Well the Grammy Nominations have come out and as usual, they mean absolutely nothing.
The Grammy’s have been dumb as hell for years now. They lost all credibility when Macklemore won the Grammy for best rap album over Kanye, Jay-Z, Drake and Kendrick…but I feel like the real nail in the coffin was when that stupid “Once when I was 7 years old” song got nominated like 18 times. But I’ve talked about this multiple times and don’t want to look at the past, I want to look at the present…and how expectedly stupid the nominations are this year as well.
I’m only going to to discuss categories that have relevance to me (Pop, Dance, Rap, R&B, Rock/Alternative), but if you want to see the 4 BIG categories, skip to the bottom.
Otherwise, let’s start with the Pop Category.
Best Pop Solo Performance
“Yummy” — Justin Bieber
“Say So” — Doja Cat
“Everything I Wanted” — Billie Eilish
“Don’t Start Now” — Dua Lipa
“Watermelon Sugar” — Harry Styles
“Cardigan” — Taylor Swift
Now if you were reading the first few paragraphs of this post and thinking “oh come on the Grammy’s do have some credibility” how are you feeling now? Now that YUMMY was nominated for BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE? HMM? NO. This was widely regarded to be a garbage song. The only reason people know it is because it got clowned on so much. This just goes to show that the Grammy’s are definitely being paid by artists or black-mailed by Bieber Stans.
My Pick for Best Pop Solo Performance: “Watermelon Sugar” – Harry Styles
I actually like a lot of these songs. Dua is my girl, “Say So” was unbelievably catchy, Everything I Wanted was cool, and even Cardigan was alright. But Harry deserves this. This was a great performance, showed off his skills, and had the mainstream popularity. Not to mention, the certified song of the summer.
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
“Un Dia (One Day)” J Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny & Tainy
“Intentions” — Justin Bieber Featuring Quavo
“Dynamite” — BTS
“Rain on Me” — Lady Gaga With Ariana Grande
“Exile” — Taylor Swift Featuring Bon Iver
Again, what is Bieber doing on this list? I thought we all agreed his last album was trash? Regardless, this category is relatively weak. I like Exile but BEST Pop Duo Performance? I don’t know.
My Pick for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: “Rain On Me” – Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande.
I mean this is a clear by-a-mile winner for me. This song bangs and didn’t get the amount of love it deserved (even though it got a good amount). Really fun energetic song from 2 powerhouses.
Best Pop Vocal Album
“Changes” — Justin Bieber
“Chromatica” — Lady Gaga
“Future Nostalgia” — Dua Lipa
“Fine Line” — Harry Styles
“Folklore” — Taylor Swift
Bieber. Again. Really??? This is wild to me. Especially because every other album here makes sense.
My Pick for Best Pop Vocal Album: “Future Nostalgia” -Dua Lipa
I LOVE “Fine Line”, I also surprisingly really enjoyed “Folklore” from Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga’s was definitely good just not my favorite taste…but if we’re talking pure pop. As in putting out hits that the general public can listen along and dance to…it’s Dua and it’s not close. “Don’t Start Now”, “Levitating”, “Hallucinate”, “Physical”, and “Break My Heart”? Are you kidding me? The whole album is fire and never slows down and it got me through a lot of the depressing moments of this year. Easy win.
Alright now we’re moving on to Dance/EDM.
Best Dance Recording
“On My Mind” — Diplo & Sidepiece
“My High” — Disclosure Featuring Aminé & Slowthai
“The Difference” — Flume Featuring Toro Y Moi
“Both of Us” — Jayda G
“10%” — Kaytranada Featuring Kali Uchis
Honestly I don’t even really know “On My Mind” and “Both of Us”, but the other ones on here are fire and blend dance with other genres really well.
My Pick for Best Dance Recording: “The Difference” – Flume Featuring Toro Y Moi
Just to give them credit, “My High” is from the GOAT Disclosure and used 2 really cool up and coming artists with Amine and Slowthai. “10%” is also one of my favorite songs in the last year or so and is super super groovy…but “The Difference” is so true to EDM while also experimenting into new territory. The high-energy, crazy vocals, wild drop, and sick visuals they dropped alongside it made this a standout song in the past year and have to give it credit.
Best Dance/Electronic Album
“Kick” — I Arca
“Planet’s Mad” — Baauer
“Energy” — Disclosure
“Bubba” — Kaytranada
“Good Faith” — Madeon
Again, not as knowledgeable here. I never really go deep on pure EDM, but I do love Kaytranada as a producer and Disclosure’s versatility.
My Pick for Best Dance/Electronic Album: “Bubba” – Kaytranada.
Kaytranada changed the game with his signature style of beats and production and this album condensed his best work with awesome artists. Disclosure’s album was great too, just a little less focused.
Now moving on to the Rock category.
Best Rock Performance
“Shameika” — Fiona Apple
“Not” — Big Thief
“Kyoto” — Phoebe Bridgers
“The Steps” — HAIM
“Stay High” — Brittany Howard
“Daylight” — Grace Potter
Rock has had a major comeback in my music library this year, probably because I wasn’t out drinking and dancing and partying as much as usual. So this category owns a lot more real estate in my brain. There’s some heavy hitters in this group who have been around for a while (Brittany Howard & Grace Potter) but also some extremely exciting newer artists like HAIM and Phoebe Bridgers.
My Pick for Best Rock Performance: “The Steps” – HAIM
This one was so hard to choose. I wanted to put “Kyoto” from Phoebe because that’s easily in my top 10 songs this year, but if we’re going pure rock performance…I think I gotta say HAIM. “The Steps” absolutely rules with a super catchy old-school guitar riff, along with some solo shredding, sweet drums, and some distorted vocals and harmonies…just unreal.
Best Rock Song
“Kyoto” — Phoebe Bridgers, Morgan Nagler & Marshall Vore, Songwriters (Phoebe Bridgers)
“Lost in Yesterday” — Kevin Parker, Songwriter (Tame Impala)
“Not” — Adrianne Lenker, Songwriter (Big Thief)
“Shameika” — Fiona Apple, Songwriter (Fiona Apple)
“Stay High” — Brittany Howard, songwriter (Brittany Howard)
I don’t really know the difference between performance and song, but if it means what I think it means this is pretty clear.
My Pick for Best Rock Song: “Kyoto” – Phoebe Bridgers
I mean, incredible use of horns, wildly unique lyrics, and of course a great sung performance from Phoebe, this may be my most played song of the year. This song got me excited about the future of music. Hoping she cleans up at this award show.
Best Alternative Music Album
“Fetch the Bolt Cutters” — Fiona Apple
“Hyperspace” — Beck
“Punisher” — Phoebe Bridgers
“Jaime” — Brittany Howard
“The Slow Rush” — Tame Impala
I hate that I don’t get Tame Impala. There’s something I’m missing. I have to go back and focus and listen to all their stuff and I’m sure something will click and I’ll be like “ok now I get it” but just haven’t gotten there yet. Besides that, this is super easy.
My Pick For Best Alternative Album: “Punisher” – Phoebe Bridgers
The depressing album we all needed this year. Every song is unbelievable. I also love how coherent it is in vibe, message, and even promotion. She is constantly wearing her Skeleton onesie, the videos all link together, and she’s done a ton of really cool social distance performances of songs and flipped them to be acoustic, orchestral, and so much more. Phoebe went from someone I had never heard of to one of my favorite artists in just a few months because of this. A modern classic.
Let’s move on to the R&B and Rap Categories.
Best Progressive R&B Album
“Chilombo” — Jhené Aiko
“Ungodly Hour” — Chloe X Halle
“Free Nationals” — Free Nationals
“F*** Yo Feelings” — Robert Glasper
“It Is What It Is” — Thundercat
I’m sure Jhene Aiko is good she’s just not my style. I’ve heard good things about Chloe x Halle too but never gave them a fair chance, and I have never heard of Robert Glasper. Just a heads up before I give my pick.
My Pick for Best Progressive R&B Album: “It Is What It Is” – Thundercat.
This album is such a specific vibe and deserves complete recognition for Thundercat’s talents. Between “Funny Thing” and “Dragonball Durag”, 2 of the most fun songs of the year, as well as “Black Qualls”, “Fair Chance” and “King of the Hill”, Thundercat created a totally coherent compilation of crazy jazz/rap/R&B fusion that I had on repeat for a lot of this year. As much as I like the Free Nationals, this felt like more important.
Best Rap Performance
“Deep Reverence” — Big Sean Featuring Nipsey Hussle
“Bop” — Dababy
“What’s Poppin” — Jack Harlow
“The Bigger Picture” — Lil Baby
“Savage” — Megan Thee Stallion Featuring Beyoncé
“Dior” — Pop Smoke
I don’t really know what to say here to be honest. It does go to show that Rap has been completely dominated by a new class of artists. The names up here are all really fresh, with the exception of Big Sean and help from Beyonce on “Savage”. I wish I had more to say, but I’m not the biggest Lil Baby or Pop Smoke fan so can’t really comment too much on those songs.
My Pick for Best Rap Performance: “Bop” – Dababy
Look, “Savage” was wicked fun, but it kind of just solidified itself as a tie Tok song in my brain which loses some credibility. “What’s Popping” ruled and was really fun but not like ground-breaking? This Big Sean song I feel like was just a nod to Nipsey Hussle’s passing and I don’t really know the Pop Smoke song but I feel like it’s a similar story there. That being said, “Bop” is from an artist who has taken over, has fun, can definitely rap, and took the world by storm. I never got tired of hearing this so gotta give it to him. Kind of bummed none of those songs really excite me though.
Best Melodic Rap Performance
“Rockstar” — Dababy Featuring Roddy Ricch
“Laugh Now, Cry Later” — Drake Featuring Lil Durk
“Lockdown” — Anderson .Paak
“The Box” — Roddy Ricch
“Highest in the Room” — Travis Scott
So I guess this is like singing-rap? I kinda like that they added a new category for this because it does seem like so many artists these days aren’t just textbook “rapping”. This is definitely wear my taste has been drawn to the last few months and these artists are the ones I like seeing more for sure.
My pick for Best Melodic Rap Performance: “Laugh Now, Cry Later” – Drake featuring Lil Durk.
This is Drake’s best song since Nice for What. It’s catchy as hell, has a great feature, and it’s wicked fun. I will say though, I like all the other songs in this category. “Lockdown” came out at a great time with a great message and Anderson .Paak never disappoints. “The Box” changed the culture and introduced us to a superstar, “Highest in the Room” was nothing crazy but not bad by any means, and even “Rockstar” showed us how vital Tik Tok is in marketing a banger. Strong category, but I am 100% committed to my pick here.
Best Rap Album
“Black Habits” — D Smoke
“Alfredo” — Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist
“A Written Testimony” — Jay Electronica
“King’s Disease” — Nas
“The Allegory Royce” — Da 5’9″
Again, weird list? Like just the combinations of artists and their styles and some of these I haven’t even heard of…I don’t know. I really only listened to “Alfredo” and “A Written Testimony” all the way through here.
My Pick for Best Rap Album: “A Written Testimony” – Jay Electronica.
This album is insane and only gets better with each listen. The production is out of this world. Beats I’ve truly never heard on any other project before, but they work so well with Jay Elec’s voice. Not to mention Jay-Z is on almost every song. The lyricism, the beats, the conciseness of the album are all unreal and if you haven’t listened yet or only did a once-through you need to go and listen right now. So good and almost definitely my favorite rap album of the year.
Side Note: Did Mac Miller’s team submit Circles? Because that was fire but it hasn’t gotten any love. Same thing goes with like The Weekend and Childish Gambino for these Rap and R&B categories. How did nothing get nominated for these guys? Just can’t imagine if they submitted their projects that they wouldn’t get any noms…
Best Rap Song
“The Bigger Picture” — Dominique Jones, Noah Pettigrew & Rai’shaun Williams, Songwriters (Lil Baby)
“The Box” — Samuel Gloade & Rodrick Moore, Songwriters (Roddy Ricch)
“Laugh Now, Cry Later” — Durk Banks, Rogét Chahayed, Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Ron Latour & Ryan Martinez, Songwriters (Drake Featuring Lil Durk)
“Rockstar” — Jonathan Lyndale Kirk, Ross Joseph Portaro Iv & Rodrick Moore, Songwriters (Dababy Featuring Roddy Ricch)
“Savage” — Beyoncé, Shawn Carter, Brittany Hazzard, Derrick Milano, Terius Nash, Megan Pete, Bobby Session Jr., Jordan Kyle Lanier Thorpe & Anthony White, songwriters (Megan Thee Stallion Featuring Beyoncé)
Honestly, I think this one’s pretty closed and shut in my opinion.
My Pick for Best Rap Song: “Savage” – Megan Thee Stallion & Beyonce.
I think any of these songs could win, but Meg Thee Stallion is an exciting new artist, joining with the people’s favorite Beyonce. From the Tik Tok fame to the radio play, this was really just a brand new moment for rap and one that I think had the industry excited. It’s a fun time. I’d kinda be rooting for The Box too just as a wicked catchy song I listened to a ton at the beginning of this year, but Savage probably deserves it.
One last one before we get in to the big ones.
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
“Run to the Father” — Cody Carnes
“All of My Best Friends” — Hillsong Young & Free
“Holy Water” — We the Kingdom
“Citizen of Heaven” — Tauren Wells
“Jesus Is King” — Kanye West
You already know.
My Pick for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: “Jesus Is King” – Kanye West.
This is Kanye’s worst album by a mile in my opinion but I guarantee it’s better than any of these others. I wonder how many Christian Contemporary fans were like “I guess if this Kanye West guy’s album is clean and about Jesus I’ll give it a listen” and then heard “Follow God” and we’re like
Alright now the categories you’ve all been waiting for…
Record of the Year
“Black Parade” — Beyoncé — Beyoncé & Derek Dixie, producers; Stuart White, engineer/mixer; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer
“Colors” — Black Pumas — Adrian Quesada, producer; Adrian Quesada, engineer/mixer; JJ Golden, mastering engineer
“Say So” — Doja Cat — Tyson Trax, producer; Clint Gibbs, engineer/mixer; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer
“Everything I Wanted” — Billie Eilish — Finneas O’Connell, producer; Rob Kinelski & Finneas O’Connell, engineers/mixers; John Greenham, mastering engineer
“Don’t Start Now” — Dua Lipa — Caroline Ailin & Ian Kirkpatrick, producers; Josh Gudwin, Drew Jurecka & Ian Kirkpatrick, engineers/mixers; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer
“Circles” — Post Malone — Louis Bell, Frank Dukes & Post Malone, producers; Louis Bell & Manny Marroquin, engineers/mixers; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer
“Savage” — Megan Thee Stallion Featuring Beyoncé — Beyoncé & J. White Did It, producers; Stuart White, engineer/mixer; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer
Just to get this out of the way…if it’s the “Record of the Year” and I haven’t heard of the artist? That’s not a good sign. So “Black Pumas” I’m sure even if you’re good, you’re out. And honestly, kind of the same thing for Beyonce with “Black Parade”. I’m sure that’s a good song (because ya know, it’s Beyonce) but if you played it for me right now no shot I could tell you what the title of the song was. That being said, the rest of this category is pretty strong.
My Pick for Record of the Year: “Say So” – Doja Cat.
I think this takes into account like all the pieces going into the song, not just how it sounds, so I gotta give it to Say So here. What a BANGER. Doja Cat blew up this year and rightfully so. She took this new disco-wave that artists have been on, added a sexy catchy chorus, and some fire verses and BOOM, got herself a hit. This also proved how powerful Tik Tok is and started the trend of artists trying to get traction on the app for extra streams and popularity. But also, nuance aside, I think this song is just unbelievably fun and one that I still play often.
Song of the Year
“Black Parade” — Denisia Andrews, Beyoncé, Stephen Bray, Shawn Carter, Brittany Coney, Derek James Dixie, Akil King, Kim “Kaydence” Krysiuk & Rickie “Caso” Tice, songwriters (Beyoncé)
“The Box” — Samuel Gloade & Rodrick Moore, songwriters (Roddy Ricch)
“Cardigan” — Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
“Circles” – Louis Bell, Adam Feeney, Kaan Gunesberk, Austin Post & Billy Walsh, songwriters (Post Malone)
“Don’t Start Now” — Caroline Ailin, Ian Kirkpatrick, Dua Lipa & Emily Warren, songwriters (Dua Lipa)
“Everything I Wanted” — Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell, songwriters (Billie Eilish)
“I Can’t Breathe” — Dernst Emile II, H.E.R. & Tiara Thomas, songwriters (H.E.R.)
“If the World Was Ending” — Julia Michaels & JP Saxe, songwriters (JP Saxe Featuring Julia Michaels)
No clue what this Julia Michaels song is so that’s out. Same thoughts as above for “Black Parade”. I also bet “I Can’t Breathe” is a powerful and important song but if we’re just going Song of the Year, I think it’s probably going to be something a little more light-hearted and accessible, so…
My Pick for Song of the Year: “The Box” – Roddy Ricch
I mean this song took over. Everyone was singing it. People were recording themselves dancing and singing to it. It was #1 for like several weeks. Just a heater and Roddy Ricch deserves a ton of credit for it. I would also love seeing Dua win and I think “Circles” is Post Malone’s best song in a long time and the route/sound I hope he continues to go with in his new music.
Best New Artist
Megan Thee Stallion
If you couldn’t tell from my profession of love to my girl in the categories above…
My Pick for Best New Artist: Phoebe Bridgers
No one is doing it like her. Brilliant song-writing, completely defined and unique sound, and performing all of her songs in out-of-the-box ways. She has created a brand that is so true to herself and has garnered such a crazy following the past few months solely because of her talent. She’s not writing lyrics for the radio, she’s not paying Tik Tokers to make dances to her music, she’s not doing boring performances of her songs on Good Morning America, she is wearing her weird Skeleton Pajamas, adding new elements to her songs and performances, and knows exactly the kind of artist she is. She is 100% deserving of this award, but Megan Thee Stallion, Kaytranada (despite being around for a long time), and Doja Cat getting it wouldn’t make me mad either.
Last but not least…
Album of the Year
“Chilombo” — Jhené Aiko — Fisticuffs & Julian-Quán Việt Lê, producers; Fisticuffs, Julian-Quán Việt Lê, Zeke Mishanec, Christian Plata & Gregg Rominiecki, engineers/mixers; Jhené Aiko Efuru Chilombo, Julian-Quán Việt Lê, Maclean Robinson & Brian Keith Warfield, songwriters; Dave Kutch, mastering engineer
“Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition)” — Black Pumas — Jon Kaplan & Adrian Quesada, producers; Adrian Quesada, Jacob Sciba, Stuart Sikes & Erik Wofford, engineers/mixers; Eric Burton & Adrian Quesada, songwriters; JJ Golden, mastering engineer
“Everyday Life” — Coldplay — Daniel Green, Bill Rahko & Rik Simpson, producers; Mark “Spike” Stent, engineer/mixer; Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion & Chris Martin, songwriters; Emily Lazar, mastering engineer
“Djesse Vol.3” — Jacob Collier — Jacob Collier, producer; Ben Bloomberg & Jacob Collier, engineers/mixers; Jacob Collier, songwriter; Chris Allgood & Emily Lazar, mastering engineers
“Women in Music Pt. III” — HAIM — Rostam Batmanglij, Danielle Haim & Ariel Rechtshaid, producers; Rostam Batmanglij, Jasmine Chen, John DeBold, Matt DiMona, Tom Elmhirst, Joey Messina-Doerning & Ariel Rechtshaid, engineers/mixers; Rostam Batmanglij, Alana Haim, Danielle Haim, Este Haim & Ariel Rechtshaid, songwriters; Emily Lazar, mastering engineer
“Future Nostalgia” — Dua Lipa — Koz, producer; Josh Gudwin & Cameron Gower Poole, engineers/mixers; Clarence Coffee Jr. & Dua Lipa, songwriters; Chris Gehringer, mastering engineer
“Hollywood’s Bleeding” — Post Malone — Louis Bell & Frank Dukes, producers; Louis Bell & Manny Marroquin, engineers/mixers; Louis Bell, Adam Feeney, Austin Post & Billy Walsh, songwriters; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer
“Folklore” — Taylor Swift — Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, producers; Jack Antonoff, Aaron Dessner, Serban Ghenea, John Hanes, Jonathan Low & Laura Sisk, engineers/mixers; Aaron Dessner & Taylor Swift, songwriters; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer
Hollywood’s Bleeding being on here…come on. I loved a few songs off that album but it was a 7 songs too long and all over the place. All love to Post Malone but as an album…not sure how this gets nominated over Fine Line, Punisher or A Written Testimony. Again, what are The Black Pumas doing on this list, what is COLDPLAY doing here? I didn’t even know they put out an album this year. What is Djesse Vol. 3??? and what’s up with all this love for Jhene Aiko? I don’t know just weird.
My Pick for Best Album of the Year: “Women In Music Pt. 3” – HAIM
Honestly, my personal favorite would be “Future Nostalgia” but I think as a music achievement, I can’t pick the one that is all just disco bangers catered towards my musical preference. This new album from HAIM though is incredible. Some of the best rock riffs I’ve heard in a long time, all of the instrumentals are insane, and all produced by Rostam (member of Vampire Weekend) and Ariel Rechstaid (who worked heavilty on Vampire’s Father of the Bride). This album takes the vibe of like 70’s rock and updates it for the modern age perfectly, taking weird (but good) risks to make it sounds like Fleetwood Mac was reincarnated in 2020. I will say, I’m kind of expect Folklore to win, and although I liked it more than any of Talyor’s recent projects, I still think HAIM broke more new ground here and excited me more.
So what do you think? Who got snubbed? Where was I right or wrong? Let me know.