The Grammys are like a musician’s Super Bowl, even if the nominations and victorious artists are flawed.  I won’t lie to you, I complain every year that someone won a Grammy that didn’t deserve it while someone else was snubbed. Just last year, during the 55th Annual Grammys, I lobbied hard for Frank Ocean (looking back, I have reservations now) while Mumford & Sons walked out with the Album of the Year trophy.  The year that Taylor Swift won for Fearless, my girl Beyoncé was on a roll until the coveted Album of the Year award was read.  You get my position though! This year,  I find myself the most pleased I’ve been with the Grammy nominations in like forever.  That isn’t to say within my colorful, opinionated commentary that I don’t have my rubs, but I’m onboard more often than not for the 56th Annual Grammys.

The Big Four

Record of the Year

Imagine Dragons land a Record of the Year nomination for “Radioactive”

“Get Lucky”, Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams

“Radioactive”, Imagine Dragons

“Royals”, Lorde

“Locked Out of Heaven”, Bruno Mars

“Blurred Lines”, Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell

The Record of the Year field for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards is quite strong – I approve of the choices in other words.  I knew that “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines” would score nominations here.   I think “Royals” courtesy of Lorde is extremely deserving of the nomination as is “Radioactive”.  “Locked Out of Heaven” was also a big record, though perhaps its sheen has worn off at this point since Unorthodox Jukebox came out in December of 2012.  Ultimately, excellent nominations by all mean.

Album of the Year

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis score big with multiple Grammy nominations.

The Blessed Unrest, Sara Bareilles

Random Access Memories, Daft Punk

Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, Kendrick Lamar

The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Red, Taylor Swift

The Album of the year field always sports one curveball.  There’s nothing wrong with a shocker, except that sometimes that oddball nominee ends up being the victor.  This year’s oddball in a strong field is Sara Bareilles’ The Blessed Unrest.  It was a solid album, but if you’d ask me if I thought it had a shot of being nominated, I would’ve said absolutely not – no disrespect Sara.  I had a feeling Daft Punk, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Taylor Swift had a shot here.

Snubs? I thought Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars stood a shot of being nominated for The 20/20 Experience and Unorthodox Jukebox respectively.  I’m not mad about it though (I think there were better albums). Now as for that snub of Vampire Weekend’s Modern City of Vampires… GRRRR!!!

Song of the Year

Katy Perry ‘roars’ with a Song of the Year nomination for “Roar”.

“Just Give Me The Reason” (Pink featuring Nate Ruess)

“Locked Out of Heaven” (Bruno Mars)

“Roar” (Katy Perry)

“Royals” (Lorde)

“Same Love” (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert)

This is an interesting list with some solid choices as well.  “Just Give Me The Reason” was a hit and a fine song, though I’m not sure if I’d consider it ‘song of the year’ (it was a no. 1 hit though).  The reprisal of both “Locked Out of Heaven” and “Royals” is a welcome nomination here.  “Same Love” may be the biggest surprise, but feels like a smart unexpected nomination here.  “Roar” is another exceptional choice, though you wonder how it managed to miss out on a Record of the Year nod as well.

Best New Artist

Kendrick Lamar lands multiple Grammy nominations, including Album of the Year and Best New Artist.

James Blake

Kendrick Lamar

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Kacey Musgraves

Ed Sheeran

No complaints here.  James Blake is actually on his second album, but 2013 effort Overgrown really elevated the British electronic artist’s stock.  Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were locks with no explanation needed.  Kacey Musgraves, who I personally have not heard, has been getting some buzz, so her nod seems well representative of country.  Ed Sheeran seemed to have a bigger year previously when “The A Team” was nominated for Song of the Year, but whatever.

Snubs? Lorde.  Lorde received plenty of love for “Royals”, so why none in the Best New Artist? You could also argue A$AP Rocky, though rap is well covered here.


Best Pop Solo Performance

Justin Timberlake snags a few nominations here and there…

“Brave”, Sara Bareilles

“Royals”, Lorde

“When I Was Your Man”, Bruno Mars

“Roar”, Katy Perry

“Mirrors”, Justin Timberlake

Sara Bareilles, I gave you grief in the album of the year field, but I do think you deserve a nod in the Best Pop Solo Performance for “Brave”.  Everyone who is nominated in this category deserves the recognition in my opinion.  I won’t make predictions just yet, but notice that two of the songs are nominated in larger categories (“Royals” and “Roar”).

Best Pop Duo / Group Performance

And ‘under the radar’ Grammy nomination year for Rihanna…

“Get Lucky”, Daft Punk & Pharrell Williams

“Just Give Me A Reason”, Pink featuring Nate Ruess

“Stay”, Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko

“Blurred Lines”, Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell

“Suit & Tie”, Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z

Another soundly selected category, the Best Pop Duo/ Group Performance category seems to be a tight one.  Three of the five nominations are nominated for Record or Song of the year.  Perhaps the least heralded nominee is “Stay”.

Best Pop Vocal Album

Paradise, Lana Del Rey

Pure Heroine, Lorde

Unorthodox Jukebox, Bruno Mars

Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke

The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience, Justin Timberlake

Again, I find myself actually in agreement with the Grammy nominations this year, which is surprising.  The Pop Vocal Album category is as tight as ever, though I may have nixed the Lana Del Rey nod for Paradise.  That said, I wouldn’t necessarily consider 2013 the best year that pop has had in recent times, so perhaps Del Rey’s nod is justified (I do enjoy her voice btw).

Best Dance / Electronica Album

Random Access Memories, Daft Punk

Settle, Disclosure

18 Months, Calvin Harris

Atmosphere, Kaskade

A Color Map of the Sun, Pretty Lights

My interest in dance and electronic music has been growing greater and greater.  I personally have only heard two of these albums, Random Access Memories and Atmosphere.  I definitely am onboard with the nomination of Random Access Memories, while I found Atmosphere to be a bit ‘too soft’ for my tastes.   Still, given what I’ve heard about these nominated artists/albums, seems like a solid list.

Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album

Cee Lo Green’s holiday album gets some Grammy love.

Viva Duets, Tony Bennett

To Be Loved, Michael Bublé

The Standards, Gloria Estefan

Cee Lo’s Magic Moment, Cee Lo Green

Now, Dionne Warwick

What’s nice to see in the Traditional Pop Vocal Album category is five albums (sometimes there’s only three).  Overall, the choices are solid, though I do have to question where Harry Connick, Jr.’s nomination went to (Every Man Should Know).



Best Rock Performance

“Always Alright”, Alabama Shakes (Silver Linings Playbook Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

“The Stars (Are Out Tonight)”, David Bowie (The Next Day)

“Radioactive”, Imagine Dragons (Night Visions)

“Kashmir”, Led Zeppelin  (Celebration Day)

“My God Is The Sun”, Queens of the Stone Age (…Like Clockwork)

“I’m Shakin’”, Jack White

Another exceptional category, “Radioactive” definitely stands out since it is also nominated for record of the year.

Best Rock Song

The Rolling Stones represent the ‘old guys’ in the ‘Best Rock Song’ category.

“Ain’t Messin ‘Round” (Gary Clark, Jr.)

“Cut Me Some Slack” (Paul McCartney, Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear)

“Doom and Gloom” (The Rolling Stones)

“God is Dead?” (Black Sabbath)

“Panic Station”  (Muse)

I hadn’t planned on including this category, but I can’t go without giving Black Sabbath’s “God Is Dead?” some love.  “God Is Dead?” Was also nominated for Best Metal Performance in addition to this nomination.  13 gets love in the Best Rock Album category.  Other standouts nominated here include “Ain’t Messin ‘Round” (Gary Clark, Jr.) and “Panic Station” (Muse).