2014 Grammy Predictions: A Look at the Early Contenders

justin 2020 experienceWith only two months remaining before the Grammy eligibility window closes, it’s time to start making some early 2014 Grammy predictions. Who will walk away with the most awards in 2014?

Taylor Swift is right at the top of the list in any Grammy discussion. The former Album of the Year winner has racked up seven Grammys in her career. Her blockbuster “Red” album came out after last year’s eligibility deadline, which means it’s going to be a contender in every major category in 2014. Consider “Red” an overwhelming favorite for an Album of the Year nod. Swift will also be eligible to have songs appear in both the country and pop fields, so expect her to take a handful of Grammy noms next year.

Kanye West will also score a few for his “Yeezus” album. Despite all the griping West does about only winning “the black categories” at the Grammys, he has claimed 21 Grammys in his career already, which is just absurd. “Yeezus” is a critics’ favorite and will certainly earn a Best Rap Album nod. The question is whether it will appear in the general Album of the Year category. That remains to be seen, though our inclination is to bet against it.

Justin Timberlake is a shoo-in for an Album of the Year nod for “The 20/20 Experience” (and we think he’ll probably win the award, at least based on how the field is shaping up now.) It’s a commercial and a critical success and the Academy will want to reward his comeback.

Who else could challenge Swift and Timberlake for Album of the Year? Among the early favorites are Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox,” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist,” and Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories.’ Lady Gaga’s “ARTPOP” will not be released in time to make the 2014 Grammy Awards cutoff date, fyi.

There’s usually at least one AOTY contender from the rock genre, but so far this year, the pickings are slim. The top-selling rock records of the year belong to Fall Out Boy, Black Sabbath, Kid Rock, and Vampire Weekend, and we can’t imagine any of those appearing in the top category. When it comes to rock music, we’ll have to be patient and see what the next couple months bring.

Kacey Musgraves’ brilliant “Same Trailer Different Park” deserves an Album of the Year nod but could get left out since the Recording Academy typically doesn’t put two country albums in the category. (Yes, they still consider Swift country, even though she’s more pop these days.) Expect Musgraves to secure a Best Country Album nod, at least.

If we had to name a final five right now for Album of the Year, we’d choose Swift, Timberlake, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Mars, and either Kanye or something rock music TBD.

How about Record of the Year predictions for the 2014 Grammy Awards? That’s a tough call, but all of the following songs are at least in the discussion: Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” and “Mirrors,” Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven,” Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble,” Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason,” and even Adele’s “Skyfall,” which won the Oscar. We’re not ready to make a prediction just yet.

Another interesting question will be whether the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis same-sex marriage anthem, “Same Love,” earns a Song of the Year nod. There’s a very good chance of that happening. Stay tuned.

Who do you think will be nominated for the 2014 Grammy Awards?

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