And the nominees for record of the year are....
"Lonely Boy," the Black Keys
"Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)," Kelly Clarkson
"We Are Young," Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe
"Somebody That I Used To Know," Gotye featuring Kimbra
"Thinkin Bout You," Frank Ocean
"We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," Taylor Swift
One sentence analysis: "Lonely Boy" is a pretty killer rock single, and Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" highlights her move away from country into more pop-rock anthems, but Ocean's "Thinkin Bout You" is a fascinating meditation on love and heartache and is the song to beat.
Songs and nominations are coming quick here. Forgive us for lagging. The Who sang a little of "Won't Get Fooled Again" but was cut off for a commercial break, perhaps because the band's inclusion in this Grammy nominations concert really made no sense.
Luke Bryan then sang his "I Don't Want This Night to End," but he was overstaged by the unveiling of the new artist noms.
The nominees for new artist are...
Here’s an oddity: For once, this category is dominated by artists on their debut albums. Ocean, the Lumineers, Alabama Shakes and Hayes all made their debut during the eligibility period.
The Grammys tipped their hand on Hayes when he was announced as a performer at tonight’s nominations concert; the youngster thus far has proved to be more of a heartthrob than an alarming new voice. Yet voters got it right in nominating Ocean and Alabama Shakes.
Alabama Shakes released the impressive “Boys & Girls” this year, and more people need to be exposed to the torrential, rock ‘n’ soul force that is frontwoman Brittany Howard. Live, she stomps, hollers, howls and grooves. She doesn’t just sing a song; she tackles it.
The Lumineers are one of the year’s biggest breakouts, and it’s nice to see voters pay attention to an act that’s been gradually bubbling into the mainstream. Some key television placements have helped the group, but think of the Denver folk-rockers as a less instrumentally aggressive Mumford & Sons. Make no mistake, theirs are songs that are still built for the climax -- every Lumineers tune is a mini-hootenanny.
Fun. is the veteran of this lot, as “Some Nights” was the act’s second album. For all intents and purposes, however, the band was introduced to the world via the hit “We Are Young,” as feel-good a pop number as Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”
New artist nominee Fun. performed its hit “We Are Young." This means that the band won't play the song on the February telecast, which means that the band will likely be part of a medley honoring someone else.
Live, Fun. can be hit-and-miss, as the band seems to get overtaken by its energy. Recklessness is all fine and good in rock 'n' roll, but the rowdier Fun. gets, the more it seems to highlight the ways in which the band hides behind orchestral flourishes.
Here, Fun. gets rather subdued. Vocalist Nate Ruess has one level, and it's "shout," but his oddly high voice serves as a contrast to the string section, which always seems on the verge of breaking free. "We Are Young" has a secret weapon, though, and that's Janelle Monáe, who brought the song home with a celebratory exclamation point.
Up next was Ne-Yo's slick, laser-enhanced "Let Me Love You." The song starts as R&B and soon explodes into a full-on dance party. As soon as it ended, the Lumineers popped up to unveil the nominees for country solo performance.