As the nominations for the 60th Grammy awards move closer and closer to being announced, we break down the major players for each of the big four awards and make our predictions for who will be nominated.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
In a year of dwindling album sales, several albums stood out. Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. was a critical and commercial smash and is a lock for a nod come nomination day, as is Ed Sheeran’s Divide, which lived up to its title and divided critics. That being said, consumers certainly weren’t as the album was a commercial juggernaut. After those two, the field is pretty even. Lorde’s Melodrama was a critical darling, but wasn’t as commercially viable as albums such as Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic and The Weeknd’s Starboy, which were mixed with critics but commercially successful. Other contenders include Kesha’s Rainbow and Lady Gaga’s Joanne, both of which saw the two pop superstars transition into more subdued and well-received personas. The recording academy also like to nominate more critically acclaimed but obscure genre fare which could result in nominations for A Tribe Called Quest’s We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service or Sza’s CTRL both of which were critically adored.
1. Kendrick Lamar – DAMN.
2. Ed Sheeran – Divide
3. Lorde – Melodrama
4. Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
5. A Tribe Called Quest – We Got It from Here… Thank You 4 Your Service
RECORD OF THE YEAR
This award is awarded to the recording artist, the track’s producers, recording engineers and mixers. In recent years, the award has gone to both ballads and up-tempo numbers, but all recent winners have been commercial smashes. With that in mind, Lamar and Sheeran are both in strong contention with ‘HUMBLE.’ and ‘Shape of You’ respectively, both of which topped the billboard hot 100 in early 2017. The academy may also choose to award the ever growing influence of Latin music and award arguably the biggest smash of the year ‘Despacito’. It will be interesting to see if the academy will acknowledge the success of the track or will it relegate it to the Latin Grammys instead. Other contenders include Imagine Dragons’ ‘Believer’, Bruno Mars’ ‘24K Magic’ and the less successful but accliamed ‘Green Light’ by Lorde. One also has to wonder whether the polarizing reception of Taylor Swift’s ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ will outweigh the undeniable commercial and cultural impact the track had, as well as Swift’s overall dominance in the industry.
1. Kendrick Lamar -‘HUMBLE.’
2. Ed Sheeran – ‘Shape of You’
3. Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee – ‘Despacito’
4. Imagine Dragons – ‘Believer’
5.Taylor Swift – ‘Look What You Made Me Do’
SONG OF THE YEAR
This award awards the lyrics and melody of the track and is awarded solely to the songwriters. Traditionally, this goes to songs for critical acclaim over commercial success but both are factors. Lamar’s ‘HUMBLE.’ is once again a major contender as is Sheeran, this time for ‘Castle on the Hill’, both acclaimed for their lyrics. Mars’ should also be in the mix for nomination with ‘That’s What I Like’. Pop-starlet Kesha has a very real chance for a nomination her with the critically adored ‘Praying’ which marked her return to the music industry. Lady Gaga’s raw and emotional hit ‘Million Reasons’ should also be in contention as should Logic’s suicide awareness track ‘1-800-273-8255’. Breakout hits such as ‘Issues’ by Julia Michaels and ‘Sign of the Times’ by Harry Styles could follow a tendency to award young songwriters such as Sam Smith’s ‘Stay with Me’ and Lorde’s ‘Royals’. Lorde herself is again in the conversation for ‘Green Light’ as is Taylor Swift for her country return on Little Big Town’s ‘Better Man’.
1.Kendrick Lamar – ‘HUMBLE.’
2.Ed Sheeran – ‘Castle on the Hill’
3.Bruno Mars – ‘That’s What I Like’
4.Kesha – ‘Praying’
5.Logic ft. Khalid and Alessia Cara – ‘1-800-273-8255’
BEST NEW ARTIST
For the first time in recent years, this category is wide open. Awarded to artists who have had significant breakthrough during the eligibility period, there is generally a frontrunner such as when Sam Smith walked away with the trophy in 2015. This year has a number of contenders. Cardi B and Post Malone both lodged huge hits very close to the voting period with ‘Bodak Yellow’ and ‘Rockstar’ both hitting number one within weeks of the nominations being announced. This could work in their favour as they are kept fresh in the voters minds. Other contenders include Khalid and SZA who both received critical acclaim for their debut albums. Alessia Cara also stands a chance given her increased success this year, as does Logic who along with Cara and Khalid had a massive hit in ‘1-800-273-8255’. James Arthur and Julia Micheals will both be in the mix given they fit the singer-songwriter mold that usually warrants a nod.
The nominations for the 60th Grammy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, the 28th of November, 2017.