As the announcement of the nominations come in by November 28, let’s take a stab at who we think are going to get some Grammy love. For this article, let’s talk about Record of the Year. We’ve split the pool into three locks, two more likely, two less likely and three possible ones. Of course, there are others who might just surprise us all.
(1) Ed Sheeran – Shape of You
If for “The A Team” Ed Sheeran can score a Song of the Year nomination, then he will have no problem getting a Record of the Year bid for “Shape of You”. After all, 2017 was his biggest year and arguably he is the biggest artist of 2017. The Academy certainly loves him and he’s won with “Thinking Out Loud”. I think this one’s a lock.
(2) Kendrick Lamar – HUMBLE.
Kendrick Lamar has shown us this year that there is no tradeoff between commercial success and critical acclaim. “HUMBLE.” is not the best from DAMN. but it certainly made the splashiest entrance. Whether or not the top prizes will be awarded to hip-hop will not be known until 2018, but there is no doubt in my mind they will score a nod and Kendrick Lamar is the best bet.
(3) Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee and Justin Bieber – Despacito (Remix)
If we were talking about the Grammy Awards of 20 years ago, I would laugh at the thought of putting “Despacito” in my prediction list. But much has changed and I cannot imagine them ignoring the longest reigning hit of the charts. I would be glad to be wrong on this one but I feel it is inevitable.
(1) Portugal. The Man – Feel It Still
An alternative hit always makes the cut. And if the Academy wants to salvage their reputation, Portugal. The Man seems to be the safest choice for a win. It is a track that has been well received by the public, contagious enough to garner sufficient votes, and the right dose of traditional to have the conservatives favor it.
(2) Imagine Dragons – Thunder
Initially, I was deciding between Imagine Dragons and Portugal. The Man for a nomination in Record of the Year. There’s no way they are putting both on the ballot considering their implicit thrust for genre representation. But I feel Imagine Dragons has hit the delicate balance between mainstream and alternative that they seem popular enough to not represent the latter, but also not at the same vein as Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran to own the mainstream space. Now, if only they submitted “Believer” instead, this would’ve been a slam dunk.
(1) Childish Gambino – Redbone
If the Academy decides to be bold, and reward sound that breaks genre boundaries, then Childish Gambino might just have a shot. Its following hasn’t been bolstered by traditional channels but its feature in the movie Get Out and parodies of the song turning into memes helped it land into the radar of critics and awards gurus.
(2) Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
Even as I round up the less likely section, it is without any female representation and that’s just hard to fathom. But Bruno Mars has a higher chance to take a spot with his funky sound that he’s managed to own through the years. He is no stranger to the Grammy’s and it is for good reason.
(1) DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson Tiller – Wild Thoughts
Besides Calvin Harris, DJ Khaled has been responsible for the massive, all-star collaborations we are witnessing in 2017. I have to be honest. I understood the Santana love decades back, but was never fond of “Maria Maria”. But he’s definitely put the guitar riff to good use and is now responsible for one of 2017’s best offerings. And of course we have to thank Rihanna, who turns just about anything into gold.
(2) Logic, Alessia Cara and Khalid – 1-800-273-8255
The music industry, and the rest of the world, has been plagued with the reality of degrading mental health. And it is with this release that the trio aims to shed a light on the pressing issue. No shame in recognizing an effort that has done humanity a favor, no matter how small.
(3) Taylor Swift – Look What You Made Me Do
She has been nominated in Record of the Year four times and has never won. Two times were her divisive album openers “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and “Shake It Off”. Arguably, this latest is the least successful, hence I’m not expecting it as a frontrunner. But I’ve underestimated her multiple times before and would not want to make the same mistake.
OTHERS in the RADAR:
(1) A Tribe Called Quest – We the People…
(2) Ke$ha – Praying
(3) Lorde – Green Light
(4) Lady Gaga – Million Reasons
(5) Harry Styles – Sign of the Times