The arts staff share and compare their Grammy predictions

by Long Do | 2/14/17 1:45am

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by Nalini Ramanathan / The Dartmouth

Some claim that the Grammy Awards don’t matter anymore. Regardless, I, along with the rest of the arts staff, offered predictions for this year’s Grammys, which aired this past Sunday. Here’s how the staff faired with the results.

Best New Artist

Nalini Ramanathan

The nominees for this category were Chance the Rapper, Anderson .Paak, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini and The Chainsmokers. Historically, this award went to the most commercially successful artist, leading some to peg The Chainsmokers as the likely winners. The DJ duo also had an advantage based on a “vote-splitting” theory, seeing as Chance and Paak could split the R&B and hip-hop vote while Morris and Ballerini split the country vote to put the EDM artists “closer” to a victory.

I believe the voters chose the right winner in Chance, whose latest album, “Coloring Book,” received unanimous acclaim throughout 2016 for its experimentation and empowering content. The majority of the staff also called it, with 83 percent picking Chance for the award.

Record of the Year

There weren’t many surprise nominees in this category. Adele’s “Hello” appeared to be the likely winner as soon as the single came out. Meanwhile, “Formation” by Beyoncé, “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots and “7 Years” by Lukas Graham were locked in as nominees for months. Rihanna and Drake’s “Work” got in, perhaps, over Drake’s “One Dance” and Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” in a tight race for the last spot.

This category clearly favors the hits. Still, it would have been nicer had the Grammys noticed young alternative artists like Solange (“Cranes in the Sky”), Mitski (“Your Best American Girl”) and The 1975 (“The Sound”). Just wishful thinking, but they all deserved the recognition.

The arts staff remained evenly split, with three people voting for Beyoncé and three people for Adele. Critics may also love Beyoncé, but the Grammy powers-that-be did not “get in formation,” and Adele walked away with this award.

Song of the Year

The category, which honors the songwriters, featured Adele, Beyoncé and Graham along with Bieber (“Love Yourself”) and Mike Posner (“I Took a Pill in Ibiza”). Some people predicted that rock legend David Bowie’s “Blackstar” would make the list, but Posner surprisingly received a nomination instead. I can see why voters went for “Love Yourself,” but I have yet to comprehend the love for “7 Years.” Not that Graham’s track is a bad song, but other artists like Bowie are more deserving of the recognition.

In the past, if the winner of this category differed from that of Record of the Year, it is typically because the winner of one category is not nominated in the other. That said, Posner’s record, whose EDM remix never does its lyrics justice, could have received the win. But no one on the staff agreed. Two people voted for “Formation,” two people voted for “Hello” and one person voted for “Love Yourself.” The champion in this category was, in fact, Adele, who at this point is two-for-two.

Album of the Year

Before the announcement of nominees for this major category, Radiohead’s “A Moon Shaped Pool” and Bowie’s “Blackstar” were widely expected to claim the eventual victory. Then, the voters made embarrassing mistakes and snubbed both records. The race, however, remained as competitive and unpredictable as in any other year. In addition to a three-way competition among Adele (“25”), Beyoncé (“Lemonade”) and Sturgill Simpson (“A Sailor’s Guide to Earth”), Drake and Bieber were nominated for “Views” and “Purpose,” respectively.

Although “Lemonade” is one of the most acclaimed LPs released in 2016, the Grammys have been reluctant to recognize urban albums in this category, having rewarded hip-hop and R&B artists only twice in the last 20 years: Lauryn Hill in 1999 and OutKast in 2004. Still, four out of six members of our staff picked “Lemonade” to win.

Regardless, the Grammys love Adele. While it is extremely hard to win Album of the Year twice she managed to secure the win for the most prestigious award once again.