By Josh Schonfeld
It’s that time of year again when artists turn from young ingénues to bonafide legends as they walk across the stage to accept their gramophone statuette. Which songs will join the ranks of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” and Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night,” among countless others, as winner of ROTY (Record of the Year)? This year is packed with female pop artists and relative newcomers, with Taylor Swift being the “veteran nominee” at the age of 25. Let’s break down each of the five nominees and analyze their chances at bringing home the gold at tonight’s ceremony.
“Fancy” – Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX
Best New Artist nominee Iggy Azalea has made quite a splash this past year with “Fancy.” The minimalist bass-heavy beat mixed with an unorthodox rap flow got Azalea the song of the summer as well as a coveted ROTY nomination. It’s a known fact that the aging Grammy voters do not like rap music, since no rap record has ever won ROTY, SOTY (Song of the Year), or even AOTY (Album of the Year). Azalea is a white female however, which could be unique enough to earn her the crown, despite the backlash she has received from the rap community.
“Chandelier” – Sia
While Sia is no stranger to the music industry, having written songs for Flo Rida, Katy Perry, and Rihanna, it wasn’t until her breakout solo smash, “Chandelier,” that got her a ticket to the Grammys. “Chandelier” mixes sweeping instrumentation with piercing vocals to create an epic song with a dark message hidden underneath the otherwise benign party lyrics. Although Sia is a definite contender for the trophy, her best bet will be in the SOTY category, where she is the clear frontrunner.
“Stay With Me” – Sam Smith
At only 22, Sam Smith is the youngest artist to ever be nominated in each of the Big Four categories (ROTY, SOTY, AOTY, Best New Artist) in a single year. This fact alone puts him as a frontrunner before even listening to the track. This melancholic ballad takes the listener on a roller coaster ride of sound with its quiet verses and lifting chorus creating a dynamic flurry of emotion. News of a lawsuit against the songwriters due to an uncanny resemblance to Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” could damage its chances of winning, but don’t be surprised if we see a Sam Smith sweep tonight.
“Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
Although Taylor Swift has been nominated twice previously in this category (2010’s “You Belong With Me” and 2013’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”), this is the first time she will have a fighting chance at winning. Let’s take a look at the facts: she is the only nominee to be previously nominated, she has both pop and country on her side, and oh yeah, the song is damn catchy. From the sing-along vocals to the simple-yet-clever lyrics all the way down to the use of big band instruments throughout the track. It’s safe to say that if “Shake It Off” doesn’t pull out the win for Swift, nothing will.
“All About That Bass” – Meghan Trainor
The year of the booty had to have one representative in ROTY, and if it couldn’t be “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj, then this is the next best thing. This plus-sized anthem put Meghan Trainor on the map this year by infusing doo-wop and calypso with self-empowerment lyrics the whole family can enjoy. Whether you liked it or not, this song was inescapable, which could be a blessing or a curse. While it raises its familiarity score, voters could also be burnt out on the song and skip over this entirely.
Should Win: “Shake It Off” – Taylor Swift
Will Win: “Stay With Me” – Sam Smith
Need someone to watch the Grammy Awards with? Watch with me! I’ll be tweeting throughout the show on The PoP Explo$ion‘s twitter page