Who’ll take home the big Grammys?

Grant Tillery

Tonight is the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, the loved and loathed ceremony that bestows awards on winners with questionable merit (i.e. Swift, Taylor — Kanye was on to something when he unceremoniously interruped her speech), and the trend is unlikely to break.  Per usual, the innovators will be ignored as the star-maker machine pushes the artist they believe will generate big bucks.  There's a big difference between who will win and who should win.

Record of the Year

Who should win: "Royals."  Lorde's debut single was simultaneously infectious and a biting social critique on the lavish, empty, heavily Instagrammed lifestyle of the 1%.  

Who will win: "Blurred Lines."  An incredibly infectious hook and stellar production by Pharrell save the song from Robin Thicke's sleazeball image.    

Album of the Year

Who should win: "Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City."  Kendrick Lamar's album is one of two magnum opuses released in 2013 (the other, "Yeezus", was relegated to Best New Rap Album).  Lamar is the best wordsmith in rap and knows flow like no other.

Who will win: "Red."  Hopefully, Kanye jumps on stage again and makes a plug for Kendrick.

Best New Artist

Who should win: Kendrick Lamar.  He's one of the few musicians changing the game, rather than repeating and recycling cliched ideas.

Who will win: James Blake.  The nominating committe has a preference for pasty white boys (see Bon Iver, fun.).

Best Alternative Album

Who should win: "Lonerism" or "Trouble Will Find Me."  Tame Impala and the National are two of the only indie rock bands that aren't playing Fleet Fox-esque dreck.  Tame Impala's psychedelic roots are a refreshing welcome from the crunchy granola of indie rock airwaves, and the National's jangly introspection hits all the right notes, audially and emotionally.

Who will win: "Modern Vampires of the City."  Vampire Weekend is the darling of the alternative music world.  Though their music is good, the outpouring of praise feels superfluous.  

Best Rap Performance

Who should win: "Swimming Pools (Drank)."  Poet laureate Lamar weaves a compelling tale about the ills of drank.  The catchy hook gets stuck in your head, but you won't want it out.

Who will win: "Started From The Bottom."  The best song off of Drake's "Nothing Was The Same," "Started From The Bottom" is the perfect party crank-up anthem, though monotonous and simplistic.

Best Rap Album

Who should win: "Yeezus."  The album of 2013, undeservedly slighted for Album of the Year.  Kanye West's masterpiece riled up his haters, but further cemented his status as a visionary.  For an album rife with superficiality, it's surprisingly deep and beautiful.

Who will win: "Nothing Was The Same."  Solely on the basis that Drake is the most media-friendly and least controversial rapper that released an album in 2013.