ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Chris Richards: It’s a shame that the biggest award in the big four has the snooziest list of nominees. Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” deserves this Grammy. But if I can’t write Kanye in, I’m going with the most respectable effort in the bunch: “Wasting Light” by the Foo Fighters. The other four albums left me cold.
David Malitz: I echo Chris’s sentiments completely. These are all bloated and unexceptional albums. I'm not just indifferent to them, I actually dislike them. I wish there was a camera on Taylor Swift when these were announced last night. Then we would have been able to see her actual surprise-face when she wasn’t nominated. I withhold my vote.
Allison Stewart: I think Kanye was robbed, but Adele's “21” is a great backup choice. It's not thrilling all the way through, but she could be making faceless and/or awkward albums like her amazing-voiced peers (Kelly Clarkson, Xtina), and “21” avoided that. Mostly.
RECORD OF THE YEAR:
Chris Richards: Since this is an award for the performance of a song, not the songwriting, Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” is the obvious choice. When she kicked off her U.S. tour at the 9:30 Club earlier this year, I was moved by her singing and bored by her songs. Allow myself to quote myself: “You want a singer with this colossal a voice to have a colossal vision to match... She’s like a superhero who only uses her powers to fetch cats from trees.” Adele will probably clean up on Grammy night, but this is the one award she actually deserves.
David Malitz: Here’s the one category in which Adele is a slam dunk. "Rolling in the Deep" is an enduring hit, one that will surely be a highlight of a very long, very fruitful and very Grammy-filled career.
Allison Stewart: I'm going with Adele, also. I interviewed Bob Seger this year and he was in full adoration of this song, mostly because of its contemporized Aretha-in-Detroit-in-1967 vibe. Can’t disagree with that.
SONG OF THE YEAR:
Chris Richards: So.. conflicted... I love Kanye West’s “All of the Lights,” but not as much as the idea of a tune as dreamy and diaphanous as Bon Iver’s “Holocene” winning a Grammy. (I love the song, too.)
David Malitz: Of course “All of the Lights” is the pick here. Baltimore club as the foundation for a Grammy Song of the Year! And on an album that's almost all highlights, this is one of the three songs that hits an especially high peak.
Allison Stewart: It’s a toss up between Bon Iver and Kanye (who thought those words would ever be typed by anyone ever?). Bon Iver’s song is better, but I've never been able to get excited about him, for some reason.
BEST NEW ARTIST:
Chris Richards: Even... more... conflicted... I’ve spent time with the Band Perry and Skrillex this year. In addition to really enjoying their music, I’ve witnessed the wildly devoted fan cultures they’ve each cultivated. But Nicki Minaj has to win this award. And it’s appropriate that she be recognized for her artistry, not for her recordings. I’m still bummed that “Pink Friday” failed to capitalize on the show-stealing wildstyle she still manages to unleash with every guest appearance she makes.
David Malitz: It would be fun to say Skrillex, just because, but it’s hard to overlook the fact that he makes really terrible music. If Nicki Minaj wins, does that mean the “mainstream acceptance” portion of her career is over and she can then let loose and get wild? Maybe Nicki and Bon Iver can split the award and then bring Kanye out for a surprise performance of “Monster.”
Allison Stewart: Except for Adele, most Best New Artist winners are never heard from again. So I'm going to go with Skrillex, although this might be wishful thinking.