The 59th Annual Grammy Awards are only about a month away, and with the Spring semester at UIC beginning and blogging continuing, I thought it was appropriate to share a few thoughts I’ve had about a few of the nominees.

Sturgill Simpson

I’ll be honest: I only found Sturgill Simpson’s music after browsing the Grammy nominee list. However, the most important fact is that I managed to find him. Simpson’s 2016 album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth is nominated for the acclaimed Album of the Year award, and yes, Best Country Album. Sturgill Simpson, put simply, is a country artist. Genre-naysayers beware: this guy is legit. Simpson breaks the mold of commercialized country-pop. His excellent musicianship has allowed him to blend country with folk, psychedelia, and funk, and create a textured and phonically rich album. Sturgill Simpson wields a strong country twang that is distinctly genre appropriate, but sings little about subjects familiar to fans of… other… popular country music. While it’s unlikely that the academy will choose Sturgill Simpson over Adele, Beyoncé, Bieber, or Drake for the Grammy for Album of the Year, I can only hope that he triumphs in the Best Country Album category.

David Bowie

Rock legend David Bowie has only won a single Grammy award during his lifetime: the 1984 award for Best Video, Short Form for his short film Jazzin’ for Blue Jean. This season, Bowie has the opportunity to sextuple his Grammy wins: and all this, posthumously. Bowie’s 2016 album Blackstar is nominated for Best Alternative Music Album, Best Recording Package, and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical.

Alabama Shakes

If the Alabama Shakes go home with the Grammy for Best Rock Performance, it will be their second consecutive year winning the award. Last year, the Alabama rock group took home 3 well-deserved Grammys. The Shakes’ frontwoman Britney Howard is a powerhouse of a vocalist. From pleading cries to roaring yowls, Howard is an incredibly dynamic performer and does little to disprove her legacy with the powerful, emotional Joe (Live From Austin City Limits).

Kanye West

On February 12th, Kanye West will lose at least 3 Grammy awards. I can only be so sure if this prophecy because West is either nominated or listed two times in that many categories. The man produced music to such a high quality in 2016 that he will be competing against himself in multiple categories. I’m especially excited for both the Best Rap/Sung Performance and the Best Rap Song categories, where two tracks from his album The Life of Pablo will butt heads. Judging by his competition in Best Rap/Sung Performance, it’s likely that one of the songs will win the award, and Kanye will both win and lose a Grammy in a single category.

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