It is time to look at the contenders for the Rock & Alternative fields. The Rock field is as usual very hard to predict. Two years ago the Academy went veteran. But last year the winners and nominees were a bit mainstream and we saw several quasi-rock songs. Therefore, this year I am going to try to predict both and see if I get a better outcome. As for the Alternative field, it is not highly competitive. Let’s take a look:
BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE
- Foo Fighters — Something From Nothing
- Alabama Shakes — Don’t Wanna Fight
- Mumford & Sons — Believe
- Ryan Adams — Bad Blood
- AC/DC — Rock Or Bust
The Foo Fighters were the inaugural winners of this category, which was introduced in 2012. And their album Sonic Highways did not generate the buzz everyone expected, “Something from Nothing” was one of the biggest rock hits of the year. The other major contenders here are, another favourite in the general field, Alabama Shakes for “Don’t Wanna Fight”. And another regular in this category are Mumford & Sons. However, they shifted away from their folk-oriented music to a more alternative sound and the Academy voters might not like that. Another contender here is Ryan Adams for his rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood”. Adams was nominated last year. Last but not least, is the Australian legendary band AC/DC for their latest hit “Rock Or Bust”. AC/DC were a regular in the now defunct Best Hard Rock Performance category, winning once.
Other likely contenders:
- James Bay — Hold Back the River
- Fall Out Boy — Uma Thurman
- Florence + The Machine — What Kind Of Man
- Elle King — Ex’s & Oh’s
- Jack White — Would You Fight For Love?
BEST METAL PERFORMANCE
Only four submissions were disclosed. Therefore, I won’t be making any predictions for this category this year. There were, however, new recordings from former winners Slipknot and Iron Maiden, and former nominees (in the hard rock category): Disturbed, Deafheaven, P.O.D., and Marilyn Manson.
BEST ROCK SONG
- Something From Nothing — Foo Fighters
- Don’t Wanna Fight — Alabama Shakes
- Believe — Ted Dwane, Ben Lovett & Winston Marshall (Mumford & Sons)
- Uma Thurman — Andy Hurley, Liam O’Donnell, Patrick Stump, Pete Wentz & Jarrel Young (Fall Out Boy)
- Someone New — Andrew Hozier-Byrne & Sallay Mattu Garnett (Hozier)
The Best Rock Song category regularly contains 3 to 5 songs that are also contending in the performance category. I’m predicting three are going to be the same: “Something from Nothing”, “Don’t Wanna Fight” and “Believe”), “Bad Blood” is ineligible and “Rock or Bust” is very plain both music- and lyrically. Therefore, the other two potential nominees here are: “Uma Thurman”. This one was the Top 40 ‘rock’ tune of the year (resembling to last year’s winner, “Ain’t It Fun”); and last year’s Song of the Year nominee Hozier for “Someone New”.
Other likely contenders
- Black Sun — Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie)
- The Healing — Gary Clark, Jr.
- Hold Back the River — Iaian Archer & James Bay (James Bay)
- Mercy — Matthew Bellamy (Muse)
- Rock or Bust — Angus Young & Malcolm Young (AC/DC)
BEST ROCK ALBUM
- Foo Fighters — Sonic Highways
- AC/DC — Rock or Bust
- Ryan Adams — 1989
- Mumford & Sons — Wilder Mind
- Imagine Dragons — Smoke + Mirrors
Even if Sonic Highways does not make it to the Album of the Year line-up, it is a certain lock for Rock Album. The Foo Fighters are the biggest winners in this category with four awards out of six nominations. Following the Foos, is AC/DC’s Rock or Bust. The Academy love comeback albums (U2 last year, Led Zeppelin, Queens of the Stone Age in 2014). And of course the voters would love to reward Ryan Adam’s tribute 1989 album with a nomination. It will be Taylor Swift’s symbolical representation in the rock field. With no greater chances, we have Mumford & Sons’ mixed-received Believe. This album is a ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’, so it might not get a lot of support. The last rock album contender to look at is Imagine Dragons’ Smoke + Mirrors since it was one of the best-selling ‘rock’ albums of the year and they are former winners.
Other likely contenders
- James Bay — Chaos and the Calm
- Fall Out Boy — American Beauty/American Psycho
- Hozier — Hozier
- Muse — Drones
- Twenty One Pilots — Blurryface
BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC ALBUM
- Alabama Shakes — Sound & Color
- Björk — Vulnicura
- Tame Impala — Currents
- Father John Misty — I Love You, Honeybear
- Sufjan Stevens — Carrie & Lowell
The Alternative field is the field for the renegades of the pop and rock genres and that is why there is only one category. And this category usually features some of the most critically-acclaimed albums of the year. But the Academy generally disagrees with the critics.
Now the favourite to get not only the nomination but also the prize are Alabama Shakes for their sophomore Sound & Color. They are also among the favourites for Album of the Year. The second favourite is Björk’s Vulnicura. The Icelandic singer has been present in this category for all of her studio albums since 1995’s Post. At third place, the current kings of psychedelic rock, Tame Impala had their most commercially succesful album, Currents in contention. At fourth, we have Father John Misty for I Love You, Honeybear. An album that created a lot of buzz in the indie rock scene. And lastly, will Sulfjan Stevens finally get his GRAMMY nomination? Carrie & Lowell, as usual for Stevens’ albums, was universally-acclaimed but the voters seem to overlook that. However, there is not a big of a competition this year in the Alternative field.
Other likely contenders
- Beach House — Depression Cherry
- FKA Twigs — M3LL155X
- Modest Mouse — Strangers to Ourselves
- My Morning Jacket — The Waterfall
- Wilco — Star Wars