Record of the Year is the Grammy award that truly defines an era of popular music. Given to the people truly behind what makes a song pop (the artist, producer, mastering engineer, recording engineer and mixer), this one is all about performance. Past winners of this massive category include essential songs like Michael Jackson's "Beat It," Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You," Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky."
So, in 2015, what songs made the cut to join the ranks of some of music's most legendary singles? And what song deserves arguably the biggest golden gramophone of the night...
"Really Love," D'Angelo and the Vanguard
"Uptown Funk," Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
"Thinking Out Loud," Ed Sheeran
"Blank Space," Taylor Swift
"Can't Feel My Face," The Weeknd
WHO SHOULD WIN: "Uptown Funk," Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
If you're talking about pop music that really goes for it, look no further than "Uptown Funk." It's been about 14 months since Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars took the world by storm with their insatiable blend of funk, R&B, rock and pop with this four minute, 30 second jam, and "Uptown Funk" has not left our consciousness yet, even earning a spot at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show.
The cultural impact of "Uptown Funk" aside (and its # weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100), if you're talking about performance and production, it doesn't get much crunchier than this. Bruno Mars brings the attitude of a man who knows he's hot, and he delivers with a gusto so bold over tight production and guitar work courtesy of Ronson.
While The Weeknd similarly goes for it on the Max Martin-produced "Can't Feel My Face," there's just something about "Uptown Funk" that stands the test of time.
WHO WILL WIN: "Blank Space," Taylor Swift
"Uptown Funk" has the hit-factor, but few artists had quite the cultural impact of Taylor Swift in 2015. From sold-out stadium tours to five top 10 singles (three of which went to No. 1), this was Swift's world... we were just living in it. It's easy to deny the impact of Taylor Swift or to hate on her, because she feels like such a favorite for so many Grammy awards. But, "Blank Space" is peak pop Swift, with the clever lyrics of her early discography mixed in with a delivery that is full of irony and winks and a unique beat and production courtesy of Max Martin and Shellback. Swift may or may not win Album of the Year or even Song of the Year, but you can expect her to take this one.
The merits of "Uptown Funk" and "Can't Feel My Face" have already been discussed - so what about Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" and D'Angelo's "Really Love." The latter song choice feels out of left field (D'Angelo and the Vanguard's album Black Messiah really should be heard in full) and "Thinking Out Loud" is a little too mushy to really make a stand.