This year all of the General Field categories (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best New Artist) have been expanded from five nominees each to eight. Although more nominees means more records and artists being recognized, this also means predicting these categories become much, much harder. I’ll separate these songs into three categories: Locks, Strong Contenders, and Outside Shots.
Scorpion (Drake); Invasion of Privacy (Cardi B), reputation (Taylor Swift),EVERYTHING IS LOVE (The Carters)
I feel very confident about these four. Scorpion (read my review here) was a blockbuster release that housed three #1 singles and Invasion of Privacy (read my review here) was absolutely massive. Taylor Swift’s reputation (read my review here) will probably be the last album to debut with one million pure copies until Adele releases, and Taylor is the biggest name in the industry right now. Finally, Beyoncé & Jay-Z’s joint album, Everything Is Love (read my review here), was acclaimed and successful and those two are Grammy powerhouses. After the snubs for Lemonade and 4:44, voters might be eager to make it up to music’s power couple. If it weren’t for their name power, regardless of how great this album is, I seriously doubt EVERYTHING IS LOVE would be in contention for Album of the Year. Travis Scott’s ASTROWORLD could very well knock either EVERYTHING IS LOVE or Scorpion out of the top eight.
Sweetener (Ariana Grande), Dirty Computer (Janelle Monáe), Golden Hour (Kacey Musgraves), Black Panther OST
Ariana has never been nominated in the general field, but after her wildly successful year and the highly-acclaimed Sweetener (read my review here) becoming her 3rd #1 album, this could be her year. Dirty Computer and Golden Hour are two of the most acclaimed female albums of the decade, both represent genres that haven’t won in this category in years. Both of them could possibly be nominated. Finally, the Black Panther OST was acclaimed and successful and was led by Kendrick Lamar, a 3-time nominee in this category. The only obstacle for this album is that a soundtrack hasn’t been nominated for Album of the Year since ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou’ in 2002.
The Thrill of It All (Sam Smith), beerbongs & bentleys (Post Malone), Kamikaze (Eminem), Tha Carter V (Lil Wayne), MASSEDUCTION (St. Vincent), Beautiful Trauma (P!nk), ASTROWORLD (Travis Scott), ? (XXXTentacion)
Sam Smith was nominated here in 2015 for In the Lonely Hour. While The Thrill of It All (read my review here) was well-received, it was significantly less successful and the album’s lead single, “Too Good At Goodbyes” failed to garner any Grammy nominations. Post Malone has never been one for critic love but beerbongs was one of the biggest successes of the year. Katy Perry was in a similar situation with Teenage Dream in 2011 and she still garnered a nomination. Eminem’s Kamikaze was a massive comeback, as was Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V (read my review here), they both have decent shots. MASSEDUCTION (read my review here) was lauded by critics but not as commercially successful, a Grammy winner already, St. Vincent could sneak in. P!nk’s Beautiful Trauma (read my review here) was well-received and successful; she has never been nominated here, so the overdue narrative might work in her favor. Finally, ASTROWORLD (read my review here) was very successful and acclaimed. Nevertheless, I’m not sure if the Grammys would nominate four hip-hop albums for the top prize. Seems farfetched. Also, XXXTenatcion’s ? could sneak in as well.
Final Predictions: Scorpion (Drake), Invasion of Privacy (Cardi B), EVERYTHING IS LOVE (The Carters), reputation(Taylor Swift), Sweetener (Ariana Grande), Golden Hour (Kacey Musgraves), Dirty Computer (Janelle Monáe), Black Panther OST
ALT: ASTROWORLD (Travis Scott) OR Beautiful Trauma (P!nk)