It's been about two months since I asked our forum moderators Darrin "DoubleD" Dortch and David "Guru" Schnelwar for their early Grammy predix, so, now that the eligibility period has waned, it's time for an update. David is busy now with a personal matter, so we'll catch up with his forecasts later. For now, here are DoubleD's thoughts — in his own words.
There is a horrible, horrible assumption that many Grammy "experts" make. Some experts — whom I won't embarrass by naming in print — seem to believe that albums and singles released early in the Grammy eligibility period will be forgotten by voters when nominations roll around. (NOTE: The Grammy eligibility period is Oct. 1, 2007 through Sept. 30, 2008.) Don't these "experts" realize that Grammy voters march to the beat of their own drum? How else do you explain Herbie Hancock's awful album of the year win earlier this year?
Can "experts" please stop saying that something is too old to be nominated? There are numerous examples of Grammy voters embracing "old" music. In December 2007, Vince Gill received an album of the year nomination for an album that was released in October 2006; Corinne Bailey Rae earned a song of the year nomination for a song that appeared on her 2006 album. In October 2000, U2 released their spectacular "All That You Can't Leave Behind" album. In February 2002, they won four Grammys for that album, including record of the year. Even Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" was released in October/November 1997 and didn't win record and song of the year and best pop female until February 1999. I could go on.
Despite being released in November 2007, I fully expect albums by the Eagles, Alicia Keys and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss to crack this year's album of the year lineup when Grammy nominations are announced in December. The Eagles, Keys and Plant/Krauss will be heavily nominated alongside Coldplay, which will more than likely lead the nominations.
Also, watch out for U.K. newcomer Duffy and Sugarland, the newest country sensation. Duffy's buzz has been building all year thanks to her throwback single, "Mercy," and I have a feeling the singer-songwriter will go over very well with Grammy voters, much as India.Arie did in 2001. Sugarland scored a surprise best new artist nomination a few years back. Grammy voters have an affinity for past best new artist nominees and winners, and since Sugarland has seen great success with its latest album, "Love on the Inside," I could see them doing very well in the general and country fields.
With that said, here are my insights on Grammy's top races this year:
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
"As I Am," Alicia Keys
"Long Road Out of Eden," The Eagles
"Raising Sand," Robert Planet & Alison Krauss
"Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends," Coldplay
FIGHTING FOR THE LAST SLOT
"Detours," Sheryl Crow
"Lay It Down," Al Green
"Love on the Inside," Sugarland
"Tha Carter III," Lil Wayne
VETERANS THAT MAY SPOIL
"Backwoods Barbie," Dolly Parton
"Death Magnetic," Metallica
"Home Before Dark," Neil Diamond
"In Rainbows," Radiohead
"Modern Guilt," Beck
"Two Men With the Blues," Willie Nelson & Wynston Marsalis
After the shocking nods for veteran acts Vince Gill and Herbie Hancock earlier this year, I think it's wise for us at least to consider the noteworthy veterans acts that have eligible discs. But I think the Eagles' comeback disc will be enough for voters this year. Barring some upset, I think the Eagles, Keys, Coldplay and Plant-Krauss are in. The last spot will probably go to Sugarland, though Duffy is a strong possibility.
RECORD OF THE YEAR
"Bleeding Love," Leona Lewis
"Viva La Vida," Coldplay
FIGHTING FOR A SPOT
"All Summer Long," Kid Rock
"American Boy," Estelle / Kanye West
"Apologize," One Republic
"I Kissed a Girl," Katy Perry
"Like You'll Never See Me Again," Alicia Keys
"Lollipop," Lil Wayne / Static Major
"Love Lockdown," Kanye West
"Love Song," Sara Bareilles
"Pocketful of Sunshine," Natasha Bedingfield
This is the first year in a while that I've felt confident in my record/song predictions. "Bleeding Love" and "Viva La Vida" are big, sweeping, epic ballads (that hit No. 1), and Grammy voters are suckers for those in this category. "Stay" was a huge breakthrough for Sugarland, and "Mercy," with its live instruments and in-your-face vocals, sounds like it was made for this category; it's like a sober version of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab." The fifth spot is a tossup and could go to anyone. Seriously.
BEST NEW ARTIST
The Ting Tings
FIGHTING FOR A SPOT
Kings of Leon
This race is finally beginning to take form. Leona Lewis and Duffy are sure to get in. Everyone, including myself, thought Katy Perry would be a one-hit wonder, but her second single is about to hit No. 1 too. I think she has almost secured her spot. Estelle's buzz has also picked up thanks to the success of her hit "American Boy." But will Grammy voters really throw four female solo artists in this lineup?
I think the fifth spot will definitely go to a band; it usually does. The Ting Tings have, arguably, been this year's breakout band and they will likely be nominated elsewhere, though One Republic and Kings of Leon aslo have had a great year. It doesn't matter who's nominated, though. Leona and Duffy will be duking it out for the win.
Photo credits: Sony BMG, Capitol Records