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Grammys 2013: Album Of The Year—Who Will Win?

Lilian Min |
February 7, 2013 | 9:32 p.m. PST

Music Editor

With the Grammys fast approaching (this Sunday night, to be exact), we at NT have dissected the music awards ceremony in several different ways, from who's never gotten a gramaphone trophy to, well, do the Grammys still matter at all to music listeners?

This year, the nominees for the night's top prize, Album of the Year, are:


  • Mumford & Sons - "Babel"
  • Frank Ocean - "channel ORANGE"
  • The Black Keys - "El Camino"
  • fun. - "Some Nights"
  • Jack White - "Blunderbuss"


In an effort to understand why these albums were nominated, and if there's a frontrunner in the race, we compared the debut week album sales of all 5 of these albums to see which albums made the biggest initial commercial splashes.

It looks like we have a winner. (Didi Beck/Neon Tommy)
It looks like we have a winner. (Didi Beck/Neon Tommy)

Mumford & Sons easily beat all of these other artists in terms of debut album sales, but is that a firm gauge of the album's reach? Let's take a look at the video views of each of these album's most watched (or most recognizable) singles from those albums.

Mumford & Sons - "I Will Wait" (17 million views)

Frank Ocean - "Thinking About You" (8.5 million views)

The Black Keys - "Lonely Boy" (22 million views)

fun. - "We Are Young" (166 million views)

Jack White - "Love Interruption" (6 million views)

With this stat, fun. seems like it's way out ahead of all of the other artists, even though their album "Some Nights" clocked in with the lowest debut album sales.

Of course, these rough comparisons are a drop in the bucket when it comes to predicting a frontrunner. And there's no real way to measure the actual cultural influence of these performers; for instance, Frank Ocean was recently in the news over an altercation with Chris Brown.

This is the first time in recent Grammys history that all of the records up for Album of the Year are generally not of a mainstream pop sensibility (the closest one is "Some Nights")--for instance, in the past 5 years, Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," "The Fame Monster" and "The Fame," Rihanna's "Loud," and the Black Eyed Peas's "The E.N.D." have all been nominees.

But when it comes to actually designating a winner, the Grammys have been wildly inconsistent--in 2008, Herbie Hancock won for "River: The Joni Letters," while Taylor Swift won for "Fearless" in 2010. And of course, Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" beat out Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream," Lady Gaga's "The Fame Monster" and Eminem's "Recovery" in 2011 (leading to some pretty amazing reactions). 

Who gets the gramaphone this year? There's only one way to find out--tune in to CBS at 8 p.m. (here's to hoping the Staples Center doesn't lose power halfway through the ceremony). Or, you could follow these fabulous folks and keep up with the latest announcements.

Read more of NT's Grammys coverage here.

Reach Music Editor Lilian Min here. Follow her on Twitter here.



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