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Grammy Awards

2019 Grammy Watch: Best Rock Album

Greta Van Fleet, Ghost, Alice in Chains and Weezer are nominated this year.

Tim Coffman

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CMN’s team of music writers is previewing the 2019 Grammy Awards. The 61st annual ceremony will take place Sunday, February 10 in Los Angeles. You can see all of our Grammy coverage here. 

Fall Out Boy: Mania – In an era where rock stars are experimenting with different types of genres, Fall Out Boy unfortunately misfired with their latest release Mania. Instead of stretching themselves out, main songwriter Pete Wentz decided to jump into the electronica pool that has been successful for acts like Imagine Dragons and Twenty One Pilots. However, the Fall Out Boy attitude is still present in many of the cuts and I can see the band bouncing back from this record in the future.

Greta Van Fleet: From the Fires – This band is fast becoming the face of rock and roll in 2019. These nasty blues riffs and vocal howls are certainly very impressive for a band where the median age is about 20. Only time will tell whether their brand of retro hard rock will have staying power.

Alice In Chains: Rainier Fog – This outing for the Seattle grunge icons is the best they’ve sounded since the glory days of vocalist Layne Staley. Frontman William Duvall shows he has the vocals and the guitar chops to fill Staley’s shoes, and lead guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s scintillating backing vocals and mammoth guitar work bring just the right amount of sludge to make the album title particularly apt.

Ghost: Prequelle – This is Ghost’s second nomination this year and one which is completely warranted. Far from the cathedral metal they prided themselves on, Ghost took this album to have fun and experiment with new sounds, including dance, hard rock — and even a saxophone solo on “Miasma.” This album is one that even your non-hard-rock friends can appreciate.

Weezer: Pacific Daydream – This album was a great bunch of electronic flavored power pop music reminiscent of the Beach Boys. Songs like “Happy Hour” and “Feels Like Summer” shows that frontman Rivers Cuomo knows his way around a catchy keyboard riff. While this album does bear a little bit too strong a resemblance to the band’s 2016 release Weezer (The White Album),it’s still nice for what it is.

Most Likely to Win:

Greta Van Fleet. The band is contentious amongst rock fans, but a darling for the Grammys. While this is a safe bet for a Grammy win this year, rock fans should be worried as to whether Greta has any more aces up their sleeve after this. While completely serviceable, this album doesn’t seem to take any risk or challenge their audience. 

Who Should Win:

Ghost. Unlike Greta Van Fleet, they do challenge and they are sure to be an acquired taste for many, with their metal edge and occasionally occultist lyrical inspirations. However, for a band to take a deliberate step away from their winning formula and still stay incredibly catchy is certainly something to be commended. If you don’t to any other rock album from last year, I implore you to give this one a try. It’s an absolute treat.

If you obsess over singers and bands, and are one of those people who make a playlist for every occasion, join CMN’s Music Journalism Course and get real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to music industry insiders, and a great place to display build your portfolio. Get all the details on the Music Journalism Course here.

Tim picked up the guitar at 10 years old and never looked back. He has been writing about music since 2011 and has loved every single minute of it. Music is his MO every day and he will do whatever he can to make sure that he's involved with it every day of his life.

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