Piling on the Grammys used to be fun, but we’ve gotten to the point where it’s the same rehashed argument: its one giant industry jerk-off where the ones who pushed the most quantity are rewarded for quality. Then again, that idea kind of flew out the window when Win Butler and co. scored a nomination for Best Album.
All in all, the Grammys are what they are: a glorified awards show celebrating music’s most powerful figures. In turn, it leads to some pretty star-studded performances — some of which proved particularly brilliant. This year also offers the potential of seeing a Soy Bomb sequel (okay, not really), Eminem smiling, Jay-Z and Beyonce continuing to pretend they’re not married, and Win Butler in a fuckin’ tux.
As for the nominees? Well, at least we don’t have to deal with Bon Jovi this time around. The 2011 nominees are actually a pretty impressive bunch, ranging from music’s biggest pop diva and two of rap’s most elite to those aforementioned Canadians and Vampy Weeks! With the festivities set to launch in a mere 48 hours, we at Consequence of Sound put our collective brains together and came up with our best guesses as to who will take home the eight biggest honors.
Also, be sure to join our Content Director, Jeremy Larson, this Sunday night for Consequence of Sound‘s Grammys Live Blog. He could use some company in his noble quest. Besides, we can never get enough of your witty cynicism.
Album of the Year
What CoS Says: It’s rare that traditionally “alternative” albums pick up the top award. So, as solid The Suburbs may be, it’s going to pick up the Best Alternative Album, instead. But more on that later. As for who’s actually going to take home Album of the Year, it’s easy to picture Lady Gaga. You can’t deny the impression she left on everyone in 2010. She was everywhere. Blame it on the rattling teenagers, blame Ryan Murphy, or blame MTV… or just accept that she was incredibly impacting. The Grammys will. -Michael Roffman
Before we begin, let’s attempt to clear up one of the most confusing questions in all of music: the different between Song of the Year and Record of the Year. According to Slate, Song of the Year awards the songwriter for a song released, while Record of the Year rewards a song’s performance and production.
Song of the Year
Who Should Win: Cee-Lo – “Fuck You”
Who Will Win: Cee-Lo – “Fuck You”
What CoS Says: If song of the year is to reward the best songwriting, then no one is more deserving than Cee-Lo Green. Sure, his “Fuck You”/”Forget You” hit is gimmicky, but as our Dana Grossman noted in our year-end list, “the catchiness of the song is undeniable.” It has gone on to be covered and impersonated (by Gwyneth Paltrow, mind you!), and has captured the attention of America in the same way that Cee-Lo’s other gem, “Crazy”, did back in 2006. “Crazy” earned the Grammy for “Best Urban/Alternative Performance”; we’re guessing “Fuck You” will do one better for The Lady Killer. -Alex Young
Record of the Year
Who Should Win: Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys – “Empire State of Mind”
Who Will Win: Eminem ft. Rihanna – “Love the Way You Lie”
What CoS Says: It’s hard to believe but “Empire State of Mind” was Jay-Z’s first-ever #1 song. So for this reason, plus the reality that it was one damn fine tune (NYC, represent!), Sir Hov deserves his 11th Grammy. But everyone says the Grammys love a comeback story, and no nominee fits that mold more than Eminem. From super stardom to rehab to the flop that was Relapse, the Detroit MC managed to answer his critics and personal demons with the release of Recovery. If he doesn’t take home Best Album, it’s hard to imagine the Recording Academy won’t reward him and Rihanna for one of music’s more gripping tracks of 2010. -Alex Young
Best New Artist
Who Should Win: Florence & the Machine
Who Will Win: Justin Bieber
What CoS Says: Florence & The Machine are a true miracle in the modern pop world. Their tunes are so damn catchy, breezing through our ears with a certain air of playfulness and humor, they made indie pop all the more sophisticated. However, as powerful as that quaint machine is, there’s no denying the red dwarf-sized star quality of Justin Bieber. With the fourth best selling album of 2010, a memoir, and a 3D movie out, there’s absolutely no stopping Biebs-zilla. That kind of power is alluring to the good people at the Recording Academy, so expect Mr. Bieber to stomp on stage and nab his Grammy. -Chris Coplan
Best Rock Song
Who Should Win: The Black Keys – “Tighten Up”
Who will Win: Kings of Leon – “Radioactive”
What CoS Says: This was The Black Keys’ year. Brothers not only was one of their best albums in years, but it gained them huge cross-over airplay, SNL appearances, in addition to high festival billing and sold out shows across America. Unfortunately, arena behemoths Kings of Leon (shitty or otherwise) have the hearts of America and all of The Black Keys’ new-found success is kind of old hat for them. “Radioactive” is catchy but a husk of a song, paling in comparison to “Tighten Up”. Hell, the bridge of “Tighten Up” is better than the entirety of Come Around Sundown, but The Boss won this category back to back in 2008 / 2009, so regrettably we feel like the wind is blowing in KoL’s direction for a repeat. -Jeremy Larson
Best Alternative Album
What CoS Says: In an ideal world, Vampy Weeks would take home Alternative Album, while Arcade Fire would add Album of the Year to their extra large Rolodex of accolades. Reality check: We don’t live in an ideal world. As powerful as Contra may be, Arcade Fire aren’t walking away without an award. Bottom line? This award was the Canadian’s the minute they were nominated. -Michael Roffman
Best Rap Album
What CoS Says: We here at CoS have made it perfectly clear that The Roots are amazing (like, band of the year amazing). It would be the piece de resistance that was their stellar 2010 if they won this all-important Grammy (or any of the five they’re nominated for.) However, as the MC has made abundantly clear, Eminem is back for good, in the fighting shape of his career, and the world better watch out. As great of a story as it would be for Black Thought and Co. to take the prize, an even better story exists in giving Em his long-desired comeback story. -Chris Coplan
Best Rap Song
Who Should Win: Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys – “Empire State of Mind”
Who will Win: Eminem ft. Rihanna – “Love the Way You Lie”
What CoS Says: It’s the same argument for Record of the Year. If Jay-Z can’t topple Em there, what makes it likely he will here?