Early Grammy Predictions: Album of the Year
In a year with weak albums, will Beyoncé finally win a Grammy for album of the year? Will Adele win her second? Can David Bowie score a posthumous nod?
The time for Grammy nominations is getting nearer and nearer. Overall, 2016 has been a weak year for albums. That doesn’t mean there haven’t been any great albums, but overall, songs better define 2016. That’s not far-fetched considering that songs have become the focus and generally perform better than the albums that house them. Still, the Grammy Awards most prestigious category remains album of the year. Who are the five potential nominees by our estimations? Read our thoughts below. These are subject to change again, of course!
Status: Front Runner
25 is a safe bet to be nominated for album of the year. Adele broke record after record while delivering a respectable album. Is 25 the album of the year? There are better albums, but it may not have to be the best album critically to take the prize. Safe with widespread appeal goes a long way, and it might be enough for Adele to nab a second album of the year prize.
Status: Should Win / Contender
Critics agree that Lemonade is an exceptional album. The question is, do the Recording Academy voters see it the same way? Is Lemonade too explicit, too risqué for them to award? Beyoncé (2013) received little love last time…
Status: Respect Nomination / Unlikely Winner
Critically, Views doesn’t belong in the album of the year category. Nonetheless, it’s been a huge album that has broken its fair share of records. Take Care should’ve been the Drake album nominated for album of the year. To date, it is the only album Drizzy has won a Grammy for.
Status: Long Shot That’s Not So Long?
This one is tough. If Adele and Beyoncé seem like locks, and Drake seems pretty safe himself, seeing another “urban” album nominated might be a stretch. This has happened previously, when Alicia Keys, Usher, Kanye West, and Ray Charles all earned nominations for album of the year (Charles won). Rihanna has been nominated for album of the year previously for LOUD, arguably “half-the album” that Anti is. Anti deserves the recognition.
David Bowie, Blackstar
Status: Dark Horse
Usually, a rock, alternative, or country album is represented in the album of the year category. It’s hard to see any country album earn this recognition this year unless it’s a left-field nomination. There are a couple of rock/alternative albums competing for one spot – potentially two if the hip-hop nominee or second urban nominee are “nixed.” Those albums are Bowie’s Blackstar, Paul Simon’s Stranger to Stranger, and Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool.
It’s been a while since a posthumous album has been nominated for album of the year. This was the case with Ray Charles’ Genius Loves Company in 2004, which beat the more commercial, relevant albums in the category, including Usher’s Confessions. Blackstar is easily good enough to be nominated, the question is, will it? Also, would the Academy opt to potentially reward Radiohead, who have been nominated but never won?
Other possible nominees: Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool; Paul Simon, Stranger to Stranger; Frank Ocean, Blonde; Kanye West, The Life of Pablo…