When it comes to this year’s Grammy nominees for Song Of The Year, you couldn’t pick a more obvious handful of hits that saturated radio over the previous 12 months. (Well, okay — “Blurred Lines” and “Get Lucky” would fit that bill, too, but they made the cut for Record Of The Year, so…) From Bruno Mars copping a few licks from The Police‘s songbook to Katy Perry rawring loudly in the pop jungle to Lorde‘s chart-dominating mega-hit to Macklemore‘s declaration that all love is the same, the following contenders should be easily recognizable to anyone who kept their ears open in 2013.
But the question remains: Which track has the chops to earn its songwriters a Grammy? Let’s take a closer look at the nominees below.
THOUGHTS ON THE NOMINEES: All but one of the above landed at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 at some point in 2013. Surprisingly, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” peaked just outside the Top 10, at #11. Chalk it up to the song having been available for nearly a year by the time it went into heavy rotation on radio late last spring.
In a year absent of Adele, Pink’s “Just Give Me A Reason” ticks the box for requisite heart-wrenching, piano-driven ballad on the list. It also happens to be the best song on the peroxide-coiffed songbird’s somewhat ho-hum 2012 LP The Truth About Love. Incidentally, Pink’s duet partner here, Nate Ruess, took home this very award last year for “We Are Young.”
Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven” is another tune that also first saw a release two years ago. The lead single off Unorthodox Jukebox, it plays like a long lost Sting classic and managed to be a #1 single in both 2012 and 2013. Like Katy Perry’s “Roar,” this is one of the most obvious “pop” picks in this particular category. (Speaking of “Roar,” it’s kind of odd to realize that, despite the boatload of hits between them, songwriters Max Martin and Dr. Luke have never won a Grammy.)
And then there’s teenaged Lorde, who came out of nowhere (or rather, New Zealand) and knocked radio on its ass last year with her undeniable anti-bling anthem “Royals.” It was a bold move, and she’s thankfully already safe from Carly Rae Jepsen-like one-hit wonderism, given that both her album Pure Heroine and follow-up single “Team” are hits.
WHO WILL WIN: This is really tough, given the commercial strength of each nominee. But judging by the pattern with several previous years’ winners — “Viva La Vida” (2009), “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” (2010), “Need You Now” (2011), “Rolling In The Deep” (2012) and “We Are Young” (2013) — the recording academy loves a solid anthem when it comes to Song Of The Year, and that puts “Royals” and “Roar” in the lead. I’m going with “Roar,” because the Grammys always seem a few steps behind, and are probably just now realizing that Katy Perry isn’t going away anytime soon.
WHO SHOULD WIN: “Just Give Me A Reason” or “Royals.” Pink already has three Grammys, so just hand it over to Lorde and let her be the belle of the upset ball.
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