The Grammy Awards, like everything else, have been officially postponed until March. Following heavy criticism for a lack of representation and their treatment of female performers, the Grammys have finally stepped up their game this year with an exciting list of nominees that hints at a new era for the music industry. I had a look at some of the biggest categories, and chose some of my favourites to win at this year’s ceremony, whenever that happens…
(Disclaimer: my knowledge lies with rock, alternative, and pop music so I’m no authority on categories for rap, country, jazz, new age etc.)
Record of the year
My winner: ‘Savage’ – Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyoncé
There’s no argument here. Megan Thee Stallion has stolen the hearts of many this year in her rocket to fame. ‘Savage’ took over the airwaves after going viral on TikTok, catching the attention of Beyoncé herself who featured on this fabulous remix. ‘Savage’ is the meeting of two eras – Beyoncé, the biggest musician in the world who has dominated the industry since the nineties, and the power of new social media platforms to boost an artist like Megan Thee Stallion to the top of her game.
Album of the Year
My Winner: folklore – Taylor Swift
I think I might be wrong on this one. If I’m thinking realistically, the award is most likely to go to Dua Lipa’s 80s-tinged pop sensation Future Nostalgia, but if we’re sharing hot takes, I just don’t get the appeal of that album (seriously, I don’t understand what it is I’m missing). In my eyes, Taylor Swift’s surprise album folklore is the clear winner. Swift dropped the record in July with less than a day’s notice, and it shot to the top of the charts before anyone could process what had happened. It’s a beautiful album, with a new, indie feel to Swift’s sophisticated lyrics, and Jack Antonoff’s production is flawless.
Song of the Year
My Winner: ‘Black Parade’ – Beyoncé
With so many appearances in the nominations list, Beyoncé will inevitably collect a lot of awards on the big night, and it looks like Song of the Year will be one of them. In this case of course, the award will go to the other songwriters as well as Queen Bey herself. Released on Juneteenth, this song is a celebration of black heritage and culture, as well as a poignant response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police last summer. This powerhouse of a song deserves all the recognition.
Best New Artist
My Winner: Megan Thee Stallion
I think there is a chance that the Grammys could throw a curveball here and go for the more alternative Phoebe Bridgers, the breakout indie star whose album Punisher touched hearts in 2020. But I think Megan Thee Stallion is a more likely winner – 2020 was her year, from start to finish. ‘Savage’ took over the world, not to mention the incomparable ‘WAP’ with Cardi B. She rounded off the year nicely with her critically celebrated album Good News. It’s Meg’s world; we’re just living in it.
Best Pop Vocal Album
My Winner: Fine Line – Harry Styles
First off, I’m gonna say it. Halsey’s Manic was absolutely robbed here. The fact that this masterpiece of an album didn’t get so much as a mention in the nominees for pop vocal album is unforgiveable. Rant aside, if I must choose between the options we’ve got, then Harry Styles is the way to go here. It feels like a lifetime ago we heard Fine Line, but the songs stand up to the test of time and of 2020. Styles has developed a sophisticated sound, and anyone who ignores him, unable to separate him from One Direction, is only hurting themselves.
Best Rock Album
My Winner: A Hero’s Death – Fontaines D.C.
This category was a really pleasant surprise when it came to its nominees. Women are at the forefront of this rock music award this year, for a genre that’s widely known for being male-dominated. Although I love the talented women on the list, Dublin boys Fontaines D.C. would be such a massive win for the Irish alternative music scene. We’ve seen Fontaines D.C. tour the venues who have faced the biggest hardship this year, and a win for them is a win for the live music scene. They also found themselves unconcerned in an unexpected chart battle with Taylor Swift of all people and generally made the alternative scene really proud in 2020.
Best Rock Song
My Winner: ‘Shameika’ – Fiona Apple
Fiona Apple reappeared in April after a lengthy hiatus from music, with an album that she had spent years working on. It was clear from the very first listen that Fetch the Bolt Cutters would come out on top in all of the Album of the Year lists. ‘Shameika’ is fiercely personal and unlike anything else we heard all year. I dare you to put it on and not fall in love.
Best Alternative Music Album
My Winner: Fetch The Bolt Cutters – Fiona Apple
Another crime of the Grammys is not nominating Apple for a Big Four category, and for that reason they can have no other winner for Alternative Music Album. Fiona Apple owned the music industry this year with Fetch the Bolt Cutters, speaking to our most isolated selves when it was released during lockdown at the beginning of last year. If it’s not up for Album of the Year, then they had better give it all of the other awards.
Image courtesy of Wan San Yip.