Record of the Year
The thing to keep in mind here: will Grammy voters suffer Swift fatigue? They may very well decide enough is enough and select Thinkin Bout You, the best song here, or maybe Lonely Boy. Taylor supplies some devious pop hooks, however, and even though her song is like nails on a chalkboard, she outpops the rest of the pop songs. She likely wins here.
Album of the Year
This is the category they've got to get right. Public selection of the Grammy selection process as a whole is going to be dictated largely by who the winner is here. Blunderbuss, Channel Orange, and Babel are the frontrunners. Jack White is probably the odd man out. A Mumford & Sons win would be one many people could stand behind, and would be respectable. I just think that Frank Ocean is more progressive, more unique, and is doing a fantastic job at pushing forward the sound he's developing. I think here, committee recognizes the truest artistic achievement and bestows Ocean with the award.
Song of the Year
We Are Young, just because.
Best New Artist
This is going to be really intense between Alabama Shakes and Frank Ocean. In years past, they've tended to go more toward someone big in the indie universe, and Ocean has no shortage of Pitchfork hype. Alabama Shakes have a sound that recalls the grandeur of rock history. Ocean, meanwhile, sounds like no one else I can think of and is doing his own thing. I think he takes it. Lumineers are the dark horse.
Best Rock Performance
There are two bonafide heavy hitters here -- Alabama Shakes and Mumford & Sons -- and Bruce Springsteen can never be counted out. Alabama Shakes have too much critical acclaim to be shut out, and with only two nominations this seems to be their best chance at a win.
Best Hard/Rock Metal Performance
This will be a considerable upset if Maiden does not take it. Blood Brothers, like many of their songs, are pretty sweeping in scope with lots of melodic leads and just a really powerful feel in general. Lamb of God's Ghost Walking, Anthrax's I'm Alive, and Megadeth's Whose Life is it Anyway have great instrumentation but overall are pretty standard fare, especially so for Megadeth who is capable of so much more. Halestorm has spunk, but the song sounds like the typical watered down drivel Atlantic records is notorious for putting out. I refused to subject myself to Marilyn Manson.
Best Rock Song
The Black Keys have a ton of nominations; the problem is it's just really difficult to see where they can honestly win. They're up against Jack White or Mumford & Sons in just about every category they're nominated for, and both of those artists are primed to take home their fair share of trophies. I have Alabama Shakes winning for Best Rock Performance, so I think Mumford gets the nod here.
Best Rock Album
This should be Jack White's to lose. Maybe Muse could take it, but White's album is a better critical success, and just better in general. Who knows, maybe they'll feel sorry for the Black Keys.
Best Alternative Album
If you saw my post on Top 12 Albums of 2012, you know damn well who I think should win. Fiona Apple has not only the best record in this group, but the best record of the entire year last year and I think she wins here. Tom Waits or M83 would be acceptable alternatives.
The RestChannel Orange wins for Best Urban Contemporary Album.
Nas wins twice for Daughters. "No Church in the Wild" wins Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. Undun wins Rap Album of the Year.
I hope Jamey Johnson gets Country Album of the Year. Don't think he will.
Jimmy Cliff for Best Reggae Album. Mumford for Americana.
Beiber for biggest whiner.