Trust the folks at the Grammys to make an entire event out of what was originally just an announcement about the MAIN event. The nominees for the 57th Annual Grammy Awards happening February 8, 2015 (Feb 9th SG time) were announced throughout the night, ending with the huge(ly unnecessary) shebang that is “A Very Grammy Christmas” which saw Ariana Grande and Maroon 5 perform, among others. But of course, that’s just another effort at milking an overweight cash cow so we’re not gonna talk about that little sing-a-long.
Today we lament the nominations. Now I’m not going to go further because as much as we all know 2014 was a very unbalanced year in music (skewed in favour of Pop), we’ll let the lists of nominees do the talking. Oh, and just the IMPORTANT ones, at that. For obvious reasons we’re not going to go through ALL 83 categories (I mean #66 is “Best Album Notes”, for crying out loud).
Record Of The Year
“Fancy” – Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX
“Chandelier” – Sia
“Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)” – Sam Smith
“Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
“All About That Bass” – Meghan Trainor
Song Of The Year
“All About That Bass” – Kevin Kadish, Meghan Trainor
“Chandelier” – Sia Furler, Jesse Shatkin
“Take Me To Church” – Andrew Hozier-Byrne
“Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)” – James Napier, William Phillips, Sam Smith
“Shake It Off” – Max Martin, Shellback, Taylor Swift
OKAY SO let’s talk about these two categories first. Record and Song Of The Year make up half of the General Field categories: the four biggest Grammys given out that night. Oddly, did anyone realise that FOUR out of the five awards in both categories are EXACTLY THE SAME? The doo-wop-tastic “All About That Bass“, karaoke nightmare “Chandelier“, Taytay’s Great Leap Forward “Shake It Off“, and the one that got everyone scratching their heads – “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)” all appear (rather unfairly) in both categories.
While some may argue straight from the rulebook that a “Record” refers to the composition itself and the “Song” refers to the recorded audio track, it doesn’t make much sense then to include soon-to-be-Grammy-sweeper (wink wink) Sam Smith‘s “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)” over the original. While Billboard has claimed that the Darkchild Version is different because “the strings on the album version have been replaced with a soft, minimal church organ, emphasizing the gospel elements of the track“, why the dodgy move to pick an alternative version to one of the most iconic breakout/breakup songs of 2014? Have we really had no more than 6 worthy tunes in the past year? Is the Recording Academy brown-nosing Darkchild (real name Rodney Jerkins), one of the most successful producers in the history of Pop? Was 2014’s music really that boring?
Fun fact: this has happened before… albeit on a much smaller scale. Last year, Taylor Swift‘s new BFF Lorde pulled the only double nomination in both categories with her breakout hit “Royals“, which later won Song Of The Year at the 2014 Grammy awards.
Album Of The Year
“Morning Phase” – Beck
“BEYONCÉ” – Beyoncé
“X” – Ed Sheeran
“In The Lonely Hour” – Sam Smith
“Girl” – Pharrell
This is where it gets a little awkward: Sam Smith is pitted against one of his biggest musical idols: Beyoncé herself. Going head-to-head with Queen Bey, Album Of The Year is ultimately a battle of Smith versus Knowles. Pharrell might manage a surprise win by virtue of his many years in the biz (and also because of “Happy“, Channel 5’s unofficial anthem), though ginger extraordinaire Ed Sheeran is currently holding his best chances at finally winning a Grammy after being nominated at least twice in the past years.
What we’re trying to say is: we have NO IDEA who’s going to win.
Best New Artist
All stand a pretty good chance of winning, except Brandy Clark. Country artists usually suffer at awards shows geared at a global (read: Pop) reach, though there exists a huge market within the American demographic itself. Iggy Azalea is going to get hate whether or not she wins. Bastille is busy touring after their hit “Pompeii”. It would be great if sister trio Haim could win, but Sam Smith is most likely to pick up the gold sippy cup in this category.
Moving on to the other categories, award #8 for Best Pop Vocal Album sees four-octave fave Ariana Grande‘s most prominent nomination, her first at the Grammys. Her sophomore album “My Everything” has to hold its own against other heavyweights such as Miley Cyrus‘ “Bangerz” and the pesky Sam Smith‘s “In The Lonely Hour“. Katy‘s “PRISM” isn’t exactly what we’d call a Grammy-worthy album, while Coldplay hasn’t received a Grammy since 2009 for “Viva La Vida” (yeah, remember that?). Unless the Grammy gods are planning for Sam Smith to pull an Adele by winning in all nominated categories, our bet is on Miss Pronunciation Ariana Grande.
Best Urban Contemporary Album is also an interesting field this year, with heavyweights Chris Brown, Pharrell, and Beyoncé qualifying this year. Did anyone even notice Chris’ new album “X“? Or was the title an unfortunate clash with Ed Sheeran‘s “X” (pronounced “multiply”)? Don’t expect Beyoncé to make an easy sweep in this category. Even the Queen gets snubbed too.
Award #62 for Best Arrangement, Instrumental, Or A Capella may be a little down the line, but look a little closer and… is that PENTATONIX?! Along with vocal arranger and coach of The Sing-Off Seasons 2 and 3 Ben Bram, five-piece a capella band Pentatonix could potentially celebrate their first Grammy win; a huge and much-deserved accomplishment for a group that’s revitalising the a capella genre.
In another corner of the Pop arena lies a battle of the (temporary) groups: award #6 for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. All five tracks are massive hits in their own right; from the overplayed song of 2014 “Fancy” by
Igloo Australia Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX, to the Lady-Marmalade-sequel-that-didn’t-quite-make-it (“Bang Bang“), this category may actually be more exciting than all four General Field prizes combined. Can Coldplay find a spot for a Grammy in “A Sky Full Of Stars“? Will Katy Perry and Juicy J‘s “Dark Horse” be the dark horse of the squad? Or will Xtina and A Great Big World have something to say about that? Definitely an award to watch on Grammys night.
Stay tuned as Popspoken brings you a series of articles (including uncanny predictions) leading up to the 57th Annual Grammy Awards happening 8th February 2015 (9th Feb – SG time)!
You can View and Download the list of all the 2015 nominees in .pdf format here.