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February 10, 2008

Pre-Grammy sleep is not easy to come by...

Livingroom I just checked into my home for "Grammy season" and am getting settled for what I hope to be a decent night of sleep before a day/night of nonstop blogging and photos tomorrow. Just when I'm coming to terms with this whole weekend, something comes through and gets me going all over again, like this lovely living room I'm sitting in right now. Anyways, this area is going to act as my "war room," where I hope to regain some sanity tomorrow night and put together everything that I wasn't able to do from the street. Not that anyone was really envisioning where I was sitting, but I always find it interesting to see what someone's "office" looks like. For the weekend, this is my office!

*cue Cassidy f. R. Kelly - "Hotel"*

Before I curl up in my bed (which could fit about five of me in it, in any direction) with some Billboard magazines to read for good luck, I wanted to take a look at some of the categories that I'm most interested in for the Grammys tomorrow night. While this list is by no means all inclusive, it includes those that I'll be clapping for like a seal begging for fish and beach balls (I assume they enjoy that) tomorrow night. They're not predictions per se, because I don't know if I would want to be wrong to that many people at once, but they're the categories that happen to be the most interesting for me.

Record of the Year
- "Irreplaceable," Beyonce'
- "The Pretender," Foo Fighters
- "Umbrella," Rihanna f. Jay-Z
- "What Goes Around... Comes Around," Justin Timberlake
- "Rehab," Amy Winehouse

This one is always an interesting one because I think it surprises us a lot of times. In this group of nominees, I think that you legitimately have two songs that never seemed to leave Top 40 radio play - "Umbrella" and "Rehab." If we're going off anthems for a year, I think you look no further than those two songs, along with maybe "SexyBack" (that might just be me though). I think that this is a great list of nominees that is very representative of what was really big this year. Sometimes, the nominees make you go, "Hmmm..." but I think that this is a very strong, totally justifiable list that I personally feel like is headed up by "Umbrella" (or Ohm-Bur-Ella), though I have a feeling Winehouse is going to walk out with some goodies this year, at least from afar.

Song of the Year (I know this is a songwriter award, but I think most of us know the songs by the artist)
- "Before He Cheats" (Carrie Underwood)
- "Hey There Delilah" (Plain White T's)
- "Like a Star" (Corinne Bailey Rae)
- "Rehab" (Amy Winehouse)
- "Umbrella" (Rihanna f. Jay-Z)

I'm really torn on this one. Clearly, my love for Carrie Underwood has me lean towards her in any category. I wish I could help it, but there's too much out there, even within Mobile Beat alone, that shows my obvious bias towards her. But hear me out on this one! "Before He Cheats" is an interesting inclusion on this list because it had unbelievable staying power on the country charts (I believe this will be the song Carrie will be performing on Sunday night). BHC, as the song is known to Carrie fans in the message board world, just dug out a hole and lived on the charts all year. What's interesting about BHC is that it's essentially a caricature/over the top country song in terms of lyrical content that really caught on in the mainstream. While this was not Carrie going "Dirrty," a la X-Tina a few years back, it was a big shift from "Jesus, Take the Wheel," Underwood's first single off her debut album "Some Hearts." While I'm not sure if she'll win it, its inclusion is well-justified.

I do really like "Rehab" on this list. For some reason, it just feels like a song that would win this award this year. It's a little different than what we're used to hearing every year and introduced us all to Amy Winehouse, who will be performing via satellite on Sunday. It feels like another one for Winehouse and Rihanna to duke it out for, but don't be surprised if BHC surprises some people. The song was huge!

Best New Artist
- Feist
- Ledisi
- Paramore
- Taylor Swift
- Amy Winehouse

I'm going to be totally honest and say that I don't own CDs by three of these artists. I own both Paramore and Taylor Swift, but have heard excellent things about both the Feist and Winehouse albums from trusted friends. I really don't have a feel for this one as a result, but I always feel like this category surprises people. Remember when Christina Aguilera (v. "Genie in a Bottle") won Best New Artist over Brit Brit (v. "Hit Me Baby One More Time") in a showdown that still feels like yesterday? (And now they've both had babies!) I think that both Paramore and Swift put together albums that are completely listenable (in a good way) from start to finish. On both albums, there is not a single song that I skip. Swift has a huge young Country following (just listen to the screams every time people say her name on an award show) and she hangs out with Idol Alumni Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler, which is pretty cool as well. This one is a toss up for me.

Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals
- "Steppin' Out," Tony Bennett & Christina Aguilera
- "Beautiful Liar," Beyonce' & Shakira
- "Gone Gone Gone," Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
- "The Sweet Escape," Gwen Stefani & Akon
- "Give It To Me," Timbaland, Nelly Furtado & Justin Timberlake

This is one of the few categories where I legitimately have a favorite song out of the nominees. My favorite of this group is definitely the effort by Timbaland, Nelly Furtado, and Justin Timberlake. There have been countless mornings where I have almost fallen down in the shower getting down to this song during Ryan Seacrest's radio show while getting ready in the morning (TMI? I thought so too...). While Beyonce' and Shakira did look incredibly alike in the "Beautiful Liar" video, it didn't really do a whole lot for me song wise. "Give It To Me" was one of those all-star collaborations that completely lived up to the hype and I would be very happy to see this one win.

Best Contemporary R&B Album
- Konvicted, Akon
- Just Like You, Keyshia Cole
- Fantasia, Fantasia
- East Side Story, Emily King
- Because of You, Ne-Yo

This is another tough one for me because I honestly liked Ne-Yo's previous album more than this one, but I know that you're only supposed to think about this year. While I liked most of the songs on his previous album, I felt like the really good songs on Because of You were far superior to the songs that weren't as good ("Because of You" and "Make It Work" representing those "really good songs" for me). Keyshia Cole really continued her rise in the music scene this year by teaming up with Diddy and Missy Elliott on a couple radio tracks. I was a huge fan of "Love" by her before, so it was really great see her continue her run this year as well.

Best Rap Solo Performance
- "The People," Common
- "I Get Money," 50 Cent
- "Show Me What You Got," Jay-Z
- "Big Things Poppin'," T.I.
- "Stronger," Kanye West

First, I think it's great that the Grammys used the radio friendly title of T.I.'s track instead of the actual title. Something about having one of the presenters read, "Big S**t Poppin', T.I." would be very funny, but yet, so very wrong. I feel like we've seen better things from Common, "Fitty," and Jay-Z in the past, so it makes it tough for me to really cheer for them in this category, though I'd definitely be ok with any of them winning.

For Common, I will always think about "The Light," even though that was a long ways back. Fitty, I think about a "Patiently Waiting" or even a "What Up Gangsta." And Jay-Z, everyone thinks about "Can't Knock the Hustle" or even a "Can I Get A..." but I think that he had so many tracks on The Blueprint that were superior to this offering that it makes it hard for me to be all about him winning this category. Jay-Z is one of my all-time favorites and I actually saw 50 Cent in concert with Senor Hova and Eminem way back in high school, so I'm big fans of them. However, I feel like for radio friendly, get you all "hyphy" tracks, T.I. and Kanye West (and those tight glasses) really turned it out on those two singles.

Best Rap Performance By a Duo or Group
- "Southside," Common & Kanye West
- "Make It Rain," Fat Joe & Lil Wayne
- "Party Like a Rockstar," Shop Boyz
- "Int'l Players Anthem," UGK & OutKast
- "Better Than I've Ever Been," Kanye West, NaS, & KRS-One

You just have to cheer for "Make It Rain" on this one, at least a little bit. The mental image of Fat Joe and Lil Wayne making it rain on their way to the stage or people doing it from the "cheap seats" (I don't think there's such thing at the Grammys) while the guys walk up to the stage would be one of those Three-Six Mafia at the Oscars-type moments that no one would forget. For those of you who do not know, "making it rain" is the act of flicking, throwing, dumping, or swishing (when you would deal it out like cards by rapidly moving your hand back and forth over a stack of bills) out dollar bills from high above so that they "rain down" on awaiting arms below. When people "make it rain," it often causes quite a stir because it's quite the sight to see! I do it myself sometimes with change!

"Make It Rain" has to be one of the greatest figures of speech to come into mainstream usage in 2007 - from Pac-Man Jones to Lil Wayne - and it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity for these guys to make it rain inside Staples Center.

Best Rap Album
- Finding Forever, Common
- Kingdom Come, Jay-Z
- Hip-Hop is Dead, NaS
- T.I. vs. T.I.P., T.I.
- Graduation, Kanye West

Would love to see this one go to Kanye. Again, I know that I'm unfairly being influenced because I feel like we've seen better in the past from the first three nominees (especially NaS, when you compare it to a God's Son, or a couple of his other albums). I wasn't crazy about Kanye's second album, but really enjoyed this third one. I feel like it had "bangers" from top to bottom and think it is well deserving in this category.

Best Country Song
- Before He Cheats (Carrie Underwood)
- Give It Away (George Strait)
- I Need You (Tim McGraw & Faith Hill)
- If You're Reading This (Tim McGraw)
- Long Trip Alone (Dierks Bentley)

This one is instantly another tough one for me because Carrie Underwood is nominated. However, if there's another song that I would be completely ok with winning, it would be "If You're Reading This" by Tim McGraw. If you've never heard this song, you're missing out on one of the most emotionally touching songs that's been released this decade (it makes me emo). The song is about a fallen soldier whose final words are being read by a family through a pre-written letter after he's died in battle. The melody is simple, but like you expect from Tim McGraw, the vocals are not overpowering, but perfectly suited and pure. It's one of those songs that can make even those who say they "hate country," sit down and take a really good listen.

Best Country Performance by Duo or Group with Vocals
Not listing these ones for this year, but I'm definitely hoping to see Sugarland's "Stay" in the list of nominees for next year's Grammy Awards. I think it was released as a single too late for it to be considered this year, but that is hands down one of my favorite songs that's been out lately.

It's getting late! Heading to bed and will check back in before I hit the road down to Staples Center tomorrow morning.

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Coutry music is what I like to hear. I do like thsi kind o music especialy artists such as Tim McGraw. His way of singing and his musical style has a strong affection on my soul. Without dout I'm not the only one who loves contry music but whenever I want to attend one of Tim's concerts for example I couldn't find a ticket and prices got sky high. Of course It's due to the artist's popularity and due to ticket brokers. But, for me, before booking I check out prices on a website and look for the best ofered price. This way I can save few dollars. You may need to use it:
But if someone hate contry music Idon't wnt to hear that bacause I love it so much!!!!!!!

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