Grammy nominee John Rausch, who engineered part of Taylor Swift's "Red" album, and Star Tribune critic Jon Bream take a run at the top Grammy Awards:

Album of the year

Nominees: Sara Bareilles, "The Blessed Unrest"; Daft Punk, "Random Access Memories"; Kendrick Lamar, "Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City"; Mackle­more & Ryan Lewis, "The Heist"; Taylor Swift, "Red."

Rausch: "Is it selfish of me to say I really hope we win and I think we have a good shot? I'm scared of Macklemore. I'd feel better if I got beat by Daft Punk because I love that record as well."

Bream: Critically admired acts like Arcade Fire or the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss collaboration sometimes triumph. No such luck for Lamar. I think Swift's blockbuster will probably win unless Macklemore heists the trophy or Daft Punk gets lucky.

Song of the year

Nominees: Pink, "Just Give Me a Reason"; Bruno Mars, "Locked Out of Heaven"; Katy Perry, "Roar"; Lorde, "Royals"; Mackle­more & Ryan Lewis, "Same Love."

Rausch: "I like 'Roar' and 'Royals.' It's a tossup."

Bream: The Recording Academy will send a message by honoring "Same Love," a same-sex celebration.

Record of the year

Nominees: Daft Punk, "Get Lucky"; Imagine Dragons, "Radioactive"; Lorde, "Royals"; Bruno Mars, "Locked Out of Heaven"; Robin Thicke, "Blurred Lines."

Rausch: "Lorde, hands down. I love that record. It' so uncomfortably simple that it's amazing. It's so ballsy how empty it is. She'll leave space. And her lyrics are so amazing. She grew up in a poetic family. You feel like she means what she says."

Bream: Totally agree.

Best new artist

Nominees: James Blake; Kendrick Lamar; Macklemore & Ryan Lewis; Kacey Musgraves; Ed Sheeran.

Rausch: "Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. I really dig their stuff."

Bream: Nashville voters will rally behind Musgraves, a worthy candidate, but Mackle­more takes the trophy.