Music Article

Rocking the Vote: Who Will Win, and Who Should

Our predictions for who will win and who should win, including Eric Clapton and U2

Not to sound like a beer commercial, but if this were a perfect world, Grammys would go to artists who really deserve them, right? Not just to the big money-makers the music biz chooses to honor or compensate for snubs past. But seeing as this is not about to become a perfect world anytime soon, here are our predictions of who will win some of the major categories on Feb. 24 and our list of who should.

RECORD OF THE YEAR
''Tears in Heaven,'' Eric Clapton
''Achy Breaky Heart,'' Billy Ray Cyrus
''Beauty and the Beast,'' Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson
''Constant Craving,'' k.d. lang
''Save the Best for Last,'' Vanessa Williams
Real-World Winner: Clapton, for clear-cut sentimental reasons and those 4 million copies sold of Unplugged
Perfect-World Winner: Nirvana's ''Smells Like Teen Spirit,'' which fulfills the main requirements: a killer hook and great production.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Unplugged, Eric Clapton
Ingenue, k.d. lang
Diva, Annie Lennox
Achtung Baby, U2
Beauty and the Beast, Various Artists
Real-World Winner: Clapton seems a natural, but don't discount dark horses lang and Lennox — the kind of classy, adult pop albums Grammy voters love.
Perfect-World Winner: Achtung Baby, where murk and passion meet

SONG OF THE YEAR
''Tears in Heaven,'' Eric Clapton and Will Jennings
''Achy Breaky Heart,'' Don Von Tress
''Beauty and the Beast,'' Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
''Constant Craving,'' k.d. lang and Ben Mink
''Save the Best for Last,'' Wendy Waldman, Jon Lind, and Phil Galdston
Real-World Winner: Clapton pouring his heart out to his late son. A cinch.
Perfect-World Winner: U2's ''One,'' a beautiful song about magic and loss in the age of AIDS

BEST NEW ARTIST
Arrested Development
Billy Ray Cyrus
Sophie B. Hawkins
Kris Kross
Jon Secada
Real-World Winner: Young urban smoothie Secada will reign over Cyrus, whose image may be too trailer park for voters.
Perfect-World Winner: Arrested Development, for a first album that took rap to the next (spiritual) level

BEST POP VOCAL, FEMALE
MTV Unplugged EP, Mariah Carey
Celine Dion, Celine Dion
''Constant Craving,'' k.d. lang
Diva, Annie Lennox
''Save the Best for Last,'' Vanessa Williams
Real-World Winner: Beloved underdog lang and come-from-behind Lennox should triumph over Carey's tired eardrum-piercing shtick.
Perfect-World Winner: Neneh Cherry, for her Homebrew album

BEST POP VOCAL, MALE
''Tears in Heaven,'' Eric Clapton
Us, Peter Gabriel
''Black or White,'' Michael Jackson
''The One,'' Elton John
Joshua Judges Ruth, Lyle Lovett
Real-World Winner: Clapton's only competition is ol' Wacko Jacko, who may be tossed this bone because of Dangerous' conspicuously low number of nominations.
Perfect-World Winner: Jon Secada, for ''Just Another Day''

BEST HARD ROCK
Dirt, Alice in Chains
Angel Dust, Faith No More
''Live and Let Die,'' Guns N' Roses
''Smells Like Teen Spirit,'' Nirvana
''Jeremy,'' Pearl Jam
''Give It Away,'' Red Hot Chili Peppers
Real-World Winner: Guns N' Roses, since Grammy voters will vaguely remember that old Wings song
Perfect-World Winner: Screaming Trees, for its Doors-revisited Singles single, ''Nearly Lost You''

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