After placing our bets for Best New Artist and all the pop categories, we’re setting our sights on the most prestigious three categories of the Grammys, starting with Song of the Year. Is this a three-way race between Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Beyoncé, or do the fellas have a shot of stealing the ladies’ thunder? You’ll be surprised who isn‘t such a sure thing:
SONG OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
Beyoncé, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”
Kings Of Leon, “Use Somebody”
Lady Gaga, “Poker Face”
Maxwell, “Pretty Wings”
Taylor Swift, “You Belong With Me”
THOUGHTS ON THE NOMINEES: There’s not a lot to criticize here—all five of the academy’s picks are deserving of their coveted slot (although Pink’s “Sober” coulda been a contender). But we do think the academy blew it by positioning Beyoncé’s two singles in the wrong categories. Surely “Halo,” with its heartfelt message and soaring melodies, should have been nominated for Song of the Year, while the hand-raising, dance jam “Single Ladies” would be a shoe-in for Record of the Year. Had those two songs been switched, we think Beyoncé’s chances of winning might have improved in both categories.
Although Maxwell’s “Pretty Wings” is a beautiful R&B song, as we said in our Grammy nominees wish list, we still think Kanye West’s “Heartless,” a downbeat departure for the rapper, should have been nominated instead. But that’s what you get when you misspeak with a bottle of Hennessey by your side (and in your liver).
WILL WIN: Beyoncé and Lady Gaga’s club romps should split the vote, and as for “Pretty Wings,” we don’t think this is the year that an artful R&B song will outshine the blockbuster club bangers. Count on Taylor Swift (and co-writer Liz Rose) nabbing the Grammy for Song of the Year for her ode to unrequited love. “You Belong To Me,” put simply, is a well written song—penned by a teenager, no less—and Taylor didn’t even need to start her own dance craze à la “Single Ladies” or don insane costumes like Lady Gaga in order to promote it. We underestimated Kings of Leon at first, being that all the buzz has been squarely focused on the ladies. But Grammy voters have a strong track record of rewarding anthemic rock acts, and the only one that fits the rock bill in this category is Kings of Leon. Taylor Swift should still sweep this up, but don’t be surprised if there’s a Kings of Leon upset.
SHOULD WIN: Lady Gaga and RedOne for “Poker Face.” Some may not consider a song that includes the lyrics “Bluffin’ with my muffin” to be worthy of a prestigious award, but even when Gaga performs a slowed down, Cabaret version of her ubiquitous smash aided by only her piano, the song still holds up as well as the studio version. If that’s not great songwriting, what is?
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