By Chuck Arnold Gillian Telling
February 03, 2014 12:00 PM

Chuck’s Grammy Picks

Record OF THE YEAR

Daft Punk, “Get Lucky” (featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers) Imagine Dragons, “Radioactive”

Lorde, “Royals”

Bruno Mars, “Locked Out of Heaven”

Robin Thicke, “Blurred Lines” (featuring T.I. & Pharrell)

The longest shot in this field is “Radioactive,” which fills the designated rock slot, but a case could be made for any of the other four contenders. Mars’s hit, though, feels too old, and Lorde, at just 17, seems too young. That makes this a duel of Pharrell vs. Pharrell. While “Blurred Lines” may have been the biggest record of 2013, “Get Lucky” is the better one. Plus I’m dying to hear Daft Punk’s speech!

Catch the 56th Annual

Grammy Awards

SUNDAY, JAN. 26 8 p.m. ET on CBS

Album OF THE YEAR

Sara Bareilles, The Blessed Unrest

Daft Punk, Random Access Memories

Kendrick Lamar, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist

Taylor Swift, Red

The biggest surprise here is The Blessed Unrest, which beat out hit albums by Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars for a spot. Swift has already taken this prize (for 2008’s Fearless), so this really comes down to a battle between the two dynamic duos: Daft Punk and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Who will get lucky come Grammy night? Edge to Random Access Memories. But my vote goes to Lamar for the cinematic scope and vividly depicted vision of his hip-hop opus.

Song OF THE YEAR

Pink, “Just Give Me a Reason” (featuring Nate Ruess)

Bruno Mars, “Locked Out of Heaven”

Katy Perry, “Roar”

Lorde, “Royals”

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, “Same Love” (featuring Mary Lambert)

BEST

New Artist

James Blake

Kendrick Lamar

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Kacey Musgraves

Ed Sheeran

It’s a testament to the 2013 takeover of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis that they are the only act nominated for both Song of the Year and Best New Artist, putting them up for three of the Big Four (along with Album of the Year). It’s rare for a rap track to make the SOTY short list, but with all the progress in the gay-marriage movement last year, “Same Love” made a timely, touching statement and turned traditionally homophobic hip-hop on its ear. For Best New Artist, I’d be happy to see either of the rap hopefuls – M&RL or Lamar – win. While country breakout Musgraves is worthy competition, it feels like Blake and Sheeran should have been recognized in previous years. In the end, though, M&RL will have even more reason to boast, “Can’t hold us!”

More GRAMMY PICKS

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

He was robbed of an Album of the Year nod for The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience, so Justin Timberlake is at least due this one as a consolation prize.

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

With just his piano and his heartbreak, Bruno Mars is all gut-wrenching regret singing “When I Was Your Man.” You feel his pain in every note.

BEST ROCK ALBUM

For his triumphant surprise comeback, The Next Day, David Bowie gets geezer-rocker props over Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Neil Young with Crazy Horse.

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM

Taylor Swift will win for Red (big shock), but it’s another girl – Kacey Musgraves – who should bring it home for Same Trailer Different Park.

BEST R&B SONG

With the Prince-style seduction of his slow grinder “Pusher Love Girl,” Justin Timberlake makes a compelling argument for being the most soulful white dude on the planet.

BEST RAP PERFORMANCE

As with Best New Artist, this is a toss-up for me between Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. But it’s impossible to root against the ridonkulous flow of the latter’s “Thrift Shop.”

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