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2011 Grammy Awards: Predictions

The Grammys are upon us once again for the 53rd time this year. The awards will be handed out this Sunday on Feb. 13, so we've decided once again to take our chances at predicting who will come out as winners, looking at categories from the main four of the general field to select races in multiple genres.  

 

UPDATE:

Here are the 2011 Grammy Winners.

 

Record of the Year

B.o.B f. Bruno Mars: "Nothin' On You"

Eminem f. Rihanna: "Love The Way You Lie"

Cee Lo Green: "Fuck You"

Jay-Z & Alicia Keys: "Empire State of Mind"

Lady Antebellum: "Need You Now"

 

Will win: In a category notoriously known for splitting votes among pop, hip hop and R&B nominees, Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" seems to be in the best position to walk away with this award. The three hip hop collaborations will cancel each other despite Eminem's momentum and the NARAS may not be ready to give ROTY to a song as daringly titled as Cee Lo's.

Should win: "Empire State of Mind" is the oldest song here and it can still unite at a party, speaking greatly of its shelf life beyond this year and possibly many others. 

Overlooked: Robyn: "Dancing On My Own"; Lady Gaga: "Bad Romance"

 

 

Album of the Year

Arcade Fire: The Suburbs

Eminem: Recovery

Lady Antebellum: Need You Now

Lady Gaga: The Fame Monster

Katy Perry: Teenage Dream


Will win: After being previously nominated in this category twice before, including a baffling loss to Steely Dan in 2001, Eminem should finally walk away with the top award of the evening. In addition to being the biggest seller of the year, Recovery showcased Eminem's maturity and reclaimed his status as a pop music icon. If anyone will play spoiler, it would be Lady Antebellum, but they only have one crossover hit to their name. Gaga and Perry will split the pop votes, but even then an EP winning here is unlikely and the nod for Teenage Dream is just as much of a head-scratcher now as it was when the nominees came out, although it does boast the biggest hits out of anyone else here. Arcade Fire made an album worthy of being included here, but it did not create half the impact of its fellow nominees. 

Should win: Rewarding The Suburbs would be the rare case of giving AOTY to a young band that is at their peak and still making relevant music. 

Overlooked: Janelle Monáe: The ArchAndroid

 


Song Of The Year

Eminem f. Rihanna: "Love The Way You Lie" (Alexander Grant, Skylar Grey & Marshall Mathers, songwriters)

Cee Lo Green: "Fuck You" (Brody Brown, Cee Lo Green, Ari Levine, Philip Lawrence & Bruno Mars, songwriters)

Lady Antebellum: "Need You Now" (Dave Haywood, Josh Kear, Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott, songwriters)

Miranda Lambert: "The House That Built Me" (Tom Douglas & Allen Shamblin, songwriters)

Ray LaMontagne And The Pariah Dogs: "Beg Steal Or Borrow" (Ray LaMontagne, songwriter)

 

Will win: In a traditionally conservative and safe category, this is Lady Antbellum's best chance to score a Grammy in the general field. The win for Beyonce's "Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)" last year proved that the NARAS could actually award an uptempo song here, but that record was such an unstoppable force that it could have won in any category it was nominated for. Although this is being touted as Eminem's year, "Love The Way You Lie" was not the tidal wave that Beyonce's song was. 

Should win: A win for the Cee Lo song would continue to shake the stigma that this category is strictly for serious content and would also prove that finely crafted fun songs are just as worthy of recognition.

Overlooked: Sade: "Soldier of Love"

 


Best New Artist

Justin Bieber

Drake

Florence + The Machine

Mumford & Sons

Esperanza Spalding

 

Will win: Drake would already be a shoo-in for Best New Artist based on sales and crossover appeal alone, but Thank Me Later proved to be more daring and emotionally diverse than anyone expected. 

Should win: Although Florence + The Machine probably has the best album of the bunch and Spalding is the most talented, Drake seems most likely to be able to replicate the success he had in 2010 in future years.

Overlooked: Sleigh Bells, Best Coast



Best Dance Recording

Goldfrapp: "Rocket"

La Roux: "In For The Kill"

Lady Gaga: "Dance In The Dark"

Rihanna: "Only Girl (In The World)"

Robyn: "Dancing On My Own"

 

Will win: Despite being one of the most forward-thinking and trendy categories (Hot Chip, Justice and LCD Soundsystem have all been nominated in the past), this award is usually given to the biggest hit, which in this case would make Rihanna's "Only Girl (In The World)" the winner since it's the most recent and it also went to #1 on the Hot 100. 

Should win: It's time for America as a whole to recognize that Robyn is making some of the best dance music around. 

Overlooked: Duck Sauce: "Barbara Streisand" Kelis: "Acapella,"  LCD Soundsystem: "I Can Change" 

 


Best Electronic/Dance Album

BT: These Hopeful Machines

The Chemical Brothers: Further

Goldfrapp: Head First

Groove Armada: Black Light

La Roux: La Roux

 

Will win: The Chemical Brothers are two-time winners in this category despite releasing albums that didn't match up to their prime. Since Further received some of their best reviews in a while, they should see a Grammy here. La Roux, who recently had their profile increased due to the success of "Bulletproof," has an outside shot at playing spoiler, but they don't have the widespread name recognition that the veteran Chemical Brothers do.

Should win: La Roux dealt with a rare, successful combination of heartache and liveliness and also managed a crossover hit in the process.

Overlooked: Kelis: Flesh Tone; LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening; Lindstrøm and Christabelle: Real Life Is No Cool



Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals

Arcade Fire: "Ready To Start"

Jeff Beck & Joss Stone: "I Put A Spell On You"

The Black Keys: "Tighten Up"

Kings Of Leon: "Radioactive"

Muse: "Resistance"

 

Will win: In what would be seen as an upset, The Black Keys should take this award over Kings of Leon and Arcade Fire. "Tighten Up" stayed in heavy rotation at rock stations across the country and its presence has remained ubiquitous due to licensing for commercials and television shows. Kings of Leon have won this category the past two years and no one has ever done it three times in a row. Not even U2, who has won in consecutive years three separate times, has accomplished this feat. Arcade Fire would also seem like a favorite due to their Album of the Year nod, but this category tends to favor bigger hits.  

Should win: "Ready To Start" is one the main tracks most closely associated with one of the most well-received albums of 2010.

Overlooked: Titus Andronicus: "A More Perfect Union"

 


Best Alternative Music Album

Arcade Fire: The Suburbs

Band Of Horses: Infinite Arms

The Black Keys: Brothers

Broken Bells: Broken Bells

Vampire Weekend: Contra

 

Will win: If the past is any indication, a coinciding Album of the Year nomination is almost as good as win here (Radiohead, The White Stripes, Gnarls Barkley and so on), which means that this is Arcade Fire's award to lose.

Should win: The Suburbs feels most respresentative of 2010 than anything else here. 

Overlooked: Beach House: Teen Dream; Sleigh Bells: Treats 



Best Urban/Alternative Performance

Bilal: "Little One"

Cee Lo Green: "Fuck You"

Carolyn Malachi: "Orion"

Janelle Monáe & Big Boi: "Tightrope"

Eric Roberson: "Still"

 

Will win: If Cee Lo loses here, it would be one of the night's biggest upsets.

Should win: "Tightrope" will likely still sound fresh five years from now. 

Overlooked: Aloe Blacc: "I Need A Dollar"; MdCL presents Sy Smith: "Truth"; Andreya Trianna: "A Town Called Obsolete"

 


Best Contemporary R&B Album

Chris Brown: Graffiti

R. Kelly: Untitled

Ryan Leslie: Transition

Janelle Monáe: The ArchAndroid

Usher: Raymond V Raymond


Will win: Logic says that Usher should win since he has the name recognition and the hits under his belt, but my gut is telling me that Janelle Monáe could pull off an upset due to all the critical acclaim and hype surrounding her. 

Should win: The ArchAndroid is the most inventive and refreshing album of the nominees here. 

Overlooked: The-Dream: Love King

 


Best Rap Solo Performance

Drake: "Over"

Eminem: "Not Afraid"

Ludacris: "How Low"

T.I.: "I'm Back"

Kanye West: "Power"


Will win: Eminem figures to sweep all the other rap categories with ease, but he will get the biggest scare here. While "Not Afraid" did reach #1 on the charts and is still the favorite to win here, "Love The Way You Lie" might have taken some of its momentum.

Should win:  The epic production on "Power" makes it the most distinct song here and Kanye's personality matches up to it.

Overlooked: Gucci Mane: "Lemonade"

 


Best Rap Performance By A Duo Or Group

Big Boi, Bosko, Cutty & Mouche: "Shutterbugg"

Drake, T.I. & Swizz Beatz: "Fancy"

Jay-Z & Swizz Beatz: "On To The Next One"

Ludacris & Nicki Minaj: "My Chick Bad"

Young Jeezy & Plies: "Lose My Mind"


Will win: This is another one of those categories which goes for the bigger name, which should lead to a win for Jay-Z and Swizz Beatz.

Should win: "Shutterbugg" is the class of the group, but no one really views it as a collaboration, which is why the win should go to Ludacris and Nicki Minaj for both turning in star performances. 

Overlooked: Rick Ross f. Styles P: "B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)"; Cali Swag District: "Teach Me How To Dougie"



Best Rap Album

B.o.B: The Adventures Of Bobby Ray

Drake: Thank Me Later

Eminem: Recovery

Jay-Z: The Blueprint 3

The Roots: How I Got Over

 

Will win: While there are some worthy albums here, Eminem's good fortune for the night will definitely continue to shine upon him in this category.

Should win: Thank Me Later was one of the most impressive and consistent hip hop debuts of the last five years and is deserving of the win. The Blueprint 3 and How I Got Over were certainly enjoyable, but can't match up to their artist's previous work.

Overlooked: Curren$y: Pilot Talk; Rick Ross: Teflon Don

 


Producer Of The Year

Rob Cavallo

Danger Mouse

Dr. Luke

RedOne

The Smeezingtons (Bruno Mars, Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine)

 

Will win: With two songs in Record of the Year ("Nothin' On You" and "Fuck You"), The Smeezingtons should be a lock here.

Should win: Dr. Luke has been creating some of pop's most memorable moments for the last half-decade and even made Ke$ha tolerable at times. 

Overlooked: James Blake, Boi-1da, Ski Beatz

 


Best Short Form Music Video

Johnny Cash: "Ain't No Grave / The Johnny Cash Project"

Eminem & Rihanna: "Love The Way You Lie" 

Gorillaz, Mos Def & Bobby Womack: "Stylo"

Cee Lo Green: "F*** You"

Lady Gaga: "Bad Romance"


Will win: This is one of the toughest categories of the night to pick since there's a former winner in Johnny Cash and three major hits, but "Love The Way You Lie" was one of the most talked about and controversial videos of the year, which makes it the one that the most voters have probably seen.

Should win: "Bad Romance" displayed the type of pop star extravagance that used to be commonplace in the 80s and 90s when major label music videos were still taken seriously. 

Overlooked: Erykah Badu: "Window Seat"

 


***

 

Have any predictions of your own? Stake your claim in the comments below.


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So I agree with everything here but the rap categories. Drake over the Roots? Cali Swag District? My Chick Bad over Shutterbugg and Fancy? Thank Me Later as one of the most impressive rap debuts of the last five years? ::implodes::

As a side note, the near complete shut out of Gorillaz in the nominations is criminal.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

Haha well, as far as Drake over The Roots, I found myself going back to Drake's album more than The Roots. It just held more surprises for me and I know The Roots are capable of doing so much more. I did like the album, but I just liked Drake's more.

I think "My Chick Bad" felt most like a collaboration to me. I think "Shutterbugg" is a better song than any of them, but does anyone really think of it as a Big Boi song with features? It felt more like a solo turn than anything. I also like "Fancy" better as a composition, but I felt that Luda's and Nicki's verses were more memorable. As far as Cali Swag District, I really do think it was sad that no actual rap groups were nominated. I think the fact that it's a party song shouldn't be a knock against it either. It's important for hip hop to not lose it's party vibe and remember that even in the genre's infancy it celebrated having fun and was proud of it. With that said, I think "Teach Me How To Dougie" is a very good party song.

As far as the Drake statement, I think it speaks more to the state of hip hop and possibly the music industry as a whole that there have not been a good number of debut albums within the last five or six years. If you can find me ten great hip hop debuts from 2005-2010, I'd be impressed. FYI: I thought Lupe's and Cudi's first efforts were boring.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/ivanmitchell/clockwork_bart2.jpg ivanmitchell

Wow. A lot to respond to. Suffice to say, I object to Cali Swag because they're fundamentally lacking on every front, not because their song is a party song. There are scores of artists making fun-loving, purely surface level rap hits that blow those kids out of the water. I'd take anything off the Waka Flocka album over CSD any day. But really, this is the Grammys we're talking about, and something as woefully undercooked as that "Dougie" song just doesn't cut it.

Also, I call shenanigans on banning Cudi and Lupe. They're cut from the exact same cloth as Drake, and both albums (in my opinion) are better. Cudi's better with melodies, and Lupe smokes Drizzy in the lyrical department. (A lot of rappers do.) They've all got that post-Kanye, professional over-sharing vibe going on. It's strange that you wouldn't like them more.

In any event, here's the first ten hip hop debut albums from the last five years that are as good as, if not hundreds of light years ahead of Thank Me Later in terms of quality that came to mind. Plenty more where that came from:

Diamond District - In the Ruff
Blu & Exile - Below the Heavens
Roc Marciano - Marcberg
Big KRIT - KRIT Wuz Here
Elzhi - The Preface
The Perceptionists - Black Dialogue
The Game - The Documentary
Tyler, The Creator - Bastard
Joell Ortiz - The Brick
Percee P - Perseverance

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

where is Lupe Fiasco!!!!!!

matgunnerzz

He said he didn't like Lupe!

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

-Fair enough on Cali Swag District. Admittedly it's not for everyone but it has yet to grow old for me, so there you go.

-I do think that in a lot of aspects Lupe is a more talented and technically superior MC than Drake, but I felt that Food & Liquor was bogged down mostly by production that wasn't as imaginative as his lyrics and style. I think that The Cool mostly corrected those faults. I do think it can be debated who is better with melodies between Cudi and Drake, but honestly I think you can say that's about all Cudi has going for him. I do find his content very emotional and therefore refreshing, but lyrically he is just not that impressive. The man has some great ideas but has yet to put them in a complete package that has blown people's minds away. Thank Me Later was just a more consistent and self-assured album than both of those. It was a complete vision and had little of the shakiness that can sometimes come with debut album.

-I agree with you on The Game and Blu & Exile LPs as being great actual debut albums and I can respect the Tyler inclusion because it's so different, but can we really consider the Elzhi, Percee P and Perceptionists records debuts at heart? Yes, technically they could be considered debuts, but Elzhi did a few albums with Slum Village, Percee P has been around for decades and Mr. Lif & Akrobatik were already established solo acts. These are not exactly new voices that are making their first statement.

-Calling all ten of those albums light years better than Thank Me Later is also a bit of a stretch. It glosses over the fact it sounds more contemporary and of its era than some of the other albums mentioned which stick to a more traditional sound. I also think songs like "Fireworks" and "Shut It Down" are more daring with its integration of R&B that goes beyond that the typical formulaic collaboration that's created for airplay. I think it's ambitious and aspires to do something not heard very often. As much as I love Joell Ortiz and think how awesome he is, I've heard it before.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/ivanmitchell/clockwork_bart2.jpg ivanmitchell

Thank Me Later would have been better if he hadn't already done a superior version, aka So Far Gone.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

I didn't say they were all light years better than Thank Me Later. I said they were all "as good as, if not light years better than" Thank Me Later. Meaning it is a list of albums that are at least as entertaining as Thank Me Later but that some of the albums on the list are way better in my opinion. Also, if we want to talk about who's been kicking around for years, let's not forget that Drake's first mixtape Room for Improvement did come out in 2006. He's not exactly the rookie you're giving him credit for being. He worked this sound out over 3 mixtapes over the course of 4 years.

Re: the album itself: Shut It Down is basically a Dream song in style, structure, and content. Karaoke (ironic title) is basically a Phil Collins song. The punchline flow is grossly overused throughout the album. Drake drops more embarrassing lyrical flubs than I can even count, enough to start a running hash tag in joke on Twitter (#fakedrakelines).

The real star of the show is obviously 40. That's who's doing all the ambitious stuff here. Credit also goes out to Kanye and Cudi, whose recent works are Thank Me Later's painfully obvious stepdaddies. This album is essentially 808s Jr. In a conversation about the best debut albums of the last five years, I wouldn't even think of this. Homeboy's a sorta decent rapper with great production, all right melodies, an average singing voice, a post-Kanye penchant for emotional over-sharing, and a cracking Rolodex. This wouldn't be half the album it is if it wasn't for the help. Yeah, he sings and raps, but he doesn't excel at either. And like Andrew said, he did all of this better on the mixtape, anyway. I really don't get why people think this stuff is as amazing as they seem to think it is.

What's most telling about this conversation, though, is that we're speaking of it's greatness in terms of DEBUT albums and not albums in general. Cause in that conversation, it wouldn't even register. Now for a list of albums that went for the same vibe as this one, but nailed it:

The-Dream's Love vs. Money, both Man on the Moon albums by Cudi, Kanye's 808s & Heartbreak, and last, but certainly not least, Diddy's Last Train to Paris (really if you want to talk about pushing the envelope and seamlessly integrating rap and r&b, THIS is the album of 2010 that pulled it off).

/site_media/uploads/images/users/LongestWinter/moonjpg.jpg CraigJenkins

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