2009 Grammy Predictions

I remembered that last year I did my Grammy predictions and it took me, I think, five days. This year, I’m starting on Tuesday and finishing on Tuesday. How am I doing it so quickly? It’s simple: a complete lack of research. I am not looking anything up, ever, for any purpose. After all, historically, a lot of problems have been solved by lack of information. For example, Sadaam Hussein is no longer in charge of Iraq. And it made picking Best New Artist in 1990 easy, because it was generally agreed that those boys in Milli Vanilli could really sing.

Now, this will be difficult. As many people can attest to, I cannot in fact do anything without stopping to Google something.

Heh heh. Googling.

Now, normally, it’s my goal to get as close as humanly possible to getting everything right, but this year, it’s my goal to get you to read this entire thing. Even the Zydeco part. And I will succeed. You will love me!

To reach this goal, I will be obeying the following rules:

A. When it doubt, pick the old guy.
B. When you don’t know which one is the old guy, pick the one who you think is the old guy.
C. When that’s not entirely clear, pick the one with the funniest name.
D. When none of the names are funny, drink until one of the names becomes funny.
E. If that doesn’t work, pick the band you would most like to be in.
F. If you wouldn’t want to be in any of the bands, chose which band you despise so much by virtue of their band name that you would want to see them become the house band in Hell.
G. And finally, if all else fails, pick the band that most reminds you of the world’s greatest band, Bananarama.

Oh, by the way, I totally know you're not going to read all of this. There are 110 categories to get through. Nobody's gonna get that far.

Still, a big prize goes to the reader who gets the farthest! Here we go!

1. Record of the Year
* Chasing Pavements - Adele
* Viva La Vida – Coldplay
* Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
* Paper Planes – M.I.A.
* Please Read The Letter – Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Hmm… well, I’m torn between “Bleeding Love” and “Viva La Vida” (the latter being a big personal favorite), and “Paper Planes” was a pretty big hit - the first hit world music has had since... ever... so, I’m gonna go with the old guy. Robert Plant it is.

2. Album Of The Year
* Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends - Coldplay
* Tha Carter III - Lil Wayne
* Year Of The Gentleman - Ne-Yo
* Raising Sand - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
* In Rainbows - Radiohead

Oh, Lil Wayne. So talented. So consistent. So accessible to the casual listener. So beloved by critics eager to prove their street cred. So unlikely to win this award. Robert Plant it is.

3. Song Of The Year
* American Boy - Estelle Feat. Kanye West
* Chasing Pavements - Adele
* I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
* Love Song - Sara Bareilles
* Viva La Vida - Coldplay

Can anyone explain to me what the difference is between 'Song of the Year' and 'Record Of The Year?' If you're nominated for 'Song Of The Year' but not 'Record Of The Year,' does that mean that everyone like the song, but they just didn't want you singing it? And who would ever say that to Jason Mraz? Have you ever heard anyone besides Mraz sing one of his songs? It's painful. This just seems like a really depressing award.

Did I talk about this last year, too? I don't remember. I'll check.

...no, wait, no I won't. Crap-piss.

Anyway, I gotta figure Coldplay gets some 'we were rejected earlier so everyone could pour some more adulation on Robert Plant but now we feel really guilty about ignoring this really excellent song' love here.

4. Best New Artist
* Adele
* Duffy
* Jonas Brothers
* Lady Antebellum
* Jazmine Sullivan

Boy, Duffy and Adele have to be pissed, right? They're pretty much cancelling each other out here. It doesn't matter, though, because probably everyone will vote for the Jonas Brothers so they don't look stupid in five years if the Jonas Brothers are the biggest band in the world (though, aren't they kind of already?). Once Rolling Stone got on board, it was all over.

Field 1 - Pop

5. Best Female Pop Vocal Performance
* Chasing Pavements - Adele
* Love Song - Sara Bareilles
* Mercy - Duffy
* That Was Me - Paul McCartney

... hang on.

Oh, I misclicked. Okay:

* Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
* I Kissed A Girl - Katy Perry
* So What - Pink

Hmm... I'm in doubt. Let's look at the rules. There's no old guy here (did you catch that McCartney isn't actually in this group? Maybe I should go up and erase that), and nobody who I think might be an old guy. Step C is out because nothing's funny, so I'll take a drink and see if something becomes funny. I'm thinking "Pink" might.


Nope. Alright, step E. Whose band would I most like to be in? I'm gonna say Duffy's. She's got soul, with a real pop sensibility. Plus she's from Wales. Pink and Leona Lewis seem kind of high-maintenance, Adele is just like Duffy except not as cool, I'm not that wild about Sara Bareilles, and Katy Perry, who's on Warped Tour right now, seems like the sort of person who plays jokes on band members while they're sleeping involving buckets of water or shaving cream (admit it: you just smacked your forehead and yelled "oh, totally!" right then). So I pick Duffy to win this one.

6. Male Pop Vocal Performance
* All Summer Long - Kid Rock
* Say - John Mayer
* That Was Me - Paul McCartney
* I'm Yours - Jason Mraz
* Closer - Ne-Yo
* Wichita Lineman - James Taylor

Uh-oh. Three old guys. Let's eliminate Kid Rock right off the bat, assume that "Say" is too boring (it is), figure no song named "Wichita Lineman" can win (though, this being a covers record, maybe it already has), then pick Paul McCartney over the two remaining deserving guys because this is the Grammys, after all.

7. Pop Performance By a Duo Or Group With Vocals
* Viva La Vida - Coldplay
* Waiting In The Weeds - Eagles
* Going On - Gnarls Barkley
* Won't Go Home Without You - Maroon 5
* Apologize - OneRepublic

I know there's an old guy, but there's not enough doubt to start going to the system. This one is Coldplay's all the way.

8. Pop Collaboration With Vocals
Ahh, now here's a category where the old guy always wins.

* Lesson Learned - Alicia Keys & John Mayer
* 4 Minuters - Madonna, Justin Timberlake & Timbaland
* Rich Woman - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
* If I Never See Your Face Again - Rihanna & Maroon 5
* No Air - Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown

Hey, look, an old guy!

Can anyone tell me why every song off Raising Sand is nominated except the best one, "Killing The Blues?" I'm getting annoyed.

9. Best Pop Instrumental Performance
* Steve Cropper & Felix Cavaliere
* I Dreamed There Was No War - Eagles
* Fortune Teller - Fourplay
* Steppin' Out - Stanley Jordan
* Blast - Marcus Miller

Hey! The Eagles! Playing a song about there not being war! Musicians don't rally behind this sort of stuff, do they? Hang on, wait, I'm getting something. It's hazy, but... wait...

"We are the world... we are the people... mmm, yeah!"

Oh, right.

You have to wonder if the Eagles wrote the song just to win this category.

10. Best Pop Instrumental Album
* Sax For Stax - Gerald Albright
* Greatest Hits Rerecorded Vol. One - Larry Carlton
* Jingle All The Way - Béla Fleck & The Flecktones
* The Spice Of Life - Earl Klugh
* A Night Before Christmas - Syro Gyra

I want to say it's gonna go to Fleck, because he's due, but "Sax For Stax" made me giggle, so I'm going with that one. It sounds like a song recorded for a really bad porno.

Kind of a gross one, actually. I'm going back to Fleck.

Let me drop in a little side-note here: Grammy predictions are hard. People really don't know who's going to win what. With the Oscars, there are dozens of lead-in award shows that pretty much tell you who's going to win what, but with the Grammys, you're going entirely off your knowledge of past Grammy voting (which is a problematic voting record if there ever was one) and who you feel most passionately should win Best Jazz Record Recorded Underwater. And then remember that all the people actually voting are probably just as ill-informed as you.

Though they're probably more informed than me, because they get to Google.

11. Best Pop Vocal Album
* Detours - Sheryl Crow
* Rockferry - Duffy
* Long Road Out Of Eden - Eagles
* Spirit - Leona Lewis
* Covers - James Taylor

Crap! Two old guys and an established, talented star people feel a kinship with! Plus two artists already honored in the bigger categories! I'm gonna have to go with The Eagles, because there are four old guys in the band, as opposed to Taylor, who'se just one old dude by himself.

Field 2 - Dance

12. Best Dance Recording
* Harder Better Faster Stronger - Daft Punk
* Ready For The Floor - Hot Chip
* Just Dance - Lady Gaga & Colby O'donis
* Give It 2 Me - Madonna
* Disturbia - Rihanna
* Black & Gold - Sam Sparro

Well, Madonna is old, but her song is named "Give It 2 Me," so I'm gonna add a new rule:

H. No song with unnecessary numbers in it can win a category.

I'm gonna go with Daft Punk, because they might be old dudes under those helmets. You never know.

13. Best Electronic/Dance Album
* New York City - Brazilian Girls
* Alive 2007 - Daft Punk
* Bring Ya To The Brink - Cyndi Lauper
* X - Kylie Minogue
* Last Night - Moby
* Robyn - Robyn

Man, this is tough. Well, I'm not gonna pick the Cyndi Lauper album because, um, just the thought of ever listening to a Cyndi Lauper album named "Bring Ya To The Brink" makes me break out in hives. So that leaves sort-of old guys Moby and Kylie Minogue and possible old guys Daft Punk. It's time to go to rule D.

...mmm. Cheap vodka. So warm and burn-y.


hmm... one more....


Heh heh. "Punk."

Field 3 - Traditional Pop.
I don't know what this title means. Was this here last year? Let me... aw, dammit.

14. Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
* Still Unforgettable - Natalie Cole
* The Sinatra Project - Michael Feinstein
* Noël - Josh Groban
* In The Swing Of Christmas - Barry Manilow
* Rufus Does Judy At Carnegie Hall - Rufus Wainwright

Aww, an old guy (Manilow), two people who only sing songs by old guys (Cole and Groban), and two artists singing songs by famous old guys that they love - like Jamie Foxx, this one is breakin' all the rules!

Yes, it's sad I didn't have to look up that reference.

Alright, rules A and B don't apply, and neither does C, so we're back to Rule D. Here we go.

Ahh... it burns.


Heh heh. "Rufus Does Judy."


It's funny because he's gay.

Field 4 - Rock

15. Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance
* Gravity - John Mayer
* I Saw Her Standing There - Paul McCartney
* Girls In Their Summer Clothes - Bruce Springsteen
* Rise - Eddie Vedder
* No Hidden Path - Neil Yong

Wait... "I Saw Her Standing There" is nominated? Wasn't that nominated before, like.. forty-five years ago? Let me che... chrissake!

I think "Gravity" was nominated before, too, though there's no way to be sure.

So, three old guys, one aging guy, and one guy who's not old but who's (probably) been nominated for this very song before. So, rules A, B, and C are out. Here we go.



Okay, rule D is out. On to Rule E. And this one is easy: who wouldn't want to be in the E Street Band? They look like they're always having fun. And, without even trying, you'd be the cool one automatically. How crazy is that?

16. Best Rock performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
* Rock N Roll Train
* Violet Hill - Coldplay
* Long Road Out Of Eden- Eagles
* Sex On Fire - Kings Of Leon
* House Of Cards

Well, if we get to Rule D, I think I know what'll win. Still there's two old groups here, one of whom unfortunately won't stop wearing shorts. So I'm going with the Eagles instead.

17. Best Hard Rock Performance
* Inside The Fire - Disturbed
* Visions - Judas Priest
* Wax Simulacra - The Mars Volta
* Saints Of Los Angeles - Motley Crüe
* Lords Of Salem - Rob Zombie

Hmm. Did you know that Jethro Tull won this one year? It was... um... some time ago. Also, didn't Disturbed used to be spelled "Disturbd," or am I confusing them with every other crummy late 90's nü-rockers?

I don't want to drink until "Wax Simulacra" gets funny, so I'm just gonna pick Motley Crue - sorry, I was getting tired of typing umlauts - and move on.

18. Best Metal Performance
* Heroes Of Our Time - DragonForce
* Nostradamus - Judas Priest
* My Apocalypse - Metallica
* Under My Thumb - Ministry
* Psychosocial - Slipnot

Doesn't this list sound like what would happen if you just told a guy "hey, no one has time to do any research on the Metal category this year. Make up five album titles and two or three bands, and then just throw some familiar names in there to throw people off the scent." I mean, can there really be a band called DragonForce?

I pick Metallica because they're old and respected, as opposed to Judas Priest, who's only one for two.

19. Best Rock Instrumental Performance
* Castellorizon - David Gilmour
* Suicide & Redemption - Metallica
* 34 Ghosts I-IV - Nine Inch Nails
* Hope (Live For The Art Of Peace) - Rush
* Peaches En Regalia - Zappa Plays Zappa Featuring Steve Vai & Napoleon Murphy Brock

Well, if I made it to category C, I know who would win, but I'm gonna stick with David Gilmour because he's the ultimate category A selection.

I've now been doing this for an hour and I'm only up to 19. Holy crap.

20. Best Rock Song
* Girls In Their Sumer Clothes - Bruce Springsteen
* House Of Cards - (a lot of people) and Thom York
* I Will Possess Your Heart - Death Cab For Cutie
* Sex On Fire - Kings Of Leon
* Violet Hill - Coldplay

Hmm... Well, there's an old guy, so I guess I'll have to ignore Coldplay here.

21. Best Rock Album
* Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends - Coldplay
* Rock N Roll Jesus - Kid Rock
* Only By The Night - Kings Of Leon
* Death Magnetic - Metallica
* Consolers Of The Lonely - The Raconteurs

But here I don't have to! Coldplay'll win here.

Field 5 - Alternative

22. Best Alternative Music Album
* Modern Guilt - Beck
* Narrow Stairs - Death Cab For Cutie
* The Odd Couple - Gnarls Barkley
* Evil Urges - My Morning Jacket
* In Rainbows - Radiohead

Man... indie cred all over the place. We gotta go with ultimate in credibility, though, 'cause Radiohead's nominated.

Wow... that was a quick field.

Field 6 - R&B

23. Best Female R&B Performance
* Me, Myself And I - Beyoncé
* Heaven Sent - Keyshia Cole
* Spotlight - Jennifer Hudson
* Superwoman - Alicia Keys
* Need U Bad - Jazmine Sullivan

Well, I'm gonna leave "Need U Bad" out, according to Rule I:

I. No songs with "U" instead of "you" anywhere in them.

So instead I'll pick Wonder Woman over Superwoman in this case.

...that's Beyoncé, in case you've missed out on the casting rumors.

Oh! That reminds me: remember in 1999, when George Lucas was working on casting Anakin for Episode II, and there were all these rumors that it was gonna be Leonardo DiCaprio? And the whole fan base was up in arms since it was such a terrible choice and he was just a pretty boy and a lousy actor and we all hated him and Kate Winslet and Kathy Bates and everything connected with Titanic? Think hard about that moment.

Have you ever wanted to go back in time and take back your emotions?

24. Best Male R&B Vocal Performance
* You're The Only One - Eric Benét
* Take You Down - Chris Brown
* Miss Independent - Ne-Yo
* Can't Help But Wait - Trey Songz
* Here I Stand - Usher

Well, Ne-Yo was nominated for much bigger awards earlier, so he's gotta be the winner here, right? Also, new rule:

J. No one will be selected who has unnecessary "z"s in his name.

Glad we got that taken care of.

25. Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals
* Ribbon In The Sky - Boyz II Men
* Words - Anthony David Featuring India.Arie
* Stay With Me (By The Sea) - Al Green Featuring John Legend
* I'm His Only Woman - Jennifer Hudson Featuring Fantasia
* Never Give You Up - Raphael Saadiq Featuring Stevie Wonder & CJ Hilton

Woah. Al Green. Case closed.

Okay, now it's been an hour and a half. This is getting ridiculous.

26. Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance
* A Change Is Gonna Come - Wayne Brady
* You've Got The Love I Need - Al Green Featuring Anthony Hamilton
* Baby I Know - (Linda Jones) With Helen Bruner & Terry Jones
* Love That Girl - Raphael Saadiq
* In Love With Another Man - Jazmine Sullivan

Okay, there's a big question here - bigger even than ' how did Wayne Brady get nominated for a Grammy?' It's 'why is (Linda Jones) in parentheses?' Is is an affectation, like how we never knew how to type Prince's name after he turned himself into a symbol? Or is Linda Jones imaginary, and the song is nominated on the basis of what the RIAA think it would sound like if Linda Jones had sung it? All interesting questions.

But all moot because classic old guy Al Green has another song dueting with a young guy, always a sure winner. This seems to be Al's big comeback record, like the first Santana record where he had all the duets. Except I've never heard of this album, so maybe not.

27. Best Urban Alternative Performance
* Say Goodbye To Love - Kenna
* Wanna Be - Maiysha
* Be Ok - Chrisette Michele Featuring will.i.am
* Many Moons - Janelle Monae
* Lovin You (Music) - Wayna Featuring Kokayi

And we have our first category where I only recognize one name! I don't know anything about this category, but I'm assuming most voters don't either. So I imagine their though process probably goes like this:

Huh... I don't know any of these names... hey, will.i.am! That guy sure is popular right now because of that song about Barack Obama. Wait, is that him or Wyclef Jean? I can't tell the difference. I think it's him, though.

Hey, wait! If I vote for the song with will.i.am, that's kind of like casting another vote for Obama, right? And if he wins, maybe he'll get on the stage and congratulate all of us for getting Obama elected! "Yes we did!" he'll shout. And we'll all clap for a really long time. And maybe the camera will get a shot of me clapping. Oh, I'm definitely voting for that song.

And scene. Rule K:

K. Vote for any song that can even be tangentially connected with Barack Obama.

Really, that should become Rule A.

28. Best R&B Song
* Bust Your Windows - Salaam Remi and Jazmine Sullivan
* Customer - Raheem DeVaughn
* Heaven Sent - Keyshia Cole
* Miss Independent - Ne-Yo
* Spotlight - Jennifer Hudson

I don't think it is, but I like to imagine that Ne-Yo is covering Kelly Clarkson's "Miss Independent" here. Miss guarded-heart, Miss play-it-smart, Miss If-you-wanna-use-that-line-you-better-not-start, no. Either way, I'm voting for him.

29. Best R&B Album
* Love & Live - Eric Benét
* Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA - Boyz II Men
* Lay It Down - Al Green
* Jennifer Hudson - Jennifer Hudson
* The Way I See It - Raphael Saadiq

Well, now that I've added an unnecessary "z" rule, I can't vote for Boyz II Men (though, to be fair, they should probably be grandfathered in). But either way, I'm voting for Al Green. The old guy rule holds.

30. Best Contemporary R&B Alum
* Growing Pains - Mary J. Blige
* Back Of My Lac' - J. Holiday
* First Love - Karina
* Year Of The Gentleman - Ne-Yo
* Fearless - Jazmine Sullivan

I'm picking Ne-Yo, of course, which is a good thing, because if we got to Rule D, would certainly have picked "Back Of My Lac'," hands down one of the stupidest titles I've ever seen, and in strong competition for dumbest title of the year (we haven't gotten to the Ragtime section yet, so I'll hold off here).

Well, I've finished 30 out of 110 titles, using the voting system left me woozy and prone to poor decisionmaking in the mid-teens, and I'm about to hit the Rap section. I'm going to bed. It looks like this is gonna be another year where I'm inventing predictions all the way up to the actual broadcast. Yeesh.

Tune in tomorrow for more.