The Grammy Awards are hailed as the “biggest night in music”. People from every aspect of the music industry gather and collectively pat each other on the back. The night also features performances from the hottest acts out there that range from the serene to the extreme, as well as collaborations between artists we never imagined together (Elton John and Eminem or Paul McCartney, Jay-Z, and Linkin Park). Personally, I’m still waiting for the Phish/Snoop Dogg collabo, it will be epic, no doubt.

I mean, they've covered "Gin and Juice", it's bound to happen.
I mean, they’ve covered “Gin and Juice”, it’s bound to happen.

So we, the general public, watch at home waiting for the bizarre choices in attire, crazy performances (Gaga and that egg?!?), and rooting for our favorite acts, but ultimately, our opinion doesn’t matter, right? The Grammys are decided by “industry” professionals who belong to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Granted it’s made up of over 6,000 professionals from mixers to sound engineers to artists so it is at least a varied group. I worked for a professor in undergrad who was a member and when he got the envelope with the choices for the year I VERY much wanted to fill it out myself and send it in, but I never did. Looking through the nominees/winners for the years I worked for him makes me a little mad– how did some of these acts “win”?!

In the end it is a matter of personal taste, the whole one man’s trash is another man’s treasure–to prove something is objectively good or bad means little if it is subjectively “loved”. Tonight we will most likely find ourselves both pleased and displeased with the results because what we like or deem as “good” is a matter of personal taste. The members of the academy have cast their votes for a variety of reasons built on criteria they have set up themselves and reflecting their personal tastes. I’m not saying that winning a Grammy isn’t an accomplishment– it is.

There’s a lot of music out there, a lot of music that will never be nominated because of a myriad of reasons and obstacles. Personally, I’d love to see people like Theresa Andersson, Jake Bugg, or Kings of Convenience nominated, but again, it’s personal. It should also be said that I love me some Taylor Swift and hate me some Pink.

I've just been looking for an excuse to use a graphic like this, and I can't stand her songs-- but you can like her, that's cool.
I’ve just been looking for an excuse to use a graphic like this, and I can’t stand her songs– but you can like her, that’s cool.

Here are my picks for the big categories tonight.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

The Black Keys “El Camino”

For me, this is the most complete “album”. It rocks my face off, song after song.

Fun. “Some Nights”

Mumford & Sons “Babel”

Frank Ocean “Channel Orange”

RECORD OF THE YEAR

This one is all about production, not composition.

The Black Keys “Lonely Boy”

Kelly Clarkson “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”

Fun. featuring Janelle Monae “We Are Young”

Gotye featuring Kimbra “Somebody That I Used to Know”

Frank Ocean “Thinkin Bout You”

Taylor Swift “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”

My pick would actually be for “I Knew You Were Trouble”, but I think that this one was equally well done.

SONG OF THE YEAR

Ed Sheeran “The A Team”

Miguel “Adorn”

Carly Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe”

Yup. I said it. With the choices we have, why not pick the humorous, catchy pop-tune that gets stuck in everyone’s head. 

Kelly Clarkson “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”

fun. “We Are Young”

BEST NEW ARTIST

This is a TOUGH one for me. Since I don’t have to play by the rules I’m making it a tie between the Alabama Shakes and The Lumineers. They are both really solid groups with completely different sounds.

Alabama Shakes

fun.

Hunter Hayes

The Lumineers

Frank Ocean

BEST RAP ALBUM

Drake “Take Care”

Lupe Fiasco “Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1”

Nas “Life Is Good”

The Roots “Undun”

This album is really well done, varied and thoughtful.

Rick Ross “God Forgives, I Don’t”

2 Chainz “Based on a T.R.U. Story”

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM

Zac Brown Band “Uncaged”

I’ll admit that I haven’t listened to the other acts in this category but I can’t help but like Zac Brown Band, they’re fun loving and happy, and I dig it.

Hunter Hayes “Hunter Hayes”

Jamey Johnson “Living For a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran”

Miranda Lambert “Four the Record”

The Time Jumpers “The Time Jumpers”

BEST ROCK ALBUM

The Black Keys “El Camino”

Coldplay “Mylo Xyloto”

Muse “The 2nd Law”

Bruce Springsteen “Wrecking Ball”

Jack White “Blunderbuss”

Although I really like all the acts nominated I think Jack White killed it with this album. The songs feel real to me and resonate with my sound palette as well as my heart– it’s mellow at times, but it’s rock through and through.

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

Kelly Clarkson “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”

Florence & the Machine “Ceremonials”

fun. “Some Nights”

Tons of catchy tunes that range from upbeat to introspective as well as 20 million harmonies on the title track. Reminiscent of Queen at times but it’s own beast as well.

Maroon 5 “Overexposed”

Pink “The Truth About Love”

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

Adele “Set Fire to the Rain” (Live)

Kelly Clarkson “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)”

Carly Rae Jepsen “Call Me Maybe”

What can I say, I love this girl, well, I love her more than I love the other artists. Adele is good and I like her, but I think I listened to that album too much when it first came out.

Katy Perry “Wide Awake”

Rihanna “Where Have You Been”

BEST DANCE RECORDING

Avicii “Levels”

Calvin Harris featuring Ne-Yo “Let’s Go”

As far as “dance” music, this is the one I could attempt to dance to. I don’t know how to dance to dub step really, but I would put Skrillex in at a close second just based on sound.

Skrillex featuring Sirah “Bangarang”

Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin “Don’t You Worry Child”

Al Walser “I Can’t Live Without You”

If you watch tonight, don’t be discouraged or downtrodden if that act that you hate wins or you know none of the nominees in the historical or production categories. Revel in the pageantry, laugh at the jokes, take in the performances–the good and the bad and keep hoping for the Phish/Snoop Dogg collabo, you know I will be.

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