The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Grammy 2015 Predictions

The 57th Grammy awards will be airing on CBS tomorrow, February 8 at 5 P. M. Below are some of The Talon’s predictions on who will win, should win and could win one of the music industry’s most coveted accolades.

Album of the Year


Beck – Morning Phase

Story continues below advertisement

Beyonce – Beyonce

Ed Sheeran – X

Sam Smith – In the Lonely Hour

Pharrell Williams – Girl


Will Win: In the Lonely Hour

With the backing of hits he was featured on like Disclosure’s “Latch” and Naughty Boy’s “La la la”, Sam Smith burst into the music scene with an album full of soulful, distinguishable vocals and polished production.

Throughout the album, themes of unrequited love, longing and heartbreak highlight Smith’s vulnerability. His honesty makes his debut album memorable and is sure to make certain songs on his album, like “Stay With Me” or “Not in That Way,” permanent fixtures on break-up playlists. For this reason, “In the Lonely Hour” is a top contender for the coveted Album of the Year Grammy, alongside Adele’s comparable album, “21.”

However, the contrived lyrics sometimes overpower Smith’s intimate singing and leave something to be desired in listener’s looking for a sophisticated sound, something the other contenders in this category, like Beck, do a better job of. The overly glossy production of the album itself, unlike Ed Sheeran’s “X”, also takes away at times from the album’s attempts at raw heartbreak.

Despite its weak spots, Sam Smith delivered a solid debut album ultimately made memorable by his distinctive and appealing vocals. Regardless of whether or not Smith wins the award, he has already proven that he is an artist with talent and, most importantly, the potential to churn out hits for many years to come.

Could Win: X

Ed Sheeran’s most recent album, “X”, is a strong contender for the title of Album of the Year. His follow up to the album to the very successful “+” has more of an edge to it, with tracks like “Sing” taking on a Justin Timberlake inspired beat than one would expect from this coffeehouse style singer. Though plenty of tender ballads can be found in “X”, there is a noticeable effort to breakaway from his usual mold. While this endeavour reaches varying degrees of success, the album is a cohesive account of Sheeran’s experience with fame, love and, of course, heartbreak.

What could prevent this album from beating out the other nominees is its inherent predictability. Despite the attempts to branch out, Sheeran has a very distinctive writing style that, through its tries at rapping and sometimes over sentimental lyrics, can be off putting for many critics and listeners alike.

Should Win: Beyonce

There’s little doubt that Beyonce’s self-titled album is what cemented her star power and her capability as an artist. Through its surprise December release, the album had people buzzing for its ambitious production and its frank explorations of themes such as sexuality, motherhood, marriage and feminism.

Tracks like “Pretty Hurts”, “Flawless” and “Haunted” show of Beyonce’s range and versatility as a singer, vocals made all the more memorable by sometimes gaudy, sometimes clever lines like “I sneezed on the beat and the beat got sicker” from “Partition.” Despite the hysteria the album caused among fans and non fans alike, its tendency toward the experimental might prevent Beyonce from taking home the night’s biggest award.

While the singer has beaten out Dolly Parton in becoming the most Grammy nominated woman, there has been a history of Beyonce losing out on the bigger awards and winning in the smaller categories more specific to her musical genre. In 2010 Beyonce’s “I Am…. Sasha Fierce” lost out to Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” for Album of the Year, though she went home with six awards in total, including Best Contemporary R&B Album.

Sam Smith may have created a memorable, equal parts lovesick and lovestruck album, but Beyonce and her team of collaborators produced an album that will be noted as a game changer in the music industry and as the point when the world collectively became aware of Queen Bey’s status as an icon.


Song of the Year

Sia. Credit: Wikimedia user Kirk Stauffer


All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor and Kevin Kadish

Shake it Off by Taylor Swift, Max Martin and Shellback

Stay With Me by Sam Smith,  Jimmy Napier, William Phillips, Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne

Take Me to Church by Hozier

Chandelier by Sia and Jesse Shatkin

As a testament to the fact that 2014 was a banner year for music, this will be the third time since 1959 that more than four songs have been nominated in the Best Song of the Year category.

This year, catchy melodies like Meghan Trainer’s “All About That Bass” and Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” and emotionally-charged contenders such as “Stay With Me” by Sam Smith and “Take Me To Church” by Hozier dominated the billboards. Standing out among this year’s nominees is Sia’s “Chandelier”.

“Chandelier” reflects Sia’s emotional cycle stemming from past addiction to alcohol and drugs. Her song is desperate and unwaveringly exposed; her vocal choices are risky, but in this case harmonize with the motifs in her song and bolster its clear cry from a dark past. Sia is not lacking in the lyrical department either, and the intensity of “Chandelier” reflected in moments of complex cadences and consciously reserved lilts only bolster her uncanny ability to compose chart-topping songs.

Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me”  is the only contender in this category that could upset Sia’s win. “Stay With Me” is an emotional ballad about the loneliness and confliction that Smith experiences with love. Like “Chandelier,” Smith’s song offers strong vocals and well crafted lyrics is. Smith’s wide range climaxes during the dramatic chorus while tone inflections, instrumental accompaniment and a choral backup add a soulful gospel touch that softens the song. Riding off of a MOBO Award for Best Song, Sam Smith is a tough competitor in this category, and the battle of the night will be between “Stay With Me” and “Chandelier.”

Best New Artist


Iggy Azalea


Brandy Clark


Sam Smith


Who Will Win/Should Win: Sam Smith

Out of this year’s crop of new artist nominees, Sam Smith stands out as an artist who won’t be overshadowed by controversial antics or will be doomed to live his musical life as a forgotten one-hit wonder, as many Best New Artist have tended to be in the past. He has wide enough appeal to be a radio darling, but enough talent to warrant the success. In short, Smith is someone who won’t be easily forgotten in the time between albums and the Grammys seem to think so too as he is nominated in all four major categories.

Despite the fun appeal of the Iggy Azalea’s smash hit “Fancy” or recent hit “Black Widow,” Azalea has been the center of many controversies and accusations of racism and cultural appropriation. After last year’s widely criticized decision to give the Best New Artist award to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, bypassing artists like critically praised Kendrick Lamar, the Grammy’s will be hard pressed to repeat a second, similar offense with Azalea.

Yet, despite the controversies that would surely follow a win by Azalea, it wouldn’t be surprising if she won. The other contenders for this category have their fair share of obstacles to overcome if they want to beat Azelea. Brandy Clark may have a strong history in songwriting, but she will be going against the odds to win as a country artist. On the other hand, Bastille (“Bad Blood”) and Haim (“Days Are Gone”) made memorable, edgy efforts with their debut albums. However, their traction as artist may be overpowered by Azalea’s celebrity even if, musically, they are the stronger artists. Sam Smith, for his part, could be looking at tight race with Azalea. His likeability and relatively clean slate, however, could be what leaves Azalea in the dust.



Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Talon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *