Grammys 2015: Who Will Win Record Of The Year?

Carl Williott | February 3, 2015 6:00 am
Grammys 2015: Who Will Win Best New Artist?
We've weighed in on who might win the Best New Artist award at the Grammys this year.

The Record of the Year field is stacked at this year’s Grammys, with five songs straight out of the monoculture, split between established stars and new pop royalty, stirring singers facing off against heroes of the hook. The category is also unexpectedly rife with controversy! There’s the issue of Iggy Azalea’s appropriation, Taylor Swift’s twerking hubbub and Meghan Trainor’s dubious claims of bringing booty back. Even Sam Smith isn’t immune to the #hottake economy with his Tom Petty settlement for “Stay With Me.”

But little of that should matter when the Grammy cabal evaluates the production and performance (not the songwriting, remember) of these five perfectly executed hits. So let’s figure out which one will win.

“Fancy” — Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX
“Chandelier” — Sia
“Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)” — Sam Smith
“Shake It Off” — Taylor Swift
“All About That Bass” — Meghan Trainor

THOUGHTS ON THE NOMINEES: Last year, this category included “Blurred Lines,” “Locked Out Of Heaven,” and “Get Lucky,” three songs that reinterpreted retro sounds. This year, the only song that truly revels in revivalism is “All About That Bass” — but being a year late to a trend has never stopped the general populace, and especially not the Grammys, from rewarding something.

“Stay With Me,” while not overtly retro, is also insulated from contemporary sounds. As for this “Darkchild Version” disclaimer, the main difference is that this cut features an organ instead of strings, giving it more of a gospel feel. This song certainly has the least amount of moving parts in the category, but one listener’s “staid” could be one Grammy voter’s “streamlined.”

On “Chandelier,” Sia offers up a vocal performance that could go toe-to-toe with Sam Smith’s, with the addition of more invigorating production. Producers Greg Kurstin and Jesse Shatkin pulled off a nifty trick by constructing a fizzy arrangement that could’ve worked for someone like Rihanna, but then it steps out of the way as Sia unleashes a towering, throat-straining chorus that only she could pull off.

“Fancy” is an equally singular offering, despite the fact that producers The Arcade and The Invisible Men shamelessly bit DJ Mustard’s ratchet style. With Charli’s exuberant hook and Iggy’s polarizing flow, the song became another animal entirely, a perfect storm. Like “Chandelier,” it’d be impossible to replicate this with anyone else (case in point: “Beg For It”).

Then you have “Shake It Off,” the only song besting “Fancy” in the earworm department. Taylor Swift is 0 for 2 in this category, but this time she hitched herself to a Max Martin-Shellback joint that’s as glossy as anything by her diva peers yet as nimble as her earlier stuff.

To our ears, this all adds up to a race between “Fancy,” “Shake It Off” and “Chandelier.”

WHO WILL WIN: “Fancy,” for the same reasons it was the song of the summer — swag, sass and singalong. And, oh right, the Grammys love white rappers.

WHO SHOULD WIN: If ever a singer should be given an award for a studio performance, it’s Sia for pulling off the vocal acrobatics on the brutally emotional “Chandelier.”