Predictions & Reactions: The 2018 Grammy Nominations

 

The Pop Break is here to weigh in on the 60th annual Grammy Nominations.

On Tuesday’s CBS This Morning, the Grammy-nominated R&B singer/songwriter Andra Day announced the 2018 nominees for the Top Four categories of record of the year, album of the year, song of the year and best new artist.

This year, Jay-Z is in the lead with 8 nominations—including the big categories of album of the year, record of the year, song of the year and best rap album. Next up is rapper Kendrick Lamar with 7 nominations and R&B/pop artist Bruno Mars with 6.

The R&B singer-songwriter SZA takes the cake as the most-nominated female artist with 5 nominations. Rapper Childish Gambino, singer Khalid, and Hip-Hop/R&B producer No I.D. also hold 5 nominations each.

Now, here’s The Pop Break’s reactions to this year’s nominations. (Feel free to head over to the Grammy Awards website to find the entire list of nominees for all 84 categories.)

Okay, here we go:

Record Of The Year:

Nominees: “Redbone” by Childish Gambino, “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber, “The Story Of O.J.” by Jay-Z, “HUMBLE” by Kendrick Lamar and “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars.

To start, I can’t say I’m a fan of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone,” since it’s a little slow and has an eerie electronic groove to it that feels too retro. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that “Despacito” is in the running for a Grammy, since it was basically this year’s biggest hit and never failed to get people singing along and dancing. The same goes for “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars—it’s a fun party song that gets you moving.

Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE” has this intensity to it that goes against its title, and I have to say, Skrillex has a pretty epic remix of it too. However, it has too many verses of “Hol’ up bitch” in it for me. “The Story of O.J.” draws from O.J. Simpson’s quote, “I’m not black, I’m O.J.” and carries a strong message about color, success and moving forward as a culture. I do think Jay-Z has won enough Grammys at this point—he’s raked in 21 over the years, so maybe they’ll give the award to “Despacito” or “24K Magic.”

Album Of The Year:

Nominees: Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino, 4:44 by Jay-Z, DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar, Melodrama by Lorde and 24K Magic by Bruno Mars.

I have a feeling Jay-Z or Kendrick Lamar will probably win this one. Childish Gambino’s “Awaken My Love!” has a lot of potential too. I would listen to his album over the other choices, as there’s so much going on in each song, and lots of unexpected sounds, which constantly keep you guessing.

Song Of The Year:

Nominees:

“Despacito” — Ramón Ayala, Justin Bieber, Jason “Poo Bear” Boyd, Erika Ender, Luis Fonsi & Marty James Garton, songwriters (Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber)

“4:44” — Shawn Carter & Dion Wilson, songwriters (Jay-Z)

“Issues” — Benny Blanco, Mikkel Storleer Eriksen, Tor Erik Hermansen, Julia Michaels & Justin Drew Tranter, songwriters (Julia Michaels)

“1-800-273-8255” — Alessia Caracciolo, Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, Arjun Ivatury & Khalid Robinson, songwriters (Logic Featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid)

“That’s What I Like” — Christopher Brody Brown, James Fauntleroy, Philip Lawrence, Bruno Mars, Ray Charles McCullough II, Jeremy Reeves, Ray Romulus & Jonathan Yip, songwriters (Bruno Mars)

Of these choices, Logic’s “1-800-273-8255” really stands out, especially since it encouraged people to reach out and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help. This song made a real impact in many people’s lives. Each year seems to bring us an increase in suicides and this song is a means of helping those struggling with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. I feel like this topic strikes home for a lot of people, as most of us know someone who has taken their own life.

The quality of the songwriting is what matters the most here, and I’m sorry, but “Despacito,” “That’s What I Like” and “Issues” just don’t cut it. They’re too cliché and don’t really go below the surface. This Grammy should either go to “1-800-273-8255” or “4:44” simply due to craftsmanship of the lyrics and song meaning.

Best New Artist:
Nominees: Alessia Cara, Khalid, Lil Uzi Vert, Julia Michaels, SZA.

For best new artist, I have to go with who I feel is the most original and unique. Alessia Cara and Khalid stand out since they co-wrote “1-800-273-8255.” I also like Khalid’s album American Teen, it has a lot of highlights from “Silence” to “Location.” SZA is a pretty badass R&B singer/songwriter, and songs like “Drew Barrymore” and “Love Galore” are laidback and catchy. Sorry Lil Uzi Vert, I’ve never heard of you before this nomination—a very random selection I’d have to say. I’ll go with SZA or Khalid for this Grammy.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Nominees: “Something Just Like This” by The Chainsmokers & Coldplay, “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Featuring Justin Bieber, “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons, “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man and “Stay” by Zedd & Alessia Cara.

These were all fun hits from this past year, but my heart is with Portugal. The Man. While I don’t think this track fully showcases their talents, it never ceases to get me singing and grooving. “Something Just Like This” was a favorite for awhile, but now it just reminds me of someone I’d like to forget. “Thunder” is catchy and I will admit that I’ve listened to it repeatedly on multiple occasions. However, it’s a little too repetitive and doesn’t have the same affect on me as “Feel It Still.”

Best Pop Vocal Album

Nominees: Kaleidoscope EP by Coldplay, Lust For Life by Lana Del Rey, Evolve by Imagine Dragons, Rainbow by Kesha, Joanne by Lady Gaga, and ÷ (Divide) by Ed Sheeran.

I know there’s been plenty of hate towards Ed Sheeran lately, but I do love that album. Songs off that album always seem to be stuck in my head throughout the day, whether it’s “Dive,” “Perfect” or “Happier.” I’ve always been a fan of his, and that won’t be changing anytime soon. We haven’t had an album from Lana Del Rey in two years, so it’s no surprise that she’s been nominated for it. There’s some awesome collabs on this album, from The Weeknd and A$AP Rocky to Stevie Nicks and Sean Ono Lennon. Coldplay doesn’t really register for me, since it’s a 5-song EP including “Something Just Like This.” They’re really good songs, but they should win a Grammy for a full-length album. (Shout out to Coldplay for the incredible A Head Full of Dreams Tour that was mind-blowing for everyone attending the shows.)

Best Rock Album

Nominees: Emperor Of Sand by Mastodon, Hardwired…To Self-Destruct by Metallica, The Stories We Tell Ourselves by Nothing More, Villains by Queens Of The Stone Age and A Deeper Understanding by The War On Drugs.

For some reason, I thought maybe Foo Fighters, Brand New or AFI would be on here for their most recent albums, but perhaps they didn’t make the cutoff date. And to me, The War On Drugs is more of an alternative band. Overall, this selection seems a bit unexpected. It’s a toss up for these, but I could see Villains by Queens of The Stone Age taking this one, or Hardwired…To Self-Destruct, because it’s Metallica we’re talking about.

Best Alternative Music Album

Nominees: Everything Now by Arcade Fire, Humanz by Gorillaz, American Dream by LCD Soundsystem, Pure Comedy by Father John Misty and Sleep Well Beast by The National.

Arcade Fire is huge right now, and they already have a couple of music festivals lined up. They might get this Grammy. As for Father John Misty, it’s been two years since he released a full-length album, and it does not disappoint. There’s no telling who’s going to win this one, and it makes me very curious at what album they decide to go with.

Best Country Album

Nominees: Cosmic Hallelujah by Kenny Chesney, Heart Break by Lady Antebellum, The Breaker by Little Big Town, Life Changes by Thomas Rhett and From A Room: Volume 1 by Chris Stapleton.

Kenny Chesney has always been one of my favorite country artists, and surprisingly enough, despite his popularity, he hasn’t won any Grammys. Maybe it’s his time to shine!

Laura Curry is a Rutgers University graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Interviewing bands and writing about music is her passion. She is a frequent concert-goer, whether they’re happening in New Brunswick basements, Asbury Park venues, concert halls in NYC and anywhere in between. Alternative rock is her go-to genre (i.e. Kings of Leon, Cage the Elephant, Foals, The Maine and lots more). When she isn’t writing for The Pop Break, she works at the North Brunswick Public Library, which offers plenty of Fantasy/Adventure novels to quench her love of reading. Additionally, she takes on creative projects from dream catchers and scrapbooks to paintings and jewelry making. She’s always happy to talk about her furry Maine Coon cat Austen and his knack for playing fetch and hide and seek. Just try not to ask about her next career move, because trust me, she’s working on it.

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