2014 Grammy Awards: Predictions and Proclamations

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On Sunday night, the 56th Annual Grammy Awards will air on CBS. Yesterday we listed what we think the most compelling stories to come out of this year’s ceremony will be, and today we’re back with all of our predictions and proclamations.

Check out our picks for who will win, who should win and who got snubbed below, and join us again on Sunday at 8 p.m. EST as we live-blog the broadcast.

Record of the Year

“Get Lucky,” Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers
“Radioactive,” Imagine Dragons
“Royals,” Lorde
“Locked Out of Heaven,” Bruno Mars
“Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke featuring TI and Pharrell

Who Will Win: Daft Punk
Who Should Win: Daft Punk
Who Got Snubbed: “Q.U.E.E.N.,” Janelle Monae featuring Erykah Badu

Robin Thicke’s mega-hit might have out-partied “Get Lucky” in sheer saturation, but there’s no denying that Pharrell’s appearance with the chrome-domes is, without a doubt, the summer jam that reigns supreme in quality. Daft Punk and Pharrell’s not-so-subtle mission statement is slicked over by Nile Rodgers‘ virtuosic take on glossy rhythm guitars, forming an alliance we’d never imagine—but we’re perfectly happy listening to the outcome.—Tyler Kane

Album of the Year

The Blessed Unrest, Sara Bareilles
Random Access Memories, Daft Punk
good kid, m.A.A.d. city, Kendrick Lamar
The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Red, Taylor Swift

Who Will Win: Taylor Swift
Who Should Win: Daft Punk
Who Got Snubbed: Muchacho, Phosphorescent

Grammy voters love Taylor Swift—so much so that she already has 19 nominations and seven wins. That makes her the one to beat in this category, but here’s hoping Daft Punk can pull off a surprise victory for Random Access Memories and make history as the first dance album to be awarded Album of the Year since the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack in 1979.

Song of the Year

“Just Give Me A Reason,” Pink featuring Nate Ruess (Jeff Bhasker, Pink & Nate Ruess, songwriters)
“Locked Out of Heaven,” Bruno Mars (Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine & Bruno Mars, songwriters)
“Roar,” Katy Perry (Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, Katy Perry & Henry Walter, songwriters)
“Royals,” Lorde (Joel Little & Ella Yelich O’Connor, songwriters)
“Same Love,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert (Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert & Ryan Lewis, songwriters)

Who Will Win: Lorde
Who Should Win: Lorde
Who Got Snubbed: “Q.U.E.E.N.,” Janelle Monae featuring Erykah Badu

If we’re going to let outside factors affect discussion of “Royals,” can it be how the first woman to top the alternative chart in 17 years hasn’t even been alive that long, and it’s already outlasted Alanis’ “You Oughta Know,” which okay, was funnier. But the racism charges ignore the fact that while half her targets are rap signifiers (“Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece”), the other half are not (“trashin’ the hotel room” at least dates back to Van Halen, and there’s no star of any race that owns “islands, tigers on a gold leash”). Being teenage and a woman who speaks her mind, Lorde’s gonna be up to her curls in sexist double standards for years to come. Let’s remember this out-of-nowhere triumph from before she had a target on her back herself, a finger-snapping, simple singalong for people who simply haven’t seen a diamond in the flesh, and plenty who have.—Dan Weiss

Best New Artist

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

Who Will Win: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Who Should Win: Kacey Musgraves
Who Got Snubbed: Lorde

This one’s always a weird category, perhaps the most indicative of how out-of-touch the Grammys can be (can Sheeran, who performed on the Grammys last year really be considered “new” to the Academy?), but Musgraves is absolutely deserving, and Blake and Lamar—while not really new artists—are both worthy of recognition as well.

Best Pop Vocal Album

Paradise, Lana Del Ray
Pure Heroine, Lorde
Unorthodox Jukebox, Bruno Mars
Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke
The 20/20 Experience, Justin Timberlake

Who Will Win: Justin Timberlake
Who Should Win: Lorde
Who Got Snubbed: The Electric Lady, Janelle Monae

Call her pop, call her R&B, call her “urban contemporary” (whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean), call her whatever you want, but nominate Janelle Monae for something. The fact that The Electric Lady—Monae’s best work to date—isn’t up for a single award is near-criminal.

Best Rock Album

13, Black Sabbath
The Next Day, David Bowie
Mechanical Bull, Kings of Leon
Celebration Day, Led Zeppelin
...Like Clockwork, Queens of the Stone Age
Psychedelic Pill, Neil Young with Crazy Horse

Who Will Win: David Bowie
Who Should Win: Queens of the Stone Age
Who Got Snubbed: We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic, Foxygen

Aging Grammy voters will likely choose to honor Bowie’s latest work, but there’s a chance that The Next Day will split the old-person vote with Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Neil Young, leaving an opportunity for Queens of the Stone Age to walk away with this one.

Best Alternative Music Album

The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, Neko Case
Trouble Will Find Me, The National
Hesitation Marks, Nine Inch Nails
Lonerism, Tame Impala
Modern Vampires of the City, Vampire Weekend

Who Will Win: Nine Inch Nails
Who Should Win: Vampire Weekend
Who Got Snubbed: Muchacho, Phosphorescent

It’s been five years, three albums, an SNL appearance, countless festival performances and one lawsuit from an unwitting album-cover model since Vampire Weekend dropped its self-titled debut. Bucking several generations’ worth of received indie-rock wisdom, frontman Ezra Koenig had the temerity to borrow from Paul Simon circa Graceland instead of David Byrne circa Fear of Music, and the band soundtracked his songs with arrangements that were simultaneously inventive and fussy. On Modern Vampires of the City, Koenig not only appreciates Paul Simon’s naturalistic melodies, but understands that concrete details make the song. The songs benefit from the muscular backbone of bassist Chris Baio and drummer Chris Tomson, but this is Rostam Batmanglij’s album. The eccentric flourishes on a distressed pipe organ or a rambunctious piano give these songs their buoyancy and identity, making Vampire Weekend the weirdest and certainly the most idiosyncratic band to top the Billboard charts.—Stephen M. Deusner

Best Rap Album

Nothing Was the Same, Drake
Magna Carta…Holy Grail, Jay Z
good kid, m.A.A.d. city, Kendrick Lamar
The Heist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Yeezus, Kanye West

Who Will Win: Jay Z
Who Should Win: Kanye West
Who Got Snubbed: Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels

Yeezus is the best of the bunch, but it’ll likely get overlooked by Grammy voters in favor of a safer choice: the less-controversial Magna Carta…Holy Grail. But we’re just trying to imagine what Kanye will do if he loses this category to Macklemore.