2015 Grammy Award Nominee Breakdown…
Pop-Break’s music editor Al Mannarino breaks down the nominees for pop, rock and hip-hop — who’ll win, who got snubbed and why, oh why, did some of these songs/albums get nominated.
Record of the Year
Nominees: ‘Fancy’ by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX, ‘Chandelier’ by Sia, ‘Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)’ by Sam Smith, ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift, ‘All About That Bass’ by Meghan Trainor
Reaction: Surprised “Happy” by Pharrell didn’t get a nomination, but other than that these songs were pretty much expected. There is no real surprise here and any of these over played Top 40 songs could walk away with a win. My money is on Taylor Swift. She is the biggest name in music right now and could walk away with a handful of Grammy awards this year.
Album of the Year
Nominees: Morning Phase by Beck, Beyoncé by Beyoncé, X by Ed Sheeran, In The Lonely Hour by Sam Smith, Girl by Pharrell Williams
Reaction: To see Beck be nominated for Album of the Year makes me incredibly happy. I have been listening to Beck since I was middle school. The great thing about the Grammy Awards unlike any other major award ceremony is that it is possible for the underdog to win. Three of the last five winners have been Daft Punk, Mumford & Sons, and Arcade Fire. While they are popular acts they are not necessarily constantly playing on top 40 radio. Yet they all have won the biggest award of the night. I think any of these nominees deserves to win, but it would be incredible if they gave the award to Beck’s incredible album Morning Phase.
Song of the Year
Nominees: ‘Chandelier’ by Sia, ‘Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)’ by Sam Smith, ‘Shake It Off’ by Taylor Swift, ‘All About That Bass’ by Meghan Trainor, ‘Take Me To Church’ by Hozier
Reaction: I never really understood the difference between “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year,” but it’s great to see Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’ get a nomination. The track is so powerful and emotional that it probably should have also been nominated for Record of the Year, but it’s nice to see that it made the cut regardless. I know Sam Smith will most likely win one if not all of the awards he was nominated for, but my money is on ‘Stay With Me’ winning at least song or record of the year.
Best New Artist
Nominees: Iggy Azalea, Bastille, Brandy Clark, Haim, Sam Smith
Reaction: Sam Smith would have had the category locked if it wasn’t or Iggy Azalea. Smith and Iggy were the biggest names in music over the summer having dominated the radio. Although it would be cool to see Haim or Bastille win, it’s just not going to happen.
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Nominees: ‘Fancy’ by Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX, ‘A Sky Full Of Stars’ by Coldplay, ‘Say Something’ by A Great Big World with Christina Aguilera, ‘Bang Bang’ by Jessie J, Ariana Grande, & Nicki Minaj, ‘Dark Horse’ by Katy Perry featuring Juicy J
Reaction: I’m not a huge fan of the category. Mainly because Coldplay is up against some pretty terrible songs here and if they don’t win I will not be too happy about it. Even if I weren’t a fan of them, whom else would I root for? ‘Fancy’ is already in like eight categories, ‘Say Something’ may be the most depressing song I have ever heard, ‘Bang Bang’ is an abomination and a plague to the ear drums, and ‘Dark Horse’ has a cool beat, but Juicy J’s verse sounds like it was written by seven-year-old.
Best Pop Vocal Album
Nominees: Ghost Stories by Coldplay, Bangerz by Miley Cyrus, My Everything by Ariana Grande, Prism by Katy Perry, X by Ed Sheeran, In The Lonely Hour by Sam Smith
Reaction: Coldplay! Now that I got that out of the way, I think this is easily a way better category than Pop Duo/Group Performance. Surprisingly this is one of Miley Cyrus’ only nominations, and she is up against rivals Ariana Grande and Katy Perry. This could be another win for Sam Smith or Ed Sheeran could sneak in much deserved win. This category just doesn’t have a clear winner.
Best Dance Recording
Nominations: ‘Never Say Never’ by Basement Jaxx, ‘Rather Be’ by Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne, ‘F For You’ by Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige, ‘I Got U’ Duke Dumont featuring Jax Jones, ‘Faded’ by Zhu
Reaction: I think Clean Bandit has this one in the bag. It’s the only track on here that became a crossover success. It is both a great dance track, and huge billboard hit. The big question is why ‘F For You’ was nominated over ‘Latch’ by Disclosure. Featuring Sam Smith, ‘Latch’ is still doing damage on the radio and was one of the summer’s biggest songs. Having Smith featured should have made ‘Latch’ not only a nominee, but also a clear winner, yet it wasn’t even nominated.
Best Rock Performance
Nominees: ‘Gimme Something Good’ by Ryan Adams, ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ by Arctic Monkeys, ‘Blue Moon’ by Beck, ‘Fever’ by The Black Keys, ‘Lazaretto’ by Jack White
Reaction: Most competitive category of the year? It very well could be. With names like Jack White, The Black Keys, and Arctic Monkeys you would think it would be for album of the year, but unfortunately these names didn’t make the cut. Honestly any one of these songs could win and I would be happy. ‘Do I Wanna Know?’ is still one of the catchiest songs I have ever heard, but I can see Jack White winning for ‘Lazaretto.’
Best Rock Song
Nominees: ‘Ain’t It Fun’ by Paramore, ‘Blue Moon’ by Beck, ‘Fever’ by The Black Keys, ‘Gimme Something Good’ by Ryan Adams, ‘Lazaretto’ by Jack White
Reaction: Surprisingly Paramore wasn’t nominated for more awards after the year they had. They could probably win this category, but it’s another tough call. Jack White’s Lazaretto has sold more vinyl’s then any other album in the last 20 years, and The Black Keys are one of the biggest live acts in music. This could be anyone’s category.
Best Rock Album
Nominees: Ryan Adams by Ryan Adams, Morning Phase by Beck, Turn Blue by The Black Keys, Hypnotic Eye by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Songs Of Innocence by U2
Reaction: I’m going to go out on a limb and say that U2 is not winning any awards for Songs of Innocence. The backlash from iTunes users ruined any chance for U2 to come how with any awards. Surprisingly no nomination for Lazaretto in this category, but it’s nice to see a nomination for Tom Petty.
Best Alternative Music Album
Nominees: This Is All Yours by Alt-J, Reflektor by Arcade Fire, Melophobia by Cage The Elephant, St. Vincent by St. Vincent, Lazaretto by Jack White
Reaction: Best Alternative Music Album is easily my favorite category of the night. This is where I get to see some of my favorite bands get the credit they deserve. Arcade Fire, Cage The Elephant, St. Vincent, and Jack White all deserve to win, but I really want to see Alt-J win an award. Mostly because they are weird and I want to see what crazy shit they would say in their acceptance speech.
Best R&B Performance
Nominees: ‘Drunk In Love’ by Beyoncé featuring JAY Z, ‘New Flame’ by Chris Brown featuring Usher & Rick Ross, ‘It’s Your World’ by Jennifer Hudson featuring R. Kelly, ‘Like This’ by Ledisi, ‘Good Kisser’ by Usher
Reaction: Beyoncé wins in a landslide. Does that really need any further explanation?
Best Rap Performance
Nominees: ‘3005’ by Childish Gambino, ‘0 To 100 / The Catch Up by Drake, ‘Rap God’ by Eminem, ‘I’ by Kendrick Lamar, ‘All I Need Is You’ by Lecrae
Reaction: In a just world Eminem would win for ‘Rap God.’ That song is insane and although it was not necessarily radio friendly, it was an impressive and exhilarating rap that deserves to win every award possible. Personally I would like to see Childish Gambino pick up a win. ‘3005’ is doing well on the radio and he is a fantastic musician, but I think Kendrick might have it locked down with his popular track “i.”
Best Rap Song
Nominees: ‘Anaconda’ by Nicki Minaj, ‘Bound 2’ by Kanye West, ‘I’ by Kendrick Lamar, ‘We Dem Boyz’ by Wiz Khalifa, ‘O To 100 / The Catch Up’ by Drake
Reaction: Please for the love of god don’t let Nicki Minaj win for ‘Anaconda.’ Besides it being a terrible song, there is no reason it should beat out ‘Bound 2’ or ‘I.”
Best Rap Album
Nominees: The New Classic by Iggy Azalea, Because The Internet by Childish Gambino, Nobody’s Smiling by Common, The Marshall Mathers LP2 by Eminem, Oxymoron by Schoolboy Q, Blacc Hollywood by Wiz Khalifa
Reaction: I really don’t want to see Iggy win this category. Nothing against her, but her album was nowhere near as great as The Marshall Mather LP2 or as creative as Because The Internet.
For a full list of nominees, click here.
Al Mannarino is the music editor for Pop-Break as well as the host of the News Over Brews Podcast. He graduated Rowan University with a degree in Radio/TV/Film & History and is currently a Promotions Assistant for Clear Channel Media + Entertainment. When he isn’t writing he is either trying to build his own TARDIS or taking a nap. Follow him on Twitter: @almannarino