By: The Busted Amp Staff
Oh, the Grammys. If you remember our preview from last year, you'll know that we at The Busted Amp have never been big fans of The Grammys. In fact, we tend to despise it from time to time. But, in a world where music awards shows dominate, we would be remiss if we didn't spend some time talking about the picks.
So here are our 2017 Grammy predictions based on the nominees.
Derek: From someone that tries to avoid mainstream pop at all costs, two of these albums are obviously puzzlers to me. Justin Bieber's Purpose and Drake's Views are lowest common denominator artists that, in my opinion, shouldn't be in the same stratosphere as the other nominees in this category. Even with Bieber's supposed, insert airquotes here, growth. There's no doubt that "Hello" was one of the biggest singles in the last decade, but frankly the rest of the album was forgettable. Beyonce brings the most clout into this group of nominees with Lemonade, but will it be enough to overcome the other nominees? Time will tell, and you'll surely hear all about it from Bey-Nation. But wait, there's a 5th nominee? Oh yes, the obligatory non-mainstream, alternative AotY nominee. This year it's alt-country icon and music industry tackling Sturgill Simpson with his fantastic album A Sailor's Guide To Earth. Out of all of these nominees, my pick would be him, but I don't see a repeat of 2011 or 2015's shocking victories for Arcade Fire and Beck, respectively. I think Bey takes this one, with Adele as a close second.
Joseph: While we will probably disagree several times on this list, the AotY category will not be one of them. I have no idea why Drake and Justin Bieber are on here, but that's the Grammys for you. They are clearly setting this show up as a "Beyonce versus Adele" showdown, (just look at virtually every music publication and you'll see it already being framed as such) which will certainly generate the clicks and viewership they are looking for. That said, I think there's a better chance than we might think that Sturgill pulls out a dark horse and wins this category, and here's why: up until Beyonce dropped Lemonade, I thought Adele was going to sweep the Grammys this year. Now, I think there's a good chance that Adele and Beyonce are going to split the voting pretty evenly, and that does give a third party like Sturgill a better chance to win than not. After all, the same thing happened in 2015 when Beck was the dark horse. (The vote likely split between Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, and Sam Smith which gave Beck a chance) That said, I would not bet money on this, and I'm with Derek-I think Beyonce will be walking out of the Grammys with her first AotY victory.
Who Should Win: Sturgill Simpson - A Sailor's Guide To Earth
Who Will Win: Beyonce - Lemonade
Derek: The songwriting single category really leaves a lot to be desired this year. The obvious winner from my perspective is Beyonce, as "Formation" probably has the deepest lyrics of the bunch. "Hello" is another Adele waterworks single that *sings as Adele* must have heard a thousand timesssss. Bieber tried to be deep, but it took a roomful of writers to get remotely close. Posner took some drugs and it sounds like it took Lukas Graham seven years to write the song "7 Years". Bey-nation should take this one, but don't be surprised if it goes to someone else.
Who Should Win: Beyonce - Formation
Joseph: I laugh at this category, and this is coming from a guy who has long cared little for lyrics. But there's no doubt these are some weak selections for SotY. I think this category will come down to Beyonce versus Adele, (again) with Adele pulling it out just because of the sheer popularity of Hello. I think many voters at The Academy will give Beyonce AotY and then give Adele Record + Song of the Year to try and balance them out. But that's just my uneducated guess. All of these picks to me are laughable, so it's hard to pick just one. But hey! Maybe they'll say fuck it and give this one to Justin Bieber. Just to try and make the Beliebers happy. Because why not?
Also, can I just point out how "7 Years" and "I Took a Pill in Ibiza" sound EXACTLY the same? I can't get over how terrible these songs are.
Who Should Win:
Derek: Beyonce - Formation
Joseph: David Bowie- Lazarus
Who Will Win:
Derek: Beyonce - Formation
Joseph: Adele - Hello
Derek: This is where things get more tricky. For the single of the year, there's no denying that "Hello" has been above and beyond one of the biggest singles of the decade. But does popularity equate to being the single of the year. Wait...yes it does. Adele takes this, and I think it's an easy call.
Joseph: Hey! Twenty One Pilots got a nomination! That's pretty cool. Even though I have NO idea how it did given the fact that "Stressed Out" was dropped in April of 2015. But what does it matter, right? None of these stand a chance against Adelle's "Hello." This just might be the easiest pick for the Academy this year, and I would be shocked if any name other than Adele's was called as it's hard to deny the cultural impact this single has had over the past year.
Who Should Win: Adele - Hello
Who Will Win: Adele - Hello
Derek: Chance The Rapper has been absolutely everywhere this year, and his debut album Coloring Book is one of the most played albums of the year. Everyone loves him, especially the music industry websites, so I think he takes this award pretty easily.
Joseph: Once again I'm with Derek on this. Hard to imagine seeing anyone other than Chance the Rapper getting the nomination. Though, as is per usual with this category, he's hardly a "new artist." I mean heck I remember when he packed the That Tent for a late night set back at Bonnaroo 2014. But hey, at least his nomination is not as bad is some of the previous winners. But I digress. Watch for a potential dark horse in The Chainsmokers because they are super popular, but I fully expect Chance's name to be called here.
Also, I have to give a shout-out to Kelsea Ballerini. We're obviously cynical about this show, but she's a super likeable sweetheart down here in Nashville, and I hope this nomination further elevates her career.
Who Should Win: Chance The Rapper
Who Will Win: Chance The Rapper
Derek: For the second year in a row, the rock album category is a complete clusterfuck, but I guess you can attribute that to the blurring lines between Rock and Alternative and the fall from grace of the traditional rock genre. If you remember, we gave Tell Me I'm Pretty a pretty mediocre review, but the other albums in this category aren't much better. Magma is your obligatory metal album nominee in this category, and it's a good one, but I don't think they take the golden phonograph. This is a toss up, but I think they give it to Blink-182 or Weezer because of name recognition.
Joseph: Just give this award to Blink-182 for their "comeback story" completion and be done with it. I can't even look at this joke of a list without wanting to throw my keyboard against the wall. Even from a popular standpoint, this list is ridiculous. Like....
Who Should Win: Cage The Elephant - Tell Me I'm Pretty
Who Will Win: Blink-182 - California
Joseph: Another hilarious category from the Grammys featuring a cover (albeit a good cover, but still a cover) and Beyonce. I guess The Academy thought they could slip "Don't Hurt Yourself" in because Jack White is featured on it, but it hardly classifies as rock in my book. I hope "Blackstar" is the winner here, or "Heathens," but I'm so cynical about all of this I would not be surprised to hear Beyonce's name called for this category. Because it's the Grammys.
Derek: Rock Performance is definitely one of the worst categories of the year. Just because Jack White is featured on a song doesn't immediately make it rock, although my beef is less with that and more with these left field choices. You're telling me that none of the Best Rock Album nominees have a song worthy of Best Rock Performance? Jeez, fellas. That should tell you a little bit about the quality of the category. I have to hand it to Disturbed. Their cover of "The Sound of Silence" was a refreshing take, especially from a band that hasn't had anything refreshing since 2005's Ten Thousand Fists. Alabama Shakes is the most pure "rock" of the bunch, but David Bowie just has to take the prize here. Right guys?
Who Should Win: David Bowie - Blackstar
Who Will Win: Beyonce - Don't Hurt Yourself
Joseph: This is one of the better category this year, despite the laughable nomination of Metallica's "Hardwired." (I was not a fan of this album at all) But, beyond that, it's a strong category. While I think "Burn the Witch" should get the award, I think it will ultimately go to "Heathens." No one can deny that out of this list, "Heathens" was by far the most popular song. "Heathens" has more than double the plays on Spotify than every other song on this list, combined. While that's hardly a good reason to give it the statue, it's all the reason the Grammys need.
Who Should Win: Radiohead - Burn the Witch
Who Will Win: Twenty One Pilots - Heathens
Derek: For alternative music lovers, this category is absolutely stacked. You have five musical legends going up against each other. Bon Iver with his musical pivot album 22, a Million, David Bowie with his swansong Blackstar, PJ Harvey with her long anticipated album, Iggy Pop with his Joshua Homme collaborative final album, and Radiohead with their least rock album yet. Boy, this will be fun. I think the Grammy voters realize this is the last time they'll be able to vote for David Bowie, so I think he takes the win here. Honestly though, I think any of these are worthy choices.
Joseph: This to me is the single most frustrating category of the Grammys this year. Because it is SO GOOD. Like....who picked these? How do we have such lackluster categories everywhere else and then all the sudden this? I wish all of these could win, or at LEAST be transferred over to the Best Rock Album category, but as is, I'm with Derek. I think this one will go to David Bowie. Even though the man has never needed a Grammy for validation, it would be pretty shocking to me if The Academy didn't give this award to Bowie simply out of respect. Or at least their idea of respect. It would be my choice as well. As great as all these choices are, I think Blackstar rose above the rest and is one of the best albums of the year.
Who Should Win: David Bowie - Blackstar
Who Will Win: David Bowie - Blackstar
There's always a lot to cover with the Grammys, and we have neither the time nor the length to cover it all. So, here are a few highlights in the other categories.
Joseph: If you can't tell already, I find the Grammys main selections this year pretty ludacris, but to their credit I will say it evens out a bit (just a bit) in the less-signifcant categories. The pop categories are still awful, but to be fair I wouldn't expect otherwise. At least Sia snuck in a couple of nominations, though expect all of these to be toss ups between Beyonce and Adele. Though I do expect JBiebs to sneak in one win because otherwise there will be angry Tweets for days from angry adolescent girls. Get those thumbs warmed up, girls.
Flume has been making a lot of splashes in the electronic world, and even though I won't even try to claim I know every name on those lists, I expect Flume and Chainsmokers to divide the electronic categories.
I have no idea why Beyonce's Lemonade is labeled as Best Urban Contemporary Album, but expect an easy win there because it's Beyonce and it's the Grammys.
The rap category is stacked heavy with Drake, Chance the Rapper, and Kanye West. I think all three will win at least one, and I'll take it a step further and say Chance wins Best Rap Performance, Kanye wins Best Rap/Sung Performance, (though Beyonce might steal this one because it's Beyonce and King Kendrick and Kanye has been even more Kanye-y recently) and Drake wins Best Rap Album. Even though that should go to Chance. Rap Song is a total clusterfuck, (in a good way) and honestly I have no idea who will pull that one out. I'd go with "Ultralight Beam", but I think "Hotline Bling" or "No Problem" stand a better chance. And Famous might dark horse it because the vote splits on everything else and some people might want to see Kanye's acceptance speech for his controversial Taylor Swift song. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
The country category is once again full of bro Country, but at least there's a lot of variety. Loretta Lynn's nomination for Best Country Album is awesome, but I am surprised/sad that Kelsea Ballerini didn't receive any love in these categories despite receiving a Best New Artist nomination. Even though he had the best country album of the year, Sturgill's blacklisting in Nashville means the odds of him winning Best Country Album are next to nill. I think bro Country is going to take it this year.
Finally, I want to highlight the Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media category. Ennio Morricone, one of the busiest film composers in the history of cinema with over 500 film credits to his name, has finally been receiving the recognition he deserves with Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. He received his first Oscar this year, and I fully expect him to win just his second Grammy (first one was for The Untouchables-take THAT, Derek) for this as well, despite the stiff competition.
Derek: HA, you know my feelings on movie scores. Not my cup of tea, but I am SO excited for you and Ennio.
I'll have to disagree with you on Best Country Album. The fact that he was even nominated of Album of the Year should be a big hint that Sturgill is going to scoop up the award. These aren't the CMA's or (enter one of the gazillion other country music award shows here). The voters comes from a number of different genres, not just the country music elite, and Sturgill's meteoric rise to the top of the outlaw country scene and cross-genre appeal makes him, in my opinion, a shoo-in to win this award.
In the Americana category, indie favorites The Avett Brothers got a nomination for their so-so album True Sadness, but I don't think they'll win it. I'll give it to Kris Kristofferson.
Here's to another year of awards, controversy, and judging a very subjective subject. Enjoy the show.