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Taylor Swift, Green Day and Kanye West will nab noms for best album, our Grammy seers say

August 24, 2009 |  9:27 am

Since the cut-off date for Grammy eligibility is approaching (Aug. 31), it's time for award nuts like us to start predicting the top races. Sure, nominations won't be revealed until December, but, hey, that just means we have more time to noodle, argue, harrumph and pontificate.

Of course, nobody's better at that than David "Guru" Schnelwar and Darrin "Double D" Dortch, moderators of our Grammy forums. Below, they offer their early forecast for the album of the year category. Curiously, they agree on three of five nominees: Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown," Taylor Swift's "Fearless" and Kanye West's "808s & Heartbreak."

While reading their expanded views, keep in mind the voting process used by the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. All 16,000 members may cast ballots for the top four awards known as the general field — best record, song, album and new artist — but their input only has partial weight. They merely whittle down the list of contenders in each race to a top 20. Thereafter, music of those finalists is listened to by a secret committee of 25 music experts who gather in a Los Angeles hotel for a weekend and choose the final five in those four categories.

Taylor Swift Lada Gaga Kanye West

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: GURU'S PREDIX
(Front-runners)
"Together Through Life," Bob Dylan
"21st Century Breakdown," Green Day
"The Fame," Lady Gaga
"Fearless," Taylor Swift
"808s & Heartbreak," Kanye West
 
(Possible)
"Black Ice," AC/DC
"I Am . . . Sasha Fierce," Beyonce
"The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies)," Black Eyed Peas
"Big Whiskey & The GrooGrux King," Dave Matthews Band
"Relapse," Eminem
"I Look to You," Whitney Houston
"BLACKsummers'night," Maxwell
"Lotus Flower," Prince
"Working on a Dream," Bruce Springsteen
"No Line on the Horizon," U2
"Wilco (The Album)," Wilco

GURU'S COMMENTARY: In the past two years, the album of the year race has had a single representative from each genre.

Example: In 2008 — Robert Plant & Alison Kraus (folk), Coldplay (rock), Lil Wayne (rap), Ne-Yo (R&B) and Radiohead (alternative).

Example: In 2007 — Herbie Hancock (jazz), Foo Fighters (rock), Vince Gill (country), Kanye West (rap), Amy Winehouse (pop)

This pattern is not set in stone, but I expect that this year will be no different.

Taylor Swift's "Fearless" is the biggest-selling album of 2009. Swift performed on the 2008 Grammy nomination special and telecast without any nominations. That is usually a good indicator. I expect Taylor Swift to represent the country field in the album of the year race.

Two-time album of the year winner U2 opened the 2008 Grammys with "Get on Your Boots" without any nominations. That is noteworthy and something to consider when predicting this year's nominations. The other serious rock field possibility is Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown." They were previously nominated in this category for 2004's "American Idiot."

The 1997 album of the year winner, Bob Dylan, has been nominated twice in the past 12 years for album of the year. Dylan exemplifies the folk field.

Kanye West is hoping for his fourth consecutive album of the year nomination for "808s & Heartbreak."  The big question is how will Kanye's album be categorized.  Other rap field hopefuls are two-time album of the year nominee Eminem and the Black Eyed Peas.

Lady Gaga's "The Fame" could be the first dance field album to be nominated in the general field. It will be interesting to see how the Grammys respond to her success.

If an R&B field album gets nominated for album of the year it will be either Beyonce's "I Am . . . Sasha Fierce,"  Maxwell's comeback album "BLACKsummers'night" or the anticipated return of Whitney Houston's "I Look to You."

Dave Matthews Band is overdue for some general field attention. "Big Whiskey & the GrooGrux King" is its first album since band member/saxophonist Leroi Moore's passing.

Critically acclaimed Wilco was expected to be nominated in 2000 for "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot."  They were overlooked for album of the year then and are hoping for better luck this year. Their album might be considered rock, alternative or folk: three fields they have previously been nominated in.

Other veterans to consider are Bruce Springsteen, Prince and AC/DC.


ALBUM OF THE YEAR: DOUBLE D'S PREDIX

(Front-runners)
"The E.N.D.," Black Eyed Peas
"21st Century Breakdown," Green Day
"BLACKsummers'night," Maxwell
"Fearless," Taylor Swift
"808s & Heartbreak," Kanye West
 
(Possible)
"Black Ice," AC/DC
"Big Wiskey & the Groogrux King," Dave Matthews Band
"Together Through Life," Bob Dylan
"Relapse," Eminem
"I Look to You," Whitney Houston
"The Fame," Lady Gaga
"Dark Horse," Nickelback
"Working on a Dream," Bruce Springsteen
"No Line on the Horizon," U2
 
DOUBLE D'S COMMENTARY: Swift is in unless voters show a bias against her age/genre of music. "Fearless" is one of the year's most successful albums critically and commercially. After that, this category is a toss-up. It's been a weak year for music, so Kanye will likely earn his fourth nomination in this category. Everyone loves a good comeback, and Maxwell's album has been well received by both critics and fans. The commercial success of the Black Eyed Peas will land them a nod here, and Green Day will round out the category unless Grammy voters decide to honor any of the veteran nominees/winners -- U2, Springsteen, Dylan, Eminem, Whitney Houston, etc.

Photos: Big Machine Records, Interscope Records, Reprise Records, Rock-A-Fella Records

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