My Way Too Early 2016 Grammy Award Picks

This morning, we were all graced with the 2016 Grammy nominations. In proper MichaelPiff.com fashion, just like with other award shows, I’m making my WAY TOO EARLY picks with the awards not being presented until 2 months from now (Feb. 15th, 2016).

Kendrick Lamar leads all with 11 nominations while Taylor Swift and The Weeknd each have 7. Despite a heavy push in PR in November, Justin Bieber was held out (except for being featured on Jack Ü’s best dance recording nominee, Where Are Ü Now) as were many of his Top 40 pop peers like Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Carly Rae Jepson.

I am surprised Modest Mouse, Sufjan Stevens and Mumford & Sons didn’t get much love, but a little relieved that Fall Out Boy was shutout for becoming what may be the saddest evolution of a band I used to greatly enjoy.

Keep in mind, these picks (like music in general) are totally subjective and my Favorites of 2015 (Music, Movies, TV, Sports, etc) lists will be hitting next week in case you need better context. As always, your thoughts and personal picks are welcome on Twitter and Facebook

Record of the Year

  • “Really Love” – D’Angelo (from Black Messiah)

  • “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars (from Uptown Special)

  • “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran (from X)

  • “Blank Space” – Taylor Swift (from 1989)

  • “Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd (from Beauty Behind the Madness)

My Pick: “Really Love”

 

Album of the Year

  • Sound & Color – The Alabama Shakes

  • To Pimp A Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

  • Traveler – Chris Stapleton

  • 1989 – Taylor Swift

  • Beauty Behind the Madness – The Weeknd

My Pick: To Pimp A Butterfly

 

Song of the Year

  • “Alright” – Kendrick Lamar (from To Pimp a Butterfly)

  • “Blank Space” – Taylor Swift (from 1989)

  • “Girl Crush” – Little Big Town (from Pain Killer)

  • “See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth (from Furious 7 Soundtrack)

  • “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran (X)

My Pick: “Thinking Out Loud”

 

Best New Artist

  • Courtney Barnett

  • James Bay

  • Sam Hunt

  • Tori Kelly

  • Meghan Trainor

My Pick: James Bay

 

Best Pop Solo Performance

  • “Heartbeat Song” – Kelly Clarkson (from Piece by Piece)

  • “Love Me Like You Do” – Ellie Goulding (from 50 Shades of Grey Soundtrack)

  • “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran (from X)

  • “Can’t Feel My Face” – The Weeknd (Beauty Behind The Madness)

My Pick: “Can’t Feel My Face”

 

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

  • “Ship To Wreck” – Florence + The Machine (from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful)

  • “Sugar” – Maroon 5 (from V)

  • “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars (Uptown Special)

  • “Bad Blood” – Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar (from 1989)

  • “See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth (from Furious 7 Soundtrack)

My Pick: “Uptown Funk”

 

Best Pop Vocal Album

  • Piece by Piece – Kelly Clarkson

  • How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful – Florence + The Machine

  • Uptown Special – Mark Ronson

  • 1989 – Taylor Swift

  • Before The World – James Taylor

My Pick: 1989

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Best Rock Performance

  • “Don’t Wanna Fight” – Alabama Shakes (from Sound & Color)

  • “What Kind of Man” – Florence + The Machine (from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful)

  • “Something From Nothing” – Foo Fighters (from Sonic Highways)

  • “Ex’s & Oh’s” – Elle King (from Love Stuff)

  • “Moaning Lisa Smile” – Wolf Alice (from My Love Is Cool)

My Pick: “Something From Nothing”

 

Best Metal Performance

  • “Identity” – August Burns Red (from Found in Far Away Places)

  • “Cirice” – Ghost (from Meliora) 

  • “512” – Lamb of God (from VII: Sturm Und Drang)

  • “Thank You” – Sevendust (from Kill The Flaw)

  • “Custer” – Slipknot (from .5: The Gray Chapter)

 

My Pick: “Cirice”

 

Best Rock Song

  • “Don’t Wanna Fight” – Alabama Shakes (from Color & Sound)

  • “Ex’s & Oh’s” – Elle King (Love and Stuff)

  • “Hold Back The River” – James Bay (Chaos and the Calm)

  • “Lydia” – Highly Suspect (Mister Asylum)

  • “What Kind of Man” – Florence + The Machine (How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful)

My Pick: “Hold Back The River”

 

Best Rock Album

  • Chaos and the Calm – James Bay

  • Kintsugi – Death Cab for Cutie

  • Mister Asylum – Highly Suspect

  • Drones – Muse

  • .5: The Gray Chapter – Slipknot

My Pick: Drones

 

Best Alternative Music Album

  • Sound and Color – Alabama Shakes

  • Vulnicura – Björk

  • The Waterfall – My Morning Jacket

  • Currents – Tame Impala

  • Star Wars – Wilco

My Pick: The Waterfall

(Toughest of all categories)

 

Best R&B Song

  • “Coffee” – Miguel (from Wildheart)

  • “Earned It” – The Weeknd (from Fifty Shades of Grey Soundtrack)

  • “Let It Burn” – Jazmine Sullivan (from Reality Show)

  • “Really Love” – D’Angelo (from Black Messiah)

  • “Shame” – Tyrese (from Black Rose)

My Pick: “Really Love”

 

Best R&B Album

  • Coming Home – Leon Bridges

  • Black Messiah – D’Angelo and the Vanguard

  • Cheers To The Fall – Andra Day

  • Reality Show – Jazmine Sullivan

  • Forever Charlie – Charlie Wilson

My Pick: Black Messiah

(Leon Bridges is also fantastic)

 

Best Rap Performance

  • “Apparently” – J. Cole (from 2014 Forest Hill Drive)

  • “Back To Back” – Drake 

  • “Trap Queen” – Fetty Wap (from Fetty Wap)

  • “Alright” – Kendrick Lamar (from To Pimp A Butterfly)

  • “Truffle Butter” – Nicki Minaj feat Drake & Lil Wayne (from The Pinkprint)

  • “All Day” – Kanye West (from Swish)

My Pick: “Alright”

 

Best Rap Song

  • “All Day” – Kanye (from Swish)

  • “Energy” – Drake (from If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late)

  • “Glory” – Common & John Legend (from Selma Soundtrack)

  • “Trap Queen” – Fetty Wap (from Fetty Wap)

My Pick: “Glory”

 

 

To see all the categories and nominees, click here. I can’t in good conscience judge Country or EDM since I don’t listen to either often. Send your picks and thoughts to me on Facebook and Twitter

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Chicago Celebrities We’d Rather See At Games

From afar, I’ve admired what the Chicago Cubs are doing. Not just at the plate and from the mound, but also from a promotional standpoint. Rather than trot out any famous person who can afford a ticket with what they find between their couch cushions, the Cubs had players who appreciate where the team is now and put in blood, sweat and tears wearing the blue pinstripes to throw out first pitches in Games 3 and 4.

After Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and 2-time All-Star Kerry Wood kicked off each game, the Cubs utilized their new video boards at Wrigley Field with videos of the late Ernie Banks and Harry Caray singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” That’s classy. That’s also what they should do from now on, but that’s a discussion for another day. (Never let Ryan Dempster do his impression of Will Ferrell’s impression of Harry Caray again)

Amidst the bat-flipping, opposing pitcher name chanting, and hardcore partying, we’ve seen the celebrity faces that we expected (some dreaded) to see at the ballpark. Billy Corgan and his new get-off-my-lawn attitude. Northside/Southside flipping John Cusack. And the worst front-runner on the planet, Jim Belushi (I cringe typing his name like he’s Voldemort). New assistant to Cubs President Theo Epstein (probably) Eddie Vedder has been fun. As an avid Pearl Jam fan, I get a kick out of him partying as hard as the players after each game.

It’s also hard to imagine that Bill Murray isn’t too far away, despite his media tour next week for the upcoming release of Rock the Kasbah. If anything, he could make it an epic cross promotion for his film and the MLB playoffs.

Bill Murray Harry

Vedder and Murray are awesome but it’s time to bring out the big hitters to the seats in Chicago, and not just at Wrigley Field. Last summer, I countered recently-outed heavyweight racist Hulk Hogan’s baiting for angry Blackhawks fans during the Stanley Cup with my own list of better celebrity hockey fans. Those mentioned in that list (CM Punk, Mr. T, Vince Vaughn, etc) get a hat-tip, but the following names will represent star power that we’d rather see regularly, similar to the likes at New York and Los Angeles events.

1. Harrison Ford

Harrison Ford Chicago

We’re talking about Han Solo AND Indiana Jones here. How can you deny the idea of either baseball stadium in Chicago playing the “Imperial Death March” music announcing the Yankees lineup, then following it with a shot of Harrison Ford behind home plate with the Rebel Victory score over it? Maybe it’s a the geek in me, but any opportunity to implement Star Wars, especially with the new film coming out, is super sexy to me.

Note: I also refer to White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu as #Baseball Jedi, so there’s that. 

Ford has Chicago in his blood, being born here and spending his college summers working on a boat in Burnham Park Harbor or managing the first Crate and Barrel on Wells. In an Michigan Ave Magazine interview, Ford said:

I’ve been out in Los Angeles for 35 years, and I think there are some things about my upbringing that reflect the values and the attitudes of the Midwest…. a kind of work ethic that I find particular to the Midwest. I can say that those were important, formative years for me, living in Chicago.”

Cool, Indy. I’ll buy you a beer next time you’re in town, if it gets you to a ballgame.

2. Nick Offerman

Nick Offerman Cubs

Currently featured in the new season of Fargo, Nick Offerman isn’t slowing down since the end of Ron Swanson and Parks and Recreation. Offerman isn’t shy about his baseball allegiance either.

There are many grown men and women who would scream like a 90’s tween at a Backstreet Boys concert if they saw the Joliet native, University of Illinois grad, and professional canoe craftsman down the foul line at a ballgame.

If he’s willing, during a the Crosstown Cup series, there’s plenty of bacon-on-a-stick awaiting his consumption at US Cellular Field.

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Double-thick maple bacon. You know you want it, Nick…

3. Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson Chicago

Yep, X-Files fans, Scully is from Chicago. With The X-Files revival series coming soon to FOX, they’d be making a huge mistake not having Gillian Anderson at Wrigley Field fending off the paranormal and extraterrestrial that I’m sure some Cubs fans still believe will prevent the Cubs from going to the World Series…At least come out to a Men and/or Women’s basketball game at DePaul, where Anderson finished college…something she and I have in common.

4. President Barack Obama

President Obama Chicago

Partisan opinions aside, he’s the MF’n President of the United States. He’s also a hardcore sports fan, which I thoroughly laid out on his birthday, and loves his Chicago teams…

When his term is up, I would welcome the president taking in as much Bulls basketball, White Sox baseball, Bears football, and whatever as he wants.

5. John C. Reilly

John C. Reilly Chicago

Would you really argue with me on this? Who doesn’t want south side native John C. Reilly in their corner?

That’s exactly who you want in games against New York when Billy Crystal, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Jay-Z and Beyonce are behind the opponent’s bench.

6. Stephen Colbert

Stephen Colbert Chicago

For someone who has spent a lot of his career recently in New York City, Stephen Colbert has not been bashful at all about his time in Chicago. Leading up to the new Late Show’s premiere, Colbert dedicated multiple podcasts to his years at Northwestern and doing improv in Chicago. While interviewing Jane The Virgin star Gina Rodriguez this week, the two bonded over their love for the city and living there. Most notably, as tongue-in-cheek as it sounded, Colbert predicted a Cubs World Series win…a proclamation he believes “in no way will come back to haunt” him.

If the NLCS goes to New York, I would be shocked if Colbert wasn’t in attendance. Heck, he should catch a weekend game in Chicago if the opportunity is there.

More Chicago Celebrities You’d Rather See:

John Landis, Director – Animal House, Blues Brothers

Robert Zemeckis, Director – Back to the Future Trilogy

Patricia Arquette, Actress – Boyhood, True Romance

Common, Hip-Hop Artist & Actor – Selma

Fred Savage, Actor & Director – The Wonder Years

Ben Savage, Actor – Boy Meets World

Chloe Bennet, Actress – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 

Mandy Patinkin, Actor – The Princess Bride, Homeland

Gina Rodriguez, Actress – Jane The Virgin

Michael Pena, Actor – Ant-Man, The Martian

Frances McDormand, Actress – Fargo, Almost Famous

Shonda Rhimes, Writer – Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy

Michael Madsen, Actor – Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill

Jennifer Morrison, Actress – House M.D.

Michael Mann, Director – Heat

Tom Berenger, Actor – Major League

Dan Castellanata, Actor – The Simpsons

Bruce Dern, Actor – Nebraska, The Cowboys

Andre Braugher, Actor – Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Wood Harris, Actor – The Wire, Remember the Titans

Bob Balaban, Actor – Moonrise Kingdom

Jennifer Hudson, Singer & Actress – Dreamgirls

Chi McBride, Actor – Boston Public, The Terminal

Craig Robinson, Actor – The Office, Knocked Up

Jay Chandrasekhar, Actor & Director – Super Troopers

Jim O’Heir, Actor – Parks and Recreation

Did I miss anyone? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

#TBT Year in Review: 2005

Looking back a decade ago.

  • Watergate whistleblower “Deep Throat” was revealed to be former FBI Associate Director Mark Felt.
  • Pope John Paul II passed away, Pope Benedict XVI succeeded him.
  • YouTube is launched. First video is uploaded April 23rd at 8:27 PM ET. 
  • “Live 8”, 10 simultaneous concerts around the world, took place featuring more than 1,000 artists broadcasted on 182 TV networks and 2,000 radio stations. 
  • Actor John Spencer passed away at the age of 58.

And here’s what we saw from the world’s of Movies, Music, and Sports

Movies

Comedy

The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Wedding Crashers, Hitch, The Longest Yard, The Pacifier, Bewitched, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Fun with Dick and Jane, Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, Fever Pitch, Waiting, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Just Like Heaven, Guess Who, The Duke’s of Hazzard, The Man, The Ringer, Kicking and Screaming, Rumor Has It, A Lot Like Love, Be Cool, and…

Thank You For Smoking

(starring Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg’s doppleganger)

Action/Thriller 

Batman Begins, Lord of War, Harsh Times, Saw II, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, The Island, Hostage, V for Vendetta, Flightplan, The Interpreter, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chaos, Doom, Red Eye, The Descent, Into the Blue, Assault on Precinct 13, War of the Worlds, Hostel, The Cave, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Four Brothers, Transporter 2, Serenity, Elektra, Stay, Hide and Seek, Hard Candy, The Skeleton Key, The Devil’s Rejects, Domino, House of Wax, Revolver, and…

Sin City

(wish the sequel was better)

Drama

Brokeback Mountain, Walk the Line, North Country, Kingdom of Heaven, Pride and Prejudice, The New World, Capote, The Constant Gardner, A History of Violence, The Family Stone, Coach Carter, Proof, Derailed, Cinderella Man, Elvis, Munich, The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio, Green Street Hooligans, Memoirs of a Geisha, The Squid and the Whale, The Jacket, An Unfinished Life, The Proposition, Syriana, Archangel, Lords of Dogtown, Jarhead, and…

Good Night and Good Luck

And the Oscar goes to…

The 78th Academy Awards

Best Actor

  • Terrance Howard, Hustle and Flow
  • Heath Ledger, Brokeback Mountain
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
  • David Strathairn, Good Night and Good Luck
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote – Winner

Best Supporting Actor

  • Matt Dillon, Crash
  • Paul Giamatti, Cinderella Man
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain
  • William Hurt, A History of Violence
  • George Clooney, Syriana- Winner

(Clooney was also nominated twice more that night for Directing and Writing Good Night and Good Luck)

Best Actress

  • Judie Dench, Mrs. Henderson Presents
  • Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
  • Keira Knightly, Pride & Prejudice
  • Charlize Theron, North Country
  • Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line – Winner

Best Supporting Actress

  • Frances McDormand, North Country
  • Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
  • Amy Adams, Junebug
  • Catherine Keener, Capote
  • Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener – Winner

Best Picture

  • Brokeback Mountain
  • Capote
  • Good Night and Good Luck
  • Munich
  • Crash – Winner

(Also won Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing)

Music

Rock Albums

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Hip Hop Albums

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Pop Albums

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Billboard Year-End Top 25

01. “We Belong Together” – Mariah Carey

02. “Hollaback Girl” – Gwen Stefani

03. “Let Me Love You” – Mario

04. “Since U Been Gone” – Kelly Clarkson

05. “1, 2 Step” – Ciara and Missy Elliott

06. “Gold Digger” – Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx

07. “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” – Green Day

08. “Candy Shop” – 50 Cent

09. “Don’t Cha” – The Pussycat Dolls featuring Busta Rhymes

10. “Behind These Hazel Eyes” – Kelly Clarkson

11. “Disco Inferno” – 50 Cent

12. “You and me” – Lifehouse

13. “Don’t Phunk With My Heart” – Black Eyed Peas

14. “Lose Control” – Missy Elliott featuring Ciara and Fatman Scoop

15. “Shake It Off” – Mariah Carey

16. “Mr. Brightside” – The Killers

17. “Just a Lil Bit” – 50 Cent

18. “Pon de Replay” – Rihanna

19. “How We Do” – The Game featuring 50 Cent

20. “Beverly Hills” – Weezer

21. “Oh” – Ciara featuring Ludacris

22. “Lonely No More” – Rob Thomas

23. “Drop It Like It’s Hot” – Snoop Dogg featuring Pharrell

24. “Hate It or Love It” – The Game featuring 50 Cent

25. “Lovers & Friends” – Lil Jon featuring Usher and Ludacris

Sports

Baseball

League Leaders:

Offensive

Average: Derek Lee (CHC) – .335

Hits: Michael Young (TEX) – 221

Home Runs: Andruw Jones (ATL) – 51

RBI: David Ortiz (BOS) – 148

OPS: Derek Lee (CHC) – 1.080

Stolen Bases: Chone Figgins (LAA) – 62

Pitching

Wins: Dontrelle Willis (FLA) – 22

ERA: Roger Clemens (HOU) – 1.87

Strikeouts: Johan Santana (MIN) – 238

Complete Games: Dontrelle Willis (FLA) & Chris Carpenter (STL) – 7

Shutouts: Dontrelle Willis (FLA) – 5

Saves: Chad Cordero (WSH) – 47

MVP

AL – Alex Rodriguez (NYY)

NL – Albert Pujols (STL)

CY Young

AL – Bartolo Colon (LAA)

NL – Chris Carpenter (STL)

Rookie of the Year

AL – Huston Street (OAK)

NL – Ryan Howard (PHI)

World Series:

Chicago White Sox sweep Houston Astros (4-0)

Basketball

NCAA

Final Four:

(1) Illinois, (4) Louisville, (1) North Carolina and (5) Michigan State

National Championship:

(1) North Carolina over (1) Illinois 75-70

NBA

League Leaders

Points Per Game: Allen Iverson (PHI) – 30.7

Rebounds Per Game: Kevin Garnett (MIN) – 13.5

Assists Per Game: Steve Nash (PHX) – 11.5

All-NBA Team

Tim Duncan (SA)

Allen Iverson (PHI)

Steve Nash (PHX)

Dirk Nowitzki (DAL)

Shaquille O’Neal (MIA)

MVP: Steve Nash (PHX)

Rookie of the Year: Emeka Okafor (CHA)

NBA Finals

San Antonio Spurs over Detroit Pistons (4-3)

Football

NCAA

Heisman Trophy:

Reggie Bush (USC)

National Championship

(2) Texas over (1) USC 41-38 in the Rose Bowl

NFL

League Leaders

Passing Yards: Tom Brady (NE) – 4,110

Passing Touchdowns: Carson Palmer (CIN) – 32

Passer Rating: Peyton Manning (IND) – 104.1

Rushing Yards: Shaun Alexander (SEA) – 1,880

Rushing TD: Shaun Alexander (SEA) – 27

Receiving Yards: Steve Smith (CAR) – 1,563

Receiving Touchdowns: Marvin Harrison (IND) & Steve Smith (CAR) – 12

Receptions: Larry Fitzgerald (AZ) & Steve Smith (CAR) – 103

AP MVP: Shaun Alexander (SEA)

Super Bowl XL

Pittsburgh Steelers over Seattle Seahawks 21-10

Hockey

Sorry Hockey fans…

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Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.

Also checkout past #TBT Years in Review.

2011

2006

1998

1992

1989

1987

Michael’s Mixtape: The Second

This is my way of answering the very popular question, “What are you listening to these days?”

Each week, I’m going to try posting a list of new and old music that I am into, and I’d love for you to share what you’re listening to with me on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03. 

1. “Wake Up Everybody” – The Roots & John Legend

2. “Blue Sky” – Common

3. “Wherever Is Your Heart” – Brandi Carlile

4. “Fool For Love” – Lord Huron

5. “My Wrecking Ball” – Ryan Adams

6. “Everyday” – A$AP Rocky feat. Rod Stewart and Miguel

7. “Sober” – Childish Gambino

8. “Mene” – Brand New

9. “Artist in the Ambulance” – Thrice

10. “Narrow Mouth” – The Early November

11. “Virtual Insanity” – Jamiroquai

12. “The Door” – D’Angelo

13. “Got Till It’s Gone” – Janet & Q-Tip

14. “Two Hands Up” – O.A.R

15. “Just Another Girl” – The Killers

16. “Keep Your Head Up” – Ben Howard

17. “Home Again” – Michael Kiwanuka

18. “24 Frames” – Jason Isbell

19. “The Boxer” – Mumford and Sons

20. “Things Happen” – Dawes

21. “The John Wayne” – Little Green Cars

22. “Everything Works Out in the End” – Kodaline

Want more? Check out The First. Each “Mixtape” is available on Spotify too. And of course I’d love more recommendations, so Tweet them to @Mike_PiFF03.