Grammys 2016 predictions: Who will and should win Big Four categories









Mainstream music's monster ceremony returns Monday — can Kendrick Lamar score one for hip-hop?




LOS ANGELES -- The Grammy Awards return Monday night and if youre watching, its likely with the notion that a few glitzy performances -- hey, Adele is back this year! -- will distract from the fact that your Presidents/Valentines Day long weekend is almost over.
The only awards any sane viewer recalls year-to-year are the Big Four categories: Album, Record and Song of the Year, as well as Best New Artist.
Assuming those are the only measures that actually matter -- a stretch considering the age-old good vs. popular argument -- lets make some predictions for 2016s installment.
Here are the likely winners, and inevitable snubs, for mainstream musics annual conglomeration.
For a full list of nominees, click here.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The nominees:
Alabama Shakes, Sound and Color
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Chris Stapleton, Traveller
Taylor Swift, 1989
The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness
Who will win: Taylor Swift, 1989
Who should win: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Why: Wire-to-wire, this has been a two-horse gallop toward the nights premier gramophone. While Lamars critically adored LP was at once brutal, beautiful and deftly cognizant, hip-hops success rate in this category is comically poor. That leaves Swift, whose first true, neon-blue pop collection launched the 26-year-olds transformation, from crossover commodity to queen of the mainstream.
If its any consolation, Lamar will likely win at least a few of his 10 other Grammy nominations.

 
Song of the Year
The nominees:
Kendrick Lamar, Alright
Taylor Swift, Blank Space
Little Big Town, Girl Crush
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, See You Again
Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud
Who will win: Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud
Who should win: Kendrick Lamar, Alright
Why: In the last decade, all Song of the Year winners have peaked within the Billboard Top 10. Again, the past stands against Lamar, whose searing profile of violence, strife and hope-above-all reached a mere No. 81. Sheerans love story was, in contrast, 2015s most ubiquitous radio ballad. Also, a reminder that SOY goes to the songwriters, and the ever-strumming Brit has become pops consummate singer-songwriter. 

 
Record of the Year
The nominees:
DAngelo and the Vanguard, Really Love
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk!
Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud
Taylor Swift, Blank Space
The Weeknd, Cant Feel my Face
Who will win: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk!
Who should win: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk!
Why: Though it doesnt always play out this way, Im a firm believer that Record of the Year should be synonymous with the song from which couldnt escape yet never grew to hate. Sam Smiths Stay With Me and Daft Punks Get Lucky seemed to fit that bill in the last years, and with a near-record 14 weeks at No. 1, 2015s funkified party jam was surely unavoidable. But even now, I still sing every word -- every time. Though it wouldnt be terribly shocking if Swift swiped this one.

 
Best New Artist
The nominees:
Courtney Barnett
James Bay
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor
Who will win: Meghan Trainor or Sam Hunt
Who should win: Tori Kelly
Why: Though Trainor no longer feels like a new artist -- her monster doo-pop hit All About That Bass was up for best Record and Song last year -- shes proven a mainstay with a 2015 feature on Charlie Puths Marvin Gaye and her romantic John Legend duet Like Im Gonna Lose You. Upsets are more common in this category, though -- remember when Esperanza Spalding beat out Drake, Florence + The Machine, and Mumford and Sons in 2011? -- and country newcomer Sam Hunt has already built a huge genre following.
Regardless, Tori Kellys talent is relentless, and her debut LP Unbreakable Smile was fresh, and frustratingly underrated. She wont win, but her future feels white-hot nonetheless.
Performances in between these awards include Adele, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Tori Kelly, Ellie Goulding, Pitbull and the cast of Broadways Hamilton, as well as star-studded tributes to David Bowie, B.B. King, Glenn Frey and Lemmy Kilmister. 
Enjoy the show -- all three hours and 30 minutes of it. 

Bobby Olivier may be reached at . Follow him on Twitter @BobbyOlivier. Find  on Facebook.
 




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Grammys 2016 predictions: Who will and should win Big Four categories
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Mainstream music's monster ceremony returns Monday — can Kendrick Lamar score one for hip-hop?




LOS ANGELES -- The Grammy Awards return Monday night and if youre watching, its likely with the notion that a few glitzy performances -- hey, Adele is back this year! -- will distract from the fact that your Presidents/Valentines Day long weekend is almost over.
The only awards any sane viewer recalls year-to-year are the Big Four categories: Album, Record and Song of the Year, as well as Best New Artist.
Assuming those are the only measures that actually matter -- a stretch considering the age-old good vs. popular argument -- lets make some predictions for 2016s installment.
Here are the likely winners, and inevitable snubs, for mainstream musics annual conglomeration.
For a full list of nominees, click here.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The nominees:
Alabama Shakes, Sound and Color
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Chris Stapleton, Traveller
Taylor Swift, 1989
The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness
Who will win: Taylor Swift, 1989
Who should win: Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Why: Wire-to-wire, this has been a two-horse gallop toward the nights premier gramophone. While Lamars critically adored LP was at once brutal, beautiful and deftly cognizant, hip-hops success rate in this category is comically poor. That leaves Swift, whose first true, neon-blue pop collection launched the 26-year-olds transformation, from crossover commodity to queen of the mainstream.
If its any consolation, Lamar will likely win at least a few of his 10 other Grammy nominations.

 
Song of the Year
The nominees:
Kendrick Lamar, Alright
Taylor Swift, Blank Space
Little Big Town, Girl Crush
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, See You Again
Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud
Who will win: Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud
Who should win: Kendrick Lamar, Alright
Why: In the last decade, all Song of the Year winners have peaked within the Billboard Top 10. Again, the past stands against Lamar, whose searing profile of violence, strife and hope-above-all reached a mere No. 81. Sheerans love story was, in contrast, 2015s most ubiquitous radio ballad. Also, a reminder that SOY goes to the songwriters, and the ever-strumming Brit has become pops consummate singer-songwriter. 

 
Record of the Year
The nominees:
DAngelo and the Vanguard, Really Love
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk!
Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud
Taylor Swift, Blank Space
The Weeknd, Cant Feel my Face
Who will win: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk!
Who should win: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk!
Why: Though it doesnt always play out this way, Im a firm believer that Record of the Year should be synonymous with the song from which couldnt escape yet never grew to hate. Sam Smiths Stay With Me and Daft Punks Get Lucky seemed to fit that bill in the last years, and with a near-record 14 weeks at No. 1, 2015s funkified party jam was surely unavoidable. But even now, I still sing every word -- every time. Though it wouldnt be terribly shocking if Swift swiped this one.

 
Best New Artist
The nominees:
Courtney Barnett
James Bay
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor
Who will win: Meghan Trainor or Sam Hunt
Who should win: Tori Kelly
Why: Though Trainor no longer feels like a new artist -- her monster doo-pop hit All About That Bass was up for best Record and Song last year -- shes proven a mainstay with a 2015 feature on Charlie Puths Marvin Gaye and her romantic John Legend duet Like Im Gonna Lose You. Upsets are more common in this category, though -- remember when Esperanza Spalding beat out Drake, Florence + The Machine, and Mumford and Sons in 2011? -- and country newcomer Sam Hunt has already built a huge genre following.
Regardless, Tori Kellys talent is relentless, and her debut LP Unbreakable Smile was fresh, and frustratingly underrated. She wont win, but her future feels white-hot nonetheless.
Performances in between these awards include Adele, Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Tori Kelly, Ellie Goulding, Pitbull and the cast of Broadways Hamilton, as well as star-studded tributes to David Bowie, B.B. King, Glenn Frey and Lemmy Kilmister. 
Enjoy the show -- all three hours and 30 minutes of it. 

Bobby Olivier may be reached at bolivier@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BobbyOlivier. Find NJ.com on Facebook.
 




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