This year’s Grammy Awards are set to air live on Monday, February 15, and the three-and-a-half-hour, performance-packed music event of the year is one you don’t want to miss.There will be no shortage of bizarre entrances, jaw-dropping fashion and unplanned, headline-worthy interruptions as we’ve seen in years past. But beyond the drama and aesthetics of the night, it’s the artists taking home gramophones we’re most interested in.
No matter what your taste in music, there’s an artist, songwriter or producer nominated for a musical piece that soothes your soul. That being said, everyone has a different opinion on who should and who will take home the gold in each category on Monday.
In anticipation of the four biggest awards to be given out on Music’s Biggest Night, I’ve thrown together some educated guesses as to who will be called to the stage to accept awards and who will be going home straight-up snubbed.
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Here are the four most-anticipated categories and their nominations, followed by who will likelygetthe goldand who should have been recognized.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
This year’s nominees for Record of the Year includeReally Love, DAngelo And The Vanguard;Uptown Funk, Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars;Thinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran;Blank Space, Taylor Swift andCant Feel My Face, The Weeknd.
Who Will Win:“Uptown Funk,” Mark Ronson Featuring Bruno Mars
This record sat at the top of the Billboard Top 100 for 14 consecutive weeks, tying with six other tracks in history for the second-longest leading number one hit of all time. It’s for this fact alone “Uptown Funk” is a shoo-in for Record of the Year.
Having collaborated with along line of esteemed artists including Adele, Amy Winehouse, Duran Duran and Lil Wayne, Ronson is well known for his production skill. It’s hiscollaboration with Bruno Mars on“Uptown Funk” coupled with the track’s overwhelming commercial success that will send the duo home with gramophones.
Who Will Get Snubbed: “Can’t Feel My Face,” The Weeknd
“Can’t Feel My Face” was the summer jam of 2015, and it’s a track that continues to resonate with any listener who loves to cut a rug. The record knocked Justin Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?” from the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, at which time The Weeknd also claimed the second spot for “The Hills.”
The singer’spopularity rose to new heights after the release of the two chart-topping singles, and his subsequent album, The Beauty Behind The Madness, nominated for Album of the Year, introduced fans to a dark but alluring genre all its own.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
This year’s nominees for Album of the YearareSound & Color, Alabama Shakes;To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar;Traveller, Chris Stapleton;1989, Taylor Swift andBeauty Behind The Madness, The Weeknd.
Who Will Win: To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick LamarOR1989, Taylor Swift
Nominated inthe biggest category of the awards show, Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and Taylor Swift’s 1989 are top contenders for contrasting reasons.
To Pimp A Butterflygained critical acclaim upon its March 2015 release, usheringKendrick Lamar into 11 Grammy nominations this year. Thealbum unfolds in a conversational manner, broaching with intensity the topic of racial prejudice and Lamar’s own struggle coming up in Compton. The album isn’t for the average listener simply looking tonod along to the more beat-driven sounds of “King Kunta,” but to hear, digest and attachto the connectionLamar’s trying to make. President Barack Obama found himself submerged in the depth of the album,naming “How Much A Dollar Cost” his favorite song of the year.
Taylor Swift’s 1989brought an undeniable, pivotal shift in the singer’s career, redefining not only her image but her sound. Swift’s music has been on a path of evolution since her breakout year in country music in 2006, which isn’t uncommon for artists as they gain traction in the industry and define what works best for their brand. For Taylor, however, her rise to fame has been something of a rarity, as she’s not simply tweaked her sound but hopped genres — a bold but advantageous move for the pop star. Her album, 1989,was named the top-selling album at the close of 2014, and voters will have a hard time looking past its massive commercial success.
Who Will Get Snubbed: Beauty Behind The Madness, The Weeknd
As stated up top, Beauty Behind The Madness brought The Weeknd’s fame to new heights, following his disappointing debut studio album, Kiss Land. This album is a home run on so many levels, with its rich sound, lyrics rooted in drugsand sex and generally enigmatic tone. The proof of its success is in the pudding, claiming the top two spots on the Billboard Hot 100 for The Weeknd’s first time.
“Earned It,” the lead single for the highly-anticipated and sorely disappointing “Fifty Shades of Grey” film adaption, also became the national sex anthem for months leading up to the premiere and awarded the singer fame ahead of the album’s release. The song is nominated for three of The Weeknd’s seven total nominations at the Grammys this year.
SONG OF THE YEAR
This year’s nominees for Song of the Year includeAlright, Kendrick Lamar;Blank Space, Taylor Swift;Girl Crush, Little Big Town;See You Again, Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth andThinking Out Loud, Ed Sheeran.
Who Will Win: “Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran
Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” comes from his 2014 album, x, which was nominated for Album of the Year in 2015. The singer gets one more shot at taking home a gramophone for the album, as “Thinking Out Loud” is nominated for Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance at this year’s Grammy Awards. In 2014,x solidified the UK native as Spotify’s most-streamed artist, and “Thinking Out Loud” became the first song on Spotify to hit 500 million streams — that’s halfway to a billion.
Awarded to the songwriters of nominated tracks, Song of the Year would be a modest labeling for Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud,” as the singer’s knack for writing swoon-worthy lyrics hit its peak with a track that will be chosen forthefirst dance at weddings for years to come.
Who Will Get Snubbed: “Alright,” Kendrick Lamar
Harkening back to the nominatedthirdstudio album by Kendrick Lamar, “Alright” is one track that exemplifiesthe gritty sounds and overall message of To Pimp A Butterfly. The track breathes optimism into the preluding darkness of the LP, taking a stance on the Black Lives Matter movement to drive homea message of hopefor the black community and for the movement’s supporters: “We gon’ be alright.”
It’s heavy and contentious, but “Alright” relies on the reality of police brutality and the lack of progression toward racial equality to make an argument that resonates — even ifjust the hook can’t escape your mind.
BEST NEW ARTIST
This year’s nominees for Best New Artist areCourtney Barnett,James Bay,Sam Hunt,Tori Kelly andMeghan Trainor.
Who Will Win: Meghan Trainor
Meghan Trainor takes home the gold for Best New Artist by popularity alone. The singer-songwriter earned spots on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2015 for a number of hits off her album, Title, including “All About That Bass,” “Dear Future Husband,” “Lips Are Movin,” “Title” and “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.”
The 22-year-old ignited her career in 2011 with Only 17, but her deviation from bubblegum pop into the doo-wop sounds of her second album are what will earnher the gramophone for Best New Artist. Trainor’s rapid rise to fame via her unconventional approach to the over-saturated genre make her a powerhouse among the lesser-known nominees in this category.
Who Will Get Snubbed: Tori Kelly
Surrounding herself in the elite crew summoned by talent manager Scooter Braun, who also works with Justin Bieber, Tori Kelly is an artist to watch in the coming years. Unfortunately, this year’s nomination for Best New Artist will be tough to win for the 23-year-old, who debuted her first studio album, Unbreakable, in 2015.
Kelly has seen spots on the Billboard Hot 100 for the break-up smash hit “It Should’ve Been Us” as well as “Hollow” and “Nobody Love.” The singer-songwriter has an unmatched set of vocal chords, smooth like butter when acoustically accompanied by her guitar. It’s the stacked competition in the pop genre, however, that leaves Tori stuck between a rock and a hard place as she further defines her sound and continues climbing the charts.
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