Getting to Grammy Specifics

Tribune News Service
Ed Sheeran arrives for the 55th Annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday, February 10, 2013. (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times/MCT)

Jacob Jardel
Sports Editor
@JJardel_Writing

Music’s biggest night will come alive on the small screens when the 58th Annual Grammy Awards hits CBS on Feb. 15.
Many of the recording industries iconic names are up for nomination in numerous categories. But who will come away with the golden gramophones this year? Here are some predictions for the non-Big Four categories.

Best Pop Solo Performance
“Heartbeat Song,” “Love Me Like You Do,” “Thinking Out Loud,” “Blank Space,” “Can’t Feel My Face”
This category is stacked with songs that filled the airwaves in this last Grammy cycle. “Love Me Like You Do” is the best song from its movie’s soundtrack, and “Thinking Out Loud” has been permeating the airwaves since its release on “x,” but both will have to beat out the powerhouse that is Taylor Swift with “Blank Space.”

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
“Ship To Wreck,” “Sugar,” “Uptown Funk,” “Bad Blood,” “See You Again”
A collaboration with Kendrick Lamar made one of the weaker songs from “1989” into a formidable contender for this category. “See You Again” has the makings of a great opus for Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth.
That said, “Uptown Funk” had both massive radio play and a throwback style the Grammys usually love.

Best Pop Vocal Album
“Piece By Piece,” “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful,” “Uptown Special,” “1989,” “Before This World”
With the exception of the omission of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “E-MO-TION,” this category is stacked with some of the best pop albums. Most notably, “How Big” was another fantastic effort from Florence + The Machine, but “1989” is nominated for Album of the Year for a reason.

Best Rap Performance
“Apparently,” “Back to Back,” “Trap Queen,” “Alright,” “Truffle Butter”
This category is usually stacked, and this year is no different. “Trap Queen” saw massive airplay throughout the year, and “Back To Back” was one of Drake’s best performances to date.
“Truffle Butter” showed off Nicki Minaj’s rap prowess, and “Apparently” shone in J. Cole’s opus from the year. Kendrick Lamar had a banner year, though, and “Alright” is the banner carrier.

Best Rap Album
“2014 Forest Hills Drive,” “Compton,” “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” “To Pimp a Butterfly,” “The Pinkprint”
Arguably the deepest non-Big Four category in the mix, the selection committee has a tough selection ahead. J. Cole’s “2014” is his best to date with great song selection.
While Drake’s “If You’re Reading This” and Minaj’s “The Pinkprint” are two outstanding works of hip-hop mastery, they are dark horses for the Grammy.It just happens to be Kendrick’s year, though, and “To Pimp a Butterfly” is an album for all-time. “The Pinkprint” is a dark horse.

Best Country Song
“Chances Are,” “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools,” “Girl Crush,” “Hold My Hand,” “Traveller”
Most of the entries in this category all share a similar slow sound and theme of heartache of some sort. “Diamond Rings and Old Barstools” talks of a love that never quite requited, while “Girl Crush” talks about a longing for an estranged lover via his new woman.
About the only song that does not fit this mold is Chris Stapleton’s “Traveller,” which regards a life on the road of time.

Best Country Album
“Montevallo,” “Pain Killer,” “The Blade,” “Pageant Material,” “Traveller”
A mix of country mainstays and newcomers fill this list. “Montevallo” is a surefire hit for newcomer Sam Hunt, while “Pain Killer” adds another great album to Little Big Town’s already solid library.
But “Traveller” has garnered mass success for a country album – enough that the others may not be able to top it.

Best Song Written for Visual Media
“Earned It,” “Glory,” “Love Me Like You Do,” “See You Again,” “Til It Happens To You”
This category has a number of big names providing even bigger songs for different movies. “See You Again” honors late actor Paul Walker fittingly, while both “Earned It” and “Love Me Like You Do” have seen massive airplay in the last year.
However, “Glory” already won for Best Original Song at the Oscars, so it has the definite advantage.

Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media
“Empire: Season 1,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me,” “Pitch Perfect 2,” “Selma”
All of these soundtracks bring a different flavor to the table. Notably, “Pitch Perfect 2” brings the modern mashup to the forefront while “Empire: Season 1” showcases the talent of the show’s cast.
That said, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a soundtrack that far surpasses its movie with a great mix of genres and overall fantastic sound.

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