The best thing about the annual Grammy nominations and awards shows is the clamor of anger that rises up when the mere mention of the event even comes up. Immediately people begin calling it a travesty, trotting out all the people who have been snubbed -- Jethro Tull beats Metallica -- plus everyone from Neil Young to Chuck Berry.
As USA Today noted today, before 1979, there were no "rock" categories at the awards, as the industry was still trying to come to grips with long hairs and loud guitars, even nearly 25 years since it went worldwide. So from say 1956 to 1979, they missed out on Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin The Beatles, The Who, Janis Joplin, the list goes on.
Though I can argue at length that these folks were making pop records with precious melodies and feeling that were begging for recognition. A lot of these bands would end up with lifetime achievement awards to pacify fans. Plus, it's not as if winning a Grammy has any bearing on an artist's influence or historical significance.
It took them less time to embrace hip-hop and rap, more than likely seeing the error of their earlier ways, and also seeing that is was the new music of the youth, and youth means ratings. Tupac Shakur is a notable shut-out too, but it can be argued he grew to monolithic heights after his death, like another Grammy-less icon, Bob Marley. There was no reggae category at the time of his death in 1981. No doubt he would have won several.
Even still, these awards are treated with almost as much pomp and circumstance as the Oscars, though the Grammys are definitely not as formal. The honors still matter, and even getting a nomination helps put your second foot in the door in this industry.
So let's predict who and what will this win at this year's 53rd annual Grammys, airing Sunday on CBS.
Album Of The Year
21, Adele Wasting Light, Foo Fighters Born This Way, Lady Gaga Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Bruno Mars Loud, Rihanna
What Should Win: My sentimental choice is the Foo Fighters, but I know that it won't happen.
What Will Win: Adele, because this is the kind of wide-appeal album that is virtually designed for the highest honor of the night. Though last year's Arcade Fire win came out of nowhere.
Record Of The Year
"Rolling In the Deep", Adele "Holocene", Bon Iver "Grenade", Bruno Mars "The Cave", Mumford & Sons "Firework", Katy Perry
What Should Win: I really liked "Firework" because it could have been in Simlish and still been catchy.
What Will Win: Adele, naturally. Her closest competition is Bruno Mars. I think that had Adele's album not hit this year that he would sweep this thing.
Song Of The Year (Award Goes To Writer Or Writers)
"All of the Lights" (performed by Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie) "The Cave" (performed by Mumford & Sons) "Grenade" (performed by Bruno Mars) "Holocene" (performed by Bon Iver) "Rolling In the Deep" (performed by Adele)
What Should Win: If the awards wanted to be interesting and not just foist everything on Adele, they would pick "Grenade"...
What Will Win: But they won't and Adele will continue her sweep.
Best New Artist
The Band Perry Bon Iver J. Cole Nicki Minaj Skrillex
What Should Win: Right off the bat, we can cancel out Bon Iver, who has been on the scene since 2008. The Band Perry and J. Cole aren't massive, and Skrillex may scare voters off.
What Will Win: Nicki Minaj, because she seems to be only one in the category that is at least trying to innovate in her own weird way.
Pop duo/group performance
"Body and Soul", Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse "Dearest, The Black Keys "Paradise", Coldplay "Pumped Up Kicks", Foster the People "Moves Like Jagger", Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera
What Should Win:Jesus, I have to go with Foster The People on this one. They are after all performing with the Beach Boys at the show...but so is Maroon 5. And "Jagger" is catchy as shit. Dammit.
What Will Win: Amy and Tony, with a tear-stained acceptance speech from Winehouse's family. This would also be a nod to her putting people like Adele in position to be pop stars.
Pop vocal album
21, Adele The Lady Killer, Cee Lo Green Born This Way, Lady Gaga Doo-Wops & Hooligans, Bruno Mars Loud, Rihanna
What Should Win: Adele
What Will Win: Adele. The "vocal" in the category's name urges it so.
"Raise Your Weapon", Deadmau5 and Greta Svabo Bech "Barbra Streisand", Duck Sauce "Sunshine", David Guetta and Avicii "Call Your Girlfriend", Robyn "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites", Skrillex "Save the World", Swedish House Mafia
What Should Win: If it was me I would go with Skrillex because I like him, in direct contradiction of everything decent.
What Will Win: Robyn, because she is the most safe performer here.
Zonoscope, Cut/Copy 4x4=12, Deadmau5 Nothing But the Beat, David Guetta Body Talk, Pt. 3, Robyn Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, Skrillex
What Should Win: Tough crowd. Guetta's disc was fun, as was the Skrillex album.
What Will Win: It's a toss-up between Robyn and Cut/Copy, the most mainstream in the bunch.
"Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall", Coldplay "Down By the Water", The Decemberists "Walk", Foo Fighters "The Cave", Mumford & Sons "Lotus Flower", Radiohead
What Should Win:The Foos, with the best rock anthem of the year.
What Will Win:The Foos for sure, though a win by the Decemberists would be a nod to the passing of R.E.M this year since Peter Buck helped on this cut.
Hard Rock/Metal Performance
"On the Backs of Angels", Dream Theater "White Limo", Foo Fighters "Curl of the Burl", Mastodon "Public Enemy No. 1", Megadeth "Blood In My Eyes", Sum 41
What Should Win:The video for the Foos' "White Limo" had Lemmy in it.
What Will Win:The video for the Foos' "White Limo" had Lemmy in it.
Rock Song (Award Goes To Writer Or Writers)
"The Cave" (performed by Mumford & Sons) "Down By the Water" (performed by The Decemberists) Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall" (performed by Coldplay) "Lotus Flower" (performed by Radiohead) "Walk" (performed by Foo Fighters)
What Should Win:I will take a Foo break and concede that the Coldplay track was more Grammy material than the rest.
What Will Win:Coldplay. Got to give them something.
Rock 'N' Roll Party Honoring Les Paul, Jeff Beck Wasting Light, Foo Fighters Come Around Sundown, Kings of Leon I'm With You, Red Hot Chili Peppers The Whole Love, Wilco
What Should Win:The Jeff Beck album would be a great way to honor Les Paul one last time. The Kings Of Leon album was a favorite of mine, Wilco's wasn't their best, and the Chilis disc didn't connect with listeners.
What Will Win:Dave Grohl, you are needed at the podium.
Bon Iver, Bon Iver Codes and Keys, Death Cab for Cutie Torches, Foster the People Circuital, My Morning Jacket The King of Limbs, Radiohead
What Should Win:The Radiohead album was the most "alternative" thing here.
What Will Win: Ditto.
"Far Away", Marsha Ambrosius "Pieces of Me", Ledisi "Not My Daddy, Kelly Price and Stokley "Is This Love, Corinne Bailey Rae "You Are, Charlie Wilson
What Should Win:Ledisi is pretty cool.
What Will Win: Corinne Bailey Rae is safe though.
Traditional R&B Performance
"Sometimes I Cry", Eric Benét "Fool for You", Cee Lo Green and Melanie Fiona "Radio Message", R. Kelly "Good Man", Raphael Saadiq "Surrender", Betty Wright and The Roots
What Should Win:Would love to see Betty Wright on the Grammy stage...
What Will Win:Raphael Saadiq, with the Grammys honoring modern R&B and soul.
R&B Song (Award Goes To Writer Or Writers)
"Far Away" (performed by Marsha Ambrosius) "Fool For You" (performed by Cee Lo Green and Melanie Fiona) "Not My Daddy" (performed by Kelly Price and Stokley) "Pieces of Me" (performed by Ledisi) "You Are" (performed by Charlie Wilson)
What Should Win:Ledisi.
What Will Win: I hate Cee Lo but I liked this song.
F.A.M.E., Chris Brown Second Chance, El DeBarge Love Letter, R. Kelly Pieces of Me, Ledisi Kelly, Kelly Price
What Should Win:El DeBarge is still alive?
What Will Win:R. Kelly isn't in jail?
"Look At Me Now", Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes "Otis", Jay-Z and Kanye West "The Show Goes On", Lupe Fiasco "Moment 4 Life", Nicki Minaj and Drake "Black and Yellow", Wiz Khalifa
What Should Win:Chris Brown, if only for the uncomfortable silence and fart noises.
What Will Win:"Otis", duh.
"Party", Beyoncé and André 3000 "I'm on One", DJ Khaled, Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne "I Need A Doctor", Dr. Dre, Eminem and Skylar Grey "What's My Name?", Rihanna and Drake "Motivation", Kelly Rowland and Lil Wayne "All of the Lights", Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie
What Should Win:A win by Andre 3000 would maybe kick his ass into for a new Outkast disc.
What Will Win: "All of the Lights" is most memorable thing here.
Rap Song (Award Goes To Writer Or Writers)
"All of the Lights" (performed by Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie) "Black and Yellow" (performed by Wiz Khalifa) "I Need A Doctor" (performed by Dr. Dre, Eminem and Skylar Grey) "Look At Me Now" (performed by Chris Brown, Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes) "Otis" (performed by Jay-Z and Kanye West) "The Show Goes On" (performed by Lupe Fiasco)
What Should Win:"Otis" because it's like a three-minute victory lap.
What Will Win:I really want "Black and Yellow" to win because it's stupid.
Watch the Throne, Jay-Z and Kanye West Tha Carter IV, Lil Wayne Lasers, Lupe Fiasco Pink Friday, Nicki Minaj My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, Kanye West
What Should Win:I liked Kanye's solo album more than WTT...
What Will Win:But WTT is too good to pass up. Plus, you get Jay and Kanye on camera, and you never know what could happen.
Country Duo/Group Performance
"Don't You Wanna Stay", Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson "You and Tequila", Kenny Chesney featuring Grace Potter "Barton Hollow", The Civil Wars "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not", Thompson Square
What Should Win:Anything with Grace Potter works for me.
What Will Win:If the Grammys want to be progressive, they will vote for the Civil Wars.
Country Song (Award Goes To Writer Or Writers)
"Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" (performed by Thompson Square) "God Gave Me You" (performed by Blake Shelton) "Just Fishin'" (performed by Trace Adkins) "Mean" (performed by Taylor Swift) "Threaten Me With Heaven" (performed by Vince Gill) "You and Tequila" (performed by Kenny Chesney featuring Grace Potter)
What Should Win:Taylor Swift, because you don't her writing a song about how mean the Grammys are.
What Will Win: Ditto.
My Kinda Party, Jason Aldean Chief, Eric Church Own the Night, Lady Antebellum Red River Blue, Blake Shelton Here for A Good Time, George Strait Speak Now, Taylor Swift
What Should Win:Strait, because he has been on a roll with decent albums for the past five years, though I heard good things about the Church disc.
What Will Win:Taylor Swift, because pretty dresses and crying and blonde hair.
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Danger Mouse Paul Epworth The Smeezingtons Ryan Tedder Butch Vig
What Should Win:Danger Mouse sounds scary.
What Will Win:Butch Vig, because why not? He has a cool moustache.