Erich Schrader

The 52nd Grammy Awards are less than a week away, so it only seems appropriate to take a look at the nominees and make a few predictions, without neglecting to bring attention to those that deserve to win but won’t.

Album of the Year Nominees

I Am… Sasha Fierce – BeyoncéThe E.N.D. – Black Eyed PeasBig Whiskey and the GrooGrux King – Dave Matthews BandThe Fame – Lady GagaFearless – Taylor Swift

Who should win: Taylor Swift. While I admit I am not much of a fan, I would be hard-pressed to ignore the girl’s originality and skills as a songwriter. I don’t know … maybe I’m just bitter about her not returning my phone calls. And about that restraining order.

Who will win: Lady Gaga. I’m throwing in my coach’s challenge on the Vegas odds here; Rolling Stone and most of the other larger publications are choosing Swift to take home to metal, but I have a feeling the chick wearing a Toys ‘R’ Us catalog instead of underwear will emerge victorious. Either way, I hope Kanye’s irritable bowel syndrome acts up and he can’t attend the festivities.

Record of the Year Nominees

“Halo” – Beyoncé”I Gotta Feeling” – Black Eyed Peas”Use Somebody” – Kings of Leon”Poker Face” – Lady Gaga”You Belong With Me” – Taylor Swift

Who should win: Kings of Leon. “Use Somebody” is quite simply a great song. Kings of Leon have gone unappreciated for far too long, and 2008’s Only by the Night not only gave them to recognition they deserve, but made them one of the biggest bands on the planet. Looking at the rest of the field, it would be (and is going to be) a travesty if anybody but the Followills take home the gold.

Who will win: Lady Gaga. Again, odds favor Taylor Swift in this category, but I think Lady Gaga is going to clean up this year. Expect her to glue this year’s awards to herself and wear them to award shows in 2011.

Best New Artist Nominees

Zac Brown BandSilversun PickupsKeri HilsonMGMTThe Ting Tings

Who should win: MGMT

Ben Goldwasser and Andrew van Wyngarden make up one of modern music’s most unorthodox duos, and I mean this in the best way possible. Oracular Spectacular offers a synth-laden trip that mixes the best of hip-hop with the best of rock. Doctor’s note: take with a combination of hallucinogens and psychotropics for added effect.

Who will win: Keri Hilson. It would seem as though Hilson is being groomed for the spotlight, as she is hands down the best connected artist nominated for this category. Having written songs for several popular musicians and performing with many others, I would be very surprised if someone else pulled a backdoor bandit FTW.

Best Rock Album Nominees

Black Ice – AC/DCLive From Madison Square Garden – Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood21st Century Breakdown – Green DayBig Whiskey and the GrooGrux Kings – Dave Matthews BandNo Line on the Horizon – U2

Who should win: Green Day. Sure they get more airtime than just about any other modern rock band, but they also happen to be one of the last few great arena rock bands. Breakdown is a solid album, so here’s to hoping it doesn’t become the next American Idiot by saturating Americans with it until they actually become idiots.

Who will win: Dave Matthews Band. I am not a Dave Matthews fan by any definition of the word “fan.” That being said, I did not despise Big Whiskey the way I had anticipated. However, I’m pretty convinced Matthews’ radio friendliness will rope them a win.

Best Alternative Nominees

Everything That Happens Will Happen Today – David Byrne and Brian EnoThe Open Door – Death Cab for CutieSounds of the Universe – Depeche ModeWolfgang Amadeus Phoenix – PhoenixIt’s Blitz! – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Who should win: Phoenix. Listen to Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. I can almost guarantee you will enjoy its odd, pop-rock tunes. 1901 was an awesome song before society was beaten repeatedly with it while watching car commercials. Passion Pit’s Sleepyhead suffered a similar demise in the form of death-by-cell phone commercials.

Who will win: Depeche Mode. While commonly referred to as the “most popular electronic band ever,” I would be willing to make the argument that nearly all pop-rock from the ’80s sounds like some rendition of electronica. Although formed in 1980, everything they have done since then would lead you to think a closed head injury left them perpetually stuck in the early ’80s.

Best Rap Song Nominees

“Best I Ever Had” – Drake”Day ‘N’ Nite” – Kid Cudi”Dead and Gone” – T.I. and Justin Timberlake”D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune)” – Jay-Z”Run This Town” – Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West

Who should win: Kid Cudi. Kid Cudi kicks ass indiscriminately, pure and simple. He is the future of rap, and his music is the direction in which hip hop needs to move to avoid becoming stale. Without a doubt the best thing to come out of Cleveland since The Drew Carey Show.

Who will win: Kid Cudi. To be honest, this is more of a reiteration of “who should win.” Although it’s unlikely that Cudder will bring home the win, I’m hoping against hope that he does.

If I have to watch Kanye walk on stage, with or without an invitation, I’m going to dropkick dropout bear off the side of a bridge.