The Rock and Alternative fields are somewhat difficult to predict. Usually veterans have an advantage, but new acts can always surprise. We also have a wide range of sub-genres in all of the categories ranging from folk-rock to radio-friendly pop-rock. Let’s now take a look at the odds for each category on both fields:
Best Rock Performance
- Jack White — Lazaretto
- The Black Keys — Fever
- Beck — Blue Moon
- Arctic Monkeys — Do I Wanna Know?
- Ryan Adams — Gimme Something Good
We have three different styles of rock music competing for the Best Rock Performance: Americana/Folk-rock (Ryan Adams, Beck, Jack White); psychedelic (The Black Keys); and desert rock (Arctic Monkeys). But it is most likely that the award will go to last year’s nominee, Jack White for “Lazaretto”. White has 6 GRAMMY Awards as a member of The White Stripes. If he wins, this will be his first solo award.
The other potential threat to White are 2013 winners, The Black Keys for their psychedelic/garage rock tune, “Fever”. Though they don’t seem to have the same buzz they got two years ago. Beck with “Blue Moon” could surprise as he’s got one nomination in the general field. The other two nominees —Arctic Monkeys and Ryan Adams, don’t stand high chances.
Best Metal Performance
- Slipknot — The Negative One
- Motörhead — Heartbreaker
- Mastodon — High Road
- Tenacious D — The Last in Line
- Anthrax — Neon Knights
The Best Metal Performance award usually goes to the oldest or the most well-known band. That is why the battle here is between Slipknot’s “The Negative One” and Motörhead’s “Heartbreaker”. Both are former winners in this category. However, one of the most popular and critically-acclaimed metal songs of the year was “High Road” by Mastodon. On the other hand we also have Tenacious D (consisting of comedians Jack Black and Kyle Glass) with “The Last in Line”, who are nominated for the first time in this field, and 5-time nominees, Anthrax for “Neon Knights”.
Best Rock Song
- Lazaretto by Jack White
- Blue Moon by Beck
- Fever by Dan Auerbach, Brian Burton, and Patrick Carney (The Black Keys)
- Ain’t It Fun by Hayley Williams and Taylor York (Paramore)
- Gimme Something Good by Ryan Adams
The winner of the Best Rock Performance category usually takes the songwriter’s award as well. The only time this didn’t happen was last year when all the nominees were different. However, this year four out of the five nominees are also contending for the performance award. Therefore it is highly likely that Jack White will win for his Americana-esque tune, “Lazaretto”. But if the voters want to go for something more melodic then Beck’s “Blue Moon” is the safest bet. Black Keys’ “Fever” and Ryan Adams’ “Gimme Something Good” might only get the award if they win in the other category. And Paramore’s “Ain’t It Fun”, the only entrant not contending Best Rock Performance, might not be considered rock enough to receive the award.
Best Rock Album
- Beck — Morning Phase
- U2 — Songs of Innocence
- The Black Keys — Turn Blue
- Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers — Hypnotic Eye
- Ryan Adams — Ryan Adams
All of the nominees have chances at winning: Album of the Year nominee (Beck); NARAS’ favourites (U2); former Best Rock Album winners (The Black Keys); veterans/critical acclaim (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers); and surprise nominee (Ryan Adams). However, Beck’s Morning Phase is also the favourite to win Album of the Year therefore he should not have a problem at winning the genre category. Two of Beck’s albums, Odelay in 1997 and Mutations in 2000 won the Best Alternative Music Album. This is Beck’s first time in the Best Rock Album category.
Best Alternative Music Album
- Jack White — Lazaretto
- Arcade Fire — Reflektor
- St Vincent — St Vincent
- Cage the Elephant — Melophobia
- Alt-J — This Is All Yours
The only category in the Alternative field, the Best Alternative Music Album, is highly competitive with some of the most critically-acclaimed album of the eligibility period in contention. However, it should be an easy win for Jack White’s Lazaretto. White has won this category three times as a member of The White Stripes. If he wins, he will set a new record as the artist with most wins in this category.
Canadian indie-rockers, Arcade Fire with Reflektor are competing in this category for the fourth time. Their Album of the Year-winning album, The Suburbs lost to The Black Keys’ Brothers. And don’t be surprised if one of the first-time nominees —St. Vincent, Cage the Elephant, Alt-J, beat White or Arcade Fire and end up winning as this is not an uncommon trend. It happened two years when Gotye beat the likes of Björk, Fiona Apple and Tom Waits.