2016 was a great year for albums – we got new Adele music (finally!), Beyoncé brought us the glorious Lemonade, and so much more.
The nominees for Album of the Year:
25 – Adele
Lemonade – Beyoncé
Purpose – Justin Bieber
View – Drake
A Sailor’s Guide to Earth – Sturgill Simpson
Who Should Win: Lemonade by Beyoncé
It feels like every time Beyoncé drops an album, it becomes a critically acclaimed masterpiece, and she gets nominated for Album of the Year. This certainly was the case fore I Am…Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé, and now for Lemonade. And yet, she has never won. Indeed, after her loss in 2015 to Beck’s Morning Phase, a lot of people were upset (granted, Beck has been around in the indie rock scene for a while, so his win isn’t totally random). However, with Lemonade, Beyoncé steps up her game and provides a whole visual experience.
Who Will Win: Probably 25 by Adele
I would not be surprised if Beyonce did win, but I feel like the Grammy’s tend to favor Adele, which technically isn’t wrong – 25 did break records (it sold over 3 million copies in one week, has sold over 10 million copies to date, etc.), and it is a solid album that discusses Adele’s next chapter in her life.
Song of the Year is perhaps one of my favorite categories at the Grammys because they honor the songwriter. Far too often, songwriters are not credited fairly for their work, which doesn’t make sense as there would be no song if it weren’t for the songwriter.
This year, the nominees are:
Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles, and Michael L. Williams II for “Formation” by Beyoncé.
Adele Adkins and Greg Kurstin for “Hello” by Adele
Mike Posner for “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner
Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin, and Ed Sheeran for “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber
Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard, and Morten Ristorp for “7 Years” by Lukas Graham
Who Should Win: Mike Posner for “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner
The original version of “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” is incredibly beautiful. It has the timeless sound to it, grabs at your heart, and you truly feel Posner’s pain. Out of all the nominees, Posner crafted a world that his listeners travel into, and leave feeling feeling his emptiness and loneliness. Yes, it’s not a fun experience, but it’s one that leaves me with goosebumps every time.
Who Will Win: Adele Adkins and Greg Kurstinfor “Hello” by Adele
It’s not that I think Adele doesn’t deserve to win the Grammy – “Hello” is indeed a gorgeous song – I simply think “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” captured Posner’s pain a bit better. However, out of these songs nominated, I believe “Hello” was the biggest of 2016. Adele dominated the charts, and she is indeed incredibly talented. She has a Grammy-winning streak – she’s won every Grammy she has won since she released 21 in 2011. So, it seems inevitable that she will win again.
It’s that time of year – we’re one month-ish away from the Grammys, so as usual, I thought I’d share my predictions of who should and who will win throughout the month. I like to pretend I’m a Grammy voter – which, I’ve been repeatedly told I don’t “qualify” for – and select who I would vote for. Obviously I can’t go through each category – there are eighty-four categories – so I’ll probably just hit the bigger categories. Grammy voters don’t vote for every category – they vote for the top four, and then I think they vote within their specified genre. Anyway…
This is not my inner Swiftie shining through, I truly think Swift had the strongest albums of the 2015 season after listing to all nominees. In fact, Billboard reported it as being a “cultural juggernaut,” a term they did not use for any of the other nominees. The fact that it had such a powerful impact in pop culture and is such a sonically strong and cohesive album, it deserves the Grammy. The other nominees are certainly strong contenders, but none of them are “juggernauts” like 1989.
Who Will Win: 1989 – Taylor Swift
There is a chance 1989 will not win simply because Taylor Swift has already won Album of the Year. Only a handful of artists have won this top prize more than once. This seriously isn’t a reason not to vote for her, but politics do come in to play with Grammys…unfortunately. But, I can’t see the Grammys giving this to anyone else as 1989 had such a huge impact on music. Although, we were all surprised last year when Beck won for Morning Phase against Beyoncé’s self-titled album, which many considered the shoo-in.
Who Should Win: “Bad Blood” – Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar
While Florence Welch’s voice in “Ship to Wreck,” like anything she sings, is pure gold, and while “Uptown Funk” and “See You Again” were perhaps the anthems of 2015, “Bad Blood” has the most cohesive collaborative nature to it. The song emits the anger and frustration through Swift’s parts but it is even more enforced by Lamar’s sharp raps and attitude. Swift and Lamar come from two different worlds (the former from the country-pop, the latter from rap/hip hop), and yet they can cohesively make a song together. If you read the collaboration on paper before listening to it, it would look like a joke and like it shouldn’t work. But it fits like a glove.
Who Will Win: “See You Again” – Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth or “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
If we vote based on which song is the biggest, it would be a tie between “See You Again” and “Uptown Funk” (although, I was reading in Billboard that “Uptown Funk” was the number one song of 2015 by a significant margin), so it’s close which one will win. I, again, think “See You Again” will win simply for the fact it’s an ode to the late Paul Walker…I also think it’s this reason why it will win the Golden Globe and get nominated and win the Academy Award. I’m not suggesting it’s not a good song or isn’t deserving of any recognition, it just has that aspect of it to make it shine a little brighter in a group of close nominees.
I’ve been a Meghan Trainor fan for a couple different reasons. Yes, she comes from my neck of the woods so I feel a certain kinship to her, but I’m really inspired how she combines elements from different genres into her own to transpire her personality. She is the only artist this year who really expanded the definition of the all encompassing pop music. I mean, she added horns, the caribbean kettle drum, acoustic bass, ’50s doo wop, and sass to her album to reimage what we’ve called pop for many years.
I can’t say that Trainor’s album or artistry is the supreme best, but out of all the nominees I feel she rose to a level of defining her genre of music in her own terms.
Who Will Win: I don’t really know.
I know, great prediction. But this is one category where I seriously have no idea who will win. Partly because Best New Artist is such a loose category in that your not really judging the artist on one particular song or album or piece of work, your judging them on their whole artistry. This year, they managed to nominated five incredible artists. And after listening to all their albums (I’m very proud of myself for doing that…usually I skim through, but I made myself do that…partly out of dedication but also because I was stuck in massive traffic and had nothing else to do…) I could see each one easily winning it.
“Blank Space” by Max Martin, Shellback, and Taylor Swift (Taylor Swift, artist)
“See You Again” by DJ Frank E, Charlie Puth, Wiz Khalifa, and Andrew Cedar (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, artists)
“Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge (Ed Sheeran, artist)
“Girl Crush” by Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey, and Liz Rose (Little Big Town, artist)
“Alright” by Kendrick Duckworth, Mark Anthony Spears, and Pharrell Williams, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar, artist)
Should Win: “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge (Ed Sheeran, artist)
While all the nominees this year are very strong contenders and each could easily win the Grammy as each made their mark in the 2014-2015 period, “Thinking Out Loud” is by far the most timeless song. Whether you listen to it in the car tomorrow on the way to work or in fifty years while you watch your grandchildren grow up, “Thinking Out Loud” will always be relevant. The magic behind it is that it draws you in and makes you feel something in your heart. Whether you’re in love or not, it makes feel the warmth and passion that is Sheeran’s love.
Will Probably Win: “See You Again” by DJ Frank E, Charlie Puth, Wiz Khalifa, and Andrew Cedar (Wiz Khalifa feat. Charlie Puth, artists)
I just got a gut feeling on this one. As much as I think Sheeran deserves this Grammy and I would love to see Swift up there (specifically because she successfully utilized satire in “Blank Space” while crafting a ingenious pop song), I feel like the fact “See You Again” was a tribute to Paul Walker will lead it to victory.
But, as I said, it’s really close and I wouldn’t be shocked to see any one of these songs winning.
On a random but fun note, Liz Rose, a cowriter of “Girl Crush,” was a long time cowriter with Swift. They wrote the majority of Swift’s first album together. They were nominated together for “You Belong with Me” in 2010 for Song of the Year and the won the Grammy for Best Country Song for “White Horse” that year. Funny how they’re nominated against each other this year.
"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve." – JK Rowling