Grammy season for 2014 has officially kicked off, with the nominations announced on Friday (Dec. 6) via the live concert. We’ve mulled over the 2014 Grammy nominees for the top honors and have formed our opinions and predictions about who will win in the four major categories: Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist.
See our picks and predictions below. We think Taylor Swift, Macklemore and Lorde are going to grab the Grammy gold.
And remember this. The 56th Annual Grammy Awards will take place on Sunday, Jan. 26 and air on CBS. Make a note now to tune in and see how close we came with our predictions.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Sara Bareilles, ‘The Blessed Unrest’
Daft Punk, ‘Random Access Memories’
Kendrick Lamar, ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City’
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, ‘The Heist’
Taylor Swift, ‘Red’ — OUR PICK
Why She’ll Win: ‘Red’ is a watershed record for Swift. It was embraced by both the pop and country worlds, and yielded hit after hit, all the while being supported by a sold-out tour wherever it made landfall. It’s global success and the fact that it directly connected with music fans cannot be denied.
It’s also likely that Swift’s name has the most familiarity to the Grammy voters, which also helps her case.
‘Red’ was full of confessional breakup anthems, which all age groups could relate to, as well as craftily penned songs. The album had legs all year long. It may have initially dropped in October of 2012, but the ‘Red’ story and subsequent domination spread deep in 2013. Swift is the poet laureate of her generation, but this album reminded us of the songwriter she is. Yes, she had some help in the form of co-writers, but the songs are still decidedly Swiftian.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams, ‘Get Lucky’
Imagine Dragons, ‘Radioactive’
Lorde, ‘Royals’ – OUR PICK
Bruno Mars, ‘Locked Out of Heaven’
Robin Thicke feat. Pharrel Williams + T.I. – ‘Blurred Lines’
Why She’ll Win: On the surface the Record of the Year and Song of the Year categories may sound like the exact same thing, but they’re actually quite different. The Grammy for Record of the Year is awarded to an artist, producer and recording engineer for a single’s overall performance and production, while Song of the Year honors the actual songwriting and composing processes.
We think that Lorde’s ‘Royals’ fulfills the Record of the Year category requirements quite perfectly. It is the song that put her on the map and went No. 1 in an incredibly crowded pop music landscape. At 16 years old (now 17, mind you), the New Zealander with huge hair and purple lipstick asserted herself, holding off the Mileys, Katys and Gagas of the world with her finger-snap song about craving a different kind of buzz. It was her wise beyond-its-years-performance and breathy, old soul voice that moved us. In a culture where selfies and oversharing are the norm, Lorde chooses to be restrained and mysterious. She’s also an underdog. That’s why we think she’ll win.
SONG OF THE YEAR
Pink feat. Nate Reuss, ‘Just Give Me a Reason’
Bruno Mars, ‘Locked Out of Heaven’
Katy Perry, ‘Roar’
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert, ‘Same Love’ – OUR PICK
Why They’ll Win: The soulful ‘Same Love’ is about equality in marriage and love in America, a topic that has never been hotter in our society. Macklemore encased a powerful and provocative message in a catchy, piano-driven pop song, mixing contemplative, rapped verses with a gorgeous female vocal in the chorus. In essence, the rapper took something somewhat controversial and wrapped it in a digestible package.
The fact that the accompanying female vocalist Mary Lambert is a lesbian makes her words have that much more weight. Songs are powerful modes of communication and ‘Same Love’ is proof positive of that. Sure, its fellow nominees, like Katy Perry‘s ‘ROAR’ and Lorde’s ‘Royals,’ are songs with lyrical weight, but the complex and complicated ‘Same Love’ felt doubly personal. There was not an ounce of artifice in the song and it resonates and reacts.
BEST NEW ARTIST
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – OUR PICK
Why They’ll Win: Boiled down to its most base parts, 2013 has been Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ year. A ‘SNL’ performance. A Rolling Stone cover. A string of hits. It was not an overnight success for them. Macklemore, who is a recovering addict, has been scratching and clawing for years with Lewis.
But they are new in the mainstream’s eyes and got themselves in front of those very eyes through that good, old fashioned American cocktail of blood, sweat, tears and hard work. All of their hits – the horn-propelled ‘Thrift Shop,’ the emotionally resonant and reactive ‘Same Love’ and the makes-you-wanna-jump ‘Can’t Hold Us’—were all over the radio all year long.
The duo seamlessly shifted from lighter fare about popping tags on pre-owned duds (which could be viewed as an indictment on our name brand-obsessed culture) to weightier material about same-sex marriage. Know what that means? Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are anything but a one-note. That’s why we think they will win the Best New Artist Grammy.
Next: See 2014 Grammy Nominees List