Year in and year out, people watching the Grammy Awards find themselves asking the same question: What is the difference between Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year? What makes this especially confusing is that different songs are usually nominated in each category; in the past five years, only 10 out of the 50 total songs nominated in each of these categories have made both categories (three of those, however, have ended up winning both prizes: “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum, “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse and “Not Ready To Make Nice” by Dixie Chicks).
To answer the question we posed above, the Grammy for Record Of The Year is awarded to the artist and production team responsible for how the song sounds, while the Grammy for Song Of The Year is given to the songwriters responsible for the composition of the song (meaning: lyrics and melodic structure). With that in mind, here are a few likely candidates to be nominated in these two categories when the 2012 Grammy nominations are announced live on CBS at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Adele, “Rolling In The Deep”
The smoky-voiced siren is the favorite to sweep this year’s major awards, and “Rolling In The Deep” has proven to be MASSIVE in terms of its sound and its popularity; it’s been sitting in the Billboard Hot 100 for 46 weeks and counting.
Bruno Mars, “Grenade”
Bruno was incredibly well-respected as a songwriter in music industry circles long before he became a solo performer; in the Grammys game, respect from one’s peers is equally important as commercial success.
Foster The People, “Pumped Up Kicks”
We don’t care if your 6-years-old or 60, everyone knows the whistling refrain of this song. It’s a crossover smash that won over Williamsburg hipsters and soccer moms, and the A&R folks at Columbia earned themselves a great deal of industry respect for the way they built and nurtured Mark Foster’s talent.
Kanye West, “All Of The Lights”
The centerpiece of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is both an emotional and technical marvel, and features contributions from more superstar musicians than you can count on one hand (Rihanna, Elton John, Alicia Keys, Fergie, Bon Iver, etc.). If they all vote for this song, it’s sure to score a nom.
Katy Perry, “Firework”
Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream isn’t eligible for Album Of The Year, as it was released way back in August of 2010. However, this song struck a chord with millions, and its “It gets better” message is something that Academy members will almost certainly support during this anti-bullying age.
Lady Gaga, “You And I”
Gaga is a huge talent and could have a number of songs qualify for this award. We’re going with “You And I” here not only because it’s a great song, but because it’s the least “offensive” to the old fogey contigent of NARAS.
Taylor Swift, “Back To December”
Grammy voters love them some Taylor Swift, who also looks like a shoo-in for a Best Album nomination for her quintuple-platinum Speak Now.
The Band Perry, “If I Die Young”
There Nashville contingent always reps their own hard when Grammy time comes around, and this year is no exception. Lady Antebellum rode the crest of Nashville support last year, but this year it looks like it could be Best New Artist shoo-in The Band Perry’s turn.
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga, “The Lady Is A Tramp”
Remember what we said above about all of the old people with Grammy votes? Well, Tony Bennett is a name they not only recognize, but also revere.