The 59th Grammy awards will take place on Sunday, Feb. 12, celebrating the highest-selling and most caucasian artists in music. Tis the season for award shows. So continues the tradition of stuffy, overwrought presentations of Hollywood congratulating itself. However, in the universe of trivial award shows, the Grammys just might be the worst.
It’s no secret that the Grammys have an issue with diversity, as well as with awarding the highest-quality music. Last year, for example, Taylor Swift’s excruciatingly generic “1989” beat Kendrick Lamar’s ambitious modern classic, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” for album of the year. Although I have no proof of this, I enjoy imagining Grammy judges as a roomful of old, rich white dudes, in a mansion on top of a hill, cackling maniacally as they choose Macklemore for rap album of the year. Misrepresentation in the Grammys has been a glaring flaw for years, and artists are beginning to take notice.
Frank Ocean made headlines months back for not submitting his 2016 album “Blonde” for Grammy eligibility. This was upsetting for many fans (including me) who believed he had the best album of the year and thought he would at the very least snag a few nominations.
He told the New York Times, “I think the infrastructure of the awarding system and the nomination system and screening system is dated. I’d rather this be my Colin Kaepernick moment for the Grammys than sit there in the audience.”
Then, about a week ago, rumors circulated that Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Drake will also be boycotting the awards. Drake is up for eight awards, including album of the year, Bieber is up for four awards, including album of the year, and West is up for five awards.
West has no real reason to show up. It’s unlikely he’ll win any awards for his exuberant, albeit chaotic, album, “The Life of Pablo,” aside for maybe “Ultralight Beam” in Best Rap/Sung Performance. Never afraid to speak his mind, West is a huge star and his absence would surely draw some attention. Fun fact: Kanye West has won 21 Grammys but never won against a white artist.
Bieber, as well, might find it in his best interest to skip the show. His album “Purpose” is likely to lose to Adele in the pop categories. If he goes and loses, he will be swept under the rug and forgotten. But if he refuses to attend, then he will be the talk of the town.
Drake, however, should probably go. “Views” has a good chance to win Best Rap Album. It would be peculiar if he decided to protest. He has never been politically or racially motivated. Also, his music panders to the largest possible audience and, subsequently, the Grammys. However, he has been cavalier toward the awards in the past. On Big Sean’s “Blessings, ” he rapped “I could give two fucks where the Grammys go,” referring to his wins in 2013. Maybe he is content with his gazillion streams. Still, I wouldn’t be surprised if he showed up.
WHO WILL WIN/WHO SHOULD WIN
Record of the Year
Who will win: “Hello” by Adele—I’m not mad about this. It’s a good song, well-written and well-sung. It’s a good song to blast in the car and belt along to. Shoutout to Adele for making the perfect CD to give to your mom for Christmas.
Who should win: “Formation” by Beyonce—It’s not the best song on “Lemonade,” but it is the best song in this category. However, something tells me the Grammy voters are going to the choose the song that says “I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet” over the song that says “When he fuck me good I take his ass to red lobster.”
Best New Artist
Who will win: The Chainsmokers—If these tools do end up winning, I will officially lose my faith in humanity. They are the epitome of flavorless frat-boy EDM. But “Closer” and “Don’t Let Me Down” were both gargantuan hits, and when the Grammys are in doubt, they tend to give it to the most successful option.
Who should win: Chance the Rapper—Aside from his gorgeous songs, Chance is revolutionizing music. His insistence to give away his music for free is breaking down barriers left and right. “Coloring Book” became the first album to chart exclusively through streams. Now it is the first streaming-only project to be nominated for Grammys.
Best Alternative Music Album
Who will win: “Blackstar” by David Bowie—This posthumous award will be a representative sentiment celebrating his entire career.
Who should win: “A Moon Shaped Pool” by Radiohead—No offense to the Thin White Duke, and “Blackstar” is a great album, but for all intents and purposes it deserves to be in the rock category. Radiohead made a fully-realized album that is simultaneously soothing and haunting and it is genuinely alternative music.
Best Urban Contemporary Album
Who will win: “Lemonade” by Beyonce—She is nominated for eight other awards. If she doesn’t pull this one out, it would be quite shocking.
Who should win: “Malibu” by Anderson Paak—Although “Lemonade” is fantastic, it does feel a little formulated. “Malibu” feels free and organic which is what music is all about. Anderson Paak had a huge year and is on the come up. Mark my words, he will be a household name within two years.
Best Rap Album
Who will win: “Views” by Drake—“Views” is the only rap album to be nominated for Album of the Year, so I suppose this is a bit obvious. However, the Grammys may spite him and give it to someone else if he really is a no-show.
Who should win: “Coloring Book” by Chance the Rapper—At this point in his career, Drake deserves a Grammy for best rap album. But does it have to be for “Views?” It is uninspired and underwhelming. “Coloring Book,” on the other hand, is exploding with life and passion, riddled with heartfelt sincerity.
Album of the Year
Who will win: “Lemonade” by Beyonce—It’s nominated in four different genres for crying out loud. Also, these award shows are all political, so they may give it to her as compensation for her snub in 2015 against Beck. Still, who knows with the Grammys. They could come out of left field and give it to Sturgill Simpson.
Who should win: “Lemonade” by Beyonce—Please Grammy voters, I’m begging you. This is your last chance to show you have any sort of discernible taste and you respect music as an evolving art form. Plus, she just announced she is pregnant with twins. So if she loses, she is losing for three.
So there you have it, folks. If you intend on sitting through the entire procession, I have devised a drinking game to make it a little less painful: take a drink every time James Corden decides to sing for no reason, take a drink every time Beyonce or Adele wins an award, take a drink every time someone makes an anti-Trump statement…hopefully before long you will slip into unconsciousness.