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GREIN ON GRAMMYS: THE FINAL PICKS

Our Grammy Whisperer Updates His Predictions Ahead of Friday's Big Reveal

With Grammy nominations set to be announced on Friday (with Album of the Year nods unveiled during the holiday-themed TV special that evening), we'll soon know who's getting "Timberlaked" this year. But we couldn't wait. So we checked in with our uncanny Grammy whisperer, Paul Grein, for an updated set of prognostications. As you may know, Paul's record as a Grammy handicapper is brilliant; last year, for example, he correctly picked the winners in all four major categories. His prior notes on those categories and all 10 of his genre-by-genre breakdowns are linked at the end of this article.

Record of the Year
I continue to think that Sam Smith's "Stay with Me" and Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" are slam-dunks and that Ariana Grande's "Problem" (featuring Iggy Azalea), while not quite a slam-dunk, will also get a nod. But I now think that two of my earlier picks—Azalea's "Fancy" (featuring Charli XCX) and Eminem's "The Monster" (featuring Rihanna)—may not make it after all. Azalea is a somewhat polarizing figure. The panelists may decide that one nom in this category is enough for her. And "The Monster" didn't have the social import of the 2010 Eminem/Rihanna collabo, "Love The Way You Lie."

So let me drop those two and replace them with Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" and KONGOS' "Come With Me Now." I had both of those in my earlier piece, but just below the top five. Bubbling under my five picks: Idina Menzel's "Let It Go," Coldplay's "A Sky Full of Stars," Sia's "Chandelier" and Hozier's "Take Me to Church."

Album of the Year
I'm still sure that Sam Smith's In the Lonely Hour, Beyoncé's Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran's x will be nominated. And I still feel good about Miranda Lambert's Platinum. But U2's Songs of Innocence, which I also had in there, may fall short. It never recovered from the band's iTunes gaffe—overblown though the criticism was. I'll go instead with Ariana Grande's sophomore album, My Everything, which consolidated her 2013 breakout success. Bubbling under: the mega-popular Frozen soundtrack, The Black Keys' Turn Blue, Beck's Morning Phase and Coldplay's Ghost Stories.

Song of the Year
I'm still sold on three of my earlier picks: "Stay with Me," "All About That Bass" and "Let It Go," and, to a lesser extent, "A Sky Full of Stars." But I'd like to replace "Say Something" with Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off." Everybody from Kelly Clarkson to Kendrick Lamar can be found on YouTube singing Swift's sassy hit.

Best New Artist
I had Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, 5 Seconds Of Summer, Pentatonix and KONGOS. And, what do you know, I still think this will be the field, though Aloe Blacc, Bastille, MAGIC!, Childish Gambino and Tove Lo are ready to move up if any of them falls short.

Wrap-Up Thoughts
Awards are a snapshot in time. If the voting was conducted one week earlier or later, the results would probably be different. So I'm not merely being fickle in making some changes from what I had a month or two ago. The scene constantly shifts.

Another thought: You know how they always say, "It's an honor just to be nominated"? People always think that line is bull, but it's true. Nearly 1,000 tracks are competing for a Record of the Year nom. To be in the top 20 or top 40 out of 1,000 is pretty good. To make it all the way to the final five is extraordinary.

Finally, if Sam Smith sweeps the Grammys on 2/8, as I expect he will, will his album have a huge sales spike like Adele's did three years ago? 21 sold 730K copies in the week following the Grammys. No pressure, Sam.


 

GREIN ON GRAMMYS: FURTHER READING

THE MAJOR CATEGORIES

Album of the Year

Record/Song of the Year

Best New Artist


GENRE BY GENRE

Pop,Traditional Pop, Instrumental

Comedy and Spoken Word

Producer of the Year

R&B and Urban Contemporary

Rock and Alternative

Country

Rap

Dance

Compilation Soundtrack and Musical

American Roots Music

 

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