The rock field is my favourite and the one I have more knowledge of (when it comes to artists and recordings) however it is the hardest to predict. This is mainly because the screening and voting process is constatntly changing. Last year nominees were reviewed by the committee of voting members. The result was that newer bands gathered nominations leaving veterans and chart-toppers behind. This is not the case for the 59th GRAMMYs, however only those with expertise on rock music will be able to vote in this field. Because of this we might see a resurgence of veteran rock acts and chances of having Rihanna or twenty one pilots are very slim.
Let’s now take a look at the odds in the rock field. Recordings are listed in order of likelihood of being nominated.
Best Rock Performance
- David Bowie — “Blackstar”
- Paul Simon — “Wristband”
- Radiohead — “Burn the Witch”
- Beyoncé & Jack White — “Don’t Hurt Yourself”
- Savages — “Adore”
The only guaranteed nominee here is David Bowie whose experimental track “Blackstar” is also a strong contender for record and song of the year. And this is not only due to his death or the birthday tribute in the running, but because Bowie has been a constant nominee in this field since the early 1980s. The other veteran to be joining Bowie is Paul Simon who can grab a nod with the song “Wristband”. However Simon has never been nominated in the rock field. Radiohead is also expected to make an appearance after they were nominated for “Lotus Flower” off their last album in 2013. The other two predictions are quite tricky. Beyoncé could be getting her first rock nomination thanks to Jack White, with eleven Grammy awards including a win for rock performance in 2015. Ultimately, English rock group Savages did not appear in the posted submissions, but I’ve included them since the song “Adore” is possibly the best reviewed rock song of the year and also in part to the recent trend of nominating new and critically-acclaimed acts (such as Wolf Alice and Highly Suspect last year).
Other notable submissions include Foo Fighters’ “Saint Cecilia”, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Dark Necessities” and twenty one pilots’ “Heathens”.
Best Rock Album
- Paul Simon — Stranger to Stranger
- Cage the Elephant — Tell Me I’m Pretty
- Coldplay — A Head Full of Dreams
- Red Hot Chili Peppers — The Gateway
- The 1975 — I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it
There are some unexpected participants in the rock album category and a lot of diversity with artists ranging from dance/alt-pop to americana. This list of predictions might be completely different.
Once again there’s only one guaranteed nominee and that is Paul Simon, whose Stranger to Stranger is also among the favourites for album of the year. This will be the first time Simon is in the rock field having previously competed in pop and folk. Next in line is Cage the Elephant who previously competed in the alternative field and was moved to rock boosting their chances for another nomination. Then we have Coldplay, who had been nominated for every album since their debut record Parachutes in 2000. First in alternative (winning twice), thrice in rock (winning once), in pop two years ago, and now moved back again to rock. Yet, this move was risky —and strange as A Head Full of Dreams is the least rock record the British band had ever made. Another band with an extended Grammy resume are the Red Hot Chili Peppers, nominated for this category since 1999 with Californication. But The Gateway was not very well received by critics or fans. Rounding up the list are The 1975, without any previous Grammy record (they are also in the running for best new artist) but they had one of the best critically-acclaimed albums of the year, are also contenders for the prestigious category, and had received a lot of buzz on GrammyPro and other related social media.
Other notable submissions include: Foo Fighters’ Saint Cecilia, Wilco’s Schmilco, and Panic! At the Disco’s Death of a Bachelor.
Best Alternative Music Album
- David Bowie — Blackstar
- Radiohead — A Moon Shaped Pool
- Bon Iver — 22, A Million
- James Blake — The Colour in Anything
- Grimes – Art Angels
The alternative field is as usual packed with the best reviewed albums of the year. However in this award, Grammy history and media buzz are far more important than critics’ reviews.
Just like Jack White two years ago, Bowie was moved back to the alternative field and even if he fails the nod for album of the year, Blackstar is a shoe-in here. Radiohead are another constant nominee having competed in this category since their 1997’s album Kid A. Bon Iver, who beat Radiohead in 2012, are also expected to make a return. The two remaining spots might go to first-timers: James Blake who was previously nominated for artist of the year in 2014 and Canadian multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Grimes is also on the way for her first Grammy nod after campaigning her Art Angels at the recording academy throughout the year. And though her album is clearly synth-pop, Grimes’ chances are more higher in the alternative field.
Other notable submissions include ANONHI’s Hopelessness, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds’ Skeleton Tree, and MIA’s AIM.