59th Annual Grammy Award predictions

The 59th Annual Grammy Awards are Sunday night. Here are David Bradford’s picks for who should win the coveted awards.

Adele performs at the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow, Scotland on March 25, 2016. Photo obtained via creativecommons.org, no changes made.

It’s Grammy time, which means that it’s time for the academy to either reward talentless mainstream artists or troll music fans across the globe by handing the Album of the Year trophy to an indie darling that nobody on Twitter has ever heard of.

But this year, the fireworks won’t be due to controversy. Rather, they’ll be due to a showdown between two iconic female artists: Adele (five nominations) and Beyoncé (nine nominations).

It’s drab when the Grammys appears predictable, but maybe that’s what they want us to think. Maybe they want everyone to have a false sense of security. Maybe Adele and Beyoncé are going to win zero awards, thus creating the third gap in the women’s world: Thigh, Earnings and Grammy.

While I fully expect Adele and Beyoncé to take home multiple Grammys, that won’t stop me from fighting for musical justice. Here are my picks for the Grammys tonight.

Album of the Year

Yes, Beyoncé is pregnant. It caused me to stop everything I was doing, including my normal routine of inhaling and exhaling oxygen. Yes, Adele is every middle-aged mom’s favorite artist. As the son of a middle-aged mom, I’ve heard Adele introduce herself with “hello, it’s me” countless times. Both released gigantic albums during the Grammy calendar year (Oct. 1, 2015 to Sep. 30, 2016). “25” set the record for most units sold in an album’s debut week (over 3 million) and “Lemonade” is the greatest album named after a drink that comes from fruit juice and sweetened water. But the album that should win Album of the Year is Simpson’s.

“A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” is the country album America needs, but doesn’t deserve. Not after the likes of Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton and Florida Georgia Line have turned a once-proud genre into a mockery. Simpson is a country savant with enough twang in his voice, ache in his storytelling and ear for tone-setting instrumentals to give me hope for country music. For that alone, he should win Album of the Year. If I had to guess who will actually win, I’d give the edge to “Lemonade” because its a high quality album with a political edge.

Record and Song of the Year

Before I reveal the deserved winner, let me make a distinction between these two awards. Record of the Year deals with the production, hence the producers being named when the nominees are listed off, while Song of the Year focuses on the actual songwriting.

Now that we’re clear, “Formation” by Beyoncé should win both by a landslide. I wish I had more poetic language to describe a song that both denounces the Illuminati and features an open admission of carrying hot sauce in one’s bag. That takes courage — let’s face it, we all carry hot sauce in our bags and just don’t want our friends to know about it. Go, Beyoncé.

Simply put, this song is awesome in every way possible. There’s no song in either category that can realistically compete with it. “Hello” by Adele, while a popular song, was only popular because of Adele’s extended absence from the public eye. “7 Years” by Lukas Graham is the type of negative contribution societies take decades to recover from.

Best New Artist

This is easily the worst award for four reasons. One, there are often artists nominated who aren’t even new. Chance the Rapper falls into that category. Second, the artists are complete trash. The Chainsmokers belong in that category. I can’t believe they get to share a room with Daft Punk. Next, there are always a pair of artists nobody knows or cares about. Kelsea Ballerini and Maren Morris each earned that spot. Lastly, there’s always one artist who is objectively the best, but has no chance of winning due to a lack of mainstream exposure. That title belongs to Anderson Paak. He should win, receive every vote and be allowed to eliminate the other four artists from the music industry.

Best Rap Album

To put it gently, the Grammys and Hip-Hop don’t get along with one another. I don’t know about you, but I’m shocked a committee comprised of people born during the era of Pangea are a little out of touch with what’s popping.

But, I digress. Of all the nominees, “Coloring Book” by Chance the Rapper probably has the best chance of winning because everybody loves Chance, but my pick goes to “The Life of Pablo.” While it’s nowhere near my favorite Kanye West album, it blows the other four albums away. “Views” by Drake was a colossal failure, Schoolboy Q’s album was irrelevant and DJ Khaled just needs to go away.

Best Rap/Sung Performance

This is by far my favorite category of the evening. Any one of the five nominees could win and I’d be completely happy. “Broccoli” by DRAM featuring Lil’ Yachty is the greatest song named after a healthy food group since The Wiggles went iconic on “Fruit Salad.” Kanye West has two songs nominated in this category (“Ultralight Beam” and “Famous”) that are both fantastic. “Hotline Bling” was a massive hit and also featured the most in-the-moment-and-can-never-be-perfectly-replicated-ever-again dance of all time. “Freedom” features two huge names in Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar, and unsurprisingly, is an amazing song. Of the five songs, “Ultralight Beam” gets my vote because Kanye can’t get enough Grammy awards, and it happens to be an incredible fusion of gospel and hip-hop.

Best and Worst Live Performances

Unlike previous years, this year’s Grammy live performance lineup is actually exciting. We’ll witness iconic artists perform with modern day stars (The Weeknd will perform with Daft Punk, Lady Gaga is paired with Metallica and A Tribe Called Quest will certainly steal the show with Anderson Paak). In addition, there’ll be electric performances from Beyoncé, Bruno Mars and Chance the Rapper. The country music world will drop its collective jaw when Sturgill Simpson teaches all the posers a lesson.

On the bad side, there’s Adele, who will scream a lot and receive rave reviews because people love it when British women scream. Then, there’s Katy Perry, who is a national embarrassment and doesn’t contain a single iota of talent in any strand of her DNA. But the worst performance by light years will be that of Lukas Graham. People have been protesting and rioting across the country. Why don’t they protest Lukas Graham?

Other Picks

Best Rock Album – “Weezer” by Weezer

Best Rock Song – “Blackstar” by David Bowie

Best Pop Vocal Album – “25” by Adele

Best Pop Solo Performance – “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance – “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots

Best Country Album – “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” by Sturgill Simpson

Edited by McKenzie Manning

Featured image by Jackal1

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Follow me @DavidJBradford1 on Twitter, email me at dbradfo2@vols.utk.edu for any questions.