Tomorrow, the nominations will be announced for all 83 categories at the 59th annual Grammy Awards, set to take place in Los Angeles on February 11th. And while there are literally hundreds of nominees, chances are the typical Consequence of Sound reader isn’t itching to see who will snag nods in the Best Contemporary Christian Music Song or Best New Classical Artist categories. We’re here to talk about the big guns in pop, rock, and rap.
Now, it’s also important to remember who is eligible. Because Grammy eligibility periods don’t line up with our calendar year, albums like Adele’s 25 , Grimes’ Art Angels, Justin Bieber’s Purpose, and Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams are all eligible. By the same rule of thumb, don’t expect to see albums from Metallica, The Weeknd, Lady Gaga, Green Day, or Leonard Cohen until next year, if at all. And then, of course, there is Frank Ocean, who declined submitting his music for consideration, citing it as his Colin Kaepernick moment.
Along with the aforementioned Adele, a few artists can be viewed as clear favorites heading into the nominations. Beyoncé, Radiohead, and Kanye West have all been recognized in the past by Grammy voters and are riding in with particularly compelling story lines and the acclaimed music to boot. On the other side of the coin is David Bowie, whose music has never been awarded a proper Grammy (his only previous wins come from videos and a Lifetime Achievement Award). 2017’s award ceremony might be the last chance to celebrate one of music’s most important voices, and it helps that Bowie’s latest album is worthy of the praise.
We’ve broken down our predictions and our suggestions below for the biggest categories, but the nominations are always filled with surprises. Check back in after the official announcements when we pick our likely winners for these categories and more.
Album of the Year
It’s hard to say that anyone is a sure thing when it comes to the Grammys, but it would be pretty shocking if either Adele’s 25 or Beyoncé’s Lemonade were excluded from the field. For Adele, she’s a Best New Artist alum whose last album went 6/6 in 2012. Her most recent collection sold albums in a time when no one is selling albums, and that alone might be worth recognizing. On the other side of the spectrum is Beyoncé, whose Lemonade saw an untraditional release as a visual album, bending the way consumers traditionally experience full-lengths. Bey has received a couple Album of the Year noms in the past but has never won the category, even though she’s stockpiled a whopping 20 Grammy awards, second all-time among women behind Alison Krauss.
Behind two of pop’s biggest stars, the rest of the the possibilities are a little less certain. There’s David Bowie’s monumental ★, whose resume is sadly bolstered by the narrative of Bowie’s passing just days after its release. There are a number of culturally massive musical moments, including Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo, Drake’s Views, Rihanna’s Anti, and Justin Bieber’s Purpose, all of which have pros and cons regarding their possible inclusion. And from the rock world, Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool could cash in on that album’s positive response, especially considering the band’s long-held Grammy appeal, dating back to their left-field nomination for OK Computer in 1998.
The Long Shots:
Picking from this pool satisfies the need for pop, rap, rock, and old people music (even though Bowie is arguably the most experimental record of this group). What’s missing? Country! But while there isn’t anything as obvious as last year’s Chris Stapleton good will, this year’s country dark horse could be Sturgill Simpson for A Sailor’s Guide to Earth or Maren Morris for Hero. Another possibility from the CoS bank of best 2016 albums is Chance the Rapper, whose Coloring Book is eligible this year after changes to the Grammys’ “streaming only” policy. And would anyone be that surprised if Coldplay was nominated rather than Radiohead?
Adele – 25
Beyoncé – Lemonade
David Bowie – ★
Drake – Views
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool