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Taylor Swift? SZA? Billie Eilish? Who Will Win the Grammys in the Top Categories?

Mr. Nimbus | 01/25/2024

Nominees: Jon Batiste’s World Music Radio, boygenius’ The Record, Miley Cyrus’ Endless Summer Vacation, Lana Del Rey’s Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd, Janelle Monáe’s The Age of Pleasure, Olivia Rodrigo’s Guts, Taylor Swift’s Midnights, SZA’s SOS

This is the most female-dominated fields of album of the year contenders in Grammy history. Here are all the times female artists have dominated in the category.

Analysis: I asked three Billboard colleagues who they thought would win in each of the Big Four categories. They are all super-smart and plugged-in. In this category, they gave me three different answers (Swift, SZA and boygenius), so I guess I’m on my own here.

Each of Swift’s three album of the year winners represented a major chapter in her career – Fearless, her breakthrough as a pop/country superstar; 1989, a risky and hugely successful transition into pop; and Folklore, a perfectly-timed folkie side-step during the pandemic. The capsule summary of this album – a concept album about late-night ruminations inspired by her sleepless nights – isn’t quite as compelling.

SZA is a very strong challenger with SOS, which topped the Billboard 200 for 10 nonconsecutive weeks, longer than any of these other nominees. The narrative here is the emergence of a newly-minted superstar in an industry that relies on them.

SZA is vying to become the first Black woman to win in this category as a lead artist since Lauryn Hill 25 years ago for The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Last year, many (including me) thought Beyoncé would win for Renaissance. Instead, Harry Styles won for Harry’s House, and while he was a deserving winner, there is a pent-up frustration on the part of many that R&B and hip-hop are so often passed over in the Big Four categories. That Grammy history is unavoidably playing into this year’s contest.

Boygenius is also aiming to make history. The all-female trio, consisting of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, would become just the second all-female group or duo to win in this category, following The Chicks, who won in 2007 for Taking the Long Way.

Boygenius wrote their entire album by themselves and produced it with Catherine Marks. The album even had a female mastering engineer, Pat Sullivan. (The album had both male and female engineer/mixers, so men weren’t completely sidelined here.) This is the only album of the year finalist to also be nominated for best engineered album, non-classical.

Batiste’s World Music Radio is nominated two years after he was the surprise winner in the category for We Are. Winning again so soon is a longshot, but if it happens, he’ll be the first artist to win twice in the space of three years as a lead artist since the mid-’70s, when Stevie Wonder won three times in a four-year span.

A side-note here: If Midnights (or Rodrigo’s Guts) wins, Serban Ghenea would become the first person (not artist, mind you) to win album of the year five times. The Canadian engineer/mixer previously won in the category as an engineer/mixer on Swift’s 1989 and Folklore, Adele’s 25 and Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic

Predicted winner: SZA

And if not her: Taylor Swift, boygenius

This post was originally published on this site

Written by Mr. Nimbus

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