2012 Grammy Predictions and Proclamations

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On Sunday, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences will announce who’ll take home Grammy Awards in nearly 80 categories, representing their picks for the finest music of the past year. Of course, it wouldn’t be the Grammys without a little controversy: This year marks the first awards ceremony since the academy cut and combined several categories and were met with anger from many musicians.

Then, of course, there’s the usual fuss over what exactly constitutes a “new artist” (certainly not Bon Iver, if you ask us), who got inexplicably placed into which category and who got overlooked. We’re here to weigh in on all of that before the big show. Will Justin Vernon and company be able to pull an Arcade Fire and come home victorious? Tune into the Grammys at 8 p.m. EST on CBS this Sunday to find out, and in the meantime, check out our thoughts on the matter below.

Record Of The Year

The Nominees:
Adele, “Rolling in the Deep”
Bon Iver, “Holocene”
Bruno Mars, “Grenade”
Mumford & Sons, “The Cave”
Katy Perry, “Firework”

Who Will Win: Adele, “Rolling in the Deep”
Bon Iver and Mumford & Sons could potentially split the indie votes, leaving room for the talented pop-soul diva who had a career-defining year to swoop in and take the category.

Who Should Win: Bon Iver, “Holocene”
With its pastoral instrumentation and Justin Vernon’s unmistakable falsetto, this track is one of the finest off of our favorite album of 2011.

Who Really Should Win: Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues”
If there was one track this year made you question your place in the world, it was probably Fleet Foxes’ “Helplessness Blues.” Frontman Robin Pecknold’s near-paranoid lyrics ask the big questions. The singer even touches on the meaning behind creating music itself in the loaded five-minute track backed by the band’s breathtaking arrangement and harmonies.—Tyler Kane

Album Of The Year

The Nominees:
Adele, 21
Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
Lady Gaga, Born This Way
Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops and Hooligans
Rihanna, Loud

Who Will Win: Adele, 21
The Grammys  are notoriously suckers for a smash hit, and Adele’s unstoppable album has been sitting pretty at the top of the charts for a whopping 19 straight weeks.

Who Should Win: Adele, 21
Working with an eclectic all-star production team (including Rick Rubin, Paul Epworth, and Ryan Tedder), Adele emerges with a well-manicured batch of songs that, while still showcasing her interest in layered musicality, shoot straight for the pop charts with each go-round—which is exactly where she should be aiming. This is what American Idol should sound like. This is what pop radio should sound like. This is what Adele should sound like.—Ryan Reed

Who Really Should Win: Bon Iver, Bon Iver
It retains the beautiful melancholy of For Emma, but in nearly every way, it’s just more. More layered, more diverse, more interesting. Justin Vernon brings in collaborators to do what they do best, but never at the expense of his sound and vision. It treads into new sonic directions without getting lost.—Josh Jackson

Song Of The Year
Thumbnail image for adele21.jpg

The Nominees:
Kanye West, “All of the Lights”
Mumford & Sons, “The Cave”
Bruno Mars, “Grenade”
Bon Iver, “Holocene”
Adele, “Rolling in the Deep”

Who Will Win: Adele, “Rolling In The Deep”
Everyone knew that Adele had an incredible voice; she had the Grammy for Best New Artist to prove that. But like she sings on “Rolling in the Deep,” “there’s a fire starting in her heart.” With the power of Amy Winehouse and the passion of old-school Alanis Morissette, she’s crafted a song that’s stayed at the top of the charts (and nearly every radio format) all year for good reason.—Ross Bonaime

Who Should Win: Bon Iver, “Holocene”
Song of the Year is a songwriting award, and Justin Vernon delivers some powerful lyrics like “at once I knew I was not magnificent” on this track. We beg to differ, Justin.

Who Should Really Win: Fleet Foxes, “Helplessness Blues”
“If I had an orchard, I’d work ’til I’m sore,” sings Pecknold. You can hear how badly he covets that idealized past and the contentment it promises, but the final line contains a telling revelation: “Someday I’ll be like the man on the screen.” Even the most beautiful ideas of our generation, our tiny lifelines in the insanity, come from a product. Art is our crutch and our release.—Shane Ryan

Best New Artist

The Nominees:
The Band Perry
Bon Iver 
J. Cole
Nicki Minaj 

Who Will Win: Bon Iver
We’re not really sure how an artist who established himself so memorably back in 2008 with For Emma, Forever Ago counts as a new artist, but the fact that the folks at NARAS are finally taking notice is a good sign.

Who Should Win: Bon Iver
Better late than never!

Who Really Should Win: Alabama Shakes
They were our favorite new band of 2011. Check out their recent Conan performance to find out why you’ll likely be seeing them at next year’s Grammys.

Best Pop Solo Performance
Thumbnail image for adele21.jpg

The Nominees:
Adele, “Someone Like You”
Lady Gaga, “You and I”
Bruno Mars, “Grenade”
Katy Perry, “Firework”
Pink, “F***in’ Perfect”

Who Will Win: Adele, “Someone Like You”
Adele’s poised to clean up big this year, especially when she’s going up against starlets like Gaga, Katy Perry and Pink, who will likely cancel each other out.

Who Should Win: Adele, “Someone Like You”
Adele’s voice is simply in a different league than her fellow nominees, and nowhere is that more apparent than on this heartbreaking, piano-driven power ballad.

Who Really Should Win: Adele, “Someone Like You”

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