When it comes to the Grammys, sometimes it seems like it's all about the big four: Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Best New Artist. In a year filled with pop gems from every corner of the genre, this year's nominations for Record of the Year are stacked. From throwback singles from Sam Smith and Meghan Trainor to modern demonstrations of pop from Taylor Swift, Sia and Iggy Azalea, there seems to be no clear cut winner.
But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try and guess who will and should take home that golden gramophone on Sunday, Feb. 8.
WHO SHOULD WIN: "Chandelier" by Sia
Record of the Year (and, by some extension, Song of the Year) seems like the hardest to call category for the 2015 Grammys. This category is all about the whole package: the artist's performance, the production and the mix. Each one of these songs feels just as epic as the other. Be it the honking horns of "Shake It Off," the smooth soulfulness of "Stay With Me," the vintage feel of "All About That Bass" or the funkiness of "Fancy."
But, there's one song that seems to stand at least a little above the rest: Sia's "Chandelier."
Everything about that track is raw emotion. From the opening ticks of the drum, "Chandelier" expertly builds from a quiet, haunting track to a bombastic explosion and presentation of Sia's vocal power. Her voice absolutely soars in the chorus, swelling above everything else and making this a real powerhouse anthem. Sure, Sam Smith can croon, but he can't sing like this. Iggy Azalea, Taylor Swift and Meghan Trainor may have the hooks, but their singles lack an extra oomph that lies within "Chandelier."
The best part of this single is that it's interesting. The dichotomy of a sing-along anthem along with dark lyrics about the downfalls of a partying lifestyle is that exact antidote to excessive pop music that we need. But Sia does it all with grace.
WHO WILL WIN: "Stay With Me" (Darkchild Version), Sam Smith
Everything at the Grammys this year feels like it's Sam Smith's to lose, including Record of the Year. The Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences loves itself a throwback, with Adele, Amy Winehouse and even Ray Charles all winning Record of the Year in recent memory, and Smith takes a page right out of those crooner's book. The tenderness of "Stay With Me" is undeniable, and Smith nails the emotional delivery. Mix that with a beautiful piano backing, and you have some real Grammy bait.
Another contender feels like Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off." It's the biggest hit of the pack, with the biggest name attached to it. Add in the high level of catchiness courtesy of Max Martin, and "This. Sick. Beat." could be taking home an award.
Sure, "Chandelier" is better, but Sia failed to notch the same level of success as Smith or Swift, and it's unsure if the voters will even know this song, despite its top 10 status. And while the Grammys like to say they don't factor success into their formula or voting, it never quite actually feels that way.
Oh, and some music fans worry about Azalea winning these, the construction of "Fancy" is pretty brilliant, but Azalea's own shortcomings as an emcee makes this song fall way behind in the pack.