Tag Archives: GRAMMY Awards

TURN IT UP TUESDAY: What’s New In Stores This Week (January 21)

Gram bam, thank you, ma'am.

And the winner is…

In the middle of GRAMMY Week on the blog, let’s take a breather to see what’s new in stores this week. After all, the schedule goes on. Here are all the releases you need to know about for January 21:

  • This one is perhaps a little obvious, but the 2014 GRAMMY Nominees compilation is out today. It features top hits from Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry and more, who could all be big winners come Sunday night. Look for it to debut somewhere in the top 5, if not top ten. (iTunes)
  • Here’s a fabulous collection for the Fab Four fan (say that three times fast.) The Beatles release The U.S. Albums collection, featuring all 13 of their Stateside-issued LPs with their original artwork, tracklistings and edits on top of remastered sound quality and more. All 13 are also being rereleased individually. With a hefty price tag, it may not debut the highest, but it sure is a treat. (iTunes)
  • I just reviewed their album last week; now, duo A Great Big World are out with Is There Anybody Out There?, their debut release for Epic Records. It features their hit duet with Christina Aguilera, “Say Something”. Given their newfound coverage, it could surprise on the charts. For now, I’ll say a top ten debut with potential to go higher. (iTunes)
  • Indie rockers Young The Giant are out with their second album, Mind Over Matter, their first since 2010. Lead single “It’s About Time” is currently top ten on Alternative radio. (iTunes)
  • Other albums out this week include Aer‘s Aer (iTunes), Against Me!‘s Transgender Dysphoria Blues (iTunes), Graham Colton‘s Lonely Ones (iTunes), Los Lonely Boys‘s Revelation (iTunes), Mogwai‘s Rave Tapes (iTunes), Scorpions‘s MTV Unplugged (iTunes) and Ty Dolla $ign‘s Beach House (EP). (iTunes)

New digital-only singles that you can buy this week include:

  • “All The Way”, a fresh track from the duo Timeflies. (iTunes)
  • “Blue Moon”, a new single from rocker Beck. (iTunes)
  • “Free/Into The Mystic”, a live medley from Zac Brown Band and Clare Bowen from Nashville. (iTunes)
  • “How I Feel (Remixes)”, a new six-song package from rapper Flo Rida. (iTunes)
  • “Me And Liza”, the latest single from singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright. (iTunes)
  • “Walking On Air”, from former *NSYNC member Lance Bass along with Anise K and featuring Bella Blue and Snoop Dogg. (iTunes)
  • “Who We Are (Remixes)”, a three-song EP featuring the Alternative hit by Switchfoot. (iTunes)

Next week, we’ll see those classic post-GRAMMY sales swings, plus new albums from Casting Crowns, David Crosby and more. See you in seven!

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GRAMMY WEEK: Adam Picks The Winners for Packaging/Visual Media Fields

Gram bam, thank you, ma'am.

Gram bam, thank you, ma’am.

It’s finally here… the week before the 56th Annual GRAMMY Awards, airing on Sunday, January 26 at 8PM Eastern on CBS. This week on POP! Goes The Charts, we’ll be taking a look at nearly half the categories on the list and laying out who I think will taking home a prize or two or five (maybe!) on the big day. Today, we start out with the fields for Packaging and Visual Media.

(For a full list of nominations, check it out on GRAMMY.com along with more interactive features. You can also order the 2014 GRAMMY Nominees album, from Atlantic Records.)

56. Best Musical Theater Album

Kinky Boots (***ACTUAL WINNER***)
Matilda: The Musical
Motown: The Musical

PREDICTION: Much like the Tony Awards back in June, I think Best Musical winner Kinky Boots will be the winner in this category. This would mark singer and songwriter Cyndi Lauper‘s first GRAMMY win since claiming Best New Artist way back in 1985.

57. Best Companion Soundtrack for Visual Media

Django Unchained
Quentin Tarantino, compilation producer

The Great Gatsby (Deluxe Edition)
Baz Luhrman, compilation producer

Les Misérables (Deluxe Edition)
Cameron Mackintosh, Lee McCutcheon & Stephan Metcalfe, compilation producers

Muscle Shoals
Stephan Badger & Greg Camalier, compilation producers

Sound City: Real To Reel
Butch Vig, compilation producer (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

PREDICTION: I was going back and forth between Luhrman and Vig for this Award, as both soundtracks have the star power to win, but I’ll give the edge to The Great Gatsby on this one. As a stand-alone work, it’s quite inspired and did well commercially.

58. Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media

Argo
Alexandre Desplat, composer

The Great Gatsby
Craig Armstrong, composer

Life Of Pi
Mychael Danna, composer

Lincoln
John Williams, composer

Skyfall
Thomas Newman, composer (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

Zero Dark Thirty
Alexandre Desplat, composer

PREDICTION: Five out of the six nominations (minus Danna) are by previous winners in the category; that is some serious competition. However, I’m giving it to Lincoln. The movie was fantastic and Williams did an exceptional job setting the mood for it.

59. Best Song Written for Visual Media

“Atlas” (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire)
Performed and Written by: Coldplay (Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion & Chris Martin)

“Silver Lining (Crazy ‘Bout You)” (Silver Linings Playbook)
Performed by: Jessie J
Written by: Diane Warren

“Skyfall” (Skyfall)
Performed by: Adele
Written by: Adkins & Paul Epworth (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

“We Both Know” (Safe Haven)
Performed and Written by: Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw

“Young And Beautiful” (The Great Gatsby)
Performed by: Lana Del Rey
Written by: Del Rey & Rick Nowels

“You’ve Got Time” (Orange Is The New Black)
Performed and Written by: Regina Spektor

PREDICTION: This is a pretty hard category – two of the selections in here went to #1 on my personal chart. As much as I want “Atlas” to take the prize, I am going with “Skyfall”. The GRAMMY’s wouldn’t be complete without an Adele win, would they?

63. Best Recording Package

Geneseo, Automatic Music Can Be Fun
Mike Brown, Zac DeCamp, Brian Grunert & Annie Stoll, art directors

Reckless Kelly, Long Night Moon
Sarah Dodds & Shauna Dodds, art directors  (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

Jay Z, Magna Carta… Holy Grail
Brian Roettinger, art director

Metallica, Through The Never (Music From The Motion Picture)
Bruce Duckworth, Sarah Moffat, Brian Steele & David Turner

David Bowie, The Next Day
Jonathan Barnbrook, art director

PREDICTION: All five sets have pretty unique artwork even though I don’t know two of the acts in the category. I do believe David Bowie has the best chance of a win here. I liked the campaign based around it; it’s a simple piece, yet it’s also mysterious.

64. Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package

Rolling Stones, The Brussels Affair
Charles Dooher & Scott Sandler, art directors

Mayer Hawthorne, How Do You Do (Limited Edition Box Set)
Mayer Hawthorne, art director

Mumford & Sons, The Road To Red Rocks (Special Edition)
Ross Stirling, art director

Various Artists, The Smith Tapes
Masaki Koike, art director

Wings, Wings Over America (Deluxe Edition)
Simon Earith & James Musgrave, art directors (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

PREDICTION: There’s some major GRAMMY darlings in here, and of course, my dream win would be for Hawthorne. Yet, I’ll be realistic here and say Wings Over the other four. Hey, I even got the “Maybe I’m Amazed” 12″ for Record Store Day last year.

81. Best Music Video

“Safe And Sound”, Capital Cities
Grady Hall, video director; Buddy Enright, Javier Jimenez, Danny Lockwood & Daniel Weisman, video producers

“Picasso Baby” (A Performance Art Film), Jay Z
Mark Romanek, video director; Shawn Carter & Aristides McGarry, video producers

“Can’t Hold Us”, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Ray Dalton
Jon Jon Augustavo, Jason Koenig & Ryan Lewis, video directors; Tricia Davis, Honna Kimmerer & Jenny Koenig, video producers

“Suit & Tie”, Justin Timberlake featuring Jay Z
David Fincher, video director; Timory King, video producer (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

“I’m Shakin'”, Jack White
Dori Oskowitz, video director; Saul Levitz & Candice OvaKnine, video producer

PREDICTION: Of the five entries here, only one music video helped me to like the song better, and that would be “Safe And Sound” by Capital Cities. With a clip featuring dancers from multiple eras, the nostalgia should prove to be positive with the committee.

82. Best Music Film

Coldplay, Live 2012
Paul Dugdale, video director; Jim Parsons, video producer

Green Day, ¡Cuatro!
Tim Wheeler, video director; Tim Lynch, video producer

Ben Harper with Charlie Musselwhite, I’m In, I’m Out And I’m Gone: The Making Of Get Up!
Danny Clinch, video director; Ben Harper, video producer

Paul McCartney, Live Kisses
Jonas Åkerlund, video director; Violaine Etienne, Aron Levine & Scott Rodger, video producers (***ACTUAL WINNER***)

Mumford & Sons, The Road To Red Rocks
Nicolas Jack Davies & Frederick Scott, video directors; Dan Bowen, video producer

PREDICTION: I only own one of these (Coldplay), but I think Mumford & Sons will take it. I saw the special when it aired on HBO; besides being a fan of them, it’s a high quality film and edited together well. Their past GRAMMY history also helps the cause.
_____

Check back tomorrow to see what I’m thinking for the Alternative, Rock and Country categories! Until then, follow the blog below and find us on social media by click the “Get Social!” tab.

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GRAMMY WATCH: Nominations As They’re Announced (Complete)

A grand slammy for a GRAMMY or two.

A grand slammy for a GRAMMY or two.

Excited for this year’s GRAMMY Awards? I am as well, but we’ll have to wait until January 26 to find out the winners of this year’s prizes. Tonight, however, is all about the nominations in a one-hour program airing on CBS at 10PM Eastern. The special, The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!! — Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night, will feature the unveiling of the nods in several categories, with a full update online sometime after the broadcast. Performances are due from Lorde, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Robin Thicke, Taylor Swift and more. So, stay tuned to my blog as the nominations come in… and see how I did at predicting the Big Four categories.

View the full nominations at GRAMMY.com.

LIVE BLOG — CURRENTLY UPDATING

(10:00 PM) PERFORMANCE – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Wanz are currently performing “Thrift Shop”.

(10:05 PM) LL Cool J is handling the nominees for Song Of The Year…

SONG OF THE YEAR
Bruno Mars, “Locked Out Of Heaven”
Katy Perry, “Roar”
Lorde, “Royals”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert, “Same Love”
Pink featuring Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me A Reason”

I predicted:
Bruno Mars, “When I Was Your Man”
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams, “Get Lucky”
Justin Timberlake, “Mirrors”
Katy Perry, “Roar”
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I., “Blurred Lines”
The Civil Wars, “The One That Got Away”

(10:08 PM) PERFORMANCE – Taylor Swift is currently performing “I Knew You Were Trouble” from Australia.

(10:15 PM) PERFORMANCE – Keith Urban and Miguel are currently duetting on a cover of Bill Withers‘s “Ain’t No Sunshine”.

(10:18 PM) Ed Sheeran is handling the next set of nominees…

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams, “Get Lucky”
Justin Timberlake featuring JAY Z, “Suit & Tie”
Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko, “Stay”
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I., “Blurred Lines”
Pink featuring Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me A Reason”

(10:23 PM) Enrique Iglesias is presenting the nominees for Album Of The Year…

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
Kendrick Lamar, Good Kid, m.a.a.d City
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist
Sara Bareilles, The Blessed Unrest
Taylor Swift, Red

I predicted:
Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox
Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience: The Complete Experience
Taylor Swift, Red
The Civil Wars, The Civil Wars

(10:26) PERFORMANCE – Katy Perry is currently performing “Roar”.

(10:35) PERFORMANCE – Lorde is currently performing “Royals”.

(10:40) Kelly Rowland is presenting the nominees next…

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM
Blake Shelton, Based On A True Story…
Jason Aldean, Night Train
Kacey Musgraves, Same Trailer, Different Park
Taylor Swift, Red
Tim McGraw, Two Lanes Of Freedom

(10:48) Arsenio Hall is presenting for Best New Artist…

BEST NEW ARTIST
Ed Sheeran
James Blake
Kacey Musgraves
Kendrick Lamar
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

I predicted:
Emeli Sandé
Imagine Dragons
Kendrick Lamar
Lorde
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

(10:53) Melissa Etheridge is handling the nominees for Record Of The Year…

RECORD OF THE YEAR
Bruno Mars, “Locked Out Of Heaven”
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams, “Get Lucky”
Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive”
Lorde, “Royals”
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I., “Blurred Lines”

I predicted:
Bruno Mars, “When I Was Your Man”
Lorde, “Royals”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert, “Same Love”
Passenger, “Let Her Go”
Pink featuring Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me A Reason”

(10:55) Robin Thicke, T.I. and Earth, Wind and Fire end the show with a performance of “Blurred Lines”.

View the full nominations at GRAMMY.com.

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GRAMMY WATCH: Adam Predicts The Big Four

Don't stop the music.

Don’t stop the music.

September 30 marks the end of the eligibility for the upcoming 2014 GRAMMY Awards, so, being that it’s the day after, I think it’s time to make some predictions for the big show, yes? Though it isn’t until January 26 of next year and a special nominations special doesn’t air until December 6, here are some of my early favorites, and let me know what you think below! For now, it’s just the Big Four — and maybe a few extra thoughts when it’s all over. Let’s get to those magic predictions:

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Bruno Mars, Unorthodox Jukebox
Daft Punk, Random Access Memories
Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience: The Complete Experience
Taylor Swift, Red
The Civil Wars, The Civil Wars

All five of these albums went to #1 and the majority of them have been certified (or are at the point where they can be.) It’s definitely going to be another pop heavy year overall. Mars’s late 2012 release has given us smashes like “Locked Out Of Heaven” and “When I Was Your Man”, plus with his upcoming Super Bowl appearance, he may just lead the nominations. Luck was on Daft Punk‘s side this year as “Get Lucky” took a ride up to #2 on the Hot 100, while their album delivered the band’s best sales frame by far. Timberlake, an early winner for this category, had the biggest opening of the year with the first half of this collection and will once again debut at the top with the second half. Why RCA chose to submit both albums as one entry instead of two, we shall never know. Both Swift and The Civil Wars are GRAMMY favorites having been nominated separately and together and should likely gain a vote or two.

Other contenders:
Drake, Nothing Was The Same – The rapper’s album was just issued last week and the numbers on it are looking huge. His connection was multiple format audiences will obviously help him; I’d think this would be the rap release to get a nomination if there is one.
Janelle Monáe, The Electric Lady – Expect to see this one on a lot of year-end lists. The futuristic neo soul singer has a lot of people buzzing about her latest release, but with low radio airplay and only decent sales, this will get cut along the way.
Jay Z, Magna Carta… Holy Grail – He’s an industry heavyweight and his most recent album was one of the most hyped of the year. With a hit single in “Holy Grail”, his name is out there once again, but reception’s been mixed and others are favored.
Kanye West, Yeezus – It’s raw, it’s minimalist and ultimately, it won over both fans and critics when it was released this summer. That being said, I don’t think those on the GRAMMY panel will “get it.” Expect a tantrum or two from West if it’s looked over.
Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires Of The City – Some people seem to think that this could pull off a nomination because of high critical scores. This era gave them their biggest hit yet on the Alternative survey, “Diane Young”, but I don’t think it’ll be enough to get this in.

RECORD OF THE YEAR
Bruno Mars, “When I Was Your Man”
Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams, “Get Lucky”
Justin Timberlake, “Mirrors”
Katy Perry, “Roar”
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell Williams and T.I., “Blurred Lines”
The Civil Wars, “The One That Got Away”

Both Record and Song Of The Year are going to be tough this year, but 2013 has been a spectacular and diverse year for music. Since ROTY listed six nominations last year, I’ll be predicting the same this year. Summer smashes “Blurred Lines” and “Get Lucky” will no doubt be in there, which is huge for producer, writer and singer Pharrell Williams. Many people seem to think that both Bruno Mars and Justin Timberlake are a lock for ROTY; I’m putting “Man” here over “Locked Out Of Heaven” and “Mirrors” over “Suit & Tie”, but it could go either way. “Roar”, like Taylor Swift‘s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” last year, will be the last-minute nomination of the bunch. Finally, there’s The Civil Wars; based on the buzz this song registered on my blog well as the prior GRAMMY love for the duo, I think they hold a strong chance of being here.

Other contenders:
Drake featuring Majid Jordan, “Hold On, We’re Going Home” – With a smooth 80’s feel and a simple lyric, the song’s hot and a hit. I think this will only be shut out due to the similar throwback feel of entries like Thicke’s, which was also much bigger commercially.
Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive” – 2013 was a breakout year for this Las Vegas band and their dubstep meets rock production took over the charts a few months ago. Unfortunately, the burn factor with this one will ultimately cost it some votes in the long run.
Kanye West, “New Slaves” – With Yeezus probably missing a chance at AOTY, this would be West’s next best option. The industrial sounding song will too probably not make the category, but it’s worth a shot. He’ll pick up a few nods in the Rap sub-categories.
Taylor Swift, “I Knew You Were Trouble” – Swift has a better shot in the AOTY category. I’m not sure the Academy voters will respond positively to this song, despite the fact that it was a significant hit, given the harder electronic elements of it. Cue the goats!

SONG OF THE YEAR
Bruno Mars, “When I Was Your Man”
Lorde, “Royals”
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert, “Same Love”
Passenger, “Let Her Go”
Pink featuring Nate Ruess, “Just Give Me A Reason”

As it was last year, Song Of The Year should be vastly different from ROTY, and since this is a songwriter’s award, let’s get into the lyrical love. Mars may be the only repeat in this category; his tender love song “Man” resonated with more than a few people this year. Lorde‘s anthem about the lifestyles of the rich and famous may have a minimal production, but stands out lyrically as biting and powerful. “Love” from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Mary Lambert carries a heavy tone, but is also a game changer when it comes to same-sex marriage support. Passenger‘s “Go” may be the dark horse in this race, but with a similar label strategy to Ed Sheeran‘s “The A Team”, this will continue to be a slow burner into next year. Last year, the duet between Pink and Ruess has such a classic feel that I would be shocked if “Reason” is snubbed in any of the major categories.

Other contenders:
Emeli Sandé, “Next To Me” – Though this was only a moderate success on the charts, Sandé is long overdue for some form of nomination after the song initially went to radio last year. Perhaps a nod in the BNA category below will serve her better.
Rihanna featuring Mikky Ekko, “Stay” – This big ballad from the singer’s Unapologetic album was a nice change of pace at the time. The multi-format smash will likely be on the minds of the voters; it’s going to be a very close one.
Sara Bareilles, “Brave” – You may think it sounds like Katy Perry‘s “Roar”, and once the GRAMMY nominations actually come out, “Roar” will likely take all the glory. Still, “Brave” has a great lyric and Bareilles is certainly worthy of the Award.
The Band Perry, “Better Dig Two” – It’s another morbid musical number from these guys, but it was huge on the Country airwaves. It’s one of the best from the genre this year, but it may fall short of the nominations due to the competition.
The Civil Wars, “The One That Got Away” – I pegged this as a nominee for ROTY, but this still has a promising chance in this category to a lesser extent. I’m hoping for an excellent performance from the duo on the live telecast.

BEST NEW ARTIST
Emeli Sandé
Imagine Dragons
Kendrick Lamar
Lorde
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

This category should be largely predictable, save for maybe an entry or two. Sandé, who was expected to be on last year’s ballot, should make it on this year after the success of “Next To Me”, current single “My Kind Of Love”, and her “Beneath Your Beautiful” duet with Labrinth. Las Vegas quartet Imagine Dragons are an easy sell with their crossover-friendly hits like “It’s Time” and “Radioactive”. Lamar’s debut album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, recently went Platinum and he’s also all over the Urban airwaves in addition to his feature on Robin Thicke‘s “Give It 2 U”. New Zealand’s Lorde is also expected to place in the category thanks to the immense, yet sudden success of her “Royals” single, a recent #1 on the Alternative chart. Finally, there’s Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, likely the favorite to win, with three big hit singles in a row including the novelty hit “Thrift Shop” and the socially conscious “Same Love”.

Other contenders:
Ariana Grande – Young diva Grande has some major chops and a major fan base. 2013 marked her first top ten single, “The Way”, and her first #1 album, Yours Truly. However, with so many R&B acts in the bunch, she may not find a “way” into the five finalists.
Florida Georgia Line – The Southern duo has accumulated three big #1 singles on Country radio and scored one of the biggest Country crossovers of the year with the Nelly assisted “Cruise”, but will they skew too young for the panel? Perhaps.
Kacey Musgraves – Musgraves debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 with her first major label release; however, she’s been recording over ten years and issuing albums independently since 2002. The committee may see that as a reason to leave her out of this one.
Passenger – See Musgraves. He faces a similar problem in that he’s released several albums independently since 2009, as well as one with the band form of Passenger in 2007. Hey, Ed Sheeran and Gotye didn’t make it into BNA last year either.
Phillip Phillips  The American Idol winner from 2012 could be a strong candidate with a Platinum album and two memorable singles, yet it seems that most of his initial hype is gone. “Home” would have been a better choice for last year’s Awards.

As for some of the genre-specific categories, look out for a few more Pink and Taylor Swift nods in the Pop categories, as well as fun. and Maroon 5. Avicii, Martin Garrix and Zedd could compete together for the Best Dance Recording, while the Country categories should be dominated by Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum and The Band Perry. Oh, and in the Jazz categories, my friend Kurt Trowbridge would say that Etienne Charles‘s chances of being nominated for Creole Soul are “killin’ breh.” I just hope he doesn’t have to kill anyone to get his nods. That would just be bad.

Once again, let me know you think below or find PGTC on social media by clicking the “Get Social!” tab.

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What The Pluck? The Rise (and Inevitable Fall) of Folk Music on Mainstream Radio

They've made this place their "Home".

They’ve made this place their “Home”.

From mandolins to violins, there’s no denying that folk is the hot genre now both at radio and at retail. Once a music style that could only make Alternative listeners happy, it’s now fully made its way into the mainstream through key records like “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers and “Home” by Phillip Phillips, which have both made the top ten. It’s refreshing to many listeners who are tired of hearing the same old dance and pop material on their regular station, who can now skip seamlessly from a booming beat to a banjo. I feel as though I’m in that category, to an extent. However, it’s also very polarizing at a format which typically caters to teens; it’s not as though Mumford & Sons have the boyish looks of One Direction or The Wanted. With lots of recent GRAMMY nominations (and a few wins by Mumford & Sons) as well as a continual push of other new folk-based acts to crossover, it seems that 2013 will be an even bigger year for the genre in terms of its wider success. Yet, it’s bound to fall at some point. How long will this folk explosion last? Here’s why I think a backlash is coming sooner than you think.

Folk’s transition into pop music is a complicated thing because it’s technically two trends coming together at once. One is the genre itself, which I’ve already talked about: more organic sounds, more attention to lyrics, minimalistic arrangements and final product, etc. It’s far different from your glossy 3 1/2 minute pop single by Rihanna or Taylor Swift. The second of the two is a more basic item found in the composition: the incorporation of one-syllable words used as a call-and-response measure. In the aforementioned “Ho Hey”, we hear the emphatic “HO!” followed by a “HEY!” and these are repeated for the duration of the single. In “Little Talks” by Of Monsters And Men, it’s reduced to just a “HEY!” which is heard several times in the post-chorus exclusively. It’s just like any other temporary fad as of recent; remember the saxophone solos in songs like Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” and the whistling in Foster The People‘s “Pumped Up Kicks”? Exactly like that. It makes the song catchier while bucking a popular trend that’s blown up at the time. However, unless someone new comes along that tries to recreate this concept in the same sort of pattern, this is where it ends. The followup to “Little Talks” is “Mountain Sound”, which uses claps, but it’s not as distinct as the shouts. “Stubborn Love”, however, does have a sort of call-and-response section, but it’s not nearly as catchy as the one in “Ho Hey”. At least “Keep your HEAD UP!” and “LOVE!” don’t strike me that way. I don’t think either one will do well at mainstream radio for that and a number of other reasons, but that’s just my opinion. Point is, once one domino falls, so does the other. If the sing-along songs go, folk will eventually retreat.

For those of you who believe that history repeats itself, the folk-based movement reminds me a lot of what happened twenty years ago at the CHR format. By the early 90’s, a lot of the hair bands like Mötley CrüePoison and Whitesnake were on their way out of the mainstream consciousness. Some, like Bon Jovi and Def Leppard, were able to adapt their sound by promoting softer sounding records, but for the majority of groups, 1991 and 1992 was basically their curtain call. At the same time, a sub-genre of rock out of the Pacific Northwest began gaining attention nationwide and in 1992, this resulted in a hit single that led a movement into the depths of grunge. You can probably guess that I’m referring to Nirvana‘s top ten hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. Several months later, the Red Hot Chili Peppers made it to #1 on the format with “Under The Bridge”. While not a grunge band, the song set the mood for other slower tempo songs by bands like Pearl Jam, Radiohead and Stone Temple Pilots to hit the chart, which then led to even more obscure alternative bands making the top 40. I mean, remember when Letters To Cleo and Mazzy Star had top-40 hits? Punk bands also hit the survey: Green Day, The Offspring, etc. Alternative, grunge and punk took over the format, which only furthered CHR’s identity crisis, and led it to dismal ratings for several years. Even Z100 in New York City, the biggest pop station in the United States, had an Alternative lean in the mid-90’s. It was good for fans who wanted to rock, but stacked next to records by Ace Of Base, Elton John and Mariah Carey made it a mess overall. Ratings increased several years later when boy bands and teen female singers became popular and pushed a lot of Alternative crossovers into smaller rotation slots, eventually to Hot Adult Contemporary radio as the 2000’s began.

The same sort of thing is happening now. A lot of crossover rock bands that did particularly well on CHR in the early-to-mid 2000’s (3 Doors Down, Linkin Park, Nickelback, etc.) have seen their last significant success at the format and are now strictly being relegated to the Hot AC chart in addition to some limited Alternative or Active Rock play. This also includes acts like Lifehouse and Matchbox Twenty, and Train will be at this point (again) in another few years. None of these examples are hair bands, it’s true, but they’ve been shafted for our dear folk acts, who I’ve mentioned several times. It started last year with the slow rise of “Home”, the signature record this time around, and has blown up at this point. Pretty soon, new singles by Matt Hires and The Dunwells, twisted around in folky goodness, may be joining them. They’re already picking up station additions at the lighter formats. Yet, again, how do we transition from a Pitbull song to a Mumford & Sons song to a Britney Spears song at Top 40 radio? It sounds awkward as heck. Yes, it’s great that variety has once again shined through, but is too much of something a good thing? Oh, and don’t you try to tell me that every pop song sounds the same and every folk song doesn’t. Same twang. Same instruments. Same slight rasp in the vocals. It’s all there. Some stations are more committed to playing these songs; other radio companies hold off on these kind of singles until they make it up to a certain point in airplay for the sake of maintaining a Rhythm lean. Question is, what will be the shift that takes down folk if there is any? If there’s not, will we be looking at a massive free fall like we did two decades ago?

This post isn’t meant to bad mouth folk music. I think it’s awesome that programmers and fans alike can share in a good song or two and that a genre that’s been under-appreciated at this type of radio in the past can be rejoiced. My main concern is with the CHR format itself and how relevant it can be if it keeps going the way it’s going. While it could once regularly appeal to older listeners just as it is today, it’s not going to be sustained for years to come. There’s no doubt that, in the meantime, established artists will begin to play around with folk instruments in their new material in the same way that rock bands tried out disco-influenced singles in the late 1970’s. However, with the attention span of top-40 radio today, which is quick (albeit, not as quick as in the 70’s and 80’s), folk may be out of fashion tomorrow. Who knows? For the moment, it’s here to strum on, but don’t say I didn’t warn you when radio tells those folk folks to “pluck off”.

How do you feel about folk music’s sudden rise? Do you want it to stay around or go away? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel.

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2013 GRAMMY Awards: The Picks According To Adam (+ COMPLETE WINNERS)

Carry on wayward Sons.

Carry on wayward Sons.

We’re nearing the end of GRAMMY Week! Thanks for sticking with the blog as we count down the days until music’s biggest night on Sunday at 8PM eastern on CBS.

Now, for the topic of all GRAMMY topics, my predictions for all of the categories. This took a while to compile, so I hope you enjoy and let me know your predictions in the comments or on Twitter at @AdamFSoybel. You’ll see some general notes from me in the categories I know best. Check back on Sunday to see how well I did! (Original Big Four post) (Second Big Four post)

FULLY BOLD = I picked the winner correctly. CROSSED OUT = I did not pick the winner correctly. I got 35 out of 81 correct.

GENERAL FIELD (winners complete)
Record Of The Year: fun. featuring Janelle Monáe – “We Are Young” Gotye featuring Kimbra – “Somebody That I Used To Know”
Album Of The Year: Mumford & Sons – Babel
Song Of The Year: Kelly Clarkson – “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” fun. featuring Janelle Monáe – “We Are Young”
Best New Artist: fun.

First of all, you’re probably saying, where is Frank Ocean? To be honest, I have no clue where to put him, because I can’t see him winning any of the Big Four. I know people generally think he’ll take Best New Artist over fun., but considering how commercial the picks have been leaning recently, I think they can pull it off. (I do have Ocean winning for a feature and genre-specific award later on.) My only change from December is that I think “We Are Young” will win Record Of The Year rather than “Somebody That I Used To Know”. Gotye and Kimbra aren’t performing on the broadcast, which is usually an indication that they didn’t win any of the big ones.

POP FIELD (winners complete)
Best Pop Solo Performance: Adele – “Set Fire To The Rain (Live at the Royal Albert Hall)”
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Gotye featuring Kimbra – “Somebody That I Used To Know”
Best Pop Instrumental Album: Chris Botti – Impressions
Best Pop Vocal Album: fun. – Some Nights Kelly Clarkson – Stronger

Solo Performance is definitely going to Adele; remember that Train‘s “Hey, Soul Sister” won in a live version two years ago for a similar category. With my thinking that Gotye and Kimbra are going to lose out on Record Of The Year, they should win Pop Duo/Group Performance. Chris Botti‘s album did well commercially. Pop Vocal Album is tough; I’ve been going back and forth between fun., Kelly Clarkson and Pink, but I like Some Nights the most out of the three.

DANCE/ELECTRONICA FIELD (winners complete)
Best Dance Recording: Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin – “Don’t You Worry Child” Skrillex featuring Sirah – “Bangarang”
Best Dance/Electronica Album: The Chemical Brothers – Don’t Think  Skrillex – Bangarang

I still don’t know why the Academy liked Skrillex so much last year. He’s nominated again in both categories this year, but I think the Academy will sympathize with the fact that Swedish House Mafia is breaking up, plus The Chemical Brothers took home wins for the Album Award in 2006 and 2008.

TRADITIONAL POP FIELD (winners complete)
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Michael Bublé – Christmas Paul McCartney – Kisses On The Bottom

Bublé’s won the Award three times in the past five years. It would be the first time a seasonal album wins in the category.

ROCK FIELD (winners complete)
Best Rock Performance: Mumford & Sons – “I Will Wait” The Black Keys – “Lonely Boy”
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance: Iron Maiden – “Blood Brothers (Live)” Halestorm – “Love Bites (So Do I)”
Best Rock Song: The Black Keys – “Lonely Boy”
Best Rock Album: The Black Keys – El Camino

Mumford & Sons and The Black Keys should dominate this field; they were the two biggest rock releases in this period. Iron Maiden is a previous winner in that category and I think they’ll win, even if it’s with a live track.

ALTERNATIVE FIELD (winners complete)
Best Alternative Music Album: Gotye – Making Mirrors

Pretty sure Gotye can take this one home, which will bring his total to two Awards.

R&B FIELD (winners complete)
Best R&B Performance: Miguel – “Adorn” Usher – “Climax”
Best Traditional R&B Performance: Anita Baker – “Lately” Beyoncé – “Love On Top”
Best R&B Song: Miguel – “Adorn”
Best R&B Album: Robert Glasper Experiment – Black Radio
Best Urban Contemporary Album: Frank Ocean – channel ORANGE

Miguel got a ton of nominations at this year’s ceremony, and I think he’ll take at least Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song. The song’s been at #1 forever on R&B radio. Anita Baker has won roughly half the time she’s been nominated; “Lately” was a great return for her and I’d like to see it win. Best R&B Album is sort of up in the air, but the Robert Glasper Experiment could perhaps take it. Ocean can probably take a win in that new Urban Contemporary category this year.

RAP FIELD (winners complete)
Best Rap Performance: Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz – “Mercy” Jay-Z & Kanye West – “N****s In Paris”
Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Frank Ocean and The-Dream – “No Church In The Wild”
Best Rap Song: Jay-Z & Kanye West – “N****s In Paris”
Best Rap Album: Drake – Take Care

Last year’s Awards seemed to be a Jay-Z and Kanye West lovefest, so I’m keeping that trend going for this year. Since Drake got snubbed in the Big Four categories, I’m guessing he’ll take home Best Rap Album. It did well commercially.

COUNTRY FIELD
Best Country Solo Performance: Dierks Bentley – “Home” Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away”
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars — “Safe & Sound” Little Big Town – “Pontoon”
Best Country Song: Carrie Underwood – “Blown Away”
Best Country Album: Hunter Hayes — Hunter Hayes Zac Brown Band – Uncaged

With his performance slot, this should be Bentley’s year to pick up his first Award. The Civil Wars will likely pull off a repeat and Underwood’s always done well in the Country categories. Hayes will be blocked out of Best New Artist, so I’m really hoping he can take Country Album. He’s such a talented guy and the album’s great.

At this point, most of my nominees are based on either names I know or acts who have won the category before. If you need anything more specific on how I came to my decision, feel free to comment (as I mentioned above.)

NEW AGE FIELD (winners complete)
Best New Age Album: Loreena McKennitt – Troubadours Of The Rhine  Omar Akram – Echoes Of Love

JAZZ FIELD (winners complete)
Best Improvised Jazz Solo: Chick Corea – Alice in Wonderland Gary Burton & Chick Corea – Hot House
Best Jazz Vocal Album: Esperanza Spalding – Radio Music Society
Best Jazz Instrumental Album: Chick Corea & Gary Burton – Hot House Pat Metheny Unity Band – Unity Band
Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album: Bob Mintzer Big Band – For The Moment Arturo Sandoval – Dear Diz (Everyday I Think Of You)
Best Latin Jazz Album: Luciana Souza – Duos III Clare Fischer Latin Jazz Big Band – Ritmo!

GOSPEL/CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN MUSIC FIELD (winners complete)
Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance: Mary Mary – “Go Get It” Matt Redman – “10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)”
Best Gospel Song: Marvin Sapp – “My Testimony” Mary Mary – “Go Get It”
Best Contemporary Christian Music Song: Matt Redman – “10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)” / Israel Houghton – “Your Presence Is Heaven” (tie; I predicted Redman)
Best Gospel Album: Lecrae – Gravity
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: Britt Nicole – Gold tobyMac – Eye On It

The title track from Nicole’s album is crossing over to mainstream radio; I think that’s grounds for her taking something in the field.

LATIN FIELD (winners complete)
Best Latin Pop Album: Juanes – MTV Unplugged: Deluxe Edition
Best Latin Rock, Urban or Alternative Album: Ana Tijoux – La Bala Quetzal – Imaginaries
Best Regional Mexican Album (Including Tejano): Lila Downs – Pecados y Milagros
Best Tropical Latin Album: Romeo Santos — Formula, Vol. 1 Marlow Rosado and La Riqueña Retro

AMERICAN ROOTS MUSIC FIELD (winners complete)
Best Americana Album: Mumford & Sons – Babel  Bonnie Raitt – Slipstream
Best Bluegrass Album: Dailey & Vincent – The Gospel Side Of… Steep Canyon Rangers – Nobody Knows You
Best Blues Album: Dr. John – Locked Down
Best Folk Album: Carolina Chocolate Drops – Leaving Eden Yo-Yo Mama, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile – The Goat Radio Sessions
Best Regional Roots Music Album: Wayne Toups, Steve Riley & Wilson Savoy – The Band Courtbouillon

Americana Album is probably either going to Mumford & Sons or The Lumineers, but I’m leaning towards the former, especially if they win Album Of The Year.

REGGAE FIELD (winners complete)
Best Reggae Album: Jimmy Cliff – Rebirth

WORLD MUSIC FIELD (winners complete)
Best World Music Album: Ravi Shankar – The Living Room Sessions, Part 1

Shankar recently passed away at the age of 92.

CHILDREN’S FIELD (winners complete)
Best Children’s Album: Bill Harley – High Dive and Other Things That Could Have Happened  The Okee Dokie Brothers – Can You Canoe?

SPOKEN WORD FIELD (winners complete)
Best Spoken Word Album: Michelle Obama – American Grown Janis IanSociety’s Child: My Autobiography

She’s back in the White House… that would probably help her chances, wouldn’t it?

COMEDY FIELD (winners complete)
Best Comedy Album: Jimmy Fallon – Blow Your Pants Off

Fallon has a strong chance of picking up the win for his collection of parodies and impressions of musicians singing television theme songs. Heck, I bought the “Tebowie” vinyl single at Record Store Day last year. Funny stuff.

MUSICAL THEATER FIELD (winners complete)
Best Musical Theater Album: Various Artists – Once: A New Musical

Haven’t seen the musical version, but the movie’s great, so I’m good with it getting a little more recognition.

MUSIC FOR VISUAL MEDIA FIELD (winners complete)
Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media: Original Soundtrack to The Muppets Midnight In Paris
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media: Ludovic Bource – Original Score to The Artist Trent Reznor & Atticus RossThe Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Best Song Written For Visual Media: Taylor Swift & The Civil Wars – “Safe & Sound” (from The Hunger Games)

The only other potential nominee that could win Best Song is “Learn Me Right” by Birdy and Mumford & Sons, which would give the group four wins, the highest total of the night. We’ll have to wait and see.

COMPOSING/ARRANGING FIELD (winners complete)
Best Instrumental Composition: Chris Brubeck and Dave Brubeck for Music of Ansel Adams: America Chick CoreaMozart Goes Dancing
Best Instrumental Arrangement:
Gordon Goodwin, performed by Arturo Sandoval – Salt Peanuts! (Mani Salado) Gil Evans Project – How About You?
Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals: Esperanza Spalding (with Thara Memory) – “City Of Roses”

The elder Brubeck, Dave, recently passed away at age 91.

CRAFTS FIELD (winners complete)
Best Album Notes: Holly George-Warren; Janis Joplin – The Pearl Sessions Billy Vera ‘Singular Genius: The Complete ABC Singles
Best Boxed/Special Limited Edition: Stephen Kennedy; Rolling Stones – Some Girls: Super Deluxe Edition Fritz KlaetkeWoody At 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection
Best Historical Album: Paul McCartney (producer), Simon Gibson, Guy Massey & Steve Rooke (mastering engineers) – Ram: Paul McCartney Archive Collection (Deluxe Edition) Alan Boyd, Mark Linett, Brian Wilson & Dennis Wolfe (producers), Mark Linett (mastering engineer) for The Smile Sessions (Deluxe Box Set) (Beach Boys)
Best Recording Package: Brett Kilroe; Alabama Shakes – Boys & Girls  Michael Amzalag & Mathias AugustyniakBiophilia, performed by Bjork

PRODUCTION FIELD
Best Engineered Album, Classical: Jesse Lewis & John Newton (engineers), Jesse Brayman (mastering engineer); Carlos Kalmar and the Oregon Symphony – Music for a Time of War Tom Caulfield & John Newton (engineers), Mark Donahue (mastering engineer) for Life & Breath – Choral Works by René Clausen, performed by Charles Bruffy & the Kansas City Chorale
Best Engineered Album (Non-classical): Glyn Johns (engineer), Bob Ludwig (mastering engineer); Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire Richard KingThe Goat Road Sessions
Producer Of The Year, Classical: Blanton Alspaugh
Producer Of The Year (Non-classical): Jeff Bhasker  Dan Auerbach
Best Remixed Recording: Skrillex (remixer); Nero – “Promises”
Best Surround Sound Album: Morten Lindberg (engineer/mastering engineer/producer); Hoff Ensemble – Quiet Winter Night Jim Anderson (engineer), Darcy Proper (mastering engineer) and Michael Friedman (producer) for Modern Cool, performed by Patricia Barber

CLASSICAL FIELD (winners complete)
Best Orchestral Performance: Michael Tilson Thomas (conductor), San Francisco Symphony – Adams: Harmonielehre & Short Ride in a Fast Machine
Best Opera Recording: Vladimir Jurowski (conductor), Topi Lehtipuu, Miah Persson & Matthew Rose (soloists), Jean Chatauret (producer) – Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress James Levine & Fabio Luisi (conductors), Hans Peter König, Jay Hunter Morris, Bryn Terfel & Deborah Voigt (soloists), Jay David Saks (producer)Wagner: Der Ring des Nibelungen
Best Choral Performance: Charles Bruffy (conductor); Matthew Gladden, Lindsey Lang, Rebecca Lloyd, Sarah Tannehill & Pamela Williamson and the Kansas City Chorale – Life & Breath: Choral Works by René Clausen
Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance: Boston Symphony Chamber Players – Profanes et Sacrées Eighth BlackbirdMeanwhile
Best Classical Instrumental Solo: Andras Schiff – Bach: Das Wohltemperierte Clavier Kim KashkashianKurtág & Ligeti: Music for Viola
Best Classical Vocal Solo: Renee Fleming – Poèmes
Best Contemporary Classical Composition: Ugis Praulins – The Nightingale Stephen HartkeMeanwhile – Incidental Music to Imaginary Puppet Plays
Best Classical Compendium: Partch (ensemble), John Schneider (producer) – Bitter Music Antoni Wit (conductor), Aleksandra Nagórko & Andrzej Sasin (producers) – Fonogrammi; Horn Concerto; The Awakening of Jacob; Anaklasis

MUSIC VIDEO FIELD (winners complete)
Best Short Form Music Video: Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris – “We Found Love”
Best Long Form Music Video: U2 – From The Sky Down  Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros & Old Crow Medicine ShowBig Easy Express

So, as you can see, I have no runaway winners according to my predictions, though fun., Jay-Z, Kanye West and Mumford & Sons would all receive three wins, with a number of other acts like The Black Keys and Miguel getting two. Again, check back on Sunday night to see the actual winners. Thanks for checking out the post!Big hits have been winning the Short Form category is recent years; otherwise, “Bad Girls” by M.I.A. might have a chance. U2 won the Long Form Award with other time in 1995.

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GRAMMY Flashback: Who? What? How Did That Win?

An unjustified loss.

An unjustified loss.

Welcome to GRAMMY Week! This week, from Monday to Friday, you’ll be treated to some special GRAMMY related topics, from the past to the present, all leading up to the music’s biggest night on Sunday at 8PM eastern on CBS. Let’s dive into today’s post…

Now, time for some GRAMMY wins from the weird and wacky corner of the music universe. Over the past fifty-four years, some of these choices haven’t exactly held up well are still criticized to this day. How and why did these happen? The voting committee shows us that, sometimes, they might just be a bit out of touch with the mainstream with a few of the results in these six different categories. Take a look.

THE BIG FOUR
A few entries have won Song Of The Year without hitting the top 40 on the Hot 100. In fact, they barely made the Hot 100 as is. 1966’s winner, “The Shadow Of Your Smile” by Tony Bennett, peaked at #95. Forty years later, “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” by U2 only went to #97. Both are GRAMMY darlings, but it seems sort of weird to have won such an honor without being a big national hit. Several Record Of The Year winners never made the Hot 100 at all: 2002’s “Walk On” by U2,  2005’s “Here We Go Again” by the late Ray Charles and Norah Jones and 2009’s “Please Read The Letter” by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. I think we’re at the point where this phase is over… for now.

There have been some really questionable choices for Best New Artist since the category’s been around. In 1961, television’s Bob Newhart pulled off a win, the only time a comedian has won Best New Artist. Then, in 1963, Robert Goulet took Best New Artist in one of the stranger wins, beating out Peter, Paul and Mary and The Four Seasons. Goulet only had one big hit, but it was one year after the win. 2001’s winner, Shelby Lynne, had been making the Country chart since 1989… I mean, because getting an award twelve years after your first hit is really new. We’ve also had two really left-of-center choices in the past two years: 2011’s Esperanza Spalding and 2012’s Bon Iver. We won’t have this same kind of situation this year, even if Alabama Shakes wins. I don’t need to bring up Milli Vanilli once again. Cringe all you want.

I think we’d rather forget 2008 when Herbie Hancock and friends won for River: The Joni Letters, a jazz album that beat out the late Amy Winehouse, the Foo Fighters and Kanye West. It was one of the few times in recent years that an Album Of The Year failed to certify even Gold for shipments of 500,000 copies. I think the Academy learned from their mistake. There have been other peculiar choices, especially in last decade or so, but none as much as Hancock’s win.

GENRE-SPECIFIC CATEGORIES
Lots of great R&B songs came out in 1977, but for Best R&B Song at the 1978 ceremony, the winner ending up being “You Make Me Feel Like Dancing” by Leo Sayer, beating out big hits by The Emotions, Thelma Houston and two songs by The Commodores. Decent song, but one problem: it never made the R&B chart. Oops! It was Sayer’s only GRAMMY win and his charting days were done in the States by 1981.

Probably the worst offender in a genre category happened at the 1989 GRAMMY Awards with Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance Vocal or Instrumental. Metallica, who were the front-runners to win for their 1988 album, …And Justice For All, were defeated by Jethro Tull and their album Crest Of A Knave. Who knew a flute was metal? Guess this was a prime example of the panel “living in the past”. The controversy was well-publicized and it was such a joke that the category was dropped altogether at the next ceremony and split up into two distinct Awards.

They don’t always get it right, but at least we can look back and laugh once in a while. Any other outcomes at the GRAMMYs that you thought were totally wrong, whether in a big category or in a genre one? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter: @AdamFSoybel. All of my GRAMMY predictions for the upcoming ceremony are coming tomorrow! Better get to working on that post, right?

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