We’ve compared the correlation between Record of the Year and Song of the Year against Oscar’s tether between Best Picture and Best Director before. And every time we think we’re finally settling into a pattern, Grammy reverses course. The year after Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” staged a minor upset in this category without a Song of the Year nomination to its credit, the two categories almost completely aligned, resulting in identical winners (Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me,” which in retrospect couldn’t have been more perfectly engineered to conquer the top categories). So, naturally, this year finds only two songs competing on both sides of the producer/songwriter divide: Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” and Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space,” the latter of which we give the clear edge in Song of the Year.
Meanwhile, “Can’t Feel My Face” was but one of three blockbuster singles under the Weeknd’s belt in 2015, and arguably the least memorable. And D’Angelo’s comeback after a decade and a half may have been a critical coup, but “Really Love” didn’t break into the Billboard Top 100. It didn’t even crack into the Bubbling Under chart, which even Bon Iver’s “Holocene” accomplished. It’s another open-and-shut case in Swift’s favor, right?
Last year we bet on Swift winning Record of the Year instead of the second coming of Christopher Cross, even though common sense should’ve told us Grammy voters would probably choose to wait until the period of 1989’s album eligibility to shower their love on the golden child. But conversely this year, we’re perversely confident the second coming of never-Grammy-nominated Morris Day and the Time will sideline Swift’s chance to make it a near-clean sweep in the general field. Timing is everything, and if “Shake It Off” fell just ahead of the curve, then “Blank Space” feels just a shade behind it.
That gut feeling only solidified in the wake of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk” being trotted out at the Super Bowl for a fierce serve-off between Mars and Beyoncé. The same Beyoncé who was in the middle of reasserting, as Sarah Silverman tweeted, her status as the only person “in the history of the world [to] release a song and the same day sing it on the motherfucking Super Bowl & we all know the words.” When a superstar of that caliber is itching for a chance to cover your tune on the largest televised stage imaginable, said ditty has truly crossed over into the promised land of total collective consciousness. Don’t believe me, just…well, that you’re already singing the rest of that phrase only proves our point.
Will Win: “Uptown Funk,” Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars
Could Win: “Blank Space,” Taylor Swift
Should Win: “Really Love,” D’Angelo and the Vanguard