SCO's official predictions crew takes on the Grammy Awards
For Blazers who can't wait until Sunday, Silver Chips Online is here to help out with a team of staffers to predict the winners of nine major categories. The "Fab Four" of auditory excellence is comprised of Josie, the Disney Channel diva, Maya, the pop princess, Johanna, the obscure oldies expert and Lucas, the beat-boxing backbone of the group with his old-school rap sensibilities. And the winners are…
"The Pretender," Foo Fighters
"Umbrella," Rihanna Featuring Jay-Z
"What Goes Around…Comes Around," Justin Timberlake
"Rehab," Amy Winehouse
Maya: In "Irreplaceable," Beyoncé strays away from her usual booty-shaking music and shows her versatility with more emotional lyrics and a mellow beat. With this transformation, and the obvious popularity of her song, I think it's safe to say that Beyoncé has this one in the bag.
Josie: JT has always been a favorite amongst the Grammy panel for his melodic pop ballads. A 2007 chart topper, "What Goes Around…Comes Around" makes for easy listening and a safe Grammy pick by the Prince of Pop himself.
Lucas: While Amy Winehouse may be too strung out to accept her award, her self-deprecating lyrical composition, "Rehab," brings R&B back to the pop scene. Despite her drug problems, Winehouse is by far the most talented artist in the pool for this category.
Johanna: I swear "Irreplaceable" was released two years ago, but Beyonce's soulful girl-power anthem is clearly a cut above the rest of the field. Winehouse is the critical darling of the group, but "Rehab" is one of the weaker cuts on her album and will not be able to hold up against the hip-hop diva.
"Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace," Foo Fighters
"These Days," Vince Gill
"River: The Joni Letters," Herbie Hancock
"Graduation," Kanye West
"Back to Black," Amy Winehouse
Maya: Even after the highly-anticipated release of Kanye's "Graduation," the album's hype didn't die down. With two hit songs, West killed the record sales and is surely more popular than any of the other nominees. I'm not a personal fan of his arrogance, but it looks like West will finally get the award he felt he so rightfully deserved last year.
Josie: Amy Winehouse and Kanye West are clearly the front-runners for this category. Grammy-worthy "Graduation" may just make up for West's recent hissy fits (though hopefully they made him "Stronger").
Lucas: Here we go again, with Kanye releasing another album about college – surprise, surprise. The boring beats and repetitive songs on "Graduation" eliminate it for me. Winehouse wraps it up here, as "Back to Black" is lyrically sound and musically catchy.
Johanna: Let Kanye whine and cry about another nomination not coming to fruition. With the retrospective "Back to Black," Amy Winehouse will win this award as surely as she will show up to the ceremony sporting a beehive hairdo.
"Before He Cheats," Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins, songwriters (Carrie Underwood)
"Hey There Delilah," Tom Higgenson, songwriter (Plain White T's)
"Like A Star," Corinne Bailey Rae, songwriter (Corinne Bailey Rae)
"Rehab," Amy Winehouse, songwriter (Amy Winehouse)
"Umbrella," Shawn Carter, Kuk Harrell, Terius "Dream" Nash and Christopher Stewart, songwriters (Rihanna, Jay-Z)
Maya: Honestly, everyone wants to stand under Rihanna's "Umbrella." The lyrics are catchy, the beat is dance-inspiring and kids of all ages know the song by heart. None of the other songs seemed to have picked up the same popularity as "Umbrella." Of course, we all hope for an underdog win once in a while, but it's not going to happen in this category.
Josie: Rihanna's smash hit "Umbrella" was the hot dance song of summer and fall 2007. "Umbrella's" unmistakable lyrics and melodic beat paired with Rihanna's youthful pipes make it the clear Song of the Year.
Lucas: This one comes down to "Rehab" and "Like A Star." These two songs boast vocal passion and instrumental creativity. The link between Winehouse and Bailey Rae is undeniable – artists who write their own songs have more motivation, power and enthusiasm in their voices. In a battle between these two songs, Baily Rae is the winner as she is a classier artist.
It's not every artist who can stretch a word from three syllables to ten. Rihanna's ubiquitous "Umbrella" was the anthem of last summer and almost a year after its release, the track is still going strong.
Maya: I love Paramore's music because it is perfect to jam out to and always gets me pumped. Some people may think it is kind of whiny, but the lyrics are inspired by real experiences and are easy to learn. Not to mention that the small group moved quickly from MTV commercials to concert tours, already selling out in five different countries.
Josie: Amy Winehouse may be a new artist but her style is very outdated. Unlike her competitor, the young, wholesome country singer and songwriter Taylor Swift's raw talent in her debut album bodes well for the artist's future career. Swift has outmatched Winehouse in talent and image and is well deserving of the title Best New Artist.
Lucas: Again Winehouse is the winner – she synthesizes soul, R&B and jazz genres flawlessly. Feist is the runner-up in a close second. While she may have unique music videos, her songs are too simplistic and repetitive, something that she will hopefully grow out of as she develops as an artist.
Johanna: With a husky, emotional voice reminiscent of jazz divas of yonder year, Winehouse is definitely the best new artist of the year and should blow her mediocre competition away. An American Idol reject, really? And I thought Soulja Boy's nomination for "Best Rap Song" was a low blow to American society.
"Lost Highway," Bon Jovi
"The Reminder," Feist
"It Won't Be Soon Before Long," Maroon 5
"Memory Almost Full," Paul McCartney
"Back to Black," Amy Winehouse
Maya: Well, considering I am the pop princess, Maroon 5's new album has my vote. It's upbeat, fun and memorable. Feist has a Regina Spektor feel to her that makes her a close second, but it won't enough to beat Maroon 5.
Josie: The soulful ballads and quirky love songs that comprise "The Reminder" make Feist's debut one to remember. It's a long-shot, but this album is truly genuine with a unique edge that the other pop albums lack. Feist and Winehouse are separated from the other contenders through the one thing that unites their albums — their rich and unique voices. There is a chance that Feist could edge out Winehouse and her beehive for the Grammy.
Lucas: Paul McCartney's album does not exactly recapture his magical days with the Beatles, but it does enough to win this category. The music is uplifting, but avoids becoming obnoxiously happy-go-lucky. When McCartney was in his younger days, he asked if we would still need him when he turned 64. If this album is any evidence – we still do.
Johanna: Though a solid effort from ex-Beatle Paul McCartney could challenge her Grammy sweep, expect the "Wino" herself to walk away with this one. Grammy voters like to reward artists who have proven their longevity in the business, which could give McCartney an advantage. However, "Back to Black" was one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year. Innovative artists win every time and in this case, that means Winehouse.
"Revival," John Fogerty
"Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace," Foo Fighters
"Magic," Bruce Springsteen
"Sky Blue Sky," Wilco
Maya: The Foo Fighters are the real American Idols out of these nominees. They embody the essence of rock with every one of their songs.
Josie: Daughtry clearly did not need the crowning title "American Idol" to become an American idol. This rocker's eponymous album topped the charts in 2007 with hits like "It's Not Over," "Home" and "Over You." With his unique vocals and catchy choruses, Daughtry could be the black horse in this race.
Lucas: With soft-voiced Jeff Tweedy leading the way, Wilco will add another Grammy to their shelf of success. The country-inspired, alternative rock group comfortably unites smooth lyrics with gentle music in their newest album. Legendary Bruce Springsteen has veered far too sharply towards pop in his new album, "Magic," which will cost him more than just a Grammy.
Johanna: Unlike most of the other categories, there is no obvious frontrunner for "Best Rock Album." I'll go with tradition and pick Bruce, a perennial Grammy favorite. For "Magic," Springsteen reunited with the E Street Band, his back-up band from his 80s heydays, and the collaboration makes for more than a few rousing foot-stompers.
"Alright, Still…," Lily Allen
"Neon Bible," Arcade Fire
"Wincing the Night Away," The Shins
"Icky Thump," The White Stripes
Maya: I don't really know all of these nominees, and the White Stripes seemed to peak a few years ago. But I do know Lily Allen and I think her hit song "Smile" has a bubbly and light feel to it that makes it likeable. Based on that, I think Lily Allen has the greatest chance of winning.
Josie: Mellow, melodic and quirky, The Shins' latest album gave devoted indie fans more of what they love about the band and converted many along the way. I wouldn't be surprised if this satisfying album added a Grammy to the Shins' repertoire.
Lucas: The Shins experimented a bit with their newest album. They whipped together an eclectic palette of songs that range from near hip-hop beats to their usual moody alternative rock rhythms. "Wincing the Night Away" is a classic example of a band in its odyssey years, and while The Shins may be exploring new horizons, their product still pleases.
Johanna: After a stint with the Raconteurs, Jack White has teamed up with ex-wife Meg once again to create one of the White Stripe's strongest albums yet in "Icky Thump." White's penchant for distortion-heavy, bluesy guitar solos as well as Meg's fearlessness to attack the skins makes for an outstanding collection of hard-driving songs sure to inspire a bit of air-instrument play.
"Just Like You," Keyshia Cole
"East Side Story," Emily King
"Because of You," Ne-Yo
Maya: I didn't even know Fantasia had an album, but that aside, Ne-Yo is the best artist of the bunch. His smooth voice and suave dance skills put him at the top of my list (I even blew out my car speakers listening to his album). "Because of You" is full of seductive love songs that make every teenage girl yearn for Ne-Yo, and the Grammy judges probably feel the pull too.
Josie: Akon's chart-topping album has a flavor that his rivals lack. The catchy melodies of "Don't Matter" and "I Wanna Love You" overshadow even Ne-Yo's songs.
Lucas: Newcomer Emily King wraps up this category as the singer draws on her passionate and soulful roots to deliver a well-rounded album. With a polished voice and skillful guitar abilities, King mixes together an assortment of musical influences to create her own style, which inspires as well as entertains. While she flows well with hip-hop neophyte, Lupe Fiasco, in "Walk In My Shoes," it would be nice to see her perform with the likes of Mos Def and Talib Kweli sometime soon.
Johanna: I thought long and hard about selecting Akon to win this one, but as his album title may soon be autobiographical due to inappropriate relations with underage fans, I'm going to go with Keyshia Cole. "Let It Go," her single featuring Missy Elliot and Lil' Kim, topped Billboard's R&B charts, and the so-called "next Mary J. Blige" certainly has the pipes to earn herself the award.
"Finding Forever," Common
"Kingdom Come," Jay-Z
"Hip Hop Is Dead," Nas
"T.I. vs. T.I.P.," T.I.
"Graduation," Kanye West
Maya: The obvious pick for this category would be Kanye West, but I'm rooting for Common. His rhymes are more meaningful and serve as a breath of fresh air amongst the more familiar 21st century womanizing rappers.
Josie: Once again, Kanye will win it for the much anticipated "Graduation." Hits like "Stronger" and "Can't Tell Me Nothing" combine to make an album that will be hard to beat for the Grammy.
Lucas: Nas may not have the slickness that he did on "Illmatic," but "Hip Hop is Dead" still outshines the competition. The New York rapper can out-rhyme and out-flow any MC in the business, and his beats are rhythmic and solid. The fact that T.I is on this list is simply embarrassing. He is a classless, egotistical rapper who cannot live up to the image he presents, which shows on his newest album.
A note on Kanye West: For someone who dropped out of college, West still seems to be obsessed with the institution. When he finally moves on, his music will follow suit, and he will mature as a rapper; hopefully "Graduation" is truly a departure.
Johanna: If Lucas thinks Nas is the sure winner of this category, then his testimony is good enough for me. Nas it is!
Lucas Alvarado-Farrar. Lucas is half Honduran and half American, but all Mexican. He is a New York native and naturally a fan of the Bronx Bombers. Lucas is a senior in CAP, plays soccer and runs track, and likes pretty much any sports activity. He is fond ... More »
Maya Calabrese. Maya is a SSEEENNNIIOOORRR! Her guilty pleasures include MTV, chocolate, boys and blasting music in her granny mobile with the windows down. More »
Josie Callahan. Josie Callahan is particularly opinionated despite her small appearance. She loves everything Irish and her life is consumed by her one true love- Irish Dancing- which suits her just fine. She also adores British accents, performing, theatre, tiaras, and sparkly dresses. Josie is particularly excited ... More »
Johanna Gretschel. Johanna Gretschel is pretty much a BEAST at life. Her three most favorite things in the world are: food, hot 80's dance parties and running (probably in that order). She enjoys matching her ribbons with her spandex, and wishes that Madonna (circa 1985) and Gwen ... More »