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Grammy Preview: Album of the Year

This years Album of the Year nominees are an eclectic mix. There’s a pop sensation, a few indie rappers, a singer/songwriter and an electronic group. Here are the nominees for Album of the Year:

There are a few nominees that I’m going to write off straight away. Sara Bareilles’ The Blessed Unrest is a fantastic album but I don’t think it, or more importantly she, has the legs to take home this coveted award. Kendrick Lamar is in a similar position. He’s had a fantastic year but just won’t be able to take home the prize this year. The future remains bright for both of these artists who will fall short on Sunday.

Now onto the three artists that will compete for the win. Taylor Swift’s album Red was a fantastic statement album, embracing her country roots while stepping out onto the pop stage. There is no longer a question of whether or not Swift is a pop star. She is a solidified star, operating within the country genre instead of helping to define it. The issue for Swift is the aforementioned Sara Bareilles who will take votes away from Swift. This will ultimately lead to her downfall this year despite a fantastic album worth playing on repeat.

The Heist is the most interesting album nominated. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis would take home Artist of the Year if that were a category, but can they win an award given to a full body of work? My thought is that they can’t. They will win Best New Artist. They could even compete for Song of the Year. But they won’t take home Album of the Year. The Heist is defined by 3 singles that are incredible, but the rest of the album is just good, not meeting the elevated platform. It’s not Album of the Year worthy.

For the first time in Grammy history, an electronic artist will win Album of the Year. It’s not because they created the best album of the year. If I were judging this based solely on musical composition, I’d actually hand it directly to Swift. Instead, the award will go to Daft Punk for their incredible Random Access Memories. It’s an unprecedented musical journey through the intricate minds of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter. The sounds that they produce are incredible, as if they were conducting the score to a movie that hasn’t been written yet.

It’s not an easy listen. It doesn’t flow down the ears as easy as Red or The Blessed Unrest but Daft Punk will take home Album of the Year for taking a chance, recording it from scratch and creating a memorable listening experience.

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