Record of the Year is the more prestigious of the two awards. It awards a single or a track from an album, and the award goes to the performing artist, the producer, recording engineer, and/or mixer. Ever aspect of the song factors into the nomination and awarding.
Song of the Year is awarded only to the songwriter. So if Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)” wins, she won’t actually get a Grammy. Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi will.
Record of the Year is the song that’s best as a complete work that you can groove to in your car or at the discotec. Song of the Year is given to the song that makes for the most enjoyable sheet music.
Now that the distinction has been made, let’s look at the nominees:
Record Of The Year
The Black Keys—“Lonely Boy”
Kelly Clarkson—“Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)”
Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe—“We Are Young”
Gotye Featuring Kimbra—“Somebody That I Used to Know”
Frank Ocean—“Thinkin Bout You”
Taylor Swift—“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together”
Song of the Year
“The A Team” - Ed Sheeran (Ed Sheeran)
“Adorn” - Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
“Call Me Maybe” - Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay (Carly Rae Jepsen)
“Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)” - Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi (Kelly Clarkson)
“We Are Young” - Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess (Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe)
It’s still pretty weird that the songs nominated for each category are so different. Gotye should definitely be up for both; his song has some truly fantastic and unique composition elements. “Stronger” should not because there’s nothing interesting about that song. It sounds like every other Kelly Clarkson song, which in turn sound like all the other ordinary and trivial songs on the radio.
Taylor Swift and fun. have fair shots at Record of the Year, but at the end of the day both those songs are annoying and I can’t really stand behind either of them. I’m putting my money on Gotye. Frank is a no go. He has a better shot in other categories. “Thinkin About You” is beautiful, but it’s not dramatic or loud enough for a Grammy Record of the Year award.