Silver Chips Online

Clamoring for Grammy glamour

The official guide to the 2006 Grammy Awards

By Ethan Kuhnhenn, Online Managing Editor, Abe Schwadron, Online Managing Editor and Josh Zipin, Online Managing Sports Editor
February 8, 2006
The Grammy Awards are more than just hardware. The Music Industry's Oscars aren't about taking home the mini record player trophies. The Grammys are about respect. Artists put their hearts and souls into their works and this is when they get recognized for it. On a night when every majore musical artist holds their breath hoping to hear their name, SCO offers its very own guide to the 48th annual Grammy Awards, complete with nominations for selected categories and our predictions.

Song of the Year

Prediction: Mariah Carey
The second single from Mariah Carey's 2005 album, "The Emancipation of Mimi," deserves the Song of the Year award for its stellar production and simple message that "We Belong Together." The song is a universal love anthem that brings Mariah's vocals to the forefront with a simplified musical arrangement and classic lyrics. Co-producers Carey, Jermaine Dupri and Manuel Seal created a relaxed tempo with a simple set of piano chords to complement the R&B veteran's breathy vocals. Carey also gives credit to her musical influences in the song, referencing Bobby Womack's "If You Think You're Lonely Now" and Babyface's "Two Occassions." Dupri's hip-hop influence is evident on the track, as Carey sheds her traditionally slow, whiney vocals in favor of a mix of long and short notes and even some near-rapping. Carey displays her classic, powerful voice as the track comes to a close, putting an exclamation point on the hottest track of the year.

Best New Artist

Prediction: John Legend
John Legend burst onto the music scene in 2004 with his soulful and powerful voice on Kanye West's knockout album, "The College Dropout." Since then, Legend has gained recognition as a solo artist with his first single, "Used to Love U," which captured listeners' ears with its gospel vibe and brilliantly delivered vocals. Even in his short time in the music spotlight, Legend's uncanny ability to adapt to hip-hop, R&B and gospel beats gives him the credibility of a veteran vocalist. The soulster has produced two top-100 songs and his debut album, "Get Lifted," reached number four on the charts. His close work with rap mogul Kanye West has produced a bevy of crossover hits like "Number One" and "They Say" that have blended hip-hop and R&B to the delight of fans. Though he may be nominated for Best New Artist in 2006, he will most certainly be an early candidate for more prestigious awards in 2007.

Best Video

Prediction: Missy Elliot
This year's Best Video category features an eclectic mix of artists. Missy Elliot, a traditional heavyweight in the category who has been nominated three times for Best Video, will be looking for her first award tonight. A four-time Grammy winner, Elliot is known for her surreal, brightly hued videos. But don't count out the competition from equally imaginative artists like the Gorrilaz and Jamiroquai, who have also taken a peculiar approach to their videos. It's going to be a battle of the bizarre Wednesday night, and Missy Elliot will hope that the third times the charm. Her video "Lose Control" may be the most outrageous and entertaining yet. A special-effects laden spectacle, "Lose Control" features Missy's signature choreographed dance pieces in exotic desert locales. Thanks to special effects, dancers fly through the air, hover above the ground and perform back-breaking aerial stunts. "Lose Control" is over-the-top, yes — and definitely Grammy-worthy.

Best Rap Album

Prediction: Common
The only newcomer to the Grammy Awards may very well win one of the most competitive categories. Common, an alternative rap artist who only recently became mainstream, and his 2005 album "Be" may have what it takes to edge out fellow Chicago native Kanye West for the Best Rap Album award. Interestingly, Common worked extensively with Kanye to produce "Be" and he is also featured in several tracks on Kanye's "Late Registration." Because both artists were integral to the success of each other's album, neither Common nor Kanye should be entirely disappointed if the other takes home the award. That being said, both albums are unique. Common focuses more on his philosophical flow and Kanye focuses more on production. The judges' decision may rest on the fact that Kanye has already been nominated for the Best Album and Best Record categories, so it wouldn't make much sense if Kanye had the Best Album but didn't take home the Best Rap Album Grammy

Album of the Year

Prediction: Kanye West
It's time. After complaining last year about not winning Best New Artist, Kanye West will rightfully get the recognition he deserves for the best album of the year, "Late Registration." With songs like the number one hit "Gold Digger," and the upbeat "Touch the Sky," West proved once and for all that he is one of the premier creative influences in hip-hop today. Although he has mastered the art of music, he hasn't yet mastered the modesty and respect for fellow artists that should come along with such stardom. West used choice words when speaking about his chances of winning album of the year this year. In a Washington Post interview, West said, "I was the face of the Grammys last year. I'm 10 times that [this year]," West said. "Get your cameras ready… If I don't win Album of the Year, I'm gonna really have a problem with that."

Pop Album of the Year:

Prediction: Gwen Stefani
Maybe it's the striking blonde hair. Or it could be the ruby red lipstick. Plenty of things about Gwen Stefani stand out, including her music. Her remake of the classic "Fiddler on the Roof" song "Rich Girl" was one of the most outlandish but successful songs of the year. Similarly, "Hollaback Girl" was a catchy song that people learned to love. If there was Grammy for "Song that gets stuck in your head the easiest," Gwen Stefani would definitely win for "Hollaback Girl." With songs like these and an undeniably distinct style, Stefani deserves to win Pop Album of the Year.

Record of the Year

Prediction: Gorillaz
Nominations for the second most prestigious Grammy award for 2006, Record of the Year, include a variety of pop music acts such as Gwen Stefani and Kanye West. But none of the records rival Gorillaz's famous single, "Feel Good Inc." The United Kingdom's ever-popular virtual band was thrust into the American pop music scene in early May with the release of this single, which rose to number 14 on the billboard chart. Featuring De La Soul and production from DJ Danger Mouse, the record is known for its catchy singsong refrain, which is sung by the fictional character Noodle.

Best Alternative Music Album

Prediction: The Arcade Fire
In the past, the Grammy award for Best Alternative Album has been presented to such noteworthy albums including Radiohead's "Kid A" and Wilco's "A Ghost is Born." Canadian indie rock group The Arcade Fire is the only nominee to live up to these albums with their first recording, "Funeral." Following a series of tragedies surrounding the band, it explores the idea of death amazingly without becoming overly dark or depressing. Tracks range from the brilliantly introspective opener, "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)," to the intensely emotional "Rebellion (Lies)." This fusion of emotions, combined with an extremely dedicated and expressive band, makes for a touching album and an even greater live performance.

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