The awards show is tonight at 8 p.m. on CBS. Follow me on Twitter at @surfwax83 for my up-to-the-minute thoughts on the evening.
Album of the Year
The nominees: Adele's "21" ; Foo Fighters' "Wasting Light" ; Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" ; Bruno Mars' "Doo-Wops and Hooligans" ; Rihanna's "Loud"
The winner: Adele
Should win: Adele
Had better not win or else I will hurt something: Foo Fighters
It's an easy prediction, I know, but it's tough to be provocative here. Adele had the biggest album of the year, there's no disputing it -- hell, the album's STILL at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and has been for 19 non-consecutive weeks. Think of it this way: "21" came out almost a year ago in the US. Yes, it's been that long. How could we possibly give the award to anyone else?
That's not to say that "21" was my favorite of those nominated. Though the record is quite honestly one of the most astounding pop releases of the last decade, one more outshined it in my eyes in terms of being even more of a classic pop record. "Born This Way" turned off a lot of Gaga fans, and I'll admit her schtick can run dry at times, but no other album on this list was simply as much fun to listen to. When I think back to 2011, I'll think glitzy, dance-y pop, and that's what Gaga represented. I love both albums, but Gaga's was the one I couldn't stop playing.
Oh, and the Foo Fighters? Great band, good album. But compared to the others? C'mon. The GRAMMYs needed a rock record to throw in there, and instead of going with Bon Iver (which amazes me, honestly), they went with the general sure bet. Mr. Grohl, you're great, but "Wasting Light" should not be mentioned alongside these other albums. Come at me, rockist bros.
Record of the Year
The nominees: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep" ; Bon Iver, "Holocene" ; Bruno Mars, "Grenade" ; Mumford & Sons, "The Cave" ; Katy Perry, "Firework"
The winner: Adele
Should win: Adele
I swear to god, guys: Katy Perry
Again, it's hard to argue against Adele here, though I want to. "Rolling in the Deep" was everywhere -- EVERYWHERE. What's more, it embodies everything many would love for the current sound of pop music to be. It's the backlash from the overproduced club bangers that surfaced in America in 2010. Adele didn't change her music for the pop world, and in time, it may so be that the pop world will change for her. Should she win as many awards tonight as many are predicting, that may finally happen.
But really, these are all great songs. I'd love to see Bon Iver win, because "Holocene" is simply some of the best that the indie folk scene has offered us in the past few years -- and wouldn't it be nice to see a man who dissed the show for not allowing him to perform sans collaborations get a victory? Bruno's "Grenade" is still by far his best, and showcases the unique and powerful voice he possesses. And I LOVE Mumford & Sons. That song? Definitely in my lower half in terms of favorites from "Sigh No More," but I'm happy to see them nominated. Hell, I even think "Firework" is the strongest song off "Teenage Dream." I just don't want to see Katy Perry win something. Sorry I'm not sorry.
Song of the Year
The nominees: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep" ; Bon Iver, "Holocene" ; Bruno Mars, "Grenade" ; Mumford & Sons, "The Cave" ; Kanye West, "All of the Lights"
The winner: Adele
Should win: Kanye West
I'm going outside the generally-held opinion on this one. Again, Adele's song is great for all the reasons I've already listed. But Kanye's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"? There's an album that should have been nominated for Album of the Year -- simple as that. As for "All of the Lights," part of me just wants to see if all of the artists involve go onstage if it wins. But really, I do think this is a better song than "Rolling in the Deep." Whereas Adele can grate on me after a few listens, Kanye's song has not and will probably never get old. He's the best beatmaker in hip hop today, and this song is his shining moment on the album. It's a song that deserves a lot more recognition than it's received.
I'm already prepared for disappointment, because I really don't think anyone's going to defeat Adele this year -- and, you know, rightfully so, because she does deserve all the praise she receives. But this accolade? Please, pleeeeaase someone recognize something from this album for the genius that it is. Here's your best chance.
Best New Artist
The nominees: The Band Perry, Skrillex, Bon Iver, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole
The winner: Skrillex
Should win: Nicki Minaj
The "Seriously?!" award presented by J.Cole: J. Cole
I just have this bad feeling, guys. Skrillex's music is mostly hit-or-miss (mainly miss) for me, but I also think the GRAMMYs will attempt to act cool this year, as they tend to in certain categories, and this will be their stab in 2012. For whatever reason, the rave crowd ate Sonny Moore up this year, and he's basically the ringleader of a whole new generation of electronic music enthusiasts. As a fan of electronic music, I'm glad he's brought some new fans to the genre. As a person who finds a lot of American dubstep and other similar genres fairly unlistenable and a far cry from the glories of European's takes, I'm tired of the guy. But again, I just have this bad feeling.
Frankly, I'd love for Bon Iver to emerge victorious, but it's tough for me to consider Justin Vernon a new artist. And even so, I don't think he deserves it more than Nicki. For the first time in what seems like a long while, we have a female rapper worth a damn. She's smart, her music's often kind of funny, and her voice has a certain quality that makes her hard to avoid, whether or not you like the tone of it. Plus, I simply can't see any of these other artists on the level she was on this year on the charts. The Band Perry had a great year and I see them as a healthy alternative to T-Swift, but "If I Die Young" wasn't nearly as big as "Super Bass."
And J. Cole? I'll let this GIF speak for me.
In the honor of timeliness, I'm going to provide my other thoughts in wonderful bullet point form.
- Adele should win the pop categories for which she's nominated. I'm hoping for a victory from either Coldplay or Foster the People for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
- If you hear a primal scream across the Midwest tonight, it's because The Decemberists won for either Best Rock Performance or Best Rock Song -- or both. They won't, but I can't even imagine what would happen if they did.
- In reality, Foo Fighters will win the rock awards, and I will begrudgingly accept this. I'm pulling for "White Limo," though, because that's the best song off "Wasting Light."
- Cee Lo Green for Best R&B Performance and Song, PLEASE.
- If "Otis" doesn't win Best Rap Performance, I riot.
- If Wiz Khalifa wins anything, I riot.
- Taylor Swift's "Mean" is her worst song and I am currently rioting just thinking about it.
- Barton. Fucking. Hollow.
- I am really pissed about Foo Fighters being included in the dance/electronic performance segment with Chris Brown, deadmau5, David Guetta and Lil Wayne. Basically, they're going to get to play "Rope," but with deadmau5 backing them because he remixed the song -- or so I'm guessing. Oh well, at least they apparently get to play by themselves, too.
- I will probably enjoy the Beach Boys/Maroon 5/Foster the People segment more than I'm supposed to.
- Jay-Z and Kanye not performing together (or at all)? Ya dun goof'd, GRAMMYs.
- Cannot WAIT for the Glen Campbell performance.
- Adele will probably have the best performance of the evening to go along with ALL THE AWARDS she's about to win.
- It will be a somber affair tonight. I hope J-Hud and the producers were able to do Whitney justice in the small amount of time they had to whip up a tribute.