Grammy Wish List: 2007

Being a guy who writes for a music blog, I don’t get to vote for the Grammys. Even if I did, the rules would limit me to voting in only 8 categories, so the list that follows can only exist in my dreams. Even a real Grammy voter couldn’t select this many preferences, but they could certainly root for this many winners. Here are my picks in the 22 categories I care about this year:

General Categories

Record of the Year

  • Mary J. Blige, “Be Without You”
  • James Blunt, “You’re Beautiful”
  • Dixie Chicks, “Not Ready to Make Nice”
  • Gnarls Barkley, “Crazy”
  • Corinne Bailey Rae, “Put Your Records On”

It’s my favorite single of 2006, so you shouldn’t be surprised that I’m pulling for “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

Album of the Year

  • Dixie Chicks, Taking the Long Way
  • Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere
  • John Mayer, Continuum
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium
  • Justin Timberlake, FutureSex/LoveSounds

Again, the Chicks album was my favorite of 2006, and I’d love to see them win the award that most pundits seem to think they will. I’m not so confident, but if another act gets it, it should be Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Song of the Year

  • “Be Without You” – Johnta Austin, Mary J. Blige, Bryan-Michael Cox & Jason Perry
  • “Jesus, Take the Wheel” – Brett James, Hillary Lindsey & Gordie Sampson
  • “Not Ready to Make Nice” – Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison & Dan Wilson
  • “Put Your Records On” – John Beck, Steven Chrisanthou & Corinne Bailey Rae
  • “You’re Beautiful” – James Blunt, Amanda Ghost & Sacha Skarbek

I enjoy all five of these songs, but the Chicks song still gives me chills almost a year after first hearing it.

Best New Artist

  • James Blunt
  • Chris Brown
  • Imogen Heap
  • Corinne Bailey Rae
  • Carrie Underwood

Underwood deserves to cap off her amazing string of awards with a pair of Grammys, including Best New Artist.

Country Categories

Best Female Country Vocal Performance

  • Miranda Lambert, “Kerosene”
  • Martina McBride, “I Still Miss Someone”
  • LeAnn Rimes, “Something’s Gotta Give”
  • Carrie Underwood, “Jesus, Take the Wheel”
  • Gretchen Wilson, “I Don’t Feel Like Loving You Today”

It’s a great song to begin with, but “Jesus, Take the Wheel” soars because of Underwood’s brilliant performance.

Best Male Country Vocal Performance

  • Dierks Bentley, “Every Mile a Memory”
  • Vince Gill, “The Reason Why”
  • George Strait, “The Seashores of Old Mexico”
  • Josh Turner, “Would You Go With Me”
  • Keith Urban, “Once In A Lifetime”

Five great talents who are all worthy of Grammy love, but even though he’s won eight times before in this category, Gill should win for his stunning ballad.

Best Country Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocal

  • Dixie Chicks, “Not Ready to Make Nice”
  • The Duhks, “Heaven’s My Home”
  • Little Big Town, “Boondocks”
  • Rascal Flatts, “What Hurts the Most”
  • The Wreckers, “Leave the Pieces”

I enjoy all five of these records, and even though I think the Chicks should win, every one of these five tracks will be in my listening rotation for years to come.

Best Country Collaboration with Vocals

  • Bon Jovi & Jennifer Nettles, “Who Says You Can’t Go Home”
  • Solomon Burke & Dolly Parton, “Tomorrow is Forever”
  • Kenny Rogers & Don Henley, “Calling Me”
  • Rhonda Vincent & Bobby Osborne, “Midnight Angel”
  • Trisha Yearwood & Garth Brooks, “Love Will Always Win”

I’m going with the only record of the five that I particularly like. Yearwood & Brooks have won this before, but they don’t deserve it this time around. I have a feeling Burke & Parton will win, but I love the Jovi/Nettles hit.

Best Country Instrumental Performance

  • Casey Driessen, “Jerusalem Ridge”
  • Tommy Emmanuel, “Gameshow Rag/Cannonball Rag”
  • Bryan Sutton & Doc Watson, “Whiskey Before Breakfast”
  • Chris Thile, “The Eleventh Reel”
  • Jim VanClave, “Nature of the Beast”

Thile has grown from prodigy to genius. “The Eleventh Reel” is a mesmerizing performance.

Best Country Song

  • “Every Mile a Memory” – Brett Beavers, Dierks Bentley & Steve Bogard
  • “I Don’t Feel Like Loving You Today” – Matraca Berg & Jim Collins
  • “Jesus, Take the Wheel” – Brett James, Hillary Lindsey & Gordie Sampson
  • “Like Red On A Rose” – Melanie Castleman & Robert Lee Castleman
  • “What Hurts the Most” – Steve Robson & Jeffrey Steele

Wilson’s tepid performance can’t mask the quality of “I Don’t Feel Like Loving You Today”. In the mid-nineties, Berg would’ve given this one to Patty Loveless and a record for the ages would’ve been created.

Best Country Album

  • Dixie Chicks, Taking the Long Way
  • Alan Jackson, Like Red On A Rose
  • Little Big Town, The Road to Here
  • Willie Nelson, You Don’t Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker
  • Josh Turner, Your Man

I have deep affection for Jackson’s album, which is my favorite of his to date. In any other year, it would be my choice, but against the Chicks, there’s just no contest.

Best Bluegrass Album

  • The Grascals, Long List of Heartaches
  • Jim Lauderdale, Bluegrass
  • Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Instrumentals
  • Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Live at the Ryman
  • Rhonda Vincent, All American Bluegrass Girl

I always find live bluegrass more impressive, since it’s a bitch to get every note right on stage. A win for Stuart’s fantastic Ryman set would result in the coolest band name ever to be etched into a country Grammy.

Other Categories

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance

  • Christina Aguilera, “Ain’t No Other Man”
  • Natasha Bedingfield, “Unwritten”
  • Sheryl Crow, “You Can Close Your Eyes”
  • Pink, “Stupid Girls”
  • KT Tunstall, “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”

Some catchy hits here, but Pink’s vicious indictment of media obsession with vapid young women is essential listening.

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance

  • James Blunt, “You’re Beautiful”
  • John Legend, “Save Room”
  • John Mayer, “Waiting For the World to Change”
  • Paul McCartney, “Jenny Wren”
  • Daniel Powter, “Bad Day”

Sure, the Blunt and Powter songs got stuck in everybody’s head, but Mayer’s the only one with some meat on his bones here.

Best Pop Performance By a Duo or Group with Vocal

  • The Black Eyed Peas, “My Humps”
  • Death Cab Cuties, “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”
  • The Fray, “Over My Head (Cable Car)”
  • Keane, “Is It Any Wonder?”
  • The Pussycat Dolls, “Stickwitu”

The most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Give “My Humps” a Grammy for its sheer audacity.

Best Dance Recording

  • Depeche Mode, “Suffer Well”
  • Goldfrapp, “Ooh Laa Laa”
  • Madonna, “Get Together”
  • Pet Shop Boys, “I’m With Stupid”
  • Justin Timberlake & Timbaland, “SexyBack”

I understand that “Hung Up” was submitted for Best Female Pop, but why Warner Bros. submitted “Get Together” instead of the far superior “Sorry” for Madonna’s entry here is beyond me. It’s no competition for the smash Timberlake track which has been stuck in my head for months now.
Best Electronic/Dance Album

  • Goldfrapp, Supernature
  • Madonna, Confessions On A Dance Floor
  • Oakenfold, A Lively Mind
  • Pet Shop Boys, Fundamental
  • Zero 7, The Garden

Madonna hadn’t done a purely dance album since her first one back in 1983, and I’m sure Grammy will reward her for returning to her roots. It isn’t her best album, but it’s pretty darn good.

Best Alternative Music Album

  • Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
  • The Flaming Lips, At War With The Mystics
  • Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere
  • Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Show Your Bones
  • Thom Yorke, The Eraser

Gnarls Barkley is widely predicted to take this home, given their general field noms, but the Arctic Monkeys debut record was even better than the hype around it.

Best Traditional Folk Album

  • Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, I Stand Alone
  • Odetta, Gonna Let It Shine
  • Linda Ronstadt & Ann Savoy, Adieu False Heart
  • Bruce Springsteen, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
  • Ralph Stanley, A Distant Land to Roam

I absolutely love “Too Old To Die Young” and “Walk Away Renee” from the Ronstadt/Savoy set, but Springsteen’s disc-long tribute to Pete Seeger is the more consistent record.

Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album

  • Jackson Browne, Solo Acoustic Vol. 1
  • Rosanne Cash, Black Cadillac
  • Guy Clark, Workbench Songs
  • Bob Dylan, Modern Times
  • Mark Knopfler & Emmylou Harris, All the Roadrunning

I really liked the Cash album when it was first released. But since the illness and death of my father in recent weeks, it has taken on new meaning. It captures truths about losing your parents that are universal, whether your father was a legend like hers or an electrician like mine.

Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media

  • “Can’t Take It In” – Imogen Heap
  • “I Need to Wake Up” – Melissa Etheridge
  • “Our Town” – Randy Newman
  • “There’s Nothing Like a Show on Broadway” – Mel Brooks
  • “Travelin’ Thru” – Dolly Parton

The only song that manages to both elevate the film its featured in and also succeed as its own song independent from the film is the gospel number that should’ve won Dolly Parton an Oscar last year.

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical

  • Howard Benson
  • T Bone Burnett
  • Danger Mouse
  • Rick Rubin
  • Will.i.am

Rubin is long overdue for recognition in this category, and this is the year to do it, as all of his long-gestating projects with Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Diamond, Dixie Chicks and Johnny Cash were released during the eligibility period.

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4 Comments

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4 Responses to Grammy Wish List: 2007

  1. Paul W DennisNo Gravatar

    I would pick Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On” for both record of the year and song of the year . While I won’t predict a big future for her until she has a successful follow-up, put your records on was exquisite. For album of the year, I don’t have a pick although I suppose the Dixie Chicks CD would be my favorite of the actual nominees.

    Dierks Bentley’s “Every Mile a Memory” would be my choice for Male Country Vocal;, The Wreckers’ “Leave the Pieces” should take the Country Duo or Group award; Tommy Emmanuel’s “Gameshow Rag/Cannonball Rag” was the best country instrumental and Willie Nelson’s You Don’t Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker was easily the best country album of the actual nominees.

    I agree with Kevin in the folk categories but beyond that I either agree with Kevin’s selections or don’t give a flip one way or the other (mostly the latter)

    ,

  2. JonathanNo Gravatar

    My predictions are elsewhere, but as for what I’d vote for, most of the categories have at least 1 or 2 choices that deserve the recognition:

    - Album of the Year: St. Elsewhere, Gnarls Barkley.
    - Record of the Year: “Crazy,” Gnarls Barkley.
    - Song of the Year: “Put Your Records On,” if I had to choose from these five.
    - Best New Artist: Imogen Heap, the biggest talent of the bunch, semantics aside.
    - Country Album: You Don’t Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker, Willie Nelson, since I can’t in good faith call Jackson’s album a “country” album.
    - Male Country Vocal Performance: “The Reason Why,” Vince Gill, though he doesn’t really need more hardware.
    - Female Country Vocal Performance: “Kerosene,” Miranda Lambert. Next to Beyonce’s divisive “Ring the Alarm,” it’s the best *performance* nominated this year.
    - Group Country Vocal Performance: “Boondocks,” Little Big Town.
    - Country Vocal Collaboration: Solomon Burke & Dolly Parton, though it’s not even the best collaboration on his album.
    - Country Song: “I Don’t Feel Like Loving You Today.”
    - Traditional Folk Album: I Stand Alone, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott.
    - Contemporary Folk Album: Black Cadillac Rosanne Cash.

  3. Pingback: Grammy Live Blog - 2007 « Country Universe

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