From USA TODAY:
Coldplay, A Rush of Blood to the Head. Entered the Billboard album chart at No. 5 (its peak) in September; has sold 893,000 copies.
"Coldplay has the heat right now, being the coolest band coming out of Britain," says Gold Derby founder Tom O'Neil, author of The Grammys.
Willman says: "There's a sort of anointing of Coldplay as successors to U2. They deal with weighty and sometimes despondent themes without succumbing to torpor. And that vague sense of uplift translates over to their sales trajectory, too. Here's a band that's beaten the sophomore jinx in every way. They're still fresh enough for Grammy voters to feel they're rewarding relative youth, yet established enough that it's clear they'll be tossing the award to a career band and not a flavor of the moment."
Beck, Sea Change. Entered/peaked at No. 8 in October; has sold 406,000.
Coldplay's most serious rival could get a "consolation prize" from voters who believe that Beck should be in the best-album category, O'Neil says.
"Beck made one of the best albums of the year, but this was not a universally shared opinion," Willman says. "Sea Change is very much a variation on one rather depressive mood, and it took a little bit of patience, or at least a strong empathy for breakup music, to go along with that ride. A lot of people found its single-minded sense of purpose monotonous or just didn't get it. The party-hearty Beck of Mellow Gold is more likely to curry Grammy favor than the bummed-out Beck of this album, though I'd be delighted to be proven wrong."
Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Cruel Smile. Entered/peaked at No. 180 in October; has sold 22,000.
Costello's two nominations, Don't Be Cruel in rock album and its more obscure follow-up here, "point out a problem in music labeling," O'Neil says, adding that voters won't be embarrassed to bestow both on Costello; the singer has won only one trophy, in 1998 for a duet with Burt Bacharach. Grein says the conflicting pigeonholes could hurt chances for both records, but he sees a shot.
"The strongest point in Costello's favor is that sometimes voters like to recognize acts that helped pioneer the alternative format," Grein says. "Tom Waits, a star since the mid-'70s, won in 1992 for Bone Machine. Two other winners, U2 and R.E.M., were also influential in building the format."
Clinic, Walking With Thee. Did not chart; has sold 45,000 copies since February.
"Clinic was barely heard and seems to inspire as much alienation as affection when people do hear the band, so they face the most wildly improbable, let's just say impossible, odds here," Willman says.
The Soundtrack of Our Lives, Behind the Music. Did not chart; album has sold 20,000 copies since September.
"As much of a critical favorite as this may have been," Willman says, "it definitely wasn't the soundtrack of most Grammy voters' lives."
Grein finds it odd that quirky Brits Clinic and Swedish rockers Soundtrack managed to squeeze out Moby's 18 and entries by two past winners: Waits' Blood Money and Radiohead's I Might Be Wrong: Live Recordings.
full story: http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/awar ... race_x.htm
Wow. The person who wrote this seems very angry with Beck, very disgusted with Clinic, very ignorant of Soundtrack of Our Lives, and, agreeably, confused as to why Elvis Costello is in the alternative category.
Who do you think will win?[/b]