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Grammys 2016: Who will win? Who should win? Critic Glenn Gamboa’s predictions

Kacey Musgraves is nominated for the 2016 best

Kacey Musgraves is nominated for the 2016 best country album Grammy Award, for her well-built "Pageant Material." Newsday music critic Glenn Gamboa picked her as the should-win nominee -- but will she take home the award? Credit: Getty Images / Michael Loccisano


“Blank Space,” Taylor Swift

“Can’t Feel My Face,” The Weeknd
“Really Love,” D’Angelo
“Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran
“Uptown Funk,” Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
SHOULD WIN “Uptown Funk.” The year’s biggest single was also one of the best. How often does that happen? Between reviving ’80s funk and using enough distinctive hooks to keep fans coming back for more, it’s one of the surest Grammy wins in years.
WILL WIN “Uptown Funk”


“Sound & Color,” Alabama Shakes
“To Pimp a Butterfly,” Kendrick Lamar 
“Traveller,” Chris Stapleton
“1989,” Taylor Swift 
“Beauty Behind the Madness,” The Weeknd
SHOULD WIN “To Pimp a Butterfly.” K-Dot’s masterpiece is as ambitious as an album can get, with lyrics that show how potent and timely hip-hop can still be. It’s somehow brutally honest and still inspirational.
WILL WIN “1989.” Taylor Swift’s massive blockbuster owned 2014 and even 2015 until Adele came along. It’s a great pop success that Grammy voters won’t be able to resist.



“Alright,” Kendrick Lamar
“Blank Space,” Taylor Swift
“Girl Crush,” Little Big Town
“See You Again,” Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth
“Thinking Out Loud,” Ed Sheeran
SHOULD WIN “Alright.” Lamar outlines his view of the world and his role in it, for better or worse. But he still manages to be inspirational and upbeat while still shining a light on serious problems.
WILL WIN “Thinking Out Loud.” Sheeran’s timeless love ballad is the kind of traditional song Grammy voters like rewarding, especially when it involves a young artist with a big following.



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Courtney Barnett
James Bay
Sam Hunt
Tori Kelly
Meghan Trainor

SHOULD WIN Barnett. The Australian indie-rock darling behind “Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit” shows off a wide range of lyrical and musical ideas that she executes well.
WILL WIN Bay. The British singer-songwriter behind throwback rocker “Hold Back the River” is the kind of nominee Grammy voters love, a young artist who is clearly influenced by older styles.



“Piece by Piece,” Kelly Clarkson
“How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful,” Florence + The Machine 
“Uptown Special,” Mark Ronson
“1989,” Taylor Swift 
“Before This World,” James Taylor
SHOULD WIN “1989.” Swift’s re-imagining of ’80s pop is sleek and successful and sold like it came from that era, with multiple singles and video releases treated like events.
WILL WIN “1989”



Chaos and the Calm,” James Bay

“Kintsugi,” Death Cab for Cutie
“Mister Asylum,” Highly Suspect
“Drones,” Muse 
“.5: The Gray Chapter,” Slipknotok
SHOULD WIN “Drones.” Muse’s ambitious tale of a disillusioned young man lured into becoming a drone operator bounces between metal, prog and glam rock, creating a layered, well-crafted, complex experience.
WILL WIN “Chaos and the Calm.” The Muse album is a little too thorny to get widespread support. Bay’s nice, familiar-sounding, straightforward rock is not.



“Montevallo,” Sam Hunt 
“Pain Killer,” Little Big Town 
“The Blade,” Ashley Monroe
“Pageant Material,” Kacey Musgraves
“Traveller,” Chris Stapleton
SHOULD WIN “Pageant Material.” Musgraves’ well-built album should get the prize simply for the stunning “Biscuits,” which defends her live-and-let-live attitude as sweetly and politely as possible.
WILL WIN “Traveller.” In a wonderfully strong category, Stapleton stands out with his classic country persona and his stunningly powerful vocals. 



“Our Love,” Caribou 
“Born in the Echoes,” Chemical Brothers
“Caracal,” Disclosure 

"In Colour," Jamie xx 
“Skrillex and Diplo Present Jac
k Ü,” Skrillex and Diplook
SHOULD WIN “In Colour.” Jamie from The xxcq pulls all sorts of influences into his ambitious dance-floor filler, from gospel to doo-wop, jazz to dance hall, culminating in the inspirational “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times).”
WILL WIN “Caracal.” It’s a tossup between Disclosure’s genre-defining “London soul” album, with help from Sam Smith, and Skrillex and Diplo’s collection, which revived Justin Bieber’s career. Give Disclosure and friends the edge.



“Sound & Color,” Alabama Shakes 
“Vulnicura,” Björk 
“The Waterfall,” My Morning Jacket
“Currents,” Tame Impala

“Star Wars,” Wilco
SHOULD WIN “Vulnicura.” As great as the Alabama Shakes album is, Björk’s album chronicling her breakup from Matthew Barney is wrenching in its detailed emotional honesty, tapping into the universality of heartbreak.
WILL WIN “Sound & Color.” Alabama Shakes create a timeless-sounding rock album, steeped in the blues, yet featuring modern production and song structures.



“2014 Forest Hills Drive,” J. Cole 
“If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late,” Drake 
“Compton,” Dr. Dre 
“To Pimp a Butterfly,” Kendrick Lamar
“The Pinkprint,” Nicki Minaj
SHOULD WIN “To Pimp a Butterfly.” It’s a sure sign of K-Dot’s strength that no one is really even considering the long-awaited Dr. Dre comeback, multiplatinum successes from Drake and Nicki Minaj or industry fave J. Cole.
WILL WIN “To Pimp a Butterfly”



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