Winner takes it all: Grammy’s 2014

(Contributed Photo)

(Contributed Photo)

The 56th annual Grammy Awards are being held on Jan. 26 to the delight of music fans everywhere. The Grammy’s celebrate the best of the best in mainstream music. Arts editor Cristina Almudevar (CA), Photography Manager Heather Davidson (HD), Staff Writer Scott Glaysher (SG) and Copy Editing Manager Kaylee Grootjen (KG) comment on who will be the proud owner of a Grammy award.

Song of the Year
“Just Give Me A Reason” – Pink Featuring Nate Ruess
“Locked Out Of Heaven” – Bruno Mars
“Roar” – Katy Perry
“Royals” – Lorde
“Same Love” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis FT. Mary Lambert

Who will win:
“Royals” – Lorde: All
Who should win:
“Royals” – Lorde:  SG, CA
“Same Love” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis FT. Mary Lambert: HD, KG

It was a unanimous decision that Lorde will be taking home the prize this year. The 17-year-old came out of nowhere and completely dominated the charts this past year. The quality of the production was perfect: the simple beat really allowed Lorde’s astonishing vocals to be the main feature of the song. It’s really the package deal with Lorde’s clever lyrics and incredible singing ability which leaves the listener with chills.“Same Love” was also mentioned frequently as a strong contender for the award but the hype for “Same Love” was nowhere near the level of “Royals.” “Royals” is extremely fresh in everyone’s mind and with the recent release of more singles from Lorde it seems obvious that this category is all Lorde.

Album of the Year
The Blessed Unrest – Sara Bareilles
Random Access Memories – Daft Punk
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City – Kendrick Lamar
The Heist – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Red – Taylor Swift

Who will win:
Red – Taylor Swift: SG, CA, KG
Random Access Memories – Daft Punk: HD
Who should win:
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City – Kendrick Lamar: SG
The Heist – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: KG, HD
Random Access Memories – Daft Punk: CA

Swift is an award magnet so the chances of her taking home this Grammy is very high.  Swift is the obvious choice for this category. Though Lamar’s concept album telling the story of a kid from Compton is highly compelling and original, it may be too polarizing for the more conservative Grammy voters. Swift is accessible, easy and fairly likeable. Rap albums tend to be passed over for Album of the Year due to the accessibility of the content and the stereotypes of rap.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are having an incredible year with three singles that are still frequently listened to. Their clever lyrics and infectious beats has made them a mainstream favourite. However, while their album was extremely diverse and clever, they probably will not take it home when up against heavy weight Swift.

If anyone was to challenge Swift it may be Daft Punk. Daft Punk has been around since 1993 and has put out many well-respected albums.

Best New Artist
James Blake
Kendrick Lamar
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Kacey Musgraves
Ed Sheeran

Who will win:
Ed Sheeran: SG
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: HD, KG, CA
Who should win:
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: SG, HD, CA
Ed Sheeran: KG

The qualifications for Best New Artist are a little spotty as electronic artist Blake has released two studio albums and five EPs. Lamar is also well-known in the rap community prior to this year.

Sheeran is a strong contender as he has been involved in many things this year, for example The Hobbit soundtrack, as well as putting out his own original work. But Sheeran tends to fly under the radar by being involved in many different collaborative projects but not many solo endeavours. For a while everyone was well aware of his solo work and then he disappeared. Sheeran is too closely associated with many other artists to have a distinctive persona.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have a very strong shot at getting a Grammy—their music is perfect for all year round and is still being played on the radio. Everyone is excited when “Thrift Shop” begins to play. They came out of nowhere and became incredibly popular overnight. 2013 was the year of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.

Best Pop Vocal Album
Paradise – Lana Del Rey
Pure Heroine – Lorde
Unorthodox Jukebox – Bruno Mars
Blurred Lines – Robin Thicke
The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience – Justin Timberlake

Who will win:
The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience – Justin Timberlake: CA, SG, KG
Pure Heroine – Lorde: HD
Who should win:
Paradise – Lana Del Rey: All

Del Rey’s album was a strong indie hit this year. Del Rey relies on her crooning vocals to carry most of the hard work while the backbeat never overwhelms the entirety of the song. That being said, though Del Rey could take home the Grammy it is quite unlikely due to her very specific age target. While most young people are great fans of the album, not many older people call themselves fans. It is still too early for Del Rey. If she is nominated again next year, she will have a very strong chance at the award.

Timberlake is an obvious choice and a well-respected favourite in the music community. This is Timberlake’s return to music and he does so in a grandiose manner with a double album. It is likely that he will receive the award.

Lorde is very talented but still too new and unknown to be considered. Lorde and Del Rey are still not fully mainstream yet so they aren’t as accessible as Justin Timberlake.

Hype is a large factor in this category. There was a lot of hype around Lorde, Timberlake and Del Rey but Timberlake’s reputation will overshadow the other two well-deserving artists.

Best Rap Album
Nothing Was The Same – Drake
Magna Carta…Holy Grail – Jay Z
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City – Kendrick Lamar
The Heist – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Yeezus – Kanye West

Who will win:
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City – Kendrick Lamar: SG, HD, CA
Yeezus – Kanye West: KG
Who should win:
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City – Kendrick Lamar: SG, HD
The Heist – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: KG
Yeezus – Kanye West: CA

Everyone agreed that this was a very strong category so it could truly go to anyone nominated. Lamar is strong contender simply due to the strength of his rhymes and beat. The hype around Lamar’s album is very strong and dominating so it will be of no surprise if he wins.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis put out a very strong album but it seems unlikely that they will win. They are much more mainstream rap which will either hinder or help them. A dedicated rap fan is may be unlikely to vote for Macklemore while a mainstream fan would be more likely to vote for them. Lamar’s album is great for hip hop while Macklemore’s album is great for music.

Kanye West should win but this recent album, is too polarizing for some listeners. Some songs on the album are unlistenable and others are incredibly offensive. Jay-Z could also take this but there were too many mixed reviews. If he wins, it’ll be on reputation not talent.

Best Country Solo Performance
“I Drive Your Truck” – Lee Brice
“I Want Crazy” – Hunter Hayes
“Mama’s Broken Heart” – Miranda Lambert
“Wagon Wheel” – Darius Rucker
“Mine Would Be You” – Blake Shelton

Who will win:
“I Want Crazy” – Hunter Hayes: Shelby Blackley, Sports Editor, HD
“Mine Would Be You” – Blake Shelton: KG
Who should win:
“Mine Would Be You” – Blake Shelton: Shelby Blackley, Sports Editor
“Mama’s Broken Heart” – Miranda Lambert: HD
“I Want Crazy” – Hunter Hayes: KG

Shelton had an incredible year and “Mine Would Be You” has been topping many country hit lists. But Shelton is too “country” which might alienate some people. Hayes is very mainstream country that is more accessible to a wider audience. People who do not listen to country music can name a Hunter Hayes song or sing bits of it.

Shelton is well-respected in the country genre so he seems to be a strong contender as well.

It was agreed that “Wagon Wheel,” a cover song, should not win this category as it was not an original work.

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