February 7, 2009
For the third year in a row, I’m sharing my personal Grammy Wish List.
2007 was a good year, with my preferences winning in 15 of the 22 categories I cared about – a 68% success rate.
2008 was less pleasing. There were only 14 races that interested me last year, and my favorites triumphed in just 4 of them – a 29% success rate.
This year, my wish list features 17 categories. I’ve voiced opinions on many races in other threads, but these are the ones that I truly care about this year. I’ll keep a running tally in our annual live blog on Sunday night.
Check out the full list of nominees and add your own wish list in the comments!
Record of the Year: M.I.A., “Paper Planes”
I’ve been waiting a long time for this type of sound to break through into mainstream pop music. My first school community had a large Hindu population, and some of my students had exposed me to the style that is featured on this record. Good stuff.
Album of the Year: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Raising Sand
I love the mood of this album. I can put it on and get lost in the grooves.
Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Pink, “So What”
She’s one of the best pop singers of her generation, so I’m glad to see that Pink is being embraced by radio and record buyers again. She really should have won this award for “Who Knew,” which missed its chance because of it becoming a hit on its second try. “So What” is nearly as good.
Best Male Pop Vocal Performance: Jason Mraz, “I’m Yours”
A friend of mine made a convincing comparison between Eminem and Jason Mraz in terms of lyrical creativity. I love the idiosyncratic vocal patterns on this.
Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals: Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake and Timbaland, “4 Minutes”
Three artists with very different styles come together for a record that is cohesive without sacrificing any of their signature sounds. I doubt they’ll beat Plant & Krauss, though.
Best Dance Recording: Madonna, “Give It 2 Me”
Hard Candy disappointed me at first, but has grown on me over time. It’s now one of my favorite Madonna albums. This is one of the bestcuts.
Best Female R & B Vocal Performance: Alicia Keys, “Superwoman”
I’ve never been a big fan of Keys or R&B, but this song blew me away. Granted, I first saw it on YouTube accompanying clips of a female politician who is a personal heroine of mine, but I like the song outside of that context, too.
Best Female Country Vocal Performance: Trisha Yearwood, “This is Me You’re Talking To”
Like last year, I’d be happy with any of the winners, but this is one of my top five favorite performances of Trisha Yearwood’s. I never get tired of it.
Best Male Country Vocal Performance: Brad Paisley, “Letter to Me”
Longtime readers of Country Universe know that I’m not a big fan of Paisley. I am a big fan of this performance, though. His vocal is flawless and the song is sentimental without being cloying.
Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals: Sugarland, “Stay”
Still love this one. Jennifer Nettles has never sounded better, with the possible exception of her vocal on “Very Last Country Song.”
Best Country Collaboration with Vocals: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, “Killing the Blues”
Another great category. The Plant & Krauss track is the best collaboration of the five. Their voices blend seamlessly. It’s my favorite track on their album.
Best Country Song: Ashley Gorley & Bob Regan, “Dig Two Graves”
Possibly my favorite country song of the past year. I truly hope that Alan Jackson or George Strait covers it, so it gets the exposure that it deserves.
Best Country Album: Trisha Yearwood, Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love
I think Yearwood makes better albums than anyone else of her generation. This is one of her best, in the same league as Real Live Woman and just a smidgen below Hearts in Armor.
Best Traditional Folk Album: Kathy Mattea, Coal
My favorite country album of 2008. Grammy’s been good at rewarding her for her most ambitious work (“Where’ve You Been,” Good News). I hope they do so again.
Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album: Emmylou Harris, All I Intended to Be
Despite the category, it’s actually her first real country album since 1993′s Cowgirl’s Prayer. I enjoyed it more than any of her albums since 1995′s Wrecking Ball.
Best Comedy Album: Kathy Griffin, For Your Consideration
This album is good for more than a few big laughs, but I’m hoping it wins for another reason. Griffin recorded it for the sole purpose of winning a Grammy, as the title shows. I’m a big fan of enormous audacity.
Best Musical Show Album: In the Heights
Call me a bad New Yorker, but I just don’t care for musical theater. I’m rooting for this because the mastermind behind all of it, Lin-Manuel Miranda, went to my high school. I’m not surprised he’s already a Tony winner. He wrote a musical when he was a junior, and the songs from it still get stuck in my head.