Although creatively Manhattan Digest is about Manhattan culture, something I still happen to love to write about and cover is the music industry. The music industry itself was what I started writing about in my journalism career nearly six years ago, and something I still have a penchant for jotting down every couple of months. Something that we here at Manhattan Digest have done since the site’s inception nearly three years ago is cover the Grammy Awards before, during and after. The before part starts with who we think will be nominated in the big categories this year, seeing as the deadline for nominations just passed and the nominees will be announced in early December.
Whereas I don’t think this was really a banner year for music in general, there were some shining exceptions that proved that point to be an epic fail. New artists emerged and conquered the charts, legends released some very well received albums (Madonna, Janet) and legends in the making continued their domination of the industry both on and off the Billboard Hot 100. But there have been so many instances where the charts and sales don’t matter when it comes to winning a Grammy, that it merely is just pure talent. Take last year’ winner for Album of the Year, Beck. A true shocker of the night but when you think about it, the album itself really was incredible, highly rated and proof that Beck still has it going on more than 20 years into his illustrious career. So what does really matter when it comes to a nomination?
Based on a bunch of different factors, here is who I think will be nominated in December for the three major awards- Record, Album & Best New Artist. Record is up first.
Record Of The Year-
Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars- “Uptown Funk”
Taylor Swift- “Blank Space”
The Weeknd- “The Hills”
Ed Sheeran- “Thinking Out Loud”
Walk The Moon- “Shut Up And Dance”
Honorable Mentions/Possible Nominees:
Rachel Platten- “Fight Song”
Little Big Town- “Girl Crush”
Rihanna Featuring Kanye West & Paul McCartney- “4 5 Seconds”
Wiz Khalifa Featuring Charlie Puth- “See You Again”
So the ones for ROTY (Record of the Year) that I think are on lock are Taylor, Mark/Bruno and Ed Sheeran. All three were monster hits that charted at the top. All three are Grammy darlings as well, with Taylor, Bruno and Mark winning several times before. People forget that Mark produced Amy Winehouse’s epic “Back To Black” album that won him Producer Of The Year, non classical as well as two other awards. Needless to say, they are an easy lock. The Weeknd had an amazing year and is no doubt a shoo in to be nominated for multiple Grammy’s, the only thing I question is if he gets a ROTY nominee what song will it be? I was never the biggest fan of “Earned It” and think that “The Hills” is a much better song both lyrically and in its delivery. Rounding out is “Shut Up And Dance” by Walk The Moon. There always seems to be a quirky, rock/alternative nominee in these categories and they would be the ones to fill it. Should it win? No, but a nomination doesn’t hurt.
Album Of The Year-
Taylor Swift- “1989”
The Weeknd- “Beauty Behind The Madness”
Kendrick Lamar- “To Pimp A Butterfly”
J. Cole- “2014 Forest Hills Drive”
Mumford & Sons- “Wilder Mind”
Honorable Mentions/Possible Nominees-
Luke Bryan- “Kill The Lights”
James Taylor- “Before This World”
Drake- “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”
I really have been dreaming of a day when an authentic hip-hop album wins AOTY (Album of the Year) again. The last time that happened was over a decade ago when Outkast won for “Speakerboxx/The Love Below”. Three uber-strong contenders that I hope will be in contention for AOTY are Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole and The Weeknd. I don’t think J. Cole is a lock however he should be as his latest effort is his best to date. Kendrick was robbed of this two years ago by Daft Punk, but was also robbed in the rap categories by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. So I hope there is some form of redemption in a nomination, if not a win. Mumford & Sons won in this category a couple of years ago for “Babel” so i wouldn’t be shocked if their latest effort got a nod as well. Taylor will of course be nominated again as “1989” was groundbreaking in the past year. Will she win like she did for “Fearless”? Not sure, but my money is regrettably on her. If they need a country nominee then Luke would be good to throw into that pile. James would be an old favorite and Drake had an outstanding year especially with “If You’re Reading This”. Should be interesting to see how this plays out.
Best New Artist-
Honorable Mentions/Possible Nominees:
Walk The Moon
Already nominees at last year’s awards for their single efforts, Hozier and Meghan Trainor will no doubt get nominations for Best New Artist as their debut albums were released after the deadline. Rachel Platten kind of came from out of nowhere with her power anthem “Fight Song” and could easily be a nominee. There is always a hip hop and country nominee in these categories, and you couldn’t get any bigger than Fetty Wap for the former and Sam Hunt for the latter to fill this category. My money is actually on Hozier to win this, but you never know.
For more information on all things Grammy awards, check out their official site.