The Lordes of the Grammys

Source%3A+mtv.com%0D%0ATaylor+Swift%27s+%22Red%22+is+the+likely+winner+for+Album+of+the+Year.+
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The Lordes of the Grammys

Source: mtv.com
Taylor Swift's

Source: mtv.com Taylor Swift's "Red" is the likely winner for Album of the Year.

Source: mtv.com Taylor Swift's "Red" is the likely winner for Album of the Year.

Source: mtv.com Taylor Swift's "Red" is the likely winner for Album of the Year.

Elia Chen

James Blake, ‘Red’ by Taylor Swift and ‘Royals’ by Lorde are top contenders to win awards.

What does Robin Thicke have in common with country-pop sweetheart Taylor Swift?

They will both be at Los Angeles’s Staples Center on Jan. 26, where the 56th Grammy Awards will unfold, and some of the world’s most successful music artists will compete for the most coveted awards in the industry. To prepare for the big night, here are our predictions for the three most coveted categories — Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist.

Album of the Year

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Source: mtv.com
Taylor Swift’s “Red” is the likely winner for this category. Swift’s Grammy reputation and the album’s alternative feel push it to the top.

Projected winner: “Red” by Taylor Swift

The leading contender for Album of the Year is “Red” by Taylor Swift. Aside from the album’s pop hits, like “22”and “I Knew You Were Trouble,” the songs are generally stripped-down with an alternative vibe, a style that has fared well with the Grammy Awards Committee in the past. Previous winners in this category include Adele’s “21” and Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs,” both of which rely on exposed vocals and an alternative feel. It will not be a stretch for her to win Album of the Year this year — Swift has won eight Grammys already, including Album of the Year for “Fearless.”

Runner-up: “Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk or “The Heist” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

 Second place is a draw between “Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk” and “The Heist” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Daft Punk’s catchy, up-beat and electro-pop melodies have always captivated the Grammy judges and scored the duo two Grammy Awards and eight nominations in past years. Meanwhile, “The Heist” is also a serious competitor due to the album’s well-received, socially-conscious songs like “Same Love” and blend of serious and light-hearted melodies. The Grammy committee clearly appreciates this style since the duo has received seven Grammy nominations this year.

Not a chance: “The Blessed Unrest” by Sara Bareilles by and “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” by Kendrick Lamar

Other nominated albums include “The Blessed Unrest” by Sara Bareilles and “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” by Kendrick Lamar. Although “The Blessed Unrest” is my personal favorite due to its nuanced, mature sound, unlike most other competitors, Bareilles’ album did not achieve international success, peaking at 134 in the Billboard 200 charts. Lamar will not win either because the judges generally do not choose solely rap-based albums for this category — the last time a rap album won was ten years ago.

Record of the Year

Source: AP

Source: AP
Lorde dominates this category with her hit “Royals.” Her soulful sound and stripped-down vibe have attracted praise from fans and critics alike.

 

Projected winner: “Royals” by Lorde

Royals” by Lorde is easily the favorite. Previous winners of this award include “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele and “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum. Similar to these songs, “Royals” has a classy, subdued feel that relies on naked vocals and subtle harmonies, making it a leading contender.

Runner-up: “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk

Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams’ “Get Lucky” follows close behind “Royals” with its smooth harmonies and catchy beats that are made for dancing. Daft Punk is one of the most accomplished electronic/dance artists in the industry, having been nominated for the Grammys eight times and winning twice for categories in the dance/electro-pop genre; if the song were to win, the victory would reinforce the rising popularity of electronic/dance music. However, the Grammy judges have generally weighed vocals more heavily than song production, which will be detrimental to Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams.

Not a chance: “Locked Out Of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell

Falling behind “Royals” and “Get Lucky” are “Locked Out Of Heaven” by Bruno Mars, “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke Featuring T.I. & Pharrell. Mars’ new record sounds too similar to “Just the Way You Are” and other previous songs for his record to be considered innovative and special. Plus, Mars has always fared better in Pop Vocal Performance, so he will probably win in that category. Meanwhile, “Radioactive” will not do well either because it puts too much emphasis on sound effects rather than on the vocals, which usually does not impress the Grammy judges. “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell will not win either because Thicke put more attention on theatricality than on vocal performance in his song. Additionally, the Grammy committee will not want to get involved in the controversy over his lyrics.

Best New Artist

Projected winner: James Blake

Source: soundcolourvibration.com

Source: soundcolourvibration.com.
James Blake has a strong lead over the others in this category. His second album “Overgrown” was released on April 15, 2013, and he has achieved widespread critical acclaim for his innovative musical style.

James Blake has the strongest chance at winning this category. In the past, the awards committee has picked Fun., an indie pop band, and Esperanza Spalding, a jazz artist, as winners of this category. The committee seems to prefer artists who have taken music in a direction other than pop and have achieved considerable success doing so. Blake is a dance/electronic artist, who has taken his music in an alternative/indie direction with his smooth, haunting vocals and, in some instances, his lack of vocals such as humming in his hit “Retrograde.” Although Blake does not have much recognition in the United States, his album “Overgrown” has done extremely well in his home country of England and in other parts of Europe. If he wins, he will certify British artists’ influence on music, much like Adele.

Runner-up: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Ed Sheeran

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Ed Sheeran are less likely to win but are still serious contenders. No one can deny that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis have been extremely successful in 2014 with their first album “The Heist” peaking at number one in many countries. Their innovative style of combining music with social commentary has brought them fame, along with their unique style of rap and singing. Meanwhile, Ed Sheeran’s silky, folk voice has attracted legions of followers, but because Sheeran achieved mainstream success in 2011, he might be at a disadvantage because of the controversy over how new he really is.

Not a chance: Kendrick Lamar and Kacey Musgraves

Kendrick Lamar and Kacey Musgraves are least likely to win in this category. As mentioned before, rap artists do not usually fare well in categories outside of the Grammy rap categories, so Lamar will be at a significant disadvantage despite his new fame in the rap world and his extraordinary talent. Despite Musgraves having achieved much success in the country music scene, her music is not innovative enough, and it is very rare for country music artists to win in this category — the only exception is Carrie Underwood, who won in 2008.

 

The 56th Grammy Awards will air at  8/7 c on Jan. 26 on CBS.

The winners are: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (Best New Artist), “Get Lucky” (Record of the Year), and Random Access Memories (Best Album of the Year).