2009 Grammy Wish List

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.


  1. I’m too lazy to list all my wish-list, but I will say I hope Plant/Krauss “Dixie Chick” the Grammys and win all of their awards. And I hope Kathy Griffin wins too. She is hilarious.

  2. I have to disagree about Trisha. I really like her, her voice and many of her songs, but I don’t think she makes the best albums of anyone of her generation. There are always 3-4 songs per album that I skip over because I don’t like the melody, production or some aspect of the songs.

  3. Outside of the Country Field, which is full of terrific, deserving nominees this year, I’m not particularly impressed with this year’s crop of Grammy nominees. As I mentioned in our preview, the Rock and R&B fields are especially lacking, and most of the Pop, Dance, Rap, and General Field categories have one or more nominees that stand out as poor choices.

    Still, I have a handful of nominees that I’m pulling for: M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes” in Record of the Year, Lil’ Wayne’s Tha Carter III in Album of the Year, Sheryl Crow’s Detours for Pop Vocal Album, Cyndi Lauper’s Bring Ya to the Brink for Dance Album, Coldplay’s “Violet Hill” for Rock Performance by a Duo or Group and Rock Song, and Janelle Monae’s “Many Moons” for Urban / Alternative Performance.

  4. Record of the Year: “Viva la Vida” by a nose over “Paper Planes” (I’m a sucker for Coldplay.)
    Song of the Year: “Viva la Vida”
    Album of the Year: Radiohead
    Best New Artist: Adele
    Best Female Pop Vocal: Pink communicates more in her entry than any of other nominees, making the other nominees seem very girlish.
    Best Pop Album: Crow’s Detours is a highlight of her career.
    Best Country Album: Johnson’s album is my favorite, but Loveless only owns one Grammy and she deserves some sort of prize for keeping the traditions of country music alive. Yearwood’s album is my 2nd favorite of her career (Hearts in Armor), but I do agree with Roger that she’s recorded a few inconsistent sets. No surprise, but I think Loveless has the best catalog of the last twenty years.
    Best Folk Album: Kathy Mattea
    Best Music Video: Gnarls Barkley. They won’t win Pop Vocal Group (Coldplay) or Best Alternative Album (Coldplay), but The Odd Couple is at least on par with St. Elsewhere. One of the most underrated acts in music.

    The R & B field is the worst this year, but I wouldn’t mind if Mary J. Blige added to her Grammy haul. Where are you, Erykah Badu?

  5. I agree 100% I dont think anyone has ever come close to Yearwood’s albums. She is def a album artist and not just a hit song artist. Ever detail is gone over with a fine tooth comb and she deserves a grammy win for album, but if not for this one, then I dont know when?

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