Grammy Deadline Day: The Album of the Year Race
The nominees for the 60th annual Grammy Awards won’t be announced until November 28, but today, September 30, marks the end of this Grammy eligibility period. Anyone releasing music after September 30, 2017 will have to wait until November of 2018 to see if they make the Grammy cut. Now that all the possibilities are out there, predictions for the coveted Album of the Year award can start to be made that don’t have to be labeled as “too early.” What’s the state of the race?
The first logical prediction for a nomination is Ed Sheeran’s Divide. Its single “Shape ofYou” broke the record for most weeks in Billboard Hot 100’s Top 10 at 33 weeks, and the album itself was the fastest selling by a male artist in history.
Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic is next on the list. As of August, the album has been certified two times platinum, and two of its singles have been certified four times platinum. This doesn’t seem like something the Recording Academy is likely to ignore, and since Mars delivered a tribute to Prince on the 2017 Grammy stage, even though he had already been a performer earlier on in the night, he seems very well liked by the Academy.
Kendrick Lamar’s Damn finds itself right in the middle of the crowd. Damn is a critically acclaimed album, but Lamar is also a Grammy record breaker. In 2015, To Pimp a Butterfly gave Lamar 11 nominations, the most of any rapper in 1 ceremony, and he is only behind Michael Jackson in terms of being the most nominated artist in a single year in general. Yet, Lamar lost to Taylor Swift that year, and another nomination and a possible win might be a consolation.
A slight surprise, Lady Gaga’s Joanne gets spot 4. While Gaga is arguably not the phenomenon she once was, Joanne is the final step of her maturation process. She has left behind the crazy costumes and isn’t as fixed on creating club songs. Instead, she showcases her vocal ability and sings about love and loss, emotions and family. The fact that she is a previous nominee in the category helps, but what will really propel Gaga into her spot this year is the fact that this is the conclusion to a coming-of- age story that unfolded in front of the world.
Finally, there seems to always be at least one nominee that is not 100% mainstream. For this reason, the fifth spot goes to A Crow Looked at Me by Mount Eerie. It’s a concept album, with each song fitting into a broader artistic narrative. This is the kind of thing the Academy will want to recognize to boost their credibility and pat themselves on the back for taking note of because it is something with high ambitions.