Why should you care about the Grammy Awards? Very valid question. But let’s face it: as the Writer’s Strike threatens to shut down more and more red carpet events, the 50th Annual Grammies may be the only constant in this year’s lagging awards season. In that light, the following is the seventeenth installment in my three-week countdown to February 10. Read below for my picks & pans in one of ’08’s many Grammy categories.
The award: Best Pop Vocal Album
Past five winners: John Mayer (Continuum); Kelly Clarkson (Breakaway); Ray Charles (Genius Loves Company); Justin Timberlake (Justified); Norah Jones (Come Away With Me)
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
Who’s Missing: For some reason, Grammy voters totally ignored two traditional favorites in this category — Kelly Clarkson (My December) and Norah Jones (Not Too Late). Clarkson has won two Grammies to date, including one in this category for 2005’s Breakaway. Jones, meanwhile, has collected eight awards in five years. A note to both of them: stay away from long, flowing dresses for your next album cover photo shoot.
Who Shouldn’t Be There: Bon Jovi. First, Bon Jovi was a rock band. Then they were a pop band. So it makes sense that their one Grammy is for…a country song? Last year, the boys took home top honors in the Best Country Collaboration category for “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” — the catchy tune that made them the first band in Billboard history to hit #1 on the pop and country singles charts. But by Bon Jovi standards, Lost Highway was a critical and commercial flop. To add injury to insult, it was shamelessly promoted; Jon Bon even took the SNL stage as host, proving forever that bandmate Richie Sambora is much better at snorting lines than remembering them.
Who Should Win: Feist. In one year alone, Feist achieved critical acclaim, reaped commercial success and forever changed the soundtrack of iTunes commercials from rock songs to indie ditties. And yesterday, she was awarded the Shortlist Music Prize for The Reminder. Few artists can balance indie cred and mainstream glamour so gracefully.
Who Will Win: Amy Winehouse. As long as Grammy voters can turn a blind eye to Amy’s tumultuous personal life, she’s a lock for this category. Back to Black was a phenomenal success in the states, “Rehab” redefined what a pop single could sound like, and Amy is far and away the most accomplished vocalist on this list. The only thing that can stop her from physically receiving this Grammy is if her father keeps her from attending the ceremony; expect her to win the award either way.