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Grammy predictions: who will and should win

Every year, an esteemed panel of “experts” chooses the best music across a variety of genres. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences prepares for its 54th Grammys Sunday.

With neither the space nor the knowledge to choose winners in all 78 categories, the Oracle makes picks for some of the awards in pop, rock and hip-hop.

Record of the Year


“Rolling in the Deep” – Adele

“Holocene” – Bon Iver

“Grenade” – Bruno Mars

“The Cave” – Mumford & Sons

“Firework” – Katy Perry

Who will win: “Rolling in the Deep”

Who should win: “Rolling in the Deep”

The first single off Adele’s album “21” was not only the best-selling single in 2011, but also reached No. 1 on charts in 11 countries.

The most remarkable thing about the song is its accessibility. The commercial success of “21,” and specifically “Rolling in the Deep,” ensured Adele’s Grammy success almost automatically.

Album of the Year


“21” – Adele

“Wasting Light” – Foo Fighters

“Born This Way” – Lady Gaga

“Doo-Wops & Hooligans” – Bruno Mars

“Loud” – Rihanna

Who will win: “21”

Who should win: “21”

Liken Adele’s impending award success to Nora Jones’ in 2003. Their styles are comparable, but Adele’s offers power and soul to listeners looking for more than just piano ballads.

Lady Gaga gives her some slight competition in this category, but Adele’s superior vocal ability and sophistication will edge out her eccentric competition.

Song of the Year


“All of the Lights” – Kanye West and Rihanna

“The Cave” – Mumford & Sons

“Grenade” – Bruno Mars

“Holocene” – Bon Iver

“Rolling in the Deep” – Adele

Who will win: “Rolling in the Deep”

Who should win: “All of the Lights”

Adele is still rolling while Kanye waits for his chances in the hip-hop categories. “Rolling in the Deep” is just too classy for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to give the award to the guy that cut off Taylor Swift.

Though I enjoy “All of the Lights” more than “Rolling in the Deep,” I can’t help but think Kanye might have pulled a win if not for this line: “I slapped my girl, she called the Feds.”

Best New Artist


The Band Perry

Bon Iver

J. Cole

Nicki Minaj


Who will win: Bon Iver

Who should win: J. Cole

Bon Iver pulls this one out for utter uniqueness. There aren’t many sounds that can be compared to this band.

Ironically, neither of these choices are all that “new,” seeing as Bon Iver’s first album came out in 2008 and J. Cole has been a mixtape sensation since 2007. But I guess this category really means “artists we are just now noticing.”

Best Rock Album


“Rock ‘N’ Roll Party Honoring Les Paul” – Jeff Beck

“Wasting Light” – Foo Fighters

“Come Around Sundown” – Kings of Leon

“I’m With You” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

“The Whole Love” – Wilco

Who will win: “Wasting Light”

Who should win: “Wasting Light”

It’s likely the Academy put these other nominees as placeholders. No way is Dave Grohl not hoisting the gramophone for “Wasting Light.”

The closest competitor is Wilco, with Kings of Leon and Red Hot Chili Peppers failing to improve on theiralready-enjoyable designs. “Wasting Light” will get extra consideration for reuniting the surviving members of Nirvana for the first time since Kurt Cobain’s death.

Best Rap Album

“Watch the Throne” – Jay-Z and Kanye West

“Tha Carter IV” – Lil’ Wayne

“Lasers” – Lupe Fiasco

“Pink Friday” – Nicki Minaj

“My Beautiful Dark Twisted

Fantasy” – Kanye West

Who will win: “Watch the Throne”

Who should win: “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”

Music should always be judged in terms of albums, as songs rarely ever carry the weight that an album in totality can.

Lupe Fiasco’s “The Show Goes On” and “Words I Never Said” are two of the best rap songs of 2011, but the rest of the album falls far short. “Tha Carter IV” also falls way short of expectation and “Pink Friday” is only in there to show the female rappers some love.

That leaves Kanye West against himself and Jay-Z. The buzz surrounding “Watch the Throne” should carry it to victory, but the thematic diversity of Kanye’s solo album wins in my opinion. “Watch the Throne” had only one theme, which was, “Look how awesome we are!”