2002 / Music / Previews

Soundbytes: Glimpse Predictions For Grammy 2002

U2, Alicia Keys Should Dominate

Well, it’s time once again for the Grammys, the music industry’s version of those shallow, junior high student council elections — everyone knows they’re only popularity contests.

Photo: CBS

Photo: CBS

But as TV viewers watch an entrenched and venerated Irish rock band and a pair of talented, soulful upstarts face-off for the show’s top awards, there’s always the chance for a few surprises.

In case you needed to be reminded that anything can happen, does anyone care to explain how Toto won seven Grammys in 1982? Or what about Steely Dan’s wins last year? Milli Vanilli?

I’ll give it a try anyway. Here’s my list of predictions on who’ll walk away with the trophies:

Record Of The Year

  • “Video,” India.Arie
  • “Fallin’,” Alicia Keys
  • “Ms. Jackson,” Outkast
  • “Drops Of Jupiter,” Train
  • “Walk On,” U2

The prediction: Alicia Keys or U2. Chalk it up to their mass appeal or their record companies’ publicity muscle, but this category will be a U2 and Keys showdown. Both India.Arie and Outkast will probably get swept away in the flood of praise for U2 and Keys. “Drops Of Jupiter” is a song destined to become a light-rock staple, but it just isn’t cool enough to win.

Album Of The Year

  • “Acoustic Soul,” India.Arie
  • “Love And Theft,” Bob Dylan
  • “Stankonia,” Outkast
  • “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” U2
  • “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Soundtrack,
    Various Artists

The prediction: U2. This should be a cakewalk for the Dublin quartet. “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” was a roaring comeback for the band, in which they shed their edgier musical tendencies in favor of feel-good anthems. Dylan and Outkast are more deserving in this category because they don’t rely on cliches, but they won’t get the nod.

Song Of The Year

  • “Drops Of Jupiter,” Train
  • “Fallin’,” Alicia Keys
  • “I’m Like A Bird,” Nelly Furtado
  • “Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of,” U2
  • “Video,” India.Arie

The prediction: Alicia Keys. In this category, Keys has the biggest hit. U2’s Curtis Mayfield-style song hasn’t been as popular as other singles off this album. Nelly Furtado could sneak in there, but her album sales lag behind Keys.

Best New Artist

  • India.Arie
  • Nelly Furtado
  • David Gray
  • Alicia Keys
  • Linkin Park

The prediction: Alicia Keys. Although Linkin Park sold about a million more records last year and Furtado and Arie were more inventive on their albums, Keys is MTV’s and radio’s darling. No one can deny the new queen of soul her trophy.

Best Rock Album

  • “Gold,” Ryan Adams
  • “Just Push Play,” Aerosmith
  • “All That You Can’t Leave Behind,” U2
  • “Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea,” PJ Harvey
  • “Hybrid Theory,” Linkin Park

The prediction: U2. What is Aerosmith doing here? Anyway, PJ Harvey should get this one, but she’ll be buried by Bono and Co. Linkin Park was only nominated because of their record sales, but that doesn’t make Grammy voters any more likely to vote for them. Adams’ collection of classic-rock rewrites has been invisible to MTV and radio programmers, but he’s popular with musicians and might have won if U2 weren’t in this category.

Best Alternative Music Album

  • “Strange Little Girls,” Tori Amos
  • “Amnesiac,” Radiohead
  • “Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars,” Fatboy Slim
  • “Vespertine,” Bjork
  • “Parachutes,” Coldplay

The prediction: Radiohead. Grammy voters will want to vote for Coldplay, but will probably feel guilty about the decision and choose Radiohead. The English band will win strictly for their reputation and not because voters really enjoyed “Amnesiac.” Fatboy Slim is still in the running because he’s appreciated by his fellow artists. Bjork’s album was too challenging and Tori Amos’ CD was forgettable.

Best Hard Rock Performance

  • “Smooth Criminal,” Alien Ant Farm
  • “Crawling,” Linkin Park
  • “Alive,” P.O.D.
  • “Renegades Of Funk,” Rage Against The Machine
  • “Your Disease,” Saliva

The prediction: P.O.D. Admit it. You secretly like P.O.D.’s song. Tack on the fact that the song’s message is overflowing with Creed-like positivity and you’ve got hard rock that could come with a parental stamp of approval. Rage Against The Machine is the wily veteran of this brood, and they could slip in there if voters split between top-selling Linkin Park and P.O.D.

Best Metal Performance

  • “The Wizard,” Black Sabbath
  • “Disciple,” Slayer
  • “Left Behind,” Slipknot
  • “Chop Suey!” System Of A Down
  • “Schism,” Tool

The prediction: System Of A Down. Slayer and Black Sabbath were included to honor these metal pioneers, but this will be System’s award. Slipknot’s cut lacked those melodic vocal harmonies that propelled “Chop Suey!” to crossover success. Tool are musicians’ musicians and that could make them contenders.

Best R&B Album

  • “Aaliyah,” Aaliyah
  • “Acoustic Soul, ” India.Arie
  • “No More Drama, ” Mary J. Blige
  • ” Survivor,” Destiny’s Child
  • ” Songs In A Minor,” Alicia Keys

The prediction: Alicia Keys. This might be the toughest choice this year for Grammy voters. Mary J. Blige is a favorite among musicians and fans, alike. Aaliyah, who died last year in a plane crash, will be the recipient of a great deal of sympathy votes. Destiny’s Child had a stranglehold on the pop charts for most of last year. But Keys is the artist of the hour and this will probably be another category in which she will prevail.

Best Rap Album

  • “Scorpion,” Eve
  • “Pain Is Love,” Ja Rule
  • “The Blueprint,” Jay-Z
  • “Back For The First Time,” Ludacris
  • “Stankonia,” Outkast

The prediction: Outkast. This another tight race. Jay-Z, Outkast and Ludacris all hit big this year and they’re respected by their peers (Nas excluded). “Stankonia” was a trailblazing effort — and the best-selling of the three — and could squeak out a victory.

Best Contemporary Folk Album

  • “Love And Theft,” Bob Dylan
  • “Buddy & Julie Miller,” Buddy & Julie Miller
  • “Poet: A Tribute To Townes Van Zandt,” Various Artists
  • “Time (The Revelator),” Gillian Welch
  • “Essence,” Lucinda Williams

The prediction: Bob Dylan. L.A. Times rock critic Robert Hilburn said it best when he wrote that this category is usually filled with heretics from mainstream rock and country. Although Lucida Williams’ “Essence” is an elegant, introspective followup to her breakthrough, “Car Wheels On A Gravel Road,” and Gillian Welch’s CD is the best of her career, Dylan will grab the Grammy in this category. If U2 or Alicia Keys hadn’t released albums, this year’s awards would be a repeat of 1998 when Dylan won a trio of Grammys.

Best Country Album

  • “One More Day,” Diamond Rio
  • “Set This Circus Down,” Tim McGraw
  • “Rainbow Connection,” Willie Nelson
  • “Timeless — Hank Williams Tribute,” Various Artists
  • “Inside Out,” Trisha Yearwood

The prediction: Trisha Yearwood. Although the inclusion of the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Soundtrack and “Timeless — Hank Williams Tribute” in several Grammy categories signals that traditionalism is creeping back into mainstream country music, the name recognition factor of Tim McGraw and Willie Nelson could make this contest a toss-up. However, I believe this will be the rare instance when true artistic achievement is rewarded and Trisha Yearwood’s name will get called.

For More Info:

Note: David’s nationally syndicated music column, Soundbytes, appeared in the Entertainment section of all Internet Broadcasting websites. This column was originally published there.

©Copyright 2002 by David Hyland. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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