There is a reason I don’t do forecasts on the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, and all the other staples of award show season; getting the opportunity to see everything nominated for these awards are too exhausting and time-consuming for my taste. Plus, compared to something like music, movies are not exactly my wheelhouse of critical breakdown. Don’t get me wrong, I will have some movie and TV-based Tuesday Top 10s coming up, but they’ll be few and far between compared to the music and wrestling ones. Luckily for the Grammy Awards, they’re supposed to be seen as the biggest night in music, where only the best of the best walk away with a coveted trophy. That’s right, it’s not a popularity contest…or is it?
OK, I’m not here to condemn the Grammys for their many, MANY wrong decisions of ceremonies past: I’m here to look forward to this year’s Grammys and predict who’ll win a golden gramophone. Now, keep in mind that the Grammys have tons of categories, most of which cover genres of music I’m not at all familiar with; I’m probably the last person you should trust with categories like “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance”, “Best Opera Recording”, or basically any other award that’s guaranteed to go out on the Grammy’s pre-show stream. But as for the major genres such as pop, rock, rap, R&B, country, and the general field? That’s a can-do for me.
The only problem with that is that it is still a load of awards to cover. Therefore, unlike the Slammy Awards Forecast, where I shoved a load of categories into on post, I’m gonna separate this all into four different posts and you can just read up on the fields that interest you: post #1 will cover the rock and country fields, post #2 will cover the rap and R&B fields, post #3 will cover the pop, dance, music video, and visual media fields, and the post will cover the Big 4 of Best New Artist, Song, Record, and Album of the Year. It may still take as much will power to read as it took for me to write (hence why I’ve decided not to do a Tuesday Top 10 this week), but hopefully it’ll be just as fun as sitting through the ceremony itself will be. I expect SO many piano ballads; I hope not, though. I have to miss out on most of Monday Night RAW for this, and anything that makes me miss my wrestling better be worth it! So let’s go ahead and dive into the rock and country fields to see what we’re dealing with there.
Best Rock Performance
Alabama Shakes vs. Florence + The Machine vs. Foo Fighters vs. Elle King vs. Wolf Alice
I swear I had no idea Wolf Alice was a band with a female lead singer before I listened to “Moaning Lisa Smile” as research for this. They have a nice little sludgy rock sound; kind of punk-ish actually. Elle King obviously has the most well-known song in the category and it’s actually so good, you’d been forgiven for forgetting she’s the daughter of the Robin to Adam Sandler‘s Batman. Florence kills it as always on “What Kind of Man”, one of her most rockin’ tunes to date that opened her How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful new era strong. Two big standouts in this category, however, are the Foo Fighters with their build-up in aggression on “Something from Nothing” and Alabama Shakes on their soulful track “Don’t Wanna Fight”. The thing is that unlike Alabama Shakes, this is the Foo Fighters’ only nomination this year, which is a surprise given how big Sonic Highways has been for them. They won a couple of Emmys for it, after all.
Who I Want to Win: Foo Fighters; it’s their only nomination and it’d make a fitting win.
Who Will Win: Alabama Shakes; I feel like if they win any award, it’ll be this one.
Best Metal Performance
August Burns Red vs. Ghost vs. Lamb of God vs. Sevendust vs. Slipknot
“Identity” kind of sounds like what a non-metalheard might imagine if they were to think about what a metal song would sound like: crunchy guitar and growling vocals throughout, except when they switch up to a surf guitar halfway through. In the same vein, “Custer” may be what most parents assume all metal sounds like with repeated screams of ‘Cut, cut, cut me up and f*ck, f*ck, f*ck me up’; however, the wordplay in the line ‘You form a line to formalize the former lies.’ had me bowing down, I admit. And much like Slipknot, Lamb of God is a big name in metal, so their nomination for ‘512’ is credible. Ghost has the most melodic song in the category with “Cirice”, a huge hit and truth be told, it’s one hell of a soothing track for a band who’s singer is name ‘Papa Emeritus’ with all other members being dubbed ‘Nameless Ghouls‘. But I’m kinda biased for Sevendust, who has been together since the 90s and are just now nominated for the first time for a song that was previously on my Top 20 Countdown, “Thank You”.
Who I Want to Win: Sevendust; they’ve been a band since the 90s and are just now up for a Grammy. They deserve one at this stage. If not them, then I’ll accept Ghost winning for originality.
Who Will Win: Slipknot; just don’t expect lead singer Corey Taylor to show up and accept it.
Best Rock Song
“Don’t Wanna Fight” vs “Ex’s & Oh’s” vs. “Hold Back the River” vs. “Lydia” vs. “What Kind of Man”
Despite the fact that I’d seen the music video and heard the song numerous times, I had a ton of trouble figuring out what “Lydia” by Highly Suspect was about because I could not decode the admittedly intriguing lyrics for the life of me. The other songs gave me less of a hard time. In “Ex’s & Oh’s”, Elle King tells some tales of lovers past who want her back because her loving was that epic. Alabama Shakes sings about a woman who is tired of the fighting that she and the song’s subject often find themselves doing, James Bay sings about the universal theme of a long distance relationship , and Florence performs about a man who clearly must be ashamed of the way he shows his “love”. Five rock songs that all have something going for them, but only one of them can win. And the one I’d most love to see reign supreme is…
Who I Want to Win: Florence + The Machine; I need them to win a Grammy this year. If not them, then Alabama Shakes.
Who Will Win: James Bay; I expect James Bay to have a great night on Monday, but more on that a little later.
Best Rock Album
James Bay vs. Death Cab for Cutie vs Highly Suspect vs. Muse vs. Slipknot
I don’t even know how to decide which album I want to win this category; do I choose the album that was the most cohesive and sonically distinct or the one I rocked out to the most. Because I found myself jamming to most of Slipknot’s album; yes, even the ones where Corey Taylor just started basically rapping in parts. On the opposite end of the spectrum for them were Death Cab For Cutie (who’s album went upbeat, then soft in the middle, them upbeat again) and James Bay (who is a bit more pop-ish, but delivers with the big songs). I can’t say I was huge on Highly Suspect, but their album did have some decent tracks. Meanwhile, I read that Muse’s album is about war, which would explain why there are interludes of speeches in between the musically interesting tracks.
Who I Want To Win: Either Muse (mainly out of admiration for what they were going for) or Slipknot (because it’s the one I rocked out to most, hands down).
Who Will Win: Like I said, I expect James Bay to have a great night and winning Best Rock Album will be part of it.
Best Alternative Album
Alabama Shakes vs. Björk vs. My Morning Jacket vs. Tame Impala vs. Wilco
TO BE UPDATED LATER
Best Country Solo Performance
Cam vs. Chris Stapleton vs. Carrie Underwood vs. Keith Urban vs. Lee Ann Womack
Lee Ann Womack has the only song in this entire category that I had to look up because unlike the other four songs, I don’t think I ever heard this song on country radio at all this year. And yes, Chicago does have a country station. Womack is a beloved name in country music and that reputation is obviously earned, so “Chances Are” could net her the award. But what about the other songs in the category? Well, I love “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”; it was #1 on my Top 20 Countdown for two weeks last year. It’s heavily bass driven and references “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” among other things. “Little Toy Guns” was a big-sounding song for Carrie Underwood, and her voice is powerful as always. Chris Stapleton set the world on fire at the CMA’s last year and the same greatness is shown on “Traveller” as a track. And then there’s Cam with her breakout hit, “Burning House”, which is the one I feel for the most and gives me the impression Cam could go places.
Who I Want to Win: Cam; I’ll let her have this one because “Burning House” was a moving little song. But again, Keith Urban‘s song was my jam, so if I wins, I won’t complain.
Who Will Win: Chris Stapleton; spoilers, I think Stapleton is also in for a good night.
Best Country Duo/Group Performance
Brother Osborne vs. Joey + Rory vs. Dierks Bentley & Eric Pasley vs. Little Big Town vs. Blake Shelton & Ashley Monroe
Charles Kelley is nominated for a Grammy for a track including him and two other performers and it’s not a Lady Antebellum song. Nope, he teamed up with Eric Pasley and Dierks Bentley for this one, and seeing as I have a hard time telling modern male country singers apart, I was surprised and delighted to see that it wasn’t the case in this song. Joey + Rory is a group that I am largely unfamiliar with, but their song “If I Needed You” has that country spirit to it that must be admired and I could understand if it was awarded. But now it’s time to talk about the biggest hits in the category: the so-so yet catchy sex jam that is “Stay A Little Longer” by Brothers Osborne, the basically booty-call track that is “Lonely Tonight” by Blake Shelton and Ashley Monroe (I’m gonna avoid a too-easy Miranda Lambert joke here), and the controversial crossover track that is now Little Big Town’s signature hit, “Girl Crush”…well, I just talked about them technically. Now would be a good time to move on to the prediction part, I guess.
Who I Want to Win: Little Big Town; what can I say? “Girl Crush” was one of my tracks last year.
Who Will Win: Little Big Town, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Joey + Rory took it instead.
Best Country Song
“Chances Are” vs. “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” vs. “Girl Crush” vs. “Hold My Hand” vs. “Traveller”
After listening to “Chances Are” for the first time, I came away thinking that the point was to say that this woman (the song’s narrator, not Lee Ann Womack herself) is the unluckiest woman in the world when it comes to love. Meanwhile, Tim McGraw and Catherine Dunn (who I just found out is McGraw’s cousin) just go in on how much they don’t have in common with one another on “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools”. The track that is now officially Little Big Town’s biggest hit is a song about a woman who is envious of another woman because she has everything the man she wants likes, giving “Girl Crush” a whole new meaning. Brandy Clark just wants her man to “Hold My Hand” so the other woman will back off upon discovering that he is taken…and I guess not to keep from whipping the other woman’s ass. Remember: she doesn’t look good in orange and she hates stripes. And just as the title suggests, Chris Stapleton is a “Traveller”; he’s always on the road, not just literally, but as metaphorically as his life moves on by.
Who I Want to Win: Team “Girl Crush”; maybe if they win the Grammy, Karen will forget the guy in the scenario.
Who Will Win: Honestly, I see “Girl Crush” taking this one.
Best Country Album
Sam Hunt vs. Little Big Town vs. Ashley Monroe vs. Kacey Musgraves vs. Chris Stapleton
Oh, Sam Hunt. Is there any country artist more pop than this guy right now? After listening to Montevallo, I’m inclined to say “yes”. The guy really does love his pop-esque production and fun songs, but does try to throw on some ‘real’ sounding stuff too. He’s not the only one, though, because Little Big Town’s album Pain Killer has songs that are borderline rock on them to add to their usual country ones. If you’re looking some country in it’s purest, more traditional state, try the underrated Ashley Monroe, who’s Grammy nomination for The Blade is very much earned. Or you could give a chance to two albums that are FearlessRiOT-Approved: Kacey Musgraves and Chris Stapleton‘s efforts. I’ve talked enough about how awesome Musgraves’ music is and I’m not sure Stapleton needs an explanation after his breakout these last few months.
Who I Want to Win: Kacey Musgraves. Give it to Kacey, I say!
Who Will Win: Chris Stapleton. It’s totally going to Chris Stapleton.
Do you agree with the forecast? Who do you see winning a Grammy Award? Who are you rooting for to win? Do you even care? Tag me on Twitter@FearlessRiOT and let me know or leave a comment below. Then check out the Grammys this Monday on CBS to see which predictions come true. Hope you all enjoy the show!