The best place to start in predicting the Grammy nominees for Song of the Year is the likely Record of the Year candidates. (Record of the Year honors a particular recording of a song. Song of the Year, which is awarded to the songwriter, honors the song itself.)
This year, three likely Record of the Year finalists are also eligible for Song of the Year. They are Carly Rae Jepsen's smash "Call Me Maybe" (which she co-wrote with Tavish Crowe and Josh Ramsay), Frank Ocean's "Thinking Bout You" (which he co-wrote with Shea Taylor) and Mumford & Sons' "I Will Wait" (which the four band members co-wrote). Mumford & Sons was nominated for Song of the Year last year for "The Cave."
Two other likely Record of the Year finalists—Adele's "Set Fire To The Rain" and "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye featuring Kimbra—inexplicably weren't entered for Song of the Year. That leaves two slots to be filled. There's no shortage of songs to fill them. A whopping 778 songs are on this year's eligibility list, though only a couple of dozen have a real chance of being nominated. The nominations in the top four categories are determined by a panel of Grammy insiders.
Bruce Springsteen could be headed for his fourth Song of the Year nomination for "We Take Care of Our Own," which gained wide exposure as President Obama's campaign theme song. The Boss was previously nominated in the category with "Streets Of Philadelphia" (which won), "The Rising" and "Devils & Dust."
"Over You," which Miranda Lambert co-wrote with her husband Blake Shelton, also has a good shot. The ballad won Song of the Year at the recent Country Music Assn. Awards. Lambert's solemn recording of the song was a #1 country hit. A 2010 Lambert hit, "The House That Built Me," was nominated for Song of the Year. (She didn't co-write that one.)
Other strong candidates include "Take Care" by Drake featuring Rihanna (which Drake co-wrote with Anthony Palman, Noah Shebib and James Smith), Phillip Phillips' "Home" (which Greg Holden and Drew Pearson co-wrote) and Ne-Yo's "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)" (which Ne-Yo co-wrote with Mike Dis Cala, Mikkel S. Eriksen, Sia Furler, Mark Hadfield and T.E. Hermansen).
The Grammy nominations will be announced on a live TV special on Dec. 5. LL Cool J and Taylor Swift are set to co-host the one-hour show. The awards will be presented on Feb. 10.
Swift, who was a Song of the Year finalist in 2009 with "You Belong With Me," has two songs in running this year: "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (which she co-wrote with Max Martin and Shellback) and "Safe And Sound" (which she and members of the duo The Civil Wars co-wrote with producer T Bone Burnett).
Two other past Song of the Year nominees could return to the finals this year. Jason Mraz, who was a finalist in 2008 with "I'm Yours," could be back in the running with the ballad "I Won't Give Up" (which he co-wrote with Michael Natter). Paul Epworth, who won last year for co-writing "Rolling In The Deep" with Adele, has a contender this year with Florence + the Machine's "Shake It Out." He co-wrote the song with Florence Welch.
Swift is one of several top songwriters that have two songs that have a good shot at a nomination. In addition to co-writing "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," Max Martin co-wrote Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" (with Perry, Lukasz Gottwald, Bonnie McKee and Henry Walter). In addition to co-writing Swift's song, Shellback co-wrote "Payphone" by Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa. Shellback's collaborators on that smash were Adam Levine, Wiz Khalifa, Benjamin Levin, Ammar Malik and Dan Omelio.
Greg Kurstin co-wrote both P!nk's "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" (with P!nk) and Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" (with Jorgen Elofsson, David Gamson and Ali Tamposi).
Mikkel S. Eriksen, Sia Furler and Tor Erik Hermansen co-wrote both Rihanna's "Diamonds" (with Benny Levin) and Ne-Yo's aforementioned "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)."
Eric Church's hit "Springsteen" (which Church co-wrote with Jeff Hyde and Ryan Tyndell) could conceivably face Springsteen in the finals. "Springsteen" was a CMA finalist for Song of the Year.
Incredibly, Brian Wilson has never been nominated for Song of the Year, which will prompt some panelists to vote for The Beach Boys' "That's Why God Made The Radio" (which Wilson co-wrote with Larry Millas, Jim Peterik and Joe Thomas).
Here are other songs, not already cited is this run-down, that have a reasonably good shot at a Song of the Year nom.
"We Are Young" by .fun featuring Janelle Monae (which the members of the trio co-wrote with their co-producer, Jeff Bhasker).
"Ho Hey" by The Lumineers (which was written by two members of the trio).
"Lonely Boy" by The Black Keys (which the members of the duo co-wrote with their co-producer, Brian Burton, a.k.a. Danger Mouse).
"What Makes You Beautiful" by One Direction (which was written by Carl Falk, Savan Kotecha and Rami Yacoub).
"My Kind Of Love" by Emeli Sande (which she co-wrote with Emile Haynie).