The Grammys are coming on Sunday, complete with their 3D Michael Jackson tribute and fundraising segment for Haiti relief. And they’ll hand out some awards too. Today we look at one of the big four categories: record of the year.

Record of the year

“Halo,” Beyonce
“I Gotta Feeling,” The Black Eyed Peas
“Use Somebody,” Kings of Leon
“Poker Face,” Lady GaGa
“You Belong with Me,” Taylor Swift

If the song of the year is for the tune alone in its most stripped down form, think of the record of the year as the award for the finished product after everyone else—the artist, producer, mixer, etc., had their way with the song. Therefore, this is more about how the record sounds than the actually notes on the sheet music. That’s one reason I argued under song of the year that “Halo” and “Single Ladies” should be flipped here as “Single Ladies” is the far more noteworthy production. “Use Somebody” is a strong song, as is “You Belong with Me.” Their productions are nice and suit the tunes, but don’t stand out as particularly innovative or noteworthy. Think about “Poker Face” and “I Gotta Feeling,” both are better records than songs (we’re not sure there’s really a song there in “I Gotta Feeling). They both possess unique sounds that make them instantly recognizable.

The Grammy goes to: “Poker Face,” Lady GaGa

Record of the year
Song of the year
Best rock performance by duo or group
Best male pop vocal performance
Best female pop vocal performance
Best pop group performance
Best alternative album
Best rock song
Best pop vocal album