Grammys: Part 1

The 49th annual Grammy Awards are just around the corner. Before the winners are announced, though, the New University has its own predictions.

Best Pop Vocal Album

Best Pop Vocal Album is guaranteed to be a toss-up between Christina Aguilera’s ‘Back to Basics’ and Justin Timberlake’s ‘FutureSex/LoveSounds.’ Aguilera’s latest album is a two-disc set that contains a balanced mix of pop and jazz. It is clear that she is in her element on this CD and her voice never falters, especially in ‘Ain’t No Other Man,’ a tribute to her husband. Timberlake’s album is not nearly as good as his debut album, ‘Justified.’ The CD is token Timberlake, with a lot of dance songs. The other three nominees are ‘Back to Bedlam’ by James Blunt, ‘The River in Reverse’ by Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint and ‘Continuum’ by John Mayer. As much as we love Mayer’s ‘Continuum,’ it doesn’t hold its own against Aguilera and Timberlake.

Best R&B Album

With eight nominations, there is no doubt in our minds that Mary J. Blige will nab this award for her album, ‘The Breakthrough.’ Alongside her are Jamie Foxx for ‘Unpredictable,’ India.Arie for ‘Testimony, Vol. 1, Life and Relationship,’ Prince for ‘3121’ and Lionel Richie for ‘Coming Home.’ Blige’s album is a tale of survival and her emotion clearly comes through in the music. Blige is definitely a force with which to be reckoned. Though we do love India.Arie’s passionate music as well as Foxx’s upbeat style, Blige will take this award. Prince’s beats are poppy and great for dancing and Lionel Richie’s album is full of soulful tunes, but this is Blige’s year.

Best Alternative Music Album

Gnarls Barkley will take this one. ‘St. Elsewhere’ has a sound all its own, and anyone not living under a rock has probably heard their most popular song, ‘Crazy.’ Also included in this category are The Arctic Monkeys’ ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not,’ a British album that vaguely resembles Green Day’s sound. We’ve also got The Flaming Lips’ ‘At War With The Mystics,’ which has a laid-back vibe that makes you feel like you’re going through a tunnel (listen, and you’ll understand), and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs for ‘Show Your Bones.’ Finally, we have Thom Yorke’s ‘The Eraser.’ The guy’s got a lovely voice and sings some mellow songs, but we’re pretty sure Gnarls Barkley (even though he’s not really a person) will go home happy.