The nominees for the 60th annual Grammy Awards were announced Nov. 28, and the competition this year is fierce. With so many strong contenders, it’s hard to say who the winners will be Jan. 28. Here are The PHOENIX’s predictions for each major award.
Album of the Year: “DAMN.” — Kendrick Lamar
Heralded as the best album of the year by NPR and Rolling Stone, rapper Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album, “DAMN.,” is full of existential questions and laments the state of the modern world, particularly race relations in America. Its lead single, “HUMBLE.,” peaked at no.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in March and the album itself won Album of the Year at the Black Entertainment Television (BET) Hip Hop Awards in October. The acclaim “DAMN.” has received from critics and fans alike means it could be a potential shoo-in for the 2018 Album of the Year.
Song of the Year: “Despacito” — Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee feat. Justin Bieber
It’s safe to say everyone who turned on a Top 40’s radio station in 2017 has heard this catchy Latin jam by Luis Fonsi. “Despacito” has been no.1 on the Billboard Latin Streaming charts since the summer, and tied with Los Del Rio’s 1996 hit “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” for the second longest leading Hot 100 no. 1 song of all time in August. The popularity of this song, a remake of Fonsi’s all-Spanish version, makes it an easy winner for 2018’s Song of the Year at the 60th Grammys.
Best New Artist: Khalid
With his debut album “American Teen” being certified platinum, reaching number one on the Billboard R&B charts and peaking at no. 4 on the Hot 100 charts, singer-songwriter Khalid Robinson impressed the music industry in 2017. Even when featured on other artists’ songs, like rapper Logic’s emotional hit, “1-800-273-8255,” Robinson stood out and cemented himself as a force to be reckoned with. It would seem erroneous to overlook him as 2018’s Best New Artist.
Rock Album of the Year: “A Deeper Understanding” — The War on Drugs
As The PHOENIX’s pick for 2017’s best album, the haunting, mesmerizing “A Deeper Understanding” seems like the obvious winner in this category. It’s a wonderfully made record which perfectly encapsulates the disillusionment with the present that many people may have felt in 2017. While The War on Drugs might not be as commercially popular as some of its competition — such as Metallica and Queens of the Stone Age — “A Deeper Understanding” is a timely masterpiece that deserves recognition.
Pop Album of the Year: “÷” (“Divide”) — Ed Sheeran
British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran has always managed to put out catchy, quotable singles that are hard to hate. His most recent album, “÷” (or “Divide”), contains those same types of songs full of sappy lyrics and acoustic guitar. The fact that “Shape of You,” one of the album’s lead singles, is the most streamed Spotify song in history makes this a hard album to beat in this category — unless Kesha’s “Rainbow” causes an upset.
Rap Album of the Year: “Flower Boy” — Tyler, the Creator
On “Flower Boy,” rapper Tyler Okonma brings to the forefront issues he’s dealt with in his personal life, as well as current issues he sees in the world. Despite being up against Lamar’s “DAMN.” and Jay-Z’s “4:44,” “Flower Boy” is a worthy opponent — some of the album’s content is unprecedented in the rap community, such as the explicit references to Okonma’s sexuality and lyrics that call out the rap community on its homophobia. The competition is stiff, but “Flower Boy” may be special enough to upset in the Rap Album of the Year category.
Country Album of the Year: “Cosmic Hallelujah” — Kenny Chesney
Featuring a duet with pop singer P!nk, “Cosmic Hallelujah” isn’t a typical country album. Country superstar Kenny Chesney has made 16 studio albums during his 24-year career, and his most recent release goes to show just how much the country genre has changed to include poppier tunes and fewer traditional instruments. “Cosmic Hallelujah” peaked at number one on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart in Nov. 2016, and its unique charm may lead to a win at the 60th Grammys.