The Worse Things Get, The Harder I FIght, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You - Neko Case
Trouble Will Find Me - The National
Hesitation Marks - Nine Inch Nails
Lonerism - Tame Impala
Modern Vampires of the City - Vampire Weekend
WHO SHOULD WIN: Modern Vampires of the City, Vampire Weekend
Although it seems like every year since Vampire Weekend's 2008 debut album Vampire Weekend was this band's breakthrough, 2013 was really these guys' time to shine. Vampire Weekend's latest studio album effort Modern Vampires of the City was released in May, a timeframe wherein many albums can be forgotten before those lucrative year-end lists, but then by December, Vampire Weekend popped up on nearly every publication's best-of stories (including Music Times).
All the critical acclaim was not without merit, of course. Modern Vampires of the City is Vampire Weekend's strongest album to date and helped to redefine modern alternative music. The high points are higher, and the low points are lower. On each and every song, singer Ezra Koenig's vocals wind seamlessly around the music, winding and creating crazy patterns and trips over and over again.
While The National's effort was emotionally beautiful, Tame Impala's was youthful and punchy and Nine Inch Nails' was a solid continuation of Trent Reznor's work, nothing last year in alternative music rose quite to the standard of Vampire Weekend.
WHO WILL WIN: The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You, Neko Case
Let's face it, the Grammys love to give music's elder statesmen, and Neko Case's latest album is a perfect candidate for the 2014 Best Alternative Album statuette. Blending together folk, rock and country, the album is pretty and accessible to Grammys voters who may be afraid of "alternative" music. It's outside of the box just enough without being too jarring.
That's not to say The Worse Things Get is a bad release or is unworthy of the Grammy. Any of the five nominees would, in fact, be valid in taking home the golden gramophone, and Case's new album is no exception. Songs such as "Man" and "City Swans" have a huge amount of power behind them, transcending genre and giving all music listeners something new to chew on.
Who do you think should win?