Nominations for the 2018 Grammy Awards come out on Tuesday and just like years past, I will try to guess who will make the final tally for the general four categories: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist.
This year is particularly challenging as there are several obvious picks that will make the final list, but the remaining spaces are open with less obvious options. Grammy buzz isn’t as loud beyond the usual battles involving Ed Sheeran, Kendrick Lamar and Bruno Mars. Music in 2017 has been tough to pinpoint, particularly with a heavier emphasis on rap and hip-hop that, as history shows, isn’t the Grammys forte.
Album of the Year
This category will have Ed Sheeran‘s Divide, Kendrick Lamar‘s DAMN., and quite likely Bruno Mars‘ 24K Magic. In lieu of Mars, The Weeknd will occupy third with Starboy. That leaves a spot for an album by a woman (despite charts being more male-dominated than any other point in history in 2017, surely the Grammys wouldn’t ignore women in this category this year…). Lorde received high praise for her sophomore release Melodrama this year, Kesha was welcomed back with an overwhelming response to Rainbow, and whisperings about Lady Gaga‘s Joanne having a spot in this category have also taken place. The last remaining spot may go to either the token rock contender or the country title. Rock hasn’t exactly had much of the spotlight this decade but that might not stop the Grammy folks from giving space to, for example, Concrete & Gold by the Foo Fighters, but the country title being name dropped for this category has been Miranda Lambert‘s The Weight Of These Wings. Or might the dark horse space be taken by an unlikely such as Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit‘s The Nashville Sound?
My Predictions: Kendrick Lamar (DAMN.); Miranda Lambert (The Weight Of These Wings); Lorde (Melodrama); Bruno Mars (24K Magic); Ed Sheeran (Divide)
Record of the Year
Potentially an easier prediction can be made for this category as we can look at the hits of the year and judge from those… and yes, that could also include Despacito. Historically, the Grammys haven’t always defaulted to monster hits that could be seen as novelty songs. Neither the Macarena nor Barbie Girl have received Grammy attention, and neither did Gangnam Style. The difference here might be that the acts behind Despacito are all established artists and Despacito has already won both the Song and Record of the Year categories at the Latin Grammys.
Beyond that, the locks are Ed Sheeran (Shape Of You), a Kendrick Lamar track (likely HUMBLE.), and a combination of hits from Sam Hunt (Body Like A Back Road), The Weeknd (Starboy?),
Bruno Mars (That’s What I Like) (rumour has it, this song wasn’t submitted), and Imagine Dragons (Believer). This category is likely to be the most straight forward, but also likely to be the least diverse.
My Predictions: Sam Hunt (Body Like A Back Road); Imagine Dragons (Believer); Kendrick Lamar (HUMBLE.); Ed Sheeran (Shape Of You); The Weeknd (Starboy)
Song of the Year
The songwriter’s award, this category should hopefully have more interesting results than its Record counterpart. Yeah, you’ll have your Ed and Kendrick, but there’s also room for surprise nominations for Lady Gaga (Million Reasons), Kesha (Praying), Lorde (Green Light), plus Little Big Town‘s Better Man (which would be a nom for Taylor Swift as a co-writer), and Logic‘s 1-800-273-8255 could win Grammy voters over. If it doesn’t and if things never change, they’ll just throw in Say You Won’t Let Go by James Arthur.
My Predictions: Kesha (Praying); Lady Gaga (Million Reasons); Kendrick Lamar (HUMBLE.); Little Big Town (Better Man); Ed Sheeran (Castle On The Hill)
Best New Artist
Historically, this is the category I’m worst at because there are dozens of contenders from many genres and of all the general categories, this is the one the Grammys tend to allow to steer away from the obvious mainstream successes. The buzz this year is in the urban music scene where it’s hard to ignore SZA and Logic. Cardi B recently just hit #1 on the Hot 100 with her first single, which also made her the first solo female rapper to top the chart since Lauryn Hill nearly 20 years ago. And Khalid has been the latest newcomer to be on hit after hit. Elsewhere, Julia Michaels might make for the fifth placement.
Cardi B; Khalid; Logic; Julia Michaels; SZA
Check back on Tuesday to see how I did. Make your predictions below!