With the Grammy Awards less than a week away, The Loyola Phoenix attempted to predict the winners of the four General Field awards.
The 65th Grammy Awards, which will take place Feb. 5 at 6 p.m., welcomes a diverse list of nominees. From seasoned award winners like Adele and Beyoncé to recent breakthrough artists like Steve Lacy and Lizzo, the question becomes whether the Recording Academy will embrace the newcomers or stick with its favorites.
Here is a rundown of the General Field categories where The Phoenix attempts to predict the four winners.
Record Of The Year
Record Of The Year is awarded for song production and is one of the most sought after awards. Last year, Silk Sonic won for “Leave the Door Open,” but with a refreshed set of ten tracks, the category is as wide open as ever.
Among the nominations is Beyoncé’s “BREAK MY SOUL.” Despite being a powerful song announcing the artist’s return, its simplistic club beat may make it fall short of first place.
“Easy On Me” is classic Adele — it quickly became a widespread hit when released in October and is perfect for anyone looking to scream or cry in a car. While the beautiful piano behind her effortless vocals is timeless, it’s nothing new.
The title track of Mary J. Blige’s “Good Morning Gorgeous” may be the best on her album, but the deluxe version’s unnominated rendition featuring H.E.R. is far better. Either way, it’s not Blige’s year.
Also representing the R&B genre, Steve Lacy might be the dark horse of this category with “Bad Habit.” Self-harmonizing, tactful echoes and musical breaks make this song the most sonically interesting of the bunch, giving Lacy potential for an upset victory.
The production on Kendrick Lamar’s “The Heart Part 5” is uncomplicated, leaving room for one of the best lyricists of this generation to deliver a meaningful message. It may not win Record of the Year, but it’ll have its time to shine elsewhere.
A stark but welcome change of pace from Lamar, Brandi Carlile’s “You and Me On The Rock” featuring Lucius shakes up the nominations with its folk sensibilities and blissful vocals but is too much of an obscure outlier. Trumping Carlile in obscurity is ABBA, whose sluggish “Don’t Shut Me Down” shouldn’t have been nominated in the first place.
“Woman” by Doja Cat and “About Damn Time” by Lizzo were both empowering anthems of the past year, but neither one defined 2022 like “As It Was.”
Harry Styles cemented his rise to stardom with the release of his album “Harry’s House” and that was due, in large part, to the success of this single. The March release features synths and a punchy drum beat while establishing a new sound for Styles and defining the year. On the day of the single’s release, the song beat the record for most-streamed song in the United States in a single day, reaching 8.3 million streams, according to Billboard.
A poignant reflection on a failing relationship that doubles as a fitting metaphor for pandemic-induced life changes aside, Styles and producers Tyler Johnson and Kid Harpoon will likely receive the Grammy for “As It Was.”
Album Of The Year
As one of the most all-encompassing awards of the night, Album Of The Year is awarded to artists and those featured on an album, as well as songwriters and those who worked on the production.
Any fan of “Mamma Mia!” may find joy in ABBA’s “Voyage,” but the group’s predictable sound may minimize the album’s success at this year’s awards. Similarly, Brandi Carlile’s “In These Silent Days” is void of innovation, likely making no noise in this category.
Even worse, Coldplay — who usually puts out perennial hits — falls flat in every way imaginable with “Music of the Spheres,” despite exciting features from Selena Gomez and BTS.
“Special” by Lizzo is full of vibrant production and welcomed expressions of self love. Though it may not take home the Grammy in this category, it cemented itself as one of the year’s feel-good albums.
As the first-ever Spanish album nominated for Album Of The Year in Grammy history, Bad Bunny’s “Un Verano Sin Ti” is undoubtedly revolutionary and for that, may be a front-runner in this category.
“Harry’s House” is a genre-bending step forward for Harry Styles. He let his voice take the back seat on many songs, allowing for innovative production for radio hits and deep cuts — and this isn’t even Styles’ best work.
Also not winning, “Good Morning Gorgeous (Deluxe)” is a disjointed mess from Mary J. Blige. Her voice shines when paired with a more traditional sound, but with air horns, production from DJ Khaled and features that just don’t make sense, it’s almost laughable.
Kendrick Lamar took a deep dive into the complexities of self-actualization and relationships in “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.” In combination with layered production, vulnerability permeates the album through explorations of anger, love and acceptance. Its wide-ranging themes and display of perceptive creativity give the album a solid chance at winning Album Of The Year.
Adele’s “30” is the latest chapter in the artist’s life, chronicling details of her divorce, motherhood and perspective on love. It’s honest, vulnerable and raw in all the right ways. Even though Adele has taken home this award for her last two albums, Beyoncé is due to take this category for the first time.
With a total of 28 wins and 88 nominations, it’s fair to say Beyoncé consistently releases Recording Academy favorites. With her seasoned artistry and unmatched reverence, all indications point to “RENAISSANCE” being the icon’s first Album Of The Year win.
Song Of The Year
The Song Of The Year category differs from Record Of The Year by specifically recognizing the lyrical work of the songwriters.
While these nominations are populated by high-caliber songwriters, nominees such as GAYLE’s childlike “abcdefu” and DJ Khaled’s convoluted “GOD DID” stand out as lacking lyrical sophistication.
Despite impactful storytelling in Bonnie Raitt’s “Just Like That,” the track’s songwriting doesn’t match the universality of some of the category’s other nominations.
The high-quality production and feel-good sounds of Lizzo’s “About Damn Time,” Beyoncé’s “BREAK MY SOUL” and Steve Lacy’s “Bad Habit” speak more to the songs’ prominence as pop anthems rather than their lyrical strength.
Adele’s “Easy On Me” produces stronger vocals than lyrics, pointing to anticipated success in more fitting categories.
“As It Was” by Harry Styles is full of emotional anguish and self-reflection in its lyrics, but he will probably be taking home an award in another category.
The narrative lyricism in Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (The Short Film)” provides listeners a glimpse into the singer’s retrospective rage. Swift crafted a simultaneously personal and relatable track which spills over a pop song’s typical runtime, giving listeners plenty of time to scream along to the deeply heartbreaking lyrics.
Despite the popularity and impact of Swift’s song, Kendrick Lamar is likely to take the award for “The Heart Part 5.”
“Reflectin’ on my life and what I done / Paid dues, made rules, change outta love / Them same views made schools change curriculums / But didn’t change me starin’ down the barrel of the gun / Should I feel resentful I didn’t see my full potential?” Lamar raps.
Lamar utilizes a multi-perspective, reflective writing style to speak on various aspects of the lives and identities of himself and those around him. Alternating moments of despair and hope demonstrate the rapper’s impressive lyrical capacities.
Best New Artist
The Grammy Awards defines Best New Artist as anyone who has released music this year that “first establishes the public identity of that artist or established group as a performer.”
Anitta, Muni Long and Latto have all garnered substantial fanbases, and DOMi & JD Beck and Tobe Nwigwe are on the road to the same achievement. However, the artists’ impact on the music industry as a whole has yet to reach that of other nominees.
Samara Joy’s cozy jazz and Molly Tuttle’s bluegrass twang both distinguish themselves from the styles of other nominees. While they may not be promised a win, the recognition from the Recording Academy is a feat in and of itself.
With the release of his most personal work yet, Omar Apollo combined acoustic verses, R&B bass lines and earnest lyrics on his April album “Ivory.” Having toured twice in 2022 alone, he is an artist rising in relevance but hasn’t carved enough of a unique path in the industry.
Wet Leg, a British alternative rock band, quickly gained traction after the release of their self-titled debut album in April. Harry Styles’ cover of their track “Wet Dream” in May likely propelled their success and further expanded their fanbase. Even with global recognition and unconventional lyricism, they still lack the originality of fellow nominee Måneskin.
The four-piece Italian band’s talent shines through their passion and versatility. Måneskin recently gained international attention — and for good reason. The genuine rockstars produce incontestably captivating live shows and high-energy records. Hit songs “Beggin’” and “I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE” prove the band’s unmatched prowess, practically guaranteeing a win for Måneskin.
This story was written by Ella Govrik and Austin Hojdar.