursen, Paul Blair, Fernando Garibay)
“Waiting for Christmas Day,” Paul Simon (written by Paul Simon)
“Runaway,” Kanye West (written by Kanye West, Terrence Thornton, Emile Haynie, Jeff Bhasker, Mike Dean, John Roger Branch)
Still in the hunt: Adele, Dan Wilson; Justin Vernon; Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine, Brody Brown, Claude Kelly, Andrew Wyatt
The skinny: Country’s recent dominance in the major categories led me to believe it had a ton of nominees in this category. It’s still fares well, but the Academy spreads its love of sap across all genres. Depending on how big an impact Bon Iver has on the voters (and really, going from obscurity to debuting at No. 2 is nothing to scoff at), Vernon could be a major player, especially considering his contributions to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
BEST NEW ARTIST
The Band Perry
Foster the People
Still in the hunt: Miguel, Wiz Khalifa, Tyler the Creator
The skinny: Don’t forget to leave a slot for someone you’ve never heard of. Greyson Chance will be the first one to go if this is the case.
BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM
Bon Iver, Bon Iver
The King is Dead, the Decemberists
Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes
The King of Limbs, Radiohead
The Whole Love, Wilco
Still in the hunt: Death Cab for Cutie, TV on the Radio, Portugal. The Man
The skinny: This is a pretty set field, though TV on the Radio is due, but it’s going to be really hard to break in. Which is a shame, considering Nine Types of Light is their best album to date. Death Cab’s definitely still in play, despite my relative disappointment. After failing (the Grammys, not Death Cab) to receive a nod for Transatlanticism, they’ve been nominated for everything since, including their tremendous 2009 EP The Open Door.