Abandon All Hope: Your Guide to the 2013 Grammy Award Underdogs

Taylor Swift = not an underdog, no matter what face she makes.
Taylor Swift = not an underdog, no matter what face she makes.

There are certain truths we all accept about the Grammy awards, including but not limited to: no matter how many times she's won Taylor Swift will always make that "ohmygod people like me?!?!?!" face; that NARAS president Neil Portnow will show up to make a speech that no one will remember; someone we like will lose an award they should have won.

Although we'll complain about how once again the voters dropped the ball we know that we'll be watching the show again next year secretly hoping that maybe it'll be different this time, only to be disappointed again.

How do we break this cycle of frustration?

This year instead of rooting for our favorite acts let's band together and root for those acts with no chance of winning. If they lose we knew it was coming and if they win we'll be pleasantly surprised.

Which underdogs should you root for Sunday night? Here are some suggestions.

5/4. M83, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming (Best Alternative Album)/Eric Prydz, "Midnight City (Eric Prydz Private Remix)" (Best Remixed Recording, Non-Classical) If there is a real crime in this year's nominations, it's the lack of any nomination for the original version of M83's breakout single "Midnight City." At the core it's a victim of circumstance; the song was never mainstream enough to get a Record of the Year nomination, and there's no award for Best Alternative Song. With Fiona Apple and Gotye competing in the same category, it's unlikely the full-length will get a win here.

While the Eric Prydz remix of the track is certainly a solid jam for the festival set it has the unfortunate luck of being in the same category as a Skrillex remix. After his three wins and Best New Artist nomination last year it's hard to imagine anyone else winning this award.

3. Halestorm, "Love Bites (So Do I)" (Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance) Although the category is only two years old, a quick look at the winners from the categories it replaced gives us two solid reasons Halestorm is unlikely to win. The first is that in the combined history of Best Metal Performance and Best Hard Rock Performance only one female-fronted group ever won (Evanescence in 2004).

The second is that it's really hard for newer bands to win Metal awards. Voters have spent the last decade handing out the Metal awards to bands that are eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame (and Slipknot). Halestorm are just too new for their own good, which is funny because "Love Bites" is the only song nominated most people may have actually heard.


2. Al Walser, "I Can't Live Without You" (Best Dance Recording) Many were confused and offended when Al Walser was announced as the fifth entry in this category. It's a slot that could have been filled by any number of great songs that came out last year, be it Zedd's "Clarity", Porter Robinson's "Language", or Eric Prydz's "Allein." With three of the biggest songs in EDM (and an OK Calvin Harris track) nominated, it's one of the hardest categories to pick and there's absolutely no way Walser wins.

But wouldn't it be kind of cool if it did? Not that we should be rewarding someone for being better at networking than making music, but if the Grammys are going to make it easy for people to get undeserved nominations they should get to deal with the consequences. Imagine what would happen if a bunch of people voted for Walser out of spite.

1. Austin Wintory, Journey (Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media) This is a category full of heavyweights, including legendary composers John Williams and Hans Zimmer, as well as the duo of Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor and his Oscar-winning The Social Network collaborator Atticus Ross. A lot of people not only know their names but can hum pieces of their scores.

Outside of hardcore gamers. there aren't a lot of people who know who Austin Wintory is or the work he's done. In that sense his nomination is special: video game scores never get nominated for Grammys. It's fitting that Wintory is the one getting the nod because his score, like his nomination, is special.

Few games have ever matched music and visuals as well as Journey. It's a rare case where music is just as important to the experience as the graphics and gameplay. That won't be enough to win this year, but it's a good first step for video game music on the whole.

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