Calling all music lovers, it is finally that time of the year. Taking place on January 26, 2020, The Grammy Awards mark the end of a revolutionary year in music history. From Ariana Grande’s flowing list of hits to Lil Nas X’s 17-week rule atop the Billboard Hot 100 to Taylor Swift’s colourful “Lover” album, 2019 has proved to be a pivotal year in music. In honour of the prestigious award show taking place later this month, here are my predictions and views on the nominations for this year.
1. Record of the Year
Record of the year is presented in “honor of artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to sales or chart position,” according to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide.
Not to be confused with Song of the Year, Record of the Year is presented to the winning performing artist, recording engineer and/or mixer for that song.
Quite literally, the award refers to the physical recording of the song rather than the composition and lyrical content of the track. Here are the nominations for this year:
“Hey Ma” – Bon Iver
“Bad Guy” – Billie Eilish
“7 Rings” – Ariana Grande
“Hard Place” – H.E.R
“Talk” – Khalid
“Old Town Road” – Lil Nas X Ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
“Truth Hurts” – Lizzo
“Sunflower” – Post Malone and Swae Lee
Who should win: “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish.
She’s all music critics can talk about lately- the alternative pop prodigy who scored her first number one hit with “Bad Guy,” holds the title of international best selling album of 2019 with “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go” and got Justin Bieber as a featured artist – all at the age of 18.
Her unique dark and breathy sound, inspired by Lana Del Rey and Avril Lavigne, has helped establish her as one of the most distinct voices on pop radio today.
The song manages to cleverly mix Eilish’s slow style with a catchy, upbeat dance break followed by a dramatic fear-inducing outro. But what raises the song’s impressiveness atop the other nominations is its use of negative space or silence. The instrumental composition is thin, giving it an atmosphere of uneasiness followed by moments of silence conjuring a spooky aura that has become deeply associated with Eilish’s image as an artist.
2. Album of the Year
According to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide, Album of the Year is presented to “albums containing at least 51 per cent playing time of new vocal or instrumental recordings. Award ed to the artist(s), and to the album producer(s), recording engineer(s) and/or mixer(s), and mastering engineer(s) if other than the artist.”
This year’s nominations are:
“I,I” – Bon Iver
“Norman F***ng Rockwell!” – Lana Del Rey
“When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” – Billie Eilish
“Thank u, Next” – Ariana Grande
“I Used to Know Her” – H.E.R.
“7” – Lil Nas X
“Cuz I Love You (Deluxe)” – Lizzo
“Father of the Bride” – Vampire Weekend
Who should win: “Thank u, Next” by Ariana Grande.
The album follows up to her six month prior full-length release titled “Sweetener.” The album puts forward the songstress’s recent life in its most raw form.
The listener begins their journey with the intro track “Imagine,” which shows Grande’s struggle to hold a strong front amid the harsh events she has faced over the past year. Songs such as “Fake Smile” convey a story of relatable sorrow and loss with a desire to no longer have to fake her emotions in front of the world.
The album flows into songs “Thank u, Next” and “7 Rings,” both songs that gave Grande her first two number-one hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The album also crowned her as the first solo artist in history to simultaneously hold the first, second and third position on the Hot 100 – a feat only matched by The Beatles.
The album has regularly been credited with reviving the chart performance of pop songs in a hip-hop dominated music era. Breaking major streaming records such as the biggest streaming week for an album and a week-long streak of Grande breaking her own record for most streams for a single song in a day, Grande’s sporadic releases are
a guide to the music industry as it shifts into a streaming era of music.
3. Song of the Year
Song of the Year is presented to “honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position,” according to the 54th Grammy Awards description guide. This year’s nominations are:
“Always Remember Us This Way” – Lady Gaga
“Bad Guy” – Billie Eilish
“Bring My Flowers Now” – Tanya Tucker
“Hard Place” – H.E.R.
“Lover” – Taylor Swift
“Norman F***ing Rockwell” – Lana Del Rey
“Someone You Loved” – Lewis Capaldi
“Truth Hurts” – Lizzo
Who Should Win: “Truth Hurts” by Lizzo.
Lizzo’s unapologetic energy is perfectly captured in the lyrics of this track right from the get-go. Don’t be fooled by the name “Truth Hurts,” its a track far more soulful than the regretful-sounding ballads nominated in this category.
Lizzo transforms the track into a grand self-love anthem with lyrics like “I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100 per cent that bitch,” earning her high prestige in current pop culture while showcasing her bawdily approach to self-love, signature to Lizzo’s music style.
Although the song displays outrageous lyrical nature, there’s something about her lyrics’ authenticity on this track that draws listeners of all experiences to take a closer listen to Lizzo’s signature piece. From ghosting an ex online to skipping your own wedding, the song brings out “that bitch” in all listeners.
4. Best New Artist
According to the official 54th Grammy Awards description guide, Best New Artist is awarded “for a new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist.” The so called “first recording” does not have to be the artist’s first ever released project. This years nominations are:
Lil Nas X
Tank and the Bangas
Who should win: tough decission.
Many of the listed artists have contributed commendable feats to the world of music. Lil Nas X contributed “Old Town Road,” one of the biggest hits of the year. Lizzo and Billie Eilish, both already discussed, have impressive feats aswell. Rosalía would be an interesting choice for this award. She can be single-handedly credited for introducing flamenko music to the international market in her pop and hip hop inspired music style.