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58th Grammy Awards Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

The biggest night in music comes in two days, and this year is more close than ever. With Kendrick Lamar leading the nods at 11, he’s poised to sweep this year. Then there’s Taylor Swift in her biggest era yet, and The Weeknd also earning seven nominations. The night won’t be shy of memorable performances as well from Adele, to a David Bowie and B.B. King tribute. Now, here are my predictions in 30 different categories among ten different fields.

aoty

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
Alabama Shakes, Sound and Color
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Chris Stapleton, Traveller
Taylor Swift, 1989
The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness

PREDICTION: Alabama Shakes, “Sound & Color”. While mainstream media is busy painting this as a three-way fightbetween Taylor, Kendrick, and The Weeknd (which also happens to be the three top nomination getter this year), the actual biggest top honor isn’t really among the three. Just like Arcade Fire’s win in 2010, Alabama Shakes will end up with the win here.

ALTERNATE: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”. If not them, count on the country bloc to support Chris Stapleton all the way to an AOTY victory especially considering that this is his only nod at the General Field this year.

roty

RECORD OF THE YEAR:
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Really Love
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space
The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel my Face

PREDICTION: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk.” Uptown Funk has all the staples of a win here — a song with heavy instruments, relatively huge, a performer they love to nominate. It’s basically pop culture staple that has the respect of the critics as well,. Have you seen how they responded to it during the Superbowl? To say it’s massive is an understatement.

ALTERNATE: The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face.” Only one of the two songs this year to garner both ROTY and SOTY nods, The Weeknd’s homage to Michael is very much in contention to win here.

soty

SONG OF THE YEAR:
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Wiz Kahifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”

PREDICTION: Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”. On her most successful era yet, the Grammys won’t let it pass without giving her a General Field win. AOTY has been achieved five years ago already, it’s time to add another one on the list.

ALTERNATE: Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”. This is basically the Academy’s catnip here. Think of white male singer with a heartfelt anthem. They’ve proven their love to Ed by giving him nominations in all Big 4 categories, maybe the next stage is to finally give him wins.

bna

BEST NEW ARTIST:
Courtney Barnett
James Bay
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor

PREDICTION: Sam Hunt. In a very open race like this, anything can really happen. Count on the country bloc to support their fellow to have their GF win. After all, it’s been six years since a country act has last won in here.

ALTERNATE: James Bay. He;s the only one aside from Hunt to garner multiple nods here. But then again, he’s the type who strikes me as one who got multiple nominations only to lose all of them (see India Arie in 2001, Avril Lavigne in 2002, James Blunt in 2006).

POP FIELD:

pop

POP SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Kelly Clarkson, “Heartbeat Song”
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do”
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face”

It’s a battle between Taylor and Weeknd again, but expect Taylor to dominate the Pop categories to add to her haul.

PREDICTION: Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
ALTERNATE: The Weeknd, “Can’t Feel My Face”

POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE:
Florence + The Machine, ” Ship to Wreck”
Maroon 5, “Sugar”
Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”

This seems like an easy win for Mark and Bruno, which I still think will happen unless they want to go one-two punch of a moment between Taylor and Kendrick on stage.

PREDICTION: Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
ALTERNATE: Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”

POP VOCAL ALBUM:
Kelly Clarkson, Piece by Piece
Florence + The Machine, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
Mark Ronson, Uptown Special
Taylor Swift, 1989
James Taylor, Before This World

While this is another part of the 1989 sweep that will happen on Grammy night, James Taylor comes a tad close for his first career #1 album. That said, Taylor can breathe as she’s still winning this handily.

PREDICTION: Taylor swift, “1989”
ALTERNATE: James Taylor, “Before This World”

TRADITIONAL POP VOCAL ALBUM:
Tony Bennett & Bill Charlap, The Silver Lining: The Songs of Jerome Kern
Bob Dylan, Shadows in the Night
Josh Groban, Stages
Seth MacFarlane, No One Ever Tells You
Barry Manilow (& Various Artists), My Dream Duets

This has been Bennett’s category for years now, but every now and then there are exceptions. With his hit album,Josh Groban can look at his first Grammy win of his career. Unless they can’t resist rewarding perennial favorite Bob Dylan.

PREDICTION: Josh Groban, “Stages”
ALTERNATE: Bob Dylan, “Shadows in the Night”

DANCE & ELECTRONIC FIELD:

dance recording

DANCE RECORDING:
Above & Beyond feat. Zoë Johnston, :We’re All We Need”
The Chemical Brothers, “Go:
Flying Lotus feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Never Catch Me”
Galantis, “Runaway (U & I)”
Skrillex and Diplo With Justin Bieber, “Where Are Ü Now”

We’re looking at Grammy winner Justin Bieber here. Yup, that’s happening.

PREDICTION: Skrillex, Diplo, Justin BIeber, “Where Are U Now”
ALTERNATE: The Chemical Brothers featuring Q-Tip, “Go”

dance album

DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM:
Caribou, Our Love
The Chemical Brothers, Born in the Echoes
Disclosure, Caracal
Jamie XX, In Colour
Skrillex and Diplo, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack Ü

At this point, it’s probably a double whammy already for Skrillex, whom they really love in this category. If not them, then maybe critically lauded Jamie xx, can take home the Grammy.

PREDICTION: Skrillex, Diplo,”Skrillex and Siplo Present Jack U”
ALTERNATE: Jamie xx, “In Colour”

ROCK & ALTERNATIVE FIELD:

rock and alternative

ROCK PERFORMANCE:
Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Florence + The Machine,”What Kind Of Man”
Foo Fighters, “Something From Nothing”
Elle King, “Ex’s & Oh’s”
Wolf Alice, “Moaning Lisa Smile”

Consider this the start of Alabama Shakes’ sweep on Grammy night. That said, isn’t it refreshing to have four women vocals in here? I hope this trend continues soon enough to kill the notion that only male artists do know rock.

PREDICTION: Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
ALTERNATE: Florence + the Machine, “What Kind of Man”

ROCK SONG:
Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Elle King, “Ex’s & Oh’s”
James Bay, “Hold Back the River”
Highly Suspect, “Lydia”
Florence + the Machine, “What Kind of Man”

File this under another win for Alabama Shakes. That said, James Bay could be the spoiler in this category.

PREDICTION: Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
ALTERNATE: James Bay, “Hold Back the River”

ROCK ALBUM:
James Bay, Chaos and the Calm
Death Cab for Cutie, Kintsugi
Highly Suspect, Mister Asylum
Muse, Drones
Slipknot, .5: The Gray Chapter

As mentioned, James Bay is giving me the vibe of that multi-nominated artist who’ll end up with nothing. That plus the narrative of Death Cab for Cutie and their last album makes me think they can pull off the win.

PREDICTION: Death Cab for Cutie, “Kintsugi”
ALTERNATE: James Bay, “Chaos and the Calm”

ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM:
Alabama Shakes, Sound & Color
Björk, Vulnicura
My Morning Jacket, The Waterfall
Tame Impala, Currents
Wilco, Star Wars

I’m predicting Sound & Color for friggin Album of the Year it just makes sense I’ll predict them here. And before you bring me to Arcade Fire and The Black Keys 2011 upset, I think that’s more of an exception here. If there’s an upset here though, consider Bjork to finally receive her first Grammy.

PREDICTION: Alabama Shakes, “Sound & Color”
ALTERNATE: Bjork, “Vulnicura”

R&B FIELD:

rnb.png

R&B PERFORMANCE
Tamar Braxton, “If I Don’t Have You”
Andra Day, “Rise Up”
Hiatus Kaiyote, “Breathing Underwater”
Jeremih feat. J. Cole, “Planes”
The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)”

The R&B categories have been difficult to predict the last couple of years, but I think they won’t resist going with The Weeknd in here to officially welcome him to the big leagues. That is unless they reward the more traditional work of Andra Day.

PREDICTION: The Weeknd, “Earned It”
ALTERNATE: Andra Day, “Rise Up”

TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE:
Faith Evans, “He Is”
Lalah Hathaway, “Little Ghetto Boy”
Jazmine Sullivan, “Let It Burn”
Tyrese, “Shame”
Charlie Wilson, “My Favorite Part of You”

Tyrese has the biggest hit in this group, but will the Academy bite? On the other hand, Lalah Hathaway has been snatching out of nowhere wins the past few years, plus this has the “importance” factor, so maybe count on that to win a new one.

PREDICTION: Lalah Hathaway, “Little Ghetto Boy”
ALTERNATE: Tyrese, “Shame”

R&B SONG:
Miguel, “Coffee”
The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)”
Jazmine Sullivan, “Let It Burn”
D’Angelo and The Vanguard, “Really Love”
Tyrese, “Shame”

This is really a close one between Abel and D’Angelo, but part of me thinks they’re going with their pal that they’ve known longer. Plus, that ROTY nomination is telling. Never discount a Weeknd sweep though.

PREDICTION: D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Really Love”
ALTERNATE: The Weeknd, “Earned It”

URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM:
The Internet, Ego Death
Kehlani, You Should Be Here
Lianne La Havas, Blood
Miguel, Wildheart
The Weeknd, Beauty Behind the Madness

Now this one is easier. We’re sure this will be a part of Weeknd’s mini-sweep. No AOTY nominated album has lost this category yet (unless losing to another co-AOTY nominee).

PREDICTION: The Weeknd, “Beauty Behind the Madness”
ALTERNATE: Miguel, “Wildheart”

R&B ALBUM:
Leon Bridges, Coming Home
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
Andra Day, Cheers to the Fall
Jazmine Sullivan, Reality Show
Charlie Wilson, Forever Charlie

D’Angelo’s comeback comes full circle as he’s surely taking this. Leon Bridges still has a chance, but for some reason, he missed some big nods (including the one many predicted him for… Best New Artist).

PREDICTION: D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Black Messiah”
ALTERNATE: Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”

RAP FIELD:

rap

RAP PERFORMANCE:
J. Cole, “Apparently”
Drake, “Back to Back”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Nicki Minaj feat. Drake & Lil Wayne, “Truffle Butter”
Kanye West feat. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney, “All Day”

This is the start of Kendrick’s domination at the Grammys on Monday night. Like no one’s even close. Not even Kanye being pals with Paul McCartney.

PREDICTION: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
ALTERNATE: J.Cole, “Apparently”

RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION:
Big Sean feat. Kanye West & John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World”
Common & John Legend, “Glory”
Jidenna feat. Roman GianArthur, “Classic Man”
Kendrick Lamar feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat, “These Walls”
Nicki Minaj feat. Drake, Lil Wayne & Chris Brown, “Only”

Count on the Oscar-winning duo to repeat a victory here. Unless they’d really go hard for Lamar.

PREDICTION: Common and John Legend, “Glory”
ALTERNATE: Kendrick Lamar featuring Bilal, Anna Wise, and Thundercat, “These Walls”

RAP SONG:
Kanye West feat. Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney, “All Day”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Drake, “Energy”
Common & John Legend, “Glory”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”

Rule of thumb is, count on the SOTY nominee to prevail unless there’s more than one in the group.

PREDICTION: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
ALTERNATE: Common and John Legend, “Glory”

RAP ALBUM:
J. Cole, 2014 Forest Hills Drive
Dr. Dre, Compton
Drake, If Youre Reading This Its Too Late
Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly
Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint

Again, this will be a part of a huge Kendrick sweep. Like it will be the biggest upset ever if Kendrick doesn’t win this. On a distant second though is Dr. Dre who has some sort of a small narrative for him.

PREDICTION: Kendrick Lamar, “To Pimp A Butterfly”
ALTERNATE: Dr. Dre, “Compton”

COUNTRY FIELD:

country

COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Cam, “Burning House”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Carrie Underwood, “Little Toy Guns”
Keith Urban, “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”
Lee Ann Womack, “Chances Are”

Chris Stapleton is the big name in country music the past year, that you’d know he has this one in the bag. That said, never underestimate Carrie Underwood who’s a favorite both in this category and when they still used to separate them before.

PREDICTION: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
ALTERNATE: Carrie Underwood, “Little Toy Guns”

COUNTRY DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE:
Brothers Osborne, “Stay a Little Longer”
Joey + Rory, “If I Needed You”
Charles Kelley, Dierks Bentley & Eric Paslay, “The Driver”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Blake Shelton feat. Ashley Monroe, “Lonely Tonight”

The usual suspects are actually MIA here, so expect Little Big Town to easily steamroll in this category.

PREDICTION: Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
ALTERNATE: Blake Shelton, Ashley Monroe, “Lonely Tonight”

COUNTRY SONG:
Lee Ann Womack, “Chances Are”
Tim McGraw, “Diamond Rings And Old Barstools”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Brandy Clark, “Hold My Hand”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

It’s Stapleton vs. Little Big Town here, but the SOTY nomination of Little Big Town gives it the edge.

PREDICTION: Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
ALTERNATE: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

COUNTRY ALBUM:
Sam Hunt, Montevallo
Little Big Town, Pain Killer
Ashley Monroe, The Blade
Kacey Musgraves, Pageant Material
Chris Stapleton, Traveller

The AOTY nominee has this one in the bag, especially considering that he’s also in real talk to win the biggest award as well.

PREDICTION: Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
ALTERNATE: Kacey Musgraves,”Pageant Material”

VISUAL MEDIA:

soundtrack

SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA:
The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades Of Grey)”
Common & John Legend, “Glory”
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do”
Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Lady Gaga, “Til It Happens to You”

This is a fairly popular group of hits except that Gaga song, and nope the Oscar nod won’t help it win this. It’s between the current Oscar winner or the biggest song in this bunch — both impactful songs, but one has the prestige and importance that the other lacks.

PREDICTION: Common and John Legend, “Glory”
ALTERNATE: Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again”

COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK:
Empire: Season 1
Fifty Shades of Grey
Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me
Pitch Perfect 2
Selma

Aside from Selma, I can see a case of the other nominees prevailing in here. That said, Empire was really huge the past year that I see it squeaking a win over its closest competitor, the 50 Shades soundtrack.

PREDICTION: Empire: Season 1
ALTERNATE: 50 Shaes of Grey

SCORE SOUNDTRACK:
Birdman
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Are we looking at the Grammy category or the Best Picture Oscar category? Oh welp there’s Interstellar spoiling the list. I’d just stick with the one that won the Oscar category.

PREDICTION: The Theory of Everything (Jóhann Jóhannsson)
ALTERNATE: Birdman (Antonio Sanchez)

MUSIC VIDEO/FILM:

short form music video

MUSIC VIDEO:
A$AP Rocky, “LSD”
The Dead Weather, “I Feel Love”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
Pharrell Williams, “Freedom”

This usually goes to the biggest song in the bunch even if it has inspired quality of nominees. Either way, Kendrick wins.

PREDICTION: Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
ALTERNATE: Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”

music film

MUSIC FILM:
Foo Fighters, Sonic Highways
James Brown, Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown
Nina Simone, What Happened, Miss Simone
Roger Waters, The Wall
Amy Winehouse, Amy

This one’s between the two Oscar-nominated movies, and let’s just give it to the Oscar frontrunner.

PREDICTION: Amy
ALTERNATE: What Happened, Miss Simone?

Talk to me about the Grammys by tweeting me: @nikowl

58th Grammy Awards Nominations Predictions   Leave a comment

On December 7, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will be unveiling the nominees for the 58th Grammy Awards. The Grammy, currently considered as the top award in music, will be given in more than 70 different categories for the music eligibility period of October 1, 2014 up to September 30, 2015. I think Taylor Swift and The Weeknd will lead this year’s nominees. Here are my nominee predictions in 31 different categories.

GENERAL FIELD:

01 AOTY

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
“Sonic Highways” (Foo Fighters)
“To Pimp A Butterfly” (Kendrick Lamar)
“Traveller” (Chris Stapleton)
“1989” (Taylor Swift)
“Beauty Behind the Madness” (The Weeknd)

NEXT IN LINE: “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful” (Florence + the Machine), “Sound and Color” (Alabama Shakes), “Black Messiah” (D’Angelo and the Vanguard), “Uptown Special” (Mark Ronson)

02 ROTY

RECORD OF THE YEAR:
“See You Again” (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth)
“Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars)
“Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran)
“Blank Space” (Taylor Swift)
“Can’t Feel My Face” (The Weeknd)

NEXT IN LINE: “Love Me Like You Do” (Ellie Goulding), “Lean On” (Major Lazer and DJ Snake), “FourFiveSeconds” (Rihanna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney), “Shut Up and Dance” (Walk the Moon)

03 SOTY

SONG OF THE YEAR:
“Girl Crush” (Little Big Town)
“Fight Song” (Rachel Platten)
“Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars)
“Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran)
“Blank Space” (Taylor Swift)

NEXT IN LINE: “Alright” (Kendrick Lamar), “Can’t Feel My Face” (The Weeknd),”See You Again” (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth), “Glory” (John Legend and Common)

04 BNA

BEST NEW ARTIST:
Leon Bridges
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor
Walk the Moon

NEXT IN LINE: Hozier, Fetty Wap, CHVRCHES, FKA Twigs

POP FIELD:

05 Pop Solo

POP SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Justin Bieber, “What Do You Mean?”
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do”
Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift, “Black Space”
The Weeknd,”Can’t Feel My Face”

NEXT IN LINE: Ariana Grande, “One Last Time”, Jason Derulo, “Want To Want Me”, Meghan Trainor, “Lips Are Movin”, Pharrell Williams, “Freedom”, Tori Kelly, “Should’ve Been Us”, Rachel Platten, “Fight Song”, Sia, “Alive”

06 Pop Group Collab

POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE:
Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again”
Rihanna, Kanye West, Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds”
Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Taylor Swift featuring Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”
Meghan Trainor featuring John Legend, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”

NEXT IN LINE: Maroon 5, “Sugar”, Walk the Moon, “Shut Up And Dance (Acoustic)”, Sam Smith featuring John Legend, “Lay Me Down”, Major Lazer, DJ Snake featuring MO, “Lean On”, Ariana Grande featuring The Weeknd, “Love Me Harder”, Fifth Harmony featuring Kid Ink, “Worth It”

07 Pop Album

POP VOCAL ALBUM:
Jason Derulo, “Everything is 4”
Florence and The Machine, “How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful”
Mark Ronson, “Uptown Special”
Taylor Swift, “1989”
Meghan Trainor, “Title”

NEXT IN LINE: Carly Rae Jepsen, “E•MO•TION”, Kelly Clarkson, “Piece By Piece”, Lana Del Rey, “Honeymoon”, Tori Kelly, “Unbreakable Smile”

DANCE/ELECTRONICA FIELD:

08 Dance Recording

DANCE RECORDING:
Alesso featuring Tove Lo, “Heroes (We Could Be)”
The Chemical Brothers, “Go”
Clean Bandit and Jess Glynne, “Real Love”
Disclosure, “Bang That”
Skrillex & Diplo featuring Justin Bieber, “Where Are U Now”

NEXT IN LINE: Calvin Harris ft. John Newman, “Blame”, Royksopp & Robyn, “Monument”, Valentino Khan, “Deep Down Low”, Zedd featuring John Bellion, “Beautiful Now”

09 Electronic Album

DANCE/ELECTRONIC ALBUM:
The Chemical Brothers, “Born In the Echoes”
Disclosure, “Caracal”
Jamie xx, “In Colour”
Royskopp, “The Inevitable End”
Skrillex & Diplo, “Skrillex and Diplo Present
Jack U”

NEXT IN LINE: Galantis, “Pharmacy”, Hot Chip, “Why Make Sense?”, Zedd, “True Colors”, Kaskade, “Automatic”

ROCK AND ALTERNATIVE FIELD:

10 Rock Performance

ROCK PERFORMANCE:
Ryan Adams, “Bad Blood”
Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
Foo Fighters, “Something From Nothing”
Hozier, “Someone New”
Mumford & Sons, “Believe”

NEXT IN LINE: Fall Out Boy, “Uma Thurman”, Muse, “Mercy”, Tame Impala, “Let It Happen”, Imagine Dragons, “I Bet My Life”, AC/DC, “Rock or Bust”

11 Rock Song

ROCK SONG:
Alabama Shakes, “Don’t Wanna Fight”
James Bay, “Hold Back the River”
Foo Fighters, “Something From Nothing”
Mumford & Sons, “Believe”
Muse, “Mercy”

NEXT IN LINE: Hozier, “Someone New”, Fall Out Boy, “Uma Thurman”, Florence and The Machine, “What Kind Of Man”, Tame Impala, “Let It Happen”

12 Rock Album

ROCK ALBUM:
Ryan Adams, “1989”
Foo Fighters, “Sonic Highways”
Hozier, “Hozier”
Imagine Dragons, “smoke + Mirrors”
Mumford & Sons, “Wilder Mind”

NEXT IN LINE: Muse, “Drones”, AC/DC, “Rock or Bust”, James Bay, “Chaos and the Calm”, Twenty One Pilots, “Bluryface”

13 Alternative Album

ALTERNATIVE ALBUM:
Alabama Shakes, “Sound & Color”
Björk, “Vulnicura”
Tame Impala, “Currents”
Sufjan Stevens, “Carrie & Lowell”
Wilco, “Star Wars”

NEXT IN LINE: FKA Twigs, “M3LL155X”, Beach House, “Depression Cherry”, Modest Mouse, “Strangers To Ourselves”, Father John Misty, “I Love You, Honeybear”

R&B FIELD:

14 RNB Performance

R&B PERFORMANCE:
Beyonce, “7/11”
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Really Love”
Miguel, “Coffee”
Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money”
The Weeknd, “Earned It”

NEXT IN LINE: Omarion featuring Chris Brownand Jhene Aiko, “Post to Be”, Ciara, “I Bet”, Drake featuring PartyNextDoor, “Wednesday Night Interlude, Mark Ronson feat. Keyone Star, “I Can’t Lose”

15 Traditional RNB

TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE:
Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Ain’t That Easy”
Lalah Hathaway, “Little Ghetto Boy”
Jill Scott, “Back Together”
Tyrese, “Shame”

NEXT IN LINE: Jazmine Sullivan, “Let it Burn”, Gary Clark Jr., “Our Love”, Babyface, “We’ve Got Love”, Charlie Wilson, “My Favorite Part of You”

16 RNB Song

R&B SONG:
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Really Love”
Empire Cast featuring Estelle & Jussie Smollett, “Conqueror”
Omarion feat. Jhene Aiko & Chris Brown, “Post to Be”
Tyrese, “Shame”
The Weeknd, “Earned It”

NEXT IN LINE: Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money”, Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”, Babyface, “We’ve Got Love”

17 RNB Album

R&B ALBUM:
Mary J. Blige, “The London Sessions”
Leon Bridges, “Coming Home”
D’Angelo and the Vanguard, “Black Messiah”
Jill Scott, “Woman”
Jazmine Sullivan, “Reality Show”

NEXT IN LINE: Tyrese, “Black Rose”, Tamia, “Love Life”, Charlie Wilson, “Forever Charlie”, Gary Clark Jr., “The Story of Sonny Boy Slim”

18 Urban Contemporary

URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM:
Ciara, “Jackie”
The Internet, “Ego Death”
Miguel, “Wildheart”
The Weeknd, “Beauty Behind the Madness”
Tinashe, “Aquarius”

NEXT IN LINE: Chris Brown and Tyga, “Fan of a Fan: The Album”, Bilal, “In Another Life”, Lianne La Havas, “Blood”, Snoop Dogg, “Bush”

RAP FIELD:

19 Rap Solo

RAP PERFORMANCE:
Drake, “Energy”
Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”
J. Cole, “Apparently”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Kanye West featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom, & Paul McCartney, “All Day”

NEXT IN LINE: Nicki Minaj feat. Drake & Lil Wayne, “Truffle Butter”, Eminem, “Phenomenal”, Big Sean featuring Drake, Kanye West, “Blessings”, Rae Sremmurd, “No Type”

20 Rap Sung Collab

RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION:
ASAP Rocky featuring Rod Stewart, Miguel and Mark Ronson, “Everyday”
Big Sean featuring Kanye West & John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World”
Common and John Legend, “Glory”
Kendrick Lamar featuring Bilal, Anna Wise, & Thundercat, “These Walls”
Nicki Minaj featuring Drake, Lil Wayne, & Chris Brown, “Only”

NEXT IN LINE: Jidenna featuring Roman GianArthur, “Classic Man”, Wale featuring Usher, “The Matrimony”, Meek Mill ft. Chris Brown & Nicki Minaj, “All Eyes On You”, Chris Brown & Tyga , “Ayo”

21 Rap Song

RAP SONG:
Common and John Legend, “Glory”
Drake, “Energy”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Nicki Minaj featuring Beyonce, “Feeling Myself”
Kanye West featuring Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom, & Paul McCartney, “All That”

NEXT IN LINE: Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen”, J.Cole, “Apparently”, Wale featuring Usher, “The Matrimony”, Big Sean featuring E-40, “I Don’t Fuck With You”

22 Rap Album

RAP ALBUM:
Drake, “If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late”
Dr. Dre, “Compton”
J.Cole, “2014 Forest Hills Drive”
Kendrick Lamar, “To Pimp a Butterfly”
Nicki Minaj, “The Pinkprint”

NEXT IN LINE: Big Sean, “Dark Sky Paradise”, Fetty Wap, “Fetty Wap”, Drake & Future, “What A Time to be Alive”, A$AP Rocky, “At.Long.Last.A $AP”

COUNTRY FIELD:

23 Country Solo

COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE:
Sam Hunt, “Take Your Time”
Kacey Musgraves,”Dime Store Cowgirl”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Carrie Underwood, “Smoke Break”
Keith Urban,”John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16″

NEXT IN LINE: Luke Bryan, “Strip It Down”, Eric Church, “Talladega”, Blake Shelton, “Sangria”

24 Country Group Collab

COUNTRY DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE:
Don Henley featuring Dolly Parton, “When I Stop Dreaming”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Kacey Musgraves featuring Willie Nelson, “Are You Sure”
Blake Shelton featuring Ashley Monroe, “Lonely Tonight”
Zac Brown Band, “Homegrown”

NEXT IN LINE: Luke Bryan featuring Karen Fairchild, “Home Alone Tonight”, Lady Antebellum, “Long Stretch of Love”, Florida George Line, “Sun Daze”

25 Country Song

COUNTRY SONG:
Luke Bryan, “Strip It Down”
Sam Hunt, “Take Your Time”
Little Big Town, “Girl Crush”
Kacey Musgraves,”Dime Store Cowgirl”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”

NEXT IN LINE: Zac Brown Band, “Homegrown”, Eric Church, “Talladega”, Carrie Underwood, “Smoke Break”, Blake Shelton, “Sangria”

26 Country Album

COUNTRY ALBUM:
Sam Hunt, “Montevallo”
Little Big Town, “Painkiller”
Kacey Musgraves, “Pageant Material”
Chris Stapleton, “Traveller”
Zac Brown Band, “Jekyll + Hide”

NEXT IN LINE: Luke Bryan, “Kill the Lights”, Jason Aldean, “Old Boots New Dirt”, Garth Brooks, “Man Against Machine”, Ashley Monroe, “The Blade”

MUSIC VIDEO/FILM FIELD:

27 Soundtrack

SONG WRITTEN FOR VISUAL MEDIA:
Common and John Legend, “Glory” (from Selma)
Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” (from 50 Shades of Grey)
Lady Gaga, “Til It Happens to You” (from The Hunting Ground)
The Weeknd, “Earned It” (from 50 Shades of Grey)
Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again”(from Furious 7)

NEXT IN LINE: Sam Smith, “The Writing’s on the Wall” (from Spectre), Jessie J, “Flashlight” (from Pitch Perfech 2), Coldplay, “Miracles” (from Unbroken), Pink, “Today’s the Day” (from Ellen), Empire Cast,”No Apologies” (from Empire)

28 Soundtrack Album

COMPILATION SOUNDTRACK ALBUM:
50 Shades of Grey
Empire: Original Soundtrack from Season 1
Into the Woods
Music from Love & Mercy
Pitch Perfect 2

NEXT IN LINE: Home, Southpaw, Furious 7, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1, Beyond the Lights

29 Score Album

SCORE SOUNDTRACK FOR VISUAL MEDIA:
Antman
Birdman
Jurassic World
Inside Out
Interstellar

NEXT IN LINE: Mad Max, Cinderella, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Fury

MUSIC VIDEO/FILM FIELD:

30 Music Video

MUSIC VIDEO:
Big Sean featuring Kanye West & John Legend, “One Man Can Change the World”
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
Sia, “Elastic Heart”
Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar, “Bad Blood”

31 Movie Film

MUSIC FILM:
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, “Cheek to Cheek”
Foo Fighters, “Sonic Highways”
Ed Sheeran, “Live at Wembley Stadium”
James Taylor, “There We Were: The Recording Of James Taylor’s “Before This World””
Neil Young, “The Monsanto Years”

NEXT IN LINE: Miley Cyrus, “Bangerz”, Nicki Minaj, “YMCMB & Beats By Dre Presents: The Pinkprint Movie”, Annie Lennox, “Nostalgia: An Evening With Annie Lennox”

Talk to me about your predictions by leaving a comment below or tweeting me: @nikowl

58th Grammy Awards Nominations Predictions: October 2015   Leave a comment

The Grammys’ eligibility period has already ended last September 30, which means no Frank Ocean, Kanye, and Adele for this year. But as we wait for the nomination announcement this December (though by now, expect Taylor Swift to dominate), let’s take a look at the potential top contenders in the Big 4 General categories with names ranging from Ed Sheeran to Sam Hunt and soundtracks from Selma to Furious Seven.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

While we’re not sure yet if the Grammys will easily reward Taylor Swift with an AOTY win #2 for 1989, chances are, it’s a lock for a nomination in this category already. Being the critical and commercial darling of the past eligibility period, there’s no doubt that the biggest story in music for the past year is Taylor’s domination and she’ll cap it with an AOTY nomination. Then there’s the breakout star The Weeknd (I know he’s been in the industry for a few years already), but the past year has been his biggest break churning out hits one after the other, so expect Beauty Behind the Madness to be in the conversation as well. Foo Fighters came close in 2012 sweeping all their nominations except for AOTY (losing to another juggernaut, Adele’s 21), so Sonic Highways might be their redemption bid. Despite getting some buzz the past few years, alternative genre still hasn’t followed up 2010 winner The Suburbs a representative here. This year, Sound & Color from Alabama Shakes seems like their strongest bid. Mark Ronson can clearly sweep the Big 3 category too, especially if the Academy falls in love with him so much that a Uptown Special nod is still possible.

Then there’s also comebacking artist D’Angelo, whose album Black Messiah, his first in 14 years, was critically well received, and if there’s one thing the Grammys love, it’s none other than a good ole comeback. While her breakout year five years ago didn’t translate to much Grammys, it’s never too late for Florence + the Machine to nab a nod in the top category with their latest release How Big Blue, How Blue, How Beautiful. Then what is an AOTY lineup without a country representative? Kacey Musgraves’ Pageant Material fits the bill even if there’s a group of country acts that can easily replace it too. Another act who enjoyed a big year is Kendrick Lamar which makes me feel confident about his nomination for To Pimp A Butterfly. Lastly, since this is the Grammys we’re talking about (basically the same group who nominated two versions of “How Do I Live” against each other in the same year), then maybe we can see a Ryan Adams version of 1989 competing against Taylor Swift’s version. That would certainly provide more coverage to their group (and it’s not as if Adams isn’t deserving to be nominated).

Current predictions:
“1989” (Taylor Swift)
“Beauty Behind the Madness” (The Weeknd)
“Black Messiah” (D’Angelo)
“Sonic Highways” (Foo Fighters)
“To Pimp a Butterfly” (Kendrick Lamar)

RECORD OF THE YEAR

We’re certain a Taylor Swift is gonna figure in this race, so it depends on what her team will submit, but it seems like “Blank Space” is the logical choice — it’s a huge hit that was well received by the critics. This category loves the Hot 100 #1 finishers, so aside from Swift, expect one to two more contenders from top charting hits like “Uptown Funk” from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, “See You Again” from Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth, and The Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” to figure in this race. Oh, and Justin Bieber’s sorta comeback can be rewarded as well with a nod for “Where Are U Now” (instead of his other hitWhat Do U Mean) simply because of the Skrillex and Diplo recognition.

The other collaboration that I see the Academy going for is the triumvirate of Rihanna, Kanye West, and Paul McCartney with “FourFiveSeconds” especially with the name involved (and the love it received when they performed it at the Grammys earlier this year). Ed Sheeran is a General Field favorite figuring in the last three years with SOTY, BNA, and AOTY nominations respectively. He has yet to be nominated for Record of the Year, but “Thinking Out Loud” seems like a good bet to break in here. Two other crossover hits of the previous year were Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” and Walk the Moon’s “Shut Up and Dance“, so they’re certainly in the race too. For the random last spot, I’m leaning to Major Lazer’s “Lean On” as it was a huge hit as well as the FIFA World Cup theme song for 2017. Plus I won’t be surprised if an electronic song finally breaks it to the main categories.

Current predictions:
“Blank Space” (Taylor Swift)
“Can’t Feel My Face” (The Weeknd)
“Lean On” (Major Lazer)
“Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran)
“Uptown Funk” (Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars)

SONG OF THE YEAR

Song of the Year has a great correlation with Record of the Year so chances are, the same songs vying for that category can also figure out here such as Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space“, Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud“, and Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars collaboration “Uptown Funk.” There isn’t any assurance of which The Weeknd song will be submitted here, but anything between “Can’t Feel My Face”, “Earned It“, or my predicted “The Hills” can be nominated here. For now, let’s call it as The Weeknd spot. If the Academy considers Kendrick Lamar to be a big factor in this race, then we won’t be surprised if “Alright” finds its way into the top five.

Oscar winning classics have been a mainstay in this category too, so this bodes well for current winner “Glory” from John Legend and Common. Working for it is that it’s more than just an Oscar winning song, as it’s been a statement and a powerful one at that. Working against it is that lately, Grammy isn’t much open to Oscar winning tunes in the General Field just like Adele’s “Skyfall” or the gigantic hit “Let It Go” from last year. That said, there’s the other hit soundtrack in contention: “See You Againwhich is also one of the year’s biggest hits. From classics such as Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” to fluffs such as Katy Perry’s “Roar“, Song of the Year has also been the home of inspirational anthems. This year, Rachel Platten can be in the conversation for her uplifting “The Fight Song” even if the record was more low-key than those that got nominated here. As for that country representative, Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” is viable but we expect “Girl Fight” from Little Big Town to be the bigger contender.

Current predictions:
“Blank Space” (Taylor Swift)
“Girl Crush” (Little Big Town)
“The Hills” (The Weeknd)
“See You Again” (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth)
“Thinking Out Loud” (Ed Sheeran)

Image courtesy of: billboard.com

BEST NEW ARTIST

Always the trickiest to predict, with all the eligibility rules changing every now and then, to say that Best New Artist predictions is a daunting task can be considered as an understatement. With his great chart performance the past year, one can count Fetty Wap a contender this year, regardless of how we personally feel about him. This is the same group that nominated Iggy Azalea last year, so there are literally no excuses.  Sure girl groups are rare, but the chances of them getting nominated is rarer (Haim got in last year but we have to go back to 1998 when Dixie Chicks got in). Maybe Fifth Harmony can join the elusive list? The country contingent is really strong in this particular category. In the last nine years, we have Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, The Band Perry, Hunter Hayes, Kacey Musgraves, and Brandy Clark. The name to be remembered this year is Sam Hunt. Leon Bridges meanwhile reminds me of that new artist whom the Academy really just roots for to happen. It also doesn’t hurt that his song “Coming Home” achieved some sort of a viral status. Swedish singer Tove Lo is also picking up traction, so don’t be surprised if you hear her name come nomination morning.

It’s also hard to go against the Academy’s liking for up and coming young female singer/songwriters especially in a year as wide as this one so expect Tori Kelly figuring in this race. English musician James Bay can also get in just like the other English James — Blake that is — in 2013. Then there’s also that new artist who gets in for that one huge hit they have, which bodes well for Walk the Moon‘s chances. However, it can also be a case of “A Thousand Miles” or “Call Me Maybe” picking up ROTY and/or SOTY nods but the artist is nowhere to found in the BNA category. Stitches is peaking at the right time, so it will help Shawn Mendes‘ chances even though he has to overcome the aversion of this category to young stars (well unless you’re as big as Justin Bieber circa 2010). Lastly, there’s always a reserved slot for that artist who has already been nominated earlier but surprisingly wasn’t eligible for this category because of the Academy’s weird rules. This caused Ed Sheeran’s nominated two years ago, and this year’s recipient is likely last year’s ROTY & SOTY nominee Meghan Trainor or Take Me to Church singer Hozier. 

Current predictions:
Leon Bridges
Fetty Wap
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor

Talk to me about it on Twitter: @nikowl

57th Grammy Awards Winner Predictions   Leave a comment

On Sunday (Monday morning here in Manila), music’s biggest night is about to happen. Well that’s an exaggeration of some sort truth be told, but hey despite what we rant about the Grammys 100+ categories or how there are more performances than awards every single year, we still give them a free pass when they give us moments like that of Daft Punk’s cool performance that had everyone bopping, or the reggae tribute two years ago with Sting, Bruno Mars, and Rihanna. So before we watch this year’s telecast that will feature performances from Kanye West, Rihanna, and Sir Paul McCartney to the Selma tribute of John Legend, Beyonce, and Common, we predict those who will be ending the night as Grammy winners in nine different fields.

roty

RECORD OF THE YEAR:
Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Sia, “Chandelier”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)”
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
Meghan Trainor, “All About That Bass”

PREDICTION: “Shake It Off” (Taylor Swift) Shake It Off doesn’t really fit the mold of a ROTY winner, but then again this is a pretty weak lineup. I don’t see Fancy or All About That Bass winning this and Chandelier is more of a SOTY mold. You know we’re bound to get a Taylor ROTY now or in the future right? So let’s just keep this one off the Grammy’s bucket list already.

ALTERNATE: “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)”  (Sam Smith) I don’t know if the Darkchild version will confuse voters or not, but if they love Sam Smith and will shower him with Grammys on that night, then expect at least an Adele type of winning for this ballad.

aoty

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
“Morning Phase”, Beck
“Beyonce”, Beyonce
“X”, Ed Sheeran
“In the Lonely Hour”, Sam Smith
“GIRL”, Pharrell Williams

PREDICTION: Beyonce, “Beyonce” This whole Beyonce era has been life-giving in so many ways that I think this is the perfect coronation night for Grammy’s most-nominated woman.

ALTERNATE: Beck, “Morning Phase” But hold on that weave, Bey. Sometimes, not because you’re the biggest artist means you’re taking the biggest award easily (see Arcade Fire over Eminem in 2010?). Beck has the respect and the critics to back him up. Either way, we’re getting a fantastic winner with these two.

soty

SONG OF THE YEAR
“All About That Bass,” (Meghan Trainor)
“Chandelier,” (Sia)
“Shake It Off,” (Taylor Swift)
“Stay with Me,” (Sam Smith)
“Take Me To Church,” (Hozier)

PREDICTION: Chandelier (Sia). I think Sia becoming a go-to songwriter of the biggest popstars gives her a bit of an advantage here. And not to discredit the song itself, it’s an equally deserving SOTY material.

ALTERNATE: Stay with Me (Sam Smith). That said, Stay with Me is such a Grammy catnip here that I won’t be surprised if they go with the straight ballad in this group.

bna

BEST NEW ARTIST
Iggy Azalea
Bastille
Brandy Clark
HAIM
Sam Smith

PREDICTION: Sam Smith. They could have mailed him the actual Grammy since the announcement for all I know.

ALTERNATE: Brandy Clark. Never underestimate the country bloc especially someone who has been churning out hits for some of the biggest country names right now.

POP FIELD:

pop

POP SOLO PERFORMANCE:
John Legend, “All of Me (Live Version)”
Sia, “Chandelier”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”
Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”
Pharrell Williams, “Happy (Live Version)”

This one would be an easy win for Sam Smith regardless if he goes home with many Grammys or not. Maybe he’s shoo-in category after Best New Artist. Watch out for Oscar nominee John Legend though in one of the year’s biggest hits and vocal venues.

PREDICTION: “Stay with Me” (Sam Smith)
ALTERNATE: “All of Me (Live Version)” (John Legend)

POP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP:
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Coldplay, “A Sky Full of Stars”
A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera, “Say Something”
Jessie J, Ariana Grande, and Nicki Minaj, “Bang Bang”
Katy Perry feat. Juicy J, “Dark Horse”

What an absurd category. It seems like except for Bang Bang, you can make a case for any of these songs. Fancy has the General Field nomination, but somehow it’s not a guarantee here. Let’s just go with the AC catnip here of Say Something.

PREDICTION: “Say Something” (A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera)
ALTERNATE: “Fancy” (Iggy Azalea ft. Chrali XCX)

POP VOCAL ALBUM:
Coldplay, Ghost Stories
Miley Cyrus, Bangerz
Ariana Grande, My Everything
Katy PerryPrism
Ed Sheeran, x
Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour

With two Album of the Year nominees here, it’s definitely between these two Brits. I give the advantage to Ed Sheeran though, as I see it is a consolation for his great year. Plus you know they’re dying to reward him with a Grammy already.

PREDICTION: “X” (Ed Sheeran)
ALTERNATE: “In the Lonely Hour” (Sam Smith)

TRADITIONAL POP ALBUM:
Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Cheek to Cheek
Annie Lennox, Nostalgia
Barry Manilow, Night Songs
Johnny Mathis, Sending You a Little Christmas
Barbra Streisand, Partners

This one’s a bit tricky. The easiest name-checking would definitely be Bennett and Gags especially since Bennett is a regular winner here. But don’t underestimate Barbra Streisand’s strong narrative on her successful comeback album. I can see this one getting really close.

PREDICTION: “Cheek to Cheeck” (Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga)
ALTERNATE: “Partners” (Barbra Streisand)

DANCE/ELECTRONICA FIELD

dance recording

DANCE RECORDING
“Never Say Never,” Basement Jaxx
“Rather Be,” Clean Bandit featuring Jess Glynne
“F For You,” Disclosure featuring Mary J. Blige
“I Got U,” Duke Dumont featuring Jax Jones
“Faded,” Zhu

Again, this one is a two-way race. Rather Be is the biggest hit in the lineup, but F for You has the name recognition. I give the slight edge to Rather Be,

PREDICTION: “Rather Be” (Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne)
ALTERNATE: “F For You” (Disclosure feat. Mary J. Blige)

dance electronica album

DANCE ELECTRONICA ALBUM
“Syro”, Aphex Twin
“while(1<2)”, deadmau5
“Nabuma Rubberband”, Little Dragon
“Do It Again”, Royksopp & Robyn
“Damage Control”, Matt Zo

PREDICTION: “Syro” (Aphex Twin)
ALTERNATE: “while(1<2)” (deadmau5)

ROCK AND ALTERNATIVE FIELD

rock alternative

ROCK PERFORMANCE:
“Gimme Something Good”, Ryan Adams
“Do I Wanna Know?”, Arctic Monkeys
“Blue Moon”, Beck
“Fever”, The Black Keys
“Lazaretto”, Jack White

The logical choice is Beck, but if they’ll spread the wealth, this is the place where I can see them giving the win to another contender via Arctic Monkeys.

PREDICTION: “Do I Wanna Know?” (Arctic Monkeys)
ALTERNATE: “Blue Moon” (Beck)

ROCK SONG:
Paramore, “Ain’t It Fun”
Beck, “Blue Moon”
The Black Keys, “Fever”
Ryan Adams, “Gimme Something Good”
Jack White, “Lazaretto”

This one is an easy Beck win though regardless of competing against other familiar names and pop(!) hits.

PREDICTION: “Blue Moon” (Beck)
ALTERNATE: “Lazaretto” (Jack White)

ROCK ALBUM:
Ryan Adams, Ryan Adam
Beck, Morning Phase
The Black Keys, Turn Blue
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Hypnotic Eye
U2, Songs of Innocence

’tis a part of the Beck’s deserved Rock field sweep, so there ‘ya go.

PREDICTION: “Morning Phase” (Beck)
ALTERNATE: “Songs of Innocence” (U2)

ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM:
“This is All Yours”, alt-J
“Reflektor”, Arcade Fire
“Melophobia”, Cage the Elephant
“St. Vincent”, St. Vincent
“Lazaretto”, Jack White

St. Vincent has the most critical backing in this group, but I think that would be put into the sidelines when competing against two favorites. Thus, I gave the edge to Jack White here.

PREDICTION: “Lazaretto” (Jack White)
ALTERNATE: “Reflektor” (Arcade Fire)

R&B FIELD

rnb

R&B PERFORMANCE
“Drunk In Love,” Beyoncé featuring Jay Z
“New Flame,” Chris Brown featuring Usher & Rick Ross
“It’s Your World,” Jennifer Hudson featuring R. Kelly
“Like This,” Ledisi
“Good Kisser,” Usher

Bey and Jay easily.

PREDICTION: “Drunk in Love” (Beyonce feat. Jay-Z)
ALTERNATE: “Good Kisser” (Usher)

TRADITIONAL R&B PERFORMANCE:
“As,” Marsha Ambrosius & Anthony Hamilton
“I.R.S,” Angie Fisher
“Jesus Children,” Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Lalah Hathaway & Malcolm Jamal Warner
“Nobody,” Kem
“Hold Up (Wait a Minute),” Antonique Smith

Robert Glasper pulled off an upset two years ago, so he’s definitely on the radar. Add the fact that Lalah also did last year, so maybe this is one underrated powerful collab?

PREDICTION: “Jesus Children” (Robert Glasper Experiment feat. Lalah Hathaway & Malcolm Jamal Warner)
ALTERNATE: “As” (Marsha Ambrosius & Anthony Hamilton)

R&B SONG
“Drunk In Love,” Beyonce ft. Jay Z
“Good Kisser,” Usher
“New Flame,” Chris Brown ft. Usher & Rick Ross
“Options (Wolfjames Version),” Luke James ft. Rick Ross
“The Worst,” Jhené Aiko 

Again, thanks for trying everyone but no one comes close to Bey and Jay.

PREDICTION: “Drunk in Love” (Beyonce feat. Jay-Z)
ALTERNATE: “Good Kisser” (Usher)

R&B ALBUM:
Islander, Bernhoft
Lift Your Spirit, Aloe Blacc
Love, Marriage & Divorce, Toni Braxton & Babyface
Black Radio 2, Robert Glasper Experiment
Give The People What They Want, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

I think the throwback to these two 90s R&B names would be enough to give them comeback Grammys since their last wins over a decade ago. Watch out for Aloe Blacc though just because he has the crossover appeal of The Man.

PREDICTION: “Love, Marriage & Divorce” (Toni Braxton & Babyface)
ALTERNATE: “Lift Your Spirit” (Aloe Blacc)

URBAN CONTEMPORARY ALBUM:
Jhene Aiko, Sail Out
Beyonce, Beyonce
Chris Brown, X
Mali Music, Mail Is
Pharrell Williams, G I R L

Sorry Pharrell, but Beyonce has this one locked.

PREDICTION: “Beyonce” (Beyonce)
ALTERNATE: “GIRL” (Pharrell Williams)

RAP FIELD:

rap

RAP PERFORMANCE
“3005,” Childish Gambino
“0 To 100/ The Catch Up,” Drake
“Rap God,” Eminem
“i,” Kendrick Lamar
“All I Need Is You,” Lecrae

Rap God. End of discussion. EMinem might just steamroll to another Rap field Grammy domination.

PREDICTION: “Rap God” (Eminem)
ALTERNATE: “i” (Kendrick Lamar)

RAP/SUNG COLLABORATION:
“Blak Majik,” Common ft. Jhené Aiko
“The Monster,” Eminem ft. Rihanna
“Tuesday,” I Love Makonnen ft. Drake
“Studio,” ScHoolboy Q ft. BJ The Chicago Kid
“Bound 2,” Kanye West & Charlie Wilson

Let’s just go with the biggest hit in the group. And maybe a consolation since they lost for Love the Way You Lie in 2010. Otherwise, Kanye is the other big name here so maybe him.

PREDICTION: “The Monster” (Eminem and Rihanna)
ALTERNATE: “Bound 2” (Kanye West feat. Charlie Wilson)

RAP SONG
“Anaconda,” Nicki Minaj
“Bound 2,” Kanye West & Charlie Wilson
“i,” Kendrick Lamar
“We Dem Boyz,” Wiz Khalifa
“0 to 100/The Catch Up,” Drake

After his shutout last year, and with no Eminem in competition this year, then maybe it’s finally bound for a Kendrick Lamar Grammy win… unless they give Kanye another one.

PREDICTION: “i” (Kendrick Lamar)
ALTERNATE: “Bound 2” (Kanye West)

RAP ALBUM:
The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Eminem
Because The Internet, Childish Gambino
The New Classic, Iggy Azalea
Blacc Hollywood, Wiz Khalifa
Oxymoron, Schoolboy Q
Nobody’s Smiling, Common

Eminem has the biggest album of the bunch, and this field loves to rubberstamp winners so there ‘ya go. Imagine the pandemonium among the people and the rap community though if Iggy Azalea wins this. LMAO.

PREDICTION: “The Marshall Mathers LP 2” (Eminem)
ALTERNATE: “The New Classic” (Iggy Azalea)

COUNTRY FIELD:

country

COUNTRY SOLO PERFORMANCE
“Give Me Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church
“Invisible,” Hunter Hayes
“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert
“Something In the Water,” Carrie Underwood
“Cop Car,” Keith Urban

Miranda has the biggest hit of the bunch, and her only Grammy is for a vocal performance, so I’m quite complacent with this one. Carrie poses a big threat, but last year proved she still loses (and even gets snubbed!) in this category.

PREDICTION: “Automatic” (Miranda Lambert)
ALTERNATE: “Something in the Water” (Carrie Underwood)

COUNTRY DUO/GROUP COLLABORATION:
“Gentle On My Mind,” The Band Perry
“Somethin’ Bad,” Miranda Lambert with Carrie Underwood
“Day Drinking,” Little Big Town
“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s,” Tim McGraw ft. Faith Hill
“Raise ‘Em Up,” Keith Urban ft. Eric Church

These are two of their favorite vocalists, so I say easy win for Team Girl Power?

PREDICTION: “Something’ Bad” (Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood)
ALTERNATE: “Raise ‘Em Up” (Keith Urban & Eric Church)

COUNTRY SONG
“American Kids,” Kenny Chesney
“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert
“Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell
“Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” Tim McGraw ft. Faith Hill

I think they’ll throw Eric Church a bone for having a great year as well so either this and/or Album would be the place to reward it.

PREDICTION: “Give Me Back My Hometown” (Eric Church)
ALTERNATE: “Automatic” (Miranda Lambert)

COUNTRY ALBUM:
Riser, Dierks Bentley
The Outsiders, Eric Church
The Way I’m Livin’, Lee Ann Womack
12 Stories, Brandy Clark
Platinum, Miranda Lambert

Miranda Lambert seems to be the default frontrunner, but she always seems to be sidetracked at the Grammys, so I’m going with either Eric Church or Brandy Field who has the General Field support.

PREDICTION: “The Outsiders” (Eric Church)
ALTERNATE: “12 Stories” (Brandy Clark)

SOUNDTRACK ALBUM:

soundtrack

SONG WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURE
“Everything is Awesome,” (Tegan & Sara with The Lonely Island) from The LEGO Movie
“I See Fire,” (Ed Sheeran) from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell) from Glen Campbell: It’ll Be Me
“Let It Go” (Idina Menzel) from Frozen
“The Moon Song,” (Karen O) from Her

To the other nominees, let it go. There’s no way you’re winning this over the instant fairy tale classic.

PREDICTION: “Let It Go” (Idina Menzel) from Frozen
ALTERNATE: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” (Glen Campbell) from Glen Campbell: It’ll Be Me

COMPILATION ALBUM:
American Hustle 
Guardians of the Galaxy
Frozen 
Get On Up: The James Brown Story 
The Wolf of Wall Street

Being one of the most-selling albums in this day and age would be enough to assure that this is another Frozen win, unless the sympathy is really high for the late James Brown.

PREDICTION: “Frozen” (Various Artists)
ALTERNATE: “Get On Up: The James Brown Story” (James Brown)

SCORE SOUNDTRACK:
Frozen (Christopher Beck)
Gone Girl (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Alexander Desplat)
Gravity (Steven Price)
Saving Mr. Banks (Thomas Newman)

At this point, I’m just predicting they’re gonna continue the Frozen love. But Steven Price must be considered as well as he’s the only other one with no wins in this category yet.

PREDICTION: “Frozen” (Christophe Beck)
ALTERNATE: “Gravity” (Steven Price)

MUSIC VIDEOS:

music video

MUSIC VIDEO
“We Exist,” Arcade Fire
“Turn Down for What,” DJ Snake & Lil Jon
“Chandelier,” Sia
“Happy,” Pharrell Williams
“The Golden Age,” Woodkid ft. Max Richter

This one seems like an easy win for Sia especially if she doesn’t win in her other nominations. Consider this as the template place to reward her.

PREDICTION: “Chandelier” (Sia)
ALTERNATE: “Happy” (Pharrell Williams)

music film

MUSIC FILM:
Beyoncé & Jay Z: On The Run Tour, Beyoncé & Jay Z
Ghost Stories, Coldplay
20 Feet From Stardom, Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer & Judith Hill
Metallica: Through The Never, Metallica
The Truth About Love Tour: Live From Melbourne, Pink

Sorry Jay and Bey, but you have to sit this one out. You’re competing against the Oscar winner for Best Documentary Feature. I’m sure one Grammy less won’t hurt your shelf.

PREDICTION: “20 Feet From Stardom” (Darlene Love, Merry Clayton, Lisa Fischer & Judith Hill)
ALTERNATE: “On The Run Tour” (Beyonce)

Talk to me about the Grammys by tweeting me: @nikowl

 

 

 

The Cumulative Ranking of Taylor Swift’s Albums   Leave a comment

QUEEN!

Deity Swift just released her fifth studio album (earlier in some parts of the world than the US), and it is said to be her departure to the country genre to fully embrace her pop sound. And if we’ll based it on her first single this era, the infectious “Shake It Off“, it is indeed a major crossover. Is it a risk worth doing, or is it a step back to her glorious streak? In order to gauge how 1989 fared as compared to the rest of her discography, we revisit Taytay’s memory lane and rank all five of her albums.

Taylor Swift

5. TAYLOR SWIFT (2006)

It was eight years ago when Taylor Swift entered the music scene with her self titled debut album. Just like all ingenues to the music industry, Taylor’s first offering was mostly about her dreams, giving a safe offering. But if there’s one thing that’s particularly striking about her, it’s her potential for song writing. Even in her debut album, T.Swift was already giving hints of introducing her self on a deeper level with her song writing. I think she entered the country scene in the right time as there’s no solo teen country girl that has made some name for herself since Leann Rimes in the mid-90s. While she didn’t become as huge as Rimes was when she entered the scene, it is without a doubt that when it comes to Swift and this album, the rest is simply history.

Favorite tracks:Our Song“, “The Outside“, “Teardrops in My Guitar

Speak Now

4. SPEAK NOW (2010)

The follow up the the critically lauded and commercial hit Fearless will always be a crucial for any artist, but two years after, Swift comes up with “Speak Now.” If Fearless made Swift bank and bask in her youthfulness and the feeling of such, there’s certainly no place to move on but go further on her next album. Speak Now had Swift writing songs referring to Joe Jonas, Taylor Lautner, John Mayer and Kanye West to name a few, and what one might consider as petty can be Taylor’s view of finally letting her guard down and translating her frustrations as inspirations. And to the surprise of no one, it actually works. At this stage in her career, Swift needs to prove that Fearless isn’t just a fluke, a one-album wonder and she knows that her follow up will start to solidify the great start her previous album had. But like any Taylor related story, she ends up winning having the last laugh.

Favorite tracks:Enchanted“, “Back to December“, “Mean

Fearless

3. FEARLESS (2008)

Officially making her entry known to the rest of the music industry, Fearless is what made Taylor the youngest winner of the Grammy for Album of the Year back in 2009. Coming from where her initial album left off, she followed it with something that is a mix and match of a lot of things. Her sugary stuff was still present, but not only does she make herself relateable with the young girls, she also served as an older sister to them giving them pieces of advice (like that in Fifteen) or being message specific (like that in Hey Stephen.). She still gives homage to her country roots while simultaneously testing the water with them pop beats which probably is an indication of a crossover she’ll be doing in the future years of her career. And for an 18 year old country lady in the business, her album title can probably signify to that shift as well. If anything, in Fearless, Swift is still enjoying both worlds talking about puppy love and romance with a charm that only she can pull off.

Favorite tracks:You Belong With Me“, “Love Story“, “Hey Stepehen

Red

2. RED (2012)

The thing with Taylor’s albums is that the previous one can be connected with the succeeding one especially with the personal details that she shares behind the meaning of her songs. Red, which became her second album to be nominated for the Grammy Album of the Year, follows the same suit. Red is definitely her larger than life album tackling themes and topics in her songs so bluntly and partnering it with big beats and loud thumps making you feel as if every finish of a song is the closing of a different story. Her songwriting details are more aggressive and detailed this time around including a top notch favorite of mine “All Too Well.” In this album, Swift plays a teenager, a heartbroken woman, a cool girl, a hopeless romantic and lots of other facets making the listening experience more enjoyable. In Red, she acknowledges that she is mature already but that she’d still be petty every now and then. This is also her first (and still her only) album where she did collaborations (to the likes of Ed Sheeran and Gary Lightbody), and I think one that never fails to give you all the “feels.”

Favorite tracks: “All Too Well“, “The Last Time“, “Begin Again

1989

1. 1989 (2014)

Yep. You’ve read that right. Well you can freely accuse me of having knee-jerk reactions, but I was just slayed by it. In Taytay’s latest, she officially announced that she’s going full throttle to pop territory. While the pop sound was already present in Swift’s previous albums, one could still hear the country twang every now and then. Yet such is the risk that she decides to take with her fifth album. And boy does it pay off big time. 1989, mixing 80s synth pop in it, is probably her most cohesive effort to date. While other songs can sound annoying as stand alone tracks (like that of album opener Welcome to New York), it is perfectly fitting in the context of the whole album. One moment you’re hearing some Lorde realness, then the other you’re hearing Lana and Tegan and Sara. But the difference is that she’s not really ripping them off, but she’s putting her own spin on them. The succession of songs from Blank Space to Out of the Woods is pure pop perfection, and she does that with probably majority of the songs in this album. 1989 is definitely 2014’s pop-gasm album if ever you have to single out one, and DeiTay knew exactly what she had in mind by assuring she’ll deliver with this pop venture.

Favorite tracks: Uhm almost everything? Lol. But “Blank Space”, “Style“, “Wildest Dreams“, “Clean

1989 will be digitally available via iTunes Philippines starting October 28. For the meantime, just keep on bopping to Shake It Off or watch her totally actressing performance of Out of the Woods over at Jimmy Kimmel Live (maybe she got tips from her The Giver co-star Meryl Streep? :))

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs 2014   Leave a comment

After taking a break for quite some time, one of the most prestigious OPM songwriting competitions is back with the Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs: 2014. Quite frankly, I wondered if we’ll be having one this year especially after the huge comeback they had last year because this usually happens every March. But worry no more because not only is it back for another year, it’s getting bigger than ever with 15(!) songs vying for this year. This, we here at Tit for Tat will be grading all the songs in contention so you can also vote for your favorites before the competition night this Sunday.

Song details format credited to: manillenials.com/himig-handog-p-pop-love-songs-2014-top-15-finalists/

“AKIN KA NA LANG”

Interpreter: Morissette Amon
Words & Music by: Francis “Kiko” Salazar
Arranged & Produced by: Francis Kiko Salazar
Music video: Colegio de San Juan de Letran

Reminiscent of the big belted diva songs singing of heartbreak and missed love, “Akin Ka Na Lang” definitely fits the bill. It is emotional, it has whispering parts, and by the end, there’s the vocal acrobatics painting the hurt of a woman who wishes she’d have the man she loves. It has a widespread appeal especially to the general public and will make this a mainstay at the “pangmasa” FM stations. The music video’s like a Sarah Geronimo redux circa Forever’s Not Enough though. Small skit? Check. Lady singer acting? Check. Girl crying in her very long train of a gown? Check. It wasn’t bad, but it doesn’t inspire anything new as well.

Song: 2/5 | Music Video:  1.5/5

“BUMABALIK ANG NAGDAAN”

Interpreter: Jessa Zaragoza
Words & Music by: Sarah Jane Gandia
Arranged & Produced by: Jimmy Antiporda
Music video: Meridian International College

You heard the first song above, right? This is the continuation of that girl’s story. But damn if I’ll deny that I miss Jessa Zaragoza’s voice. Her distinct delivery is a treat here. Reminiscing is probably the theme of this whole entry, as the woman (in this case, Jessa) misses her one great love. I slightly prefer this though since the breakdown of the song is clearer and gives space for the singer and the listener to breathe especially in the song’s climax part. The music video, while nothing original, was fun to watch since the first part is basically Rihanna’s “Stay” while the last one is Christina Aguilera’s “I Turn To You.” However, I am living for Jessa’s actressing skills in this one (the tears in the end!!!), so I guess I’d rank it higher.

Song: 2.5/5 | Music Video:  2/5

“DITO”

Interpreter: Jovit Baldivino
Words & Music by: Raizo Chabeldin & Biv De Vera
Music video: Far Eastern University

Dito” dealt with a person being stuck with his feelings, harbored lonely memories back when he was young as Jovit Baldivino emphasizes the “Di-tooooooo” in “Dito sa puso ko.” Okay we get it, you’re really hurt. It’s a lovely song, though on par with the first two as songs about heartbreak and lost love. The music video did have some potential switching to black and white (to indicate that it was ancient perhaps? Lol), and some juxtaposition of the guy’s character back when he was young and now that he’s old, though I think the palette was overdid in some parts making it look like a bit amateurish when I’m certain they’re going for emotional.

Song: 2/5 | Music Video:  1.5/5

“EVERYTHING TAKES TIME”

Interpreter: Hazel Faith Dela Cruz
Words & Music by: Hazel Faith Dela Cruz
Music video: Adamson University

One thing I’ve always loved about these festivals is discovering new talent. Just last year alone, two of my favorite entries were from newbie singer/songwriters Marion Aunor (“If You Ever Change Your Mind“) and Wynn Andrada (“Tamang Panahon“). Such is the case for Hazel Faith dela Cruz who wrote, arranged, interpreted, and even starred in the music video of her entry “Everything Takes Time.” Certainly a bit more upbeat and probably the feel good song of the first four entries by far, “Everything…” is about waiting for that right moment and right time. The music video weaving four different stories of young girls being frustrated in life, with Hazel Faith serving as their indirect fairy god mother, is somewhat cute and fits the vibe of the song. Refreshing song of the bunch!

Song: 3.5/5 | Music Video:  3/5

“HALIK SA HANGIN”

Interpreters: Ebe Dancel, Abra
Words & Music by: David Dimaguila
Arranged & Produced by Jonathan Ong
Music video: University of the East

Okay so prior to giving this a spin, I have to say that it’s one of my most anticipated entries since I loooove both Ebe Dancel and Abra. But trying to keep my bias aside, this is really good. I like the slow build up of the whole song. Ebe Dancel sings the words as if they’re being whispered and it makes the whole haunting vibe more effective. Then comes Abra’s part which further specified the desolation and state of sadness the character felt even having “blood tears.” Props to all those who made the paper airplanes here (they’re a loooot), and I like the transitions in the scenes (zooming in at one place, zooming out at another). I hope they cleaned all the paper airplanes in the scene where the guy threw them in the road though.

Song: 4/5 | Music Video:  4/5

“HANGGANG KAILAN”

Interpreter: Angeline Quinto
Words & Music by: Joel Mendoza
Arranged & Produced by: Albert Tamayo
Music video: Ateneo de Manila University

Okay so I guess we’re back to the depressing love songs with this song interpreted by Angeline Quinto. However, I find this the better of the “sad” songs by far since it’s one where the interpreter is perfectly matched with the song. Quinto brings in so much honesty in her performance that it’s hard not to be carried away. It’s basically less is more with her as it brings the raw impact of the song. The music video was probably the cleanest one yet, and one that would certainly mistaken as a professional music video. It’s well done even if the treatment was already done many times.

Song: 2.5/5 | Music Video:  3.5/5

“HINDI, WALA”

Interpreter: Juris
Words & Music by: Nica del Rosario
Arranged & Produced by: Gino Cruz
Music video: De La Salle-College of St. Benilde

Juris’ slow, bordering on reciting delivery, of the verses is either a blessing in disguise or a genius plan in the making because that totally worked with the nature of the song. The lyrics, containing deep hurt, effectively doubled with the interpreter’s emotional take on it. I like how she lets the words linger making the emotions translate more to its audience.  The video’s pretty nice as well, especially on a technical standpoint, even leaving with a catch in the end. It’s one of those melodramatic songs that totally works on so many different levels.

Song: 3.5/5 | Music Video:  3.5/5

“IF YOU DON’T WANT TO FALL”

Interpreter: Jed Madela
Words & Music by: Jude Gitamondoc
Arranged by: Jad Bantug & 1032 Studio
Music video: University of Santo Tomas

For some reason, this song reminds me of South Border’s “Wherever You Are.”, and that’s not even a knock to it. I like how low key the song was. Save for some unnecessary runs, Jed Madela was restrained and heartfelt. It’s one of those songs that I think grows better with you after repeated listens because it’s surprisingly simple, direct, and effective. The music video’s okay too. Love that overflowing pouring of wine shot even if that “fight scene” was kinda out of place technical wise. I think this has the potential to be a sleeper hit?

Song: 4/5 | Music Video:  2.5/5

“MAHAL KITA PERO”

Interpreter: Janella Salvador
Words & Music by Melchora Mabilog
Arranged & Produced by Jack Rufo
Music video: San Beda College Alabang

There’s something odd about the song that I can’t quite put my finger on. No doubt it is catchy, but I still can’t figure out which. The beat’s a little bit odd, I think? Sure it’s a semi upbeat song, but I think it would have fared better in a faster tempo perhaps. Or maybe it was the oddly “Ayaw ni (insert relative here)…” part which sounded out of place and totally forced. It’s like the way the lines were divided was awkward to hear. The video’s cute though, and Janella Salvador was fitting interpreter to put some “youth” spin in it with her vocals. But I guess it’s one where the song lives up to the title. The song has the potential pero…

Song: 2.5/5 | Music Video:  3/5

“MAHAL KO O MAHAL AKO”

Interpreter: KZ Tandingan
Words & Music by: Edwin Marollano
Arranged & Produced by Edwin Marollano
Music video: San Sebastian College-Recoletos

After last year’s “Scared to Death“, which was definitely one of my favorites from prior year’s batch, KZ Tandingan offered a different one this year taking on a song about someone confused whether to choose the person of his dreams who doesn’t have the same affection for him or the other person who loves him even if that wasn’t his ideal one. The beat ‘s reminiscent of that OPM song “Kabit“, and since that one’s a videoke staple of mine, I actually like this one a lot. It’s catchy, it’s quite different, and it has that relate-ability factor. The music video had some good ideas (like that shadow thing), though the final output wasn’t as polished, but I’d still give them props.

Song: 4/5 | Music Video:  2.5/5

“PARE, MAHAL MO RAW AKO”

Interpreter: Michael Pangilinan
Words & Music by: Joven Tan
Arranged & Produced by: Paulo Zarate Recorded by: Jan Levi Sanchez
Music video: University of the Philippines

This one is quite interesting, as I think it caters to a special niche.  Not to be confused with the hilarity of “This Guy’s in Love with You, Pare“, this is a serious take on a one way love between two guy friends. The song’s meant to be a love letter/reply answer of the straight man to his gay best friend who’s in love with him. I don’t know if I’m totally comfortable with the idea of singling out the guys in this particular song (when it could have been more universally appealing by leaving “Pare” behind), but I appreciate the earnest honesty of what the song wants to say. UP continues its trend of “equality” this year by being assigned to this song fitting a whole storyline in a four minute video with lavish background to boot.

Song: 3.5/5 | Music Video:  4/5

“PUMAPAG-IBIG”

Interpreter: Marion Aunor feat. Rizza Cabrera & Seed Bunye
Words & Music by: Jungee Marcelo
Arranged & Produced by Jungee Marcelo
Music video: Mapua Institute of Technology

Nitpick all you want, but at this stage, Jungee Marcelo is already a league of his own. The song, too sweet at times, booming with innocence of what it feels like being in love is a breath of fresh air in this group of contenders. With soothing vocals from last year’s festival break out artist Marion Aunor, with the help of Rizza Cabrera and Seed Bunye, this almost bossa pop track is a delight to listen to. The music video certainly captured the sweet atmosphere that the song talks about which surely makes this one of the year’s highlights.

Song: 3.5/5 | Music Video:  3/5

“SIMPLENG TULAD MO”

Interpreter: Daniel Padilla
Words & Music by: MJ Magno
Arranged by: Teddy Katigbak
Music video: Polytechnic University of the Philippines

There’s something about Daniel Padilla and songs that lets him serenade and appreciate the girl of his dreams no? Probably it’s because he fits the bill of a manic pixie dream boy that this totally works well for him. Well, “Simpleng Tulad Mo” certainly is right up that alley. It’s cute, if not a bit low key, and simple. It might not be like “Nasa’yo Na Ang Lahat” of last year, but there’s a certain genuine sincerity that the song brings probably making teenagers kilig. Of course we get Kathryn Bernardo in the music video (and that’s not a bad thing, but it’s quite predictable), but despite that, I love the playfulness especially during the last part of it. It’s a song that is definitely in the middle of the pack — it did not reach the highs of the other songs but certainly did not dip the lows of the others as well.

Song: 3/5 | Music Video:  3.5/5

“UMIIYAK ANG PUSO”

Interpreter: Bugoy Drilon
Words & Music by: Rolando “Ronnie” Azor
Arranged by: Albert Tamayo
Music video: St. Paul University Manila

Uhm what’ can be said about this? The song and the video, portraying a love triangle where the woman chooses this guy but ends up realizing she wants the other guy, is alright. It’s quite forgettable and one that might get lost in the shuffle among all these other heartbreak songs and the unique ones in this line up. There’s nothing wrong with Bugoy Drilon’s interpretation (this is totally his wheelhouse), but I guess the song lacked that something for it to totally stand out in this group.

Song: 2/5 | Music Video:  2/5

“WALANG BASAGAN NG TRIP”

Interpreter: Jugs Jugueta and Teddy Corpuz
Words & Music by: Eric De Leon
Arranged & Produced by: Jonathan Ong
Music video: Miriam College

And lastly, we end this lineup with a bang! Being the obligatory novelty track, “Walang Basagan ng Trip” does not need any other introduction as its open about its playfulness and hilarity while sending the message of self-love. Getting the wacky duo of Jugs Jugueta and Teddy Corpuz in this colorful and bubbly music video, both the song and the video poked fun of the #YOLO attitude while also encouraging it to its audience. basing it on the history of this music festival, this is not the type of songs that they usually reward with even a top five/semifinal slot, but for what its worth, it relayed it message pretty much effectively.

Song: 3/5 | Music Video:  3/5

Complete Rankings:

01. “Halik sa Hangin
02. “If You Don’t Want to Fall
03. “Mahal Ko O Mahal Ako
04. “Pumapag-ibig
05. “Everything Takes Time
06. “Pare, Mahal Mo Raw Ako
07. “Walang Basagan ng Trip
08. “Hindi, Wala
09. “Simpleng Tulad Mo
10. “Mahal Kita Pero
11. “Hanggang Kailan
12. “Bumabalik ang Nagdaan
13. “Akin Ka Na Lang
14. “Umiiyak ang Puso
15. “Dito

The Himig Handog P-Pop Love Songs 2014 will be on Sunday, September 28, 2014, at the Araneta Coliseum hosted by Robi Domingo, Alex Gonzaga, Xian Lim, and Kim Chiu. It will likely be shown on a telecast the same night at Sunday’s Best.

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

Tit for Tat Video Music Awards 2014   Leave a comment

Now that the MTV has awarded of what it thought was the best of music video this year, it’s time to reveal my choices for my own Video Music Awards. I have been doing this since ’99, and this is the first year where I mustered enough time and effort to do mine.  My eligibility period for a given year is July 1 of the previous year up to June 30 of the current year to make it to to any given year’s awards. Unlike MTV, I also have more categories to spare. Ready? I now present my picks in all 20 categories of my Titties(!!!) Video Music Awards (TVMAs) for 2014! Let’s begin!

*Clicking the photo will lead you to the winning music video of the category.

Directing

Visual Effects

Hair and Make Up

Editing

Costumes

Choregraphy

Cinematography

Art Direction

Collaboration

Country Video

Rock Video

Rap Video

Dance Video

RnB Video

Pop Video

New Artist in a Video

Group Video

Male Video

Female Video

Video of the Year

As a recap, here are the winners of the 2014 TVMAs:

VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball
MALE VIDEO: Jack White, “Lazaretto
FEMALE VIDEO: Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball
GROUP VIDEO: Arcade Fire, “Reflektor
NEW ARTIST IN A VIDEO: Steve Grand, “All American Boy
POP VIDEO: Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”
R&B VIDEO: Beyonce, “Pretty Hurts
DANCE VIDEO: DJ Snake, Lil Jon, “Turn Down for What
RAP VIDEO: Kanye West, “Black Skinhead
ROCK VIDEO: Arcade Fire, “Reflektor
COUNTRY VIDEO: Steve Grand, “All American Boy
COLLABORATION IN A VIDEO: Iggy Azalea, Charli XCX, “Fancy
ART DIRECTION IN A VIDEO: Katy Perry, “Unconditionally
CHOREOGRAPHY IN A VIDEO: Sia, “Chandelier
CINEMATOGRAPHY IN A VIDEO: 30 Seconds to Mars, “City of Angels
COSTUMES IN A VIDEO: Beyonce, “Partition
EDITING IN A VIDEO: Zedd ft. Hayley Williams, “Stay the Night
HAIR AND MAKE UP IN A VIDEO: Lady Gaga, “Applause
VISUAL EFEFCTS IN A VIDEO: DJ Snake, Lil Jon, “Turn Down for What
DIRECTION IN A VIDEO: Arcade Fire, “Reflektor

And there you have it! Until next year’s music video mania! 🙂

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

MTV Video Music Awards 2014 Winner Predictions   2 comments

Once labeled as the coolest night in music, the MTV Video Music Awards is the biggest party of the year. Well, it used to be that. But then it all went downhill since the late 2000s. But while the show is far from what it used to be, we still get glimpse of the classic VMA moments every now and then including Lady Gaga’s blood flowing (literally that is) performance in 2009 and Miley’s trashy teddy bear collaboration with Robin Thicke last year. And even if the number of categories get less over the years, we’ll try to predict the 10 major categories for this year and check who’ll end up with a moonman.

Video of the Year

VIDEO OF THE YEAR

Beyoncé ft. Jay Z, “Drunk In Love”
Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”
Pharrell Williams, “Happy”
Sia, “Chandelier”

WHO WILL WIN: Since Beyonce is being awarded this year with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard trophy, it makes sense to award her the top plum right? Especially since that’s what happened to last year’s recipient Justin Timberlake. But what I’ve been waiting is if MTV will announce Miley Cyrus’ appearance since that will seal the deal. And they did. Wrecking Ball is a pop culture phenomenon and its music video is for the ages. They’re not inviting Miley for nothing, so I bet she’ll win the top plum.
RUNNER UP: Well now it makes more sense to put Beyonce here as an alternate. Besides, only two people have won VotY twice (Eminem and Rihanna) and Drunk in Love is no We Found Love nor Without Me.
MY CHOICE: Wrecking Ball. It is the VIDEO OF THE YEAR regardless of what one think of Miley. ‘Nuff said.

Male Video

BEST MALE VIDEO

Ed Sheeran ft. Pharrell Williams, “Sing”
Eminem ft. Rihanna, “The Monster”
John Legend, “All of Me”
Pharrell Williams, “Happy”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”

WHO WILL WIN: The first two quarters of the year is all about Pharrell and Happy, so even if it’s video isn’t really anything special, he’s winning. Also, The Voice is coming weeks from now. That’s added promo.
RUNNER UP: Hmm. Maybe they’d throw Eminem a bone? Lord knows how the VMAs love Eminem.
MY CHOICE: None of these videos really strike out as ahead of the pack, though I’d probably go with Ed Sheeran’s puppet version of himself in Sing.

Female Video

BEST FEMALE VIDEO

Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
Beyoncé, “Partition”
Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Katy Perry ft. Juicy J, “Dark Horse”
Lorde, “Royals”

WHO WILL WIN: It’s quite funny and unfortunate that Katy Perry hasn’t won in this category yet when she has already won Video of the Year. She has been nominated here six time for the last seven years, but I still don’t think it would be this year. Had she been nominated for Roar, maybe she’d have better chances. Beyonce can easily include this in her sweep and while Partition is one of her best videos this era, the song itself isn’t really big. Add the fact that this category loves hip-hop women and reward them when they get the chance (except you Missy Elliott; damn you MTV) so the whole fun Clueless homage of Fancy leads me to predict Iggy Azalea here.
RUNNER UP: Beyonce. MTV probably thinks that if there’s one who can get the record of most wins in this category, it would be Madonna Beyonce.
MY CHOICE: This is quite a weak field. Where’s Miley?!?!? But I’m going with the flawlessness that is Beyonce in Partition.

Artist to Watch out For

ARTIST TO WATCH OUT FOR

5 Seconds of Summer, “She Looks So Perfect”
Charli XCX, “Boom Clap”
Fifth Harmony, “Miss Movin’ On”
Sam Smith, “Stay With Me”
Schoolboy Q, “Man of the Year”

WHO WILL WIN: 5 Seconds of Summer. Just look at the last three winners here in the past four years: Justin Bieber, One Direction, Austin Mahone. The thirst for twinks here is real.
RUNNER UP: Between Fancy and Fault in Our Stars, maybe Charli XCX can pull of an upset.
MY CHOICE: None of these videos are really amazing, so let me throw my vote to Sam Smith because why not?

Pop

POP VIDEO

Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
Avicii ft. Aloe Blacc, “Wake Me Up”
Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz, “Talk Dirty”
Pharrell Williams, “Happy”

WHO WILL WIN: This category seems poised for a Problem win here. It’s Ariana’s biggest shot for a moonman win.
RUNNER UP: Fancy. Either way, Iggy scores a win here!
MY CHOICE: The pop culture references in Fancy are enough for me to give it a vote here.

Rock Video

ROCK VIDEO

Arctic Monkeys, “Do I Wanna Know?”
The Black Keys, “Fever”
Imagine Dragons, “Demons”
Linkin Park, “Until It’s Gone”
Lorde, “Royals”

WHO WILL WIN: Lorde. She’s a presenter that night so it’s not as if they’ll be inviting her for nothing. Same template with Oscar winner Jared Leto doing presenter duties last year and winning here as well. Whether one considers her as a rock artist is debatable though.
RUNNER UP: Maybe Imagine Dragons. Demons is one of the biggest songs of the past year and Imagine Dragons seems to fit the bill of the young hip choice here.
MY CHOICE: The Black Keys. I love that video.

HipHop Video

HIP-HOP VIDEO

Childish Gambino, “3?05″
Drake ft. Majid Jordan, “Hold On (We’re Going Home)”
Eminem, “Berzerk”
Kanye West, “Black Skinhead”
Wiz Khalifa, “We Dem Boyz”

WHO WILL WIN: Drake is the most relevant current name here, and he has only won here once yet. Seems like he’ll be getting a second one.
RUNNER UP: Eminem. VMAs has a special hard on relationship with Eminem.  
MY CHOICE: Kanye West. He still hasn’t won here despite of being nominated nine times since 2004. Also, Black Skinhead shits on all the other videos here.

ClubBanger

MTV CLUBLAND AWARD

Calvin Harris, “Summer”
Disclosure, “Grab Her!”
DJ Snake & Lil Jon, “Turn Down For What”
Martin Garrix, “Animals”
Zedd ft. Hayley Williams, “Stay the Night”

WHO WILL WIN: This one is really tricky. In 2012, Calvin Harris is the house DJ of the VMAs that year, so it was quite easy to  predict that he’ll win. This year, the only one I can confidently eliminate is Martin Garrix. Disclosure has somehow made it big with their collaboration with Sam Smith, Summer is well one of summer’s hits, Turn Down for What has that magic penis video everyone is talking about and Zedd has been the hot (literally and figuratively) property lately. I’d say they spread the wealth and give it to Zedd since he’s performing as well.
RUNNER UP:  I go for Turn Down for What just because of that video.
MY CHOICE: It’s really tricky since I love both videos of Stay the Night and Turn Down for What, but I guess I’ll go with Zedd for this one.

Collaboration

COLLABORATION

Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, “Problem”
Beyoncé ft. Jay Z, “Drunk In Love”
Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Tyga, “Loyal”
Eminem ft. Rihanna, “The Monster”
Katy Perry ft. Juicy J, “Dark Horse”
Pitbull ft. Kesha, “Timber”

WHO WILL WIN: It won’t be a Beyonce night if they won’t let her win awards on the main show right? This is celebrity power couple here, so it seems fitting that the only Video of the Year nominee here wins.
RUNNER UP: Dominating the whole summer season, it’s Iggy Azalea and Ariana Grande’s year by far, so don’t be surprised if they get rewarded for it here.
MY CHOICE: Hmm. I’m thisclose to going with Timber since I love that song but really mediocre video aside, I want to see Ariana Grande win a moonman, so I’d give Problem my vote here.

Video with a Message

VIDEO WITH SOCIAL MESSAGE

Angel Haze ft. Sia, “Battle Cry”
Avicii ft. Dan Tyminski, “Hey Brother”
Beyoncé, “Pretty Hurts”
David Guetta, “One Voice”
J. Cole, “Crooked Smile”
Kelly Rowland, “Dirty Laundry”

WHO WILL WIN: Bleh. It’s tailor made for a Beyonce win here. Why even bother?
RUNNER UP: Pfft Avicii maybe?
MY CHOICE: I love Kelly Rowland’s Dirty Laundry so I’m personally rooting her here over Beyonce. #poormichelle

There you have it! Are you excited for the VMAs? Don’t forget to watch the show on Sunday (Monday here in Manila) and catch performances from Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Ariana Grande, Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, and Usher among others!

You can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

MTV VMA Best Female Video Series: 2012   1 comment

2012

In order to acknowledge that next week will be Tit for Tat’s Emmy nomination coverage, we’d be doing this our weekly MTV Best Female Video Series earlier for this week. Since we’ve already tackled one from the 80s, 90s, and the 00s, it’s fitting that we’d go with the current decade, so I decided to go with the 2012 line up.

And there’s no better way to start it than Beyonce. Well technically it’s alphabetical order, but whatever. At this point in MTV VMA history, it’s clear that Beyonce will be nominated for simply farting, so this is pretty much expected. It’s her fourth consecutive nod in this category, and I have to say that it’s actually a deserving nomination. Not only is Love on Top one of the better songs from the underrated 4, but the video gives a perfect throwback with all the vintage group choreography and whatnot. This is far from the  usual provocative Beyonce dance steps, so that’s refreshing as well.

If Beyonce is on her 4th consecutive nod, well Katy is on her FIFTH(!) continuous nomination in this category. Still winless in this category, Katy dons the military get up to show the story of a woman moving on from a failed relationship and finding herself instead so she decided to join the military. Since this is a Katy video, of course everything has to be taken literally as if we’re toddlers, so she does everything in a step by step procedure. It’s a fun video, but I think she had better ones during the Teenage Dream era.

Then we have Nicki Minaj who gets her second nod here after 2011’s Super Bass. In Starships though, we go all the way to Hawaii to see a starship (talk about literally. Now beat that Katy!) dropping this creature which turned out to be Nicki Minaj as she brings the life in the people of that island and they go partying and dancing non stop while Nicki changes her glittery looks as she dances in the shore or in top of a volcano. Clearly, common sense isn’t required in this video.

Now as for her initial single from her Talk the Talk era, Rihanna surely knows how to stir controversy. She surely gets people rallying against her with the depiction of violence between lovers and some pertaining to drug use here, especially since it reflects so much of her personal experiences circa 2008, but that’s what actually made me love this video more. In here, Rihanna just wore her heart on her sleeve to go back to a private (yet not so private) moment in her life. But more than the video’s theme, I also appreciate the visual choices in here in the treatment and shots used.

And lastly, there’s Selena Gomez. If I remember correctly, this was a surprise nomination that year and few to none were predicting it to happen. That said, it’s clearly deserving of a nomination. I really love videos that are just playful and catchy and fun. Selena’s wig changes from the big hair to that one of drag looks matches the ridiculous over the top beat of the song. I feel like in here, Selena clearly acknowledges the stage in her life where she’s in between being a teen while also oozing up her sexiness to some extent.

No doubt about it, Rihanna has the best video in the line up and a worthy Video of the Year winner that year. That said, I’m all for spreading the wealth and I’m likely voting her in another year that I haven’t tackled yet. So I’ll spread the wealth and give it to another video which I think is a fun embodiment of the Best Female Video category. I’m going with Selena Gomez here, as it’s the video that made me hit the repeat-peat-peat-peat-peat. It’s really unfortunate that Nicki Minaj won this year, and definitely one of the weakest winners in this category’s history.

Personal pick: Selena Gomez, “Love You Like a Love Song
MTV VMA pick: Nicki Minaj, “Starships

Full Rankings:
01. Selena Gomez, “Love You Like a Love Song
02. Rihanna, “We Found Love
03. Beyonce, “Love on Top
04. Katy Perry, “Part of Me
05. Nicki Minaj, “Starships

Now it’s time to vote for your own pick in the poll below

You can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl

 

MTV VMA Best Female Video Series: 1986   2 comments

1986

Hey everyone! We’re now on our third week of the MTV Best Female Video Series. The past two weeks we’ve been to the 200s and the 1990s, so it’s now time to jump back further and celebrate the 80s. This particular year that we’d be tackling for this week is a great one. As for one, it’s a line up with four black women in contention. Rarely does it happen especially in the current scheme of the VMAs. But more than that, this one has a really good set of nominated videos. So let’s get the ball rolling on the 1986 line up.

And we begin with Aretha looking every inch glam in Freeway of Love. The funniest and most noticeable thing in this video is that five seconds in, there’s already a shot of… you guessed it… a freeway! Talk about taking things literally. In here, Aretha is the life of the party as she switches back and forth from waiting for her car to arrive and performing in the body of a big crowd. Ir’s also one of the few black and white videos that has been nominated in the history of this category.

Oh God there’s a lot to say about this video. As for starters, there’s the fact that it was directed by Jean-Paule Goude. So that’s a plus already.  Then the amazing detail that Jones did not shoot any new material in this video and it was a rehash of some of her previous cut out appearances in her prior ones. That said, all it needed was one director that will handle this with his creative hands, and voila, Slave to the Rhythm was futuristic and trailblazing. Never mind the effects now, I’m certain it was impressive during the time of its release.

This one was interesting because of the fact that Bush refused to lip sync her song in the video. It was a full four minutes of heavy choreographed dance of her and dancer partner Michael Hervieu.It was continuously rolling and lifting and twisting of bodies which was done gracefully and precisely that it’s really impressive. For what it’s worth, I’m really not a big fan of the song, but the video caught my interest with it.

As a soundtrack to her movie Mad Max, it’s basically Tina wearing a chain mail gown as we shift back and forth to her singing in her fierce Tina style and clips from the movie. It wasn’t remarkable or groundbreaking per se especially for Tina’s standards, but you know Tina in her safest is still miles ahead than most during that time.

And then there’s Whitney. In How Will I Know, Houston showed her the other side of her in this glitzy colorful and fun music video which has walking to a room as she opened doors and move places. It was a playful Whitney and one that I think, during that time, was emulated by a lot of young girls. There was even a cameo from co-nominee Aretha in her nominated video above. It also doesn’t hurt that this is my favorite Whitney song from her whole discography so there’s that.

This is really a strong group, and I’d even dare say that it’s one of this category’s better line ups ever. That said, I continue to go back and forth with Grace Jones and Whitney Houston. Grace has the futuristic boundary pushing video, but Whitney brings in the fun in hers and this is her only Best Female Video nod throughout her career. I guess I can go back and forth with this on any other day, so for now, I’d go agree with MTV’s choice and pick Whit.

Personal pick: Whitney Houston, “How Will I Know
MTV VMA pick: Whitney Houston, “How Will I Know

Full Rankings:
01. Whitney Houston, “How Will I Know”
02. Grace Jones, “Slave to the Rhythm
03. Aretha Franklin, “Freeway of Love
04. Kate Bush, “Running Up That Hill
05. Tina Turner, “We Don’t Need Another Hero”

Now go on and vote in the poll below to reveal your choice!

As always, you can follow me on Twitter: @nikowl