By: The Busted Amp Staff
Another year, another batch of GRAMMY nominations to sift through. This year's nominees aren't all that surprising, but given the incredible year of music that we had (check out our favorites here), this year's GRAMMY nominees continue to be a disappointing, yet not all that unsurprising group.
Here are who we think will take home the golden phonograph at this year's ceremony. We haven't looked at the Vegas odds before compiling these lists. This is purely on what we think. Right or wrong. Not that it matters.
Derek: Honestly, this is probably the best Album of the Year lineup that the GRAMMYs has had in a long time. There are your mainstram standards like Bruno Mars and JAY-Z, your "not quite indie anymore" pick like Lorde, and your truly worthy nominees like Kendrick Lamar and Childish Gambino. Of the two that I personally deem "worthy" nominees, only one has a clear shot at taking the title, and that's the king of hip-hop, Kendrick Lamar. Move over middle aged JAY-Z and your Tidal exclusivity. For an album that was clearly less impactful than his last, Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. still set the standard for albums in 2017, and none of the other choices on the list come even close. I'm curious if the vote will split between JAY-Z and Kendrick, leading the way for Lorde or Bruno Mars to take the title, but for me Kendrick breaks his GRAMMYs drought and takes home the top prize of the night.
Who Should Win: Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
Who Will Win: Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
Derek: Song of the Year is quite the shitshow this year. Instead of posting only the main artist or group of this category, we've decided to type out each of the songwriters nominated to show just how many people it takes to come up with some of the catchiest, poppiest songs of the year. Despacito broke records this past year, and I don't think there's anything that takes it off its pillar. It either takes this, Record of the Year, or both.
Who Should Win: Despacito (Derek), That's What I Like (Joseph)
Who Will Win: Despacito
Derek: Once again, the Record of the Year category is where things get tricky. HUMBLE. and Redbone were two of my favorite songs of 2017, however you can't deny Despacito of the impact that it's has on popular culture this past year. HUMBLE. takes the prize unless Despacito doesn't take Song of the Year. In that case, it takes the win here. Sorry JAY-Z, Tidal is your worst enemy.
Who Should Win: Kendrick Lamar - HUMBLE. (Derek), Childish Gambino - Redbone (Joseph)
Who Will Win: Kendrick Lamar - HUMBLE. (or Despacito if it doesn't win Song of the Year)
Derek: Shockingly, there are two new artist nominees that I'm actually not familiar with. After years of being a joke category, could the GRAMMYs actually be choosing NEW artists? Or maybe I'm just getting old. Khalid and Lil Uzi Vert have been stars over the last year, but in my mind SZA is on a complete other planet compared to the rest of the competition here. Her debut album is a monster, and she's risen as fast as any of the superstars of the last decade. She takes the win here if the GRAMMYs know what's best for them, which is debatable.
Who Should Win: SZA
Who Will Win: SZA
Derek: When will the GRAMMYs get rock right? Between the different subgenres of rock represented we have thrash metal, progressive metal, indie jam rock, stoner rock, and more mainstream rock all represented. How in the world is it possible to pick a winner from this. Well, we have to. The two metal records here, Mastodon and Metallica, were both rather disappointing compared to their previous work. Queens of the Stone Age put out a good, albeit different album. The War On Drugs put out their best release to date and one of my favorite albums of 2017. I honestly think either Queens of the Stone Age or Metallica take the win here. Queens of the Stone Age for their name recognition and the middle of the road appeal of Villains. If Metallica wins, it'll be on name alone.
Who Should Win: The War On Drugs - A Deeper Understanding
Who Will Win: Queens of The Stone Age - Villains (Derek), Mastodon - Emperor of Sand (Joseph)
Derek: Ah, yes. The obligatory dead rock star category. We lost both Leonard Cohen and Chris Cornell in 2017, and while Cohen's performance on You Want It Darker was a stellar final release, I don't believe Cornell's hold the same light. I think ubiquitous rockers Foo Fighters take the prize, but don't be surprised if that Kaleo song that got stuck in your head last year takes the dark horse victory.
Who Should Win: Foo Fighters - Run (Derek), Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker (Joseph)
Who Will Win: Foo Fighters - Run (Derek), Chris Cornell - The Promise (Joseph)
Derek: With this weak set of nominees, Foo Fighters are going to *wait for it* RUN away with this one. (I'll let myself out). But seriously, all the other nominees here are terrible.
Who Should Win: Foo Fighters - Run
Who Will Win: Foo Fighters - Run
Derek: Best Alternative Album is probably one of the stronger categories of the evening, despite fielding three only so-so albums. The real magic comes with the bottom two on the above list. Father John Misty's best album to date, and easily one of my favorites of 2017 as a whole, and the best National release since their magnum opus, Boxer. Both are worthy picks, but I think Father John Misty has the edge ever so slightly.
Who Should Win: Father John Misty - Pure Comedy (Derek), The National - Sleep Well Beast (Joseph)
Who Will Win: Father John Misty - Pure Comedy
While we can't give an overview on every category, here are some highlights from the rest of the bunch, many of which will be presented live during the televised ceremony.
We at The Busted Amp fully expect Kendrick Lamar to clean up the rap categories, including wins for Best Rap Performance (HUMBLE.), Best Rap/Sung Performance (LOYALTY.), Best Rap Song (HUMBLE.), and Best Rap Album (DAMN.).
Similarly, we hope Chris Stapleton cleans up the country categories, including Best Country Solo Performance (Either Way), Best Country Song (Broken Halos), and Best Country Album (From A Room: Volume 1).
One of our favorites, Jason Isbell, is nominated for a few Americana/Roots categories, including Best American Roots Song (If We Were Vampires) and Best Americana Album (The Nashville Sound). We don't see him losing either.
Best Contemporary Blues Album is stacked with some great nominees, including Robert Cray, Sonny Landreth, Taj Mahal, Robert Randolph, and Tedeschi Trucks Band. Derek hopes Randolph takes the prize, but honestly all of them are deserving.
Producer of the Year is also a coin flip category. Derek's personal favorites are Greg Kurstin and Blake Mills. No I.D. wouldn't be a big surprise either.