Who Will, Could, And Should Win At The Grammy Awards?

With only just a few days to go until music’s biggest night, it’s time for me to go big or go home. Is Taylor Swift’s 1989 too big to deny? Will The Weeknd cap off his incredible breakthrough year? Or is this going to be Kendrick Lamar’s year? I take a run through the big categories on who will, could and should win, and who got snubbed.

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Album of the Year: 

  • Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes
  • To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar
  • Traveler, Chris Stapleton
  • 1989, Taylor Swift
  • Beauty Behind the Madness, The Weeknd

Will Win: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly 

Could Win: Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color 

Should Win: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp A Butterfly 

Should’ve Been Nominated: Carly Rae Jepson, E•MO•TION

It’s clear that the Grammys fell in love with To Pimp A Butterfly; 11 nominations isn’t anything to balk at, and Lamar’s follow-up album was last year’s most critically acclaimed release. That being said, Beyoncé seemed like a sure thing last year and Beck’s Morning Phases won this award in what was a huge curveball. If there’s an upset, I think it could be the flying under the radar contender, Sound & Color, that’ll snag this award.

The biggest snub here was most definitely Carly Rae Jepson’s E•MO•TION which was hailed by critics as a masterpiece. Though it didn’t exactly light up the charts, this category has recognized several underdog albums in the past with a nomination here (most notably, Sara Bareilles’ The Blessed Unrest) so there’s no reason they couldn’t have found room for Jepson’s magnum opus.

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Record of the Year: 

  • “Really Love” D’Angelo & The Vanguard
  • “Uptown Funk” Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
  • “Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran
  • “Blank Space” Taylor Swift
  • “Can’t Feel My Face” The Weeknd

Will Win: “Upton Funk” Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

Could Win: “Can’t Feel My Face” The Weeknd

Should Win: “Uptown Funk” Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars

Should’ve Been Nominated: “Trap Queen” Fetty Wap

“Uptown Funk” was one of the year’s biggest songs, in terms of both sound and success. It doesn’t hurt that Ronson’s fingerprint is all over this one, and this award favors producer heavy songs. That being said, The Weeknd gave us his best MJ impression with the song’s cool, throwback yet modern sounding summer jam which was also a huge success. This could be where the Grammys choose to reward the breakout artist for his banner year.

If there’s anyone that deserved to be here, it’s Fetty Wap. “Trap Queen” was just as huge of a song as “Uptown Funk.” Aux cords and stereo systems everywhere launched the song to now iconic status. The song sounds much fresher, and catchier than Sheeran’s saccharine ballad.

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Song of the Year: 

  • “Alright” Kendrick Lamar
  • “Blank Space” Taylor Swift
  • “Girl Crush” Little Big Town
  • “See You Again” Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth
  • “Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran

Will Win: “Blank Space” Taylor Swift

Could Win: “Thinking Out Loud” Ed Sheeran

Should Win: “Alright” Kendrick Lamar

Should’ve Been Nominated: “Run Away With Me” Carly Rae Jepson

Though I don’t think Taylor Swift will clean house, I firmly believe she’s got to win one big award, and it’ll probably be this one. “Blank Space” was not only one of the biggest songs of its year, but the lyrics have gone on to fill the captions of Instagram selfies everywhere, and you can’t beat that music video (though she’s won more awards for the “Bad Blood” music video for whatever reason). That being said, “Thinking Out Loud” was similarly everywhere and just as popular, so if voters are split between Taylor and Kendrick Lamar, Sheeran could steal some votes for a win. I’m pulling for Lamar to be triumphant here, however; “Alright” had the potential to be a radio hit and has a powerful message to boot.

If there’s anyone that really missed here though, it was Carly Rae Jepson’s “Run Away With Me.” Together with “Blank Space” producer Shellback and Mattman & Robin, Jepson created one of the most immersive, biggest songs of last year. The Saxophone opening alone instantly hooks the listener, and the lyrics make you want to shout and pound on the table, pleading to the one you love.

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Best New Artist: 

  • Courtney Barnett
  • James Bay
  • Meghan Trainor
  • Sam Hunt
  • Tori Kelly

Will Win: Meghan Trainor

Could Win: Sam Hunt

Should Win: Tori Kelly

Should’ve Been Nominated: Fetty Wap

It seems really inappropriate that due to a loophole in the nomination rules, that Meghan Trainor nabbed a slot over the much more deserving Fetty Wap who actually left an impact during the period of eligibility. Trainer’s biggest impact, “All About That Base” was already recognized at the previous ceremony; If Trainor was going to be recognized as a New Artist, it should have been then.

That being said, she’s the clear frontrunner here. Sam Hunt is a dark horse at best, whose “Honey I’m Good” wormed its way into listeners’ ears everywhere. But if we’re going purely on merit, Tori Kelly is far and away the clear winner in this crop of contenders. Though her album didn’t perform on the level it was hyped up to, she’s an exciting new performer who boasts a better voice and stage presence than Trainor.

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Best Pop Vocal Album:

  • Piece By Piece, Kelly Clarkson
  • How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Florence + the Machine
  • Uptown Special, Mark Ronson
  • 1989, Taylor Swift
  • Before This World, James Taylor

Will Win: 1989, Taylor Swift

Could Win: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Florence + the Machine

Should Win: How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, Florence + the Machine

Should’ve Been Nominated: E•MO•TION, Carly Rae Jepson

This seems like the best way to reward 1989 for its impressive commercial performance and string of hit singles. I’m not sure anyone could wrestle this award away from Swift, but the real winner should be Florence Welch. Though her album didn’t light up the charts in the same way as Swift’s, it’s the better choice.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, E•MO•TION would have been an outstanding choice for a nominee here, and an even better winner.

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Best Alternative Music Album: 

  • Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes
  • Vulnicura, Björk
  • My Morning Jacket, The Waterfall
  • Currents, Tame Impala
  • Wilco, Star Wars

Will Win: Sound & Color, Alabama Shakes

Could Win: Currents, Tame Impala

Should Win: Currents, Tame Impala

Should’ve Been Nominated: Carrie & Lowell, Sufjan Stevens

Though I think there’s a way the Alabama Shakes could surprise in Album of the Year, this seems like a more likely option for rewarding the group’s album. That being said, Currents was not only one of the best albums of the year, but was widely hailed by critics. It would be nice to see it surprise with a win here.

Another one of the most critically hailed albums of last year, Carrie & Lowell by Sufjan Stevens, would have been right at home here as a nominee and deserved some sort of recognition.

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Best Rap Album: 

  • 2014 Forrest Hills Drive, J. Cole
  • Compton, Dr. Dre
  • If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, Drake
  • To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar
  • The PinkPrint, Nicki Minaj

Will Win: To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar

Could Win: 2014 Forrest Hills Drive, J.Cole

Should Win: To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick Lamar

Should’ve Been Nominated: Broke With Expensive Taste, Azealia Banks

I think it’s safe to say that Kendrick has this category wrapped up, though J.Cole’s Forrest Hills Drive has its supporters, and should not be counted out (especially if voters know Kendrick going to clean up in the bigger categories and feel like they should spread the wealth).

Say what you will about her public persona, but Azealia Banks’ long-delayed debut album was one of the best, and most innovative releases of its year. Not to mention, the girl hustled to get it out to listeners. She never stood a chance at recognition, but if the Grammys could reward Iggy Azalea’s dreadful The New Classic last year with a nomination, there was no reason why Banks’ name couldn’t have been listed among the nominees.

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Best Urban Contemporary Album: 

  • Beauty Behind The Madness, The Weeknd
  • Blood, Lianne La Havas
  • Wildheart, Miguel
  • You Should Be Here, Kehlani
  • The Internet (band), Ego Death

Will Win: Beauty Behind The Madness, The Weeknd

Could Win: Wildheart, Miguel

Should Win: Wildheart, Miguel

Should’ve Been Nominated: N/A

This is a pretty good crop of nominations, though ultimately this feels like a coronation for The Weeknd, who had one of the biggest years in music in recent history. And while I loved the album, Wildheart is such a wonderful collection of songs and a clear underdog that I can’t help but cheer it on to a win.

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Best Country Album: 

  • Montevallo, Sam Hunt
  • Pain Killer, Little Big Town
  • The Blade, Ashley Monroe
  • Pageant Material, Kacey Musgraves
  • Traveller, Chris Stapleton

Will Win: Pageant Material, Kacey Musgraves

Could Win: Pain Killer, Little Big Town

Should Win: Pageant Material, Kacey Musgraves

Should’ve Been Nominated: N/A

Musgraves, a previous winner in this category, seems destined for a win for her wonderful sophomore album. But Little Big Town’s recognition in other categories could boost their chances at a win here if the committee wants to give them an award.

 

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