The Grammy Awards almost don’t matter. With over 108 categories, often with bizarre titles, seemingly everyone gets a chance to win. Then there is that history of head scratching winners — Maroon 5 bests Kanye West, Jethro Tull out-metals Metallica, Christopher Cross was Best New Artist 100 years ago.
Unlike the Oscars, Globes and even the Emmys who wins the Grammys is of secondary importance to the event itself. The telecast is all performance and fashion show. Only a handful of awards are actually handed out. Many of the more interesting ones are taken care of during a separate ceremony earlier in the day. So instead of being a night for true music fans, it is a better one for Joan & Melissa. It’s more Access Hollywood than Spin.
But let’s pretend that the awards do matter and music geek out for a bit.
It may be strange to see 2004 albums from Green Day, Eminem and U2 all over the nominations. But that is due the Grammys submission windows. Last year at this time, I expected U2 and Eminem to be winning big tonight, but that was before Mariah and Kanye’s big albums of 2005. This year the question is how many will they each win? Or can Gwen Stefani, the Gorillaz or Kelly Clarkson pull some upsets?
RECORD OF THE YEAR
“We Belong Together” (Mariah Carey); “Feel Good Inc.” (Gorillaz featuring De La Soul); “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” (Green Day); “Hollaback Girl” (Gwen Stefani); “Gold Digger” (Kanye West)
Will Win: “We Belong Together,” how could it not? The song was No. 1 all summer.
Should Win: “Feel Good Inc.” by the Gorillaz. Great song from a so-so album.
Not Nominated: “Diamonds from Sierra Leone” (Kanye West), a much more impactful song than “Gold Digger”
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The Emancipation of Mimi (Mariah Carey); Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (Paul McCartney); Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (Gwen Stefani); How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (U2); Late Registration (Kanye West)
Will Win: Kanye, though Mariah threatens.
Should Win: Kanye. Late Registration is proof that a great album should be like a novel or a journey.
Not Nominated: Get Behind Me Satan by the White Stripes is relegated to the “Alternative Album” abyss.
BEST NEW ARTIST
Ciara; Fall Out Boy; Keane; John Legend; Sugarland
Will Win: John Legend unless the bad Grammy track record for this award continues, in which case it goes to Sugarland.
Should Win: John Legend. So respected that he doesn’t seem “new” at all.
Not Nominated: Bloc Party, The Game
BEST ROCK ALBUM
X&Y (Coldplay); In Your Honor (Foo Fighters); A Bigger Bang (the Rolling Stones); How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (U2); Prairie Wind (Neil Young)
Will Win: U2, since they will lose in the general album category.
Should Win: I can’t believe I’m saying it, but Coldplay. Listen, I am quick to rip on their Gwyneth-ness, but X&Y is the best of this crop.
BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM
Funeral (the Arcade Fire); Guero (Beck); Plans (Death Cab for Cutie); You Could Have It So Much Better (Franz Ferdinand); Get Behind Me Satan (the White Stripes)
Will Win: The White Stripes
Should Win: Franz Ferdinand
Not Nominated: Mezmerize (System of a Down). Yeah it’s considered “Hard Rock” but alternative is so hard to pin down as is.
BEST RAP ALBUM
Be (Common); The Cookbook (Missy Elliott); Encore (Eminem); The Massacre (50 Cent); Late Registration (Kanye West)
Will Win: Late Registration
Should Win: La
te Registration, deserving of the hype and win here regardless of whether it gets the general album award.
Not Nominated: The Documentary (The Game), a master debut spiked with a dream team of guest rappers and producers or The People’s Champ (Paul Wall) to show the Houston scene some love.
BEST ELECTRONIC/DANCE ALBUM
Push The Button (the Chemical Brothers); Human After All (Daft Punk); Palookaville (Fatboy Slim); Minimum-Maximum (Kraftwerk); LCD Soundsystem (LCD Soundsystem)
Will Win: Fatboy Slim, because the voters have heard of them.
Should Win: Of these relatively sucky choices, the Chemical Brothers.
Not Nominated: Odyssey (Fischerspooner); Before the Dawn Heals Us (M83); The Understanding (Royksopp)
BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM
Extraordinary Machine (Fiona Apple); Breakaway (Kelly Clarkson); Wildflower (Sheryl Crow); Chaos and Creation in the Backyard (Paul McCartney); Love. Angel. Music. Baby. (Gwen Stefani)
Will Win: Love. Angel. Music. Baby. There really is no contest here but the Grammys could get weird and give it to Fiona Apple.
Should Win: Love. Angel. Music. Baby.
BEST FEMALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“It’s Like That” (Mariah Carey); “Since U Been Gone” (Kelly Clarkson); “Good Is Good” (Sheryl Crow); “I Will Not Be Broken” (Bonnie Raitt); “Hollaback Girl” (Gwen Stefani)
Will Win: “Hollaback Girl,” they can’t forsake seeing Gwen get up there preggers to accept her statue.
Should Win: “Since U Been Gone,” if the voters could admit to liking it and get over Kelly Clarkson coming from American Idol.
BEST MALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE
“Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” (Jack Johnson); “Fine Line” (Paul McCartney); “Walk on By” (Seal); “Lonely No More” (Rob Thomas); “From the Bottom of My Heart” (Stevie Wonder)
Will Win: Who cares? Who listens to this milky crap anyway?
For more of me, check out Culture Drift.