Pop Stops Picks for the Grammy Awards
The 41st Annual Grammy Awards Show is just a few days away the night of Feb. 24 and so, once again, it's time to take a look back at the best (or at least the most popular) recordings of the past year.
There always seem to be a couple of artists each year who get nominated in a plethora of categories. Who will walk away with an armful of little gold gramophones this year? Lauryn Hill may need some assistance in getting her Grammys home she's nominated in 10 different categories thanks to the popularity of her first solo album from The Fugees.
The artists who were involved in last year's hit movies are likely to score big this year at the Grammys as well.
Film soundtracks were huge last year, with songs from "Titanic," "Godzilla," "Armageddon" and "City of Angels" popping up again and again on the Grammy nominee list. With six nominations, this looks like the year for Celine Dion to walk away with several awards the biggest movie of the year also spawned the most popular song of the year "My Heart Will Go On," the love theme From "Titanic."
Aerosmith turned up in five categories thanks to their last studio album as well as their recording for the movie "Armageddon" and The Goo Goo Dolls' work on "City of Angels" earned them three nominations. Madonna and Shania Twain each have a handful nominations for their multiplatinum album releases of the past year and the Brian Setzer Orchestra and Natalie Imbruglia also have more than a couple chances to win a statue.
This year's awards cover recordings released during the Grammy Eligibility Year of Oct. 1, 1997-Sept. 30, 1998. The Grammy Awards cover the whole spectrum of music, from pop to blues to rap to classical to children's recordings.
For the purposes of this article, I'll focus on the awards in the pop/rock field. For a complete listing of all 95 categories of awards, check out the Grammy web site at www.grammy.com.
Given the list that the Grammy nominators have offered us (and, as always, the nominators have opted for some strange omissions and inclusions), here are my votes for who I think should win, with the occasional comment. Clip the following list, make your own Xs and see how you and I each score during the televised awards show on Wednesday!
Editor's Note: Now that the Grammy Awards are over, I've gone ahead and noted with a red X the actual winners (as opposed to my own picks, the black checkmarks).
RECORD OF THE YEAR
"The Boy Is Mine" Brandy
& Monica from Never Say Never and from The Boy Is Mine
x "My Heart Will Go On" Celine Dion from Let's Talk About Love and Titanic Music From The Motion Picture
"Iris" Goo Goo Dolls from City Of Angels Music From The Motion Picture
"Ray Of Light" Madonna from Ray Of Light
"You're Still The One" Shania Twain from Come On Over
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
The Globe Sessions Sheryl Crow
Version 2.0 Garbage
x The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill Lauryn Hill
Ray Of Light Madonna
Come On Over Shania Twain
Garbage is a dark horse in this category, which will likely be taken by Lauryn Hill or Madonna who each put out tedious but inexplicably popular albums last year.
SONG OF THE YEAR
"I Don't Want To Miss A Thing"
Diane Warren, songwriter (recorded by Aerosmith for Armageddon - The Album)
"Iris" John Rzeznik, songwriter (recorded by Goo Goo Dolls) from City Of Angels - Music From The Motion Picture
"Lean On Me" Kirk Franklin, songwriter (recorded by Kirk Franklin With Mary J. Blige, R. Kelly, Bono, Crystal Lewis & The Family) from The Nu Nu Nation Project
x "My Heart Will Go On" James Horner & Will Jennings, songwriters (recorded by Celine Dion) from Let's Talk About Love and Titanic - Music From The Motion Picture
"You're Still The One" Robert John "Mutt" Lange & Shania Twain, songwriters (recorded by Shania Twain) from Come On Over
"My Heart Will Go On" certainly deserves Record or Song of the Year, but not both. Hopefully "Iris" or "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" will take this category.
BEST NEW ARTIST
x Lauryn Hill
Lauryn Hill is the popular favorite in this category, but Natalie Imbruglia's disc was far more inviting and fresh. Where are the other newcomers who scored their first radio hits last year like Anggun, Athenaeum, Jimmy Ray and Loreena McKennitt?
BEST FEMALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE
"My Favorite Mistake" Sheryl
Crow from The Globe Sessions
x "My Heart Will Go On" Celine Dion from Let's Talk About Love and Titanic - Music From The Motion Picture
"Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" Lauryn Hill from The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
"Torn" Natalie Imbruglia from Left Of The Middle
"Adia" Sarah McLachlan from Surfacing
Sarah McLachlan is probably the dark horse of this category, but her vocal work on "Adia" is precious, delicate and haunting.
BEST MALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE
Eagle-Eye Cherry from Desireless
x "My Father's Eyes" Eric Clapton from Pilgrim
"Anytime" Brian McKnight from Anytime
"Lullaby" Shawn Mullins from Soul's Core
"You Were Meant For Me" Sting from The Object Of My Affection - Soundtrack
BEST POP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCAL
"I Don't Want To Miss A Thing"
Aerosmith from Armageddon - The Album
"One Week" Barenaked Ladies from Stunt
"Iris" Goo Goo Dolls from City Of Angels - Music From The Motion Picture
"Crush" Dave Matthews Band from Before These Crowded Streets
x "Jump Jive An' Wail" The Brian Setzer Orchestra from The Dirty Boogie
This is a tough category Barenaked Ladies handle some pretty treacherous vocal work on "One Week," and "Iris" is one of the best "lighter" anthems of the past year. But my nod goes to Setzer for helping to make swing cool again.
BEST POP COLLABORATION WITH VOCALS
"How Come, How Long" Babyface
With Stevie Wonder from MTV Unplugged NYC (Babyface)
"Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" Jackson Browne & Bonnie Raitt from Where Have All The Flowers Gone - The Songs Of Pete Seeger (Various Artists)
x "I Still Have That Other Girl" Elvis Costello & Burt Bacharach from Painted From Memory
"I'm Your Angel" R. Kelly & Celine Dion from R.
"Shenandoah" Van Morrison & The Chieftains from Long Journey Home (The Chieftains With Various Artists)
BEST POP INSTRUMENTAL PERFORMANCE
Theme" The Dust Brothers from The X-Files - The Album
"Big Country" Bela Fleck And The Flecktones from Left Of Cool
"My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From Titanic)" Kenny G
"Follow Me" Pat Metheny Group from Imaginary Day
x "Sleepwalk" The Brian Setzer Orchestra from The Dirty Boogie
BEST DANCE RECORDING
"When Will You Learn" Boy
George from Winter Party 1998
"Around The World" Daft Punk from Homework
"Heaven's What I Feel" Gloria Estefan from Gloria!
"Disco Inferno" Cyndi Lauper from A Night At The Roxbury - Soundtrack
x "Ray Of Light" Madonna from Ray Of Light
Why aren't The Dust Brothers and Propellerheads in this category? Lauper's cover of "Disco Inferno" does not belong on any best of the year listing.
BEST POP ALBUM
Pilgrim Eric Clapton
Let's Talk About Love Celine Dion
Left Of The Middle Natalie Imbruglia
x Ray Of Light Madonna
The Dirty Boogie The Brian Setzer Orchestra
BEST FEMALE ROCK VOCAL PERFORMANCE
Tori Amos from From The Choirgirl Hotel
"There Goes The Neighborhood" Sheryl Crow from The Globe Sessions
"Glass House" Ani DiFranco from Little Plastic Castle
x "Uninvited" Alanis Morissette from City Of Angels - Music From The Motion Picture
"Can't Let Go" Lucinda Williams from Car Wheels On A Gravel Road
BEST MALE ROCK VOCAL PERFORMANCE
"Everybody Here Wants You"
Jeff Buckley from Sketches For My Sweetheart The Drunk
"Almost Saturday Night" John Fogerty from Premonition
"Have A Little Faith In Me" John Hiatt from The Best Of John Hiatt
x "Fly Away" Lenny Kravitz from 5
"Your Life Is Now" John Mellencamp from John Mellencamp
BEST ROCK PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP WITH VOCAL
"Pink" Aerosmith from Nine Lives
"The Way" Fastball from All The Pain Money Can Buy
"Celebrity Skin" Hole from Celebrity Skin
"Bitter Sweet Symphony" The Verve from Urban Hymns
"Heroes" The Wallflowers from Godzilla - The Album
BEST HARD ROCK PERFORMANCE
"Psycho Circus" Kiss from
"The Dope Show" Marilyn Manson from Mechanical Animals
x "Fuel" Metallica from ReLoad
"Most High" Jimmy Page & Robert Plant from Walking Into Clarksdale
"Do The Evolution" Pearl Jam from Yield
BEST METAL PERFORMANCE
"Bullet Train" Judas Priest
x "Better Than You" Metallica from Re-Load
"Fried Chicken And Coffee" Nashville Pussy from Let Them Eat Pussy
No Shelter Rage Against The Machine from Godzilla - The Album
Du Hast ΚRammstein from Sehnsucht
BEST ROCK INSTRUMENTAL PERFORMANCE
"El Distorto De Melodica"
Everclear from So Much For The Afterglow
x "The Roots Of Confidence" Pat Metheny Group from Imaginary Day
"Take California" Propellerheads from Decksandrumsandrockandroll
"A Train Of Angels" Joe Satriani from Crystal Planet
"Trouble Is ..." Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band from Trouble Is...
"The Ironic Twist" Jimmie Vaughan from Out There
BEST ROCK SONG
"Bitter Sweet Symphony" Richard
Ashcroft, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, songwriters (recorded by The Verve)
from Urban Hymns
"Celebrity Skin" Billy Corgan, Eric Erlandson & Courtney Love, songwriters (recorded by Hole) from Celebrity Skin
"Closing Time" Dan Wilson, songwriter (recorded by Semisonic) from Feeling Strangely Fine
"Have A Little Faith In Me" John Hiatt, songwriter (recorded by John Hiatt) from The Best Of John Hiatt
x "Uninvited" Alanis Morissette, songwriter (recorded by Alanis Morissette) from City Of Angels - Music From The Motion Picture
This is a particularly weak category "Celebrity Skin" is the only real "rock" song in this list.
BEST ROCK ALBUM
"The Globe Sessions" Sheryl Crow
Premonition John Fogerty
Version 2.0 Garbage
Celebrity Skin Hole
Before These Crowded Streets Dave Matthews Band
Where on this list is Tori Amos, who put out her first full "rock band" record last year?Or Fastball?
BEST ALTERNATIVE MUSIC PERFORMANCE
From The Choirgirl Hotel Tori Amos
x Hello Nasty Beastie Boys
Is This Desire? PJ Harvey
Airbag/How Am I Driving? Radiohead
Adore The Smashing Pumpkins
BEST COUNTRY ALBUM
Sevens Garth Brooks
x Wide Open Spaces Dixie Chicks
Faith Faith Hill
Come On Over Shania Twain
Where Your Road Leads Trisha Yearwood
BEST RAP SOLO PERFORMANCE
"Dangerous" Busta Rhymes
from When Disaster Strikes...
"Lost Ones" Lauryn Hill from The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
"Hard Knock Life" Jay-Z from Vol. 2...Hard Knock Life
"Gone Till November" Wyclef Jean from Wyclef Jean Presents The Carnival
x "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" Will Smith from Big Willie Style
BEST RAP PERFORMANCE BY A DUO OR GROUP
"Intergalactic" Beastie Boys from Hello Nasty
"Money Ain't A Thang" Jermaine Dupri Featuring Jay-Z from Life In 1472 - The Original Soundtrack
"Deja Vu (Uptown Baby)" Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz from Make It Reign
Rosa Parks OutKast from Aquemini
Ghetto Supastar Pras Michel Featuring Ol' Dirty Bastard And Mya from Bulworth - The Soundtrack
The Beastie Boys should really be in the rock or alternative category those are the radio outlets that played them. Regardless of where the Grammys list them, they have to get a vote for one of the most fun tracks of the year.
BEST CONTEMPORARY BLUES ALBUM
Sing It! Marcia Ball,
Irma Thomas & Tracy Nelson
Heavy Love Buddy Guy
Life, Love & The Blues Etta James
x Slow Down Keb' Mo'
Deuces Wild B.B. King
BEST CONTEMPORARY FOLK ALBUM
Mermaid Avenue Billy
Bragg & Wilco
El Corazon Steve Earle
Spyboy Emmylou Harris
Step Inside This House Lyle Lovett
x Car Wheels On A Gravel Road Lucinda Williams
BEST SONG WRITTEN FOR A MOTION PICTURE OR FOR TELEVISION
"I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" from Armageddon,
Diane Warren, songwriter (recorded by Aerosmith)
x "My Heart Will Go On" from Titanic, James Horner & Will Jennings, songwriters (recorded by Celine Dion)
"Tomorrow Never Dies" from Tomorrow Never Dies, Sheryl Crow & Mitchell Froom, songwriters (recorded by Sheryl Crow)
"True To Your Heart" from Mulan, Matthew Wilder & David Zippel, songwriters (recorded by 98 Degrees And Stevie Wonder)
"Uninvited" from City Of Angels, Alanis Morissette, songwriter (recorded by Alanis Morissette)
BEST SHORT FORM MUSIC VIDEO
"Pink" Aerosmith Doug Nichol,
video director; Georges Bermann & Jim Czarnecki, video producers
"Bachelorette" Bjork Michel Gondry, video director; Georges Bermann & Julie Fong, video producers
x "Ray Of Light " Madonna Jonas Akerlund, video director; Nicola Doring, video producer
"All Around The World" Oasis Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris, video directors; Bart Lipton, video producer
"Do The Evolution" Pearl Jam Kevin Altieri & Todd McFarlane, video directors; Terry Fitzgerald, video producer
Hey Pop Stops readers! If you want to read the reviews of many of these albums, use the Best of 1998 column for easy links.