HUMBLE. – Kendrick Duckworth & Michael Williams II (Kendrick Lamar)
Issues – Julia Michaels, Benjamin Levin, Tor Hermansen, Mikkel Eriksen & Justin Tranter (Julia Michaels)
Million Reasons – Stefani Germanotta, Hillary Lindsey & Mark Ronson (Lady Gaga)
Shape of You – Ed Sheeran, Steve Mac, Johnny McDaid, Kandi Burruss, Tameka Cottle & Kevin Briggs (Ed Sheeran)
1-800-273-8255 – Sir Robert Hall II, Arjun Ivatury, Alessia Caracciolo & Khalid Robinson (Logic Featuring Alessia Cara & Khalid)
Alternatives: Believer – Ben McKee, Daniel Platzman, Dan Reynolds, Wayne Sermon, Justin Tranter, Mattias Larsson & Robin Fredriksson (Imagine Dragons), Praying – Kesha Sebert, Ryan Lewis, Ben Abraham, Andrew Joslyn (Kesha), Tin Man – Miranda Lambert, Jack Ingram & Jon Randall (Miranda Lambert)
There are three acts listed in the selection above who have previously been nominated for the Song of The Year category at the Grammy Awards, with one of these winning just two years ago. Ed Sheeran is always a Grammy nomination favourite of course (seriously if you have made it to 2017 without realising this where have you been?) but I’ve seen people doubting whether he will even submit his biggest hit Shape of You into this category. Yes, Castle On The Hill is arguably the better song, yes it’s more of a ‘songwriter’s piece’, but unless you have two massive hits on your hands, you keep attention on the bigger song. Though Ed’s 3 previous nominations in this category have been for the equally down tempo The A Team, Thinking Out Loud and Love Yourself, the change of pace this year may actually help secure the place here. Shape of You definitely isn’t the favourite to win here, but I’d say it definitely has a place in the nomination list.
Kendrick Lamar may stand out among the Adult Contemporary leaning nominees above, but his place at the very top of the Rap genre will go a long way to securing him a nomination in 2018. HUMBLE. may not have been the politically charged follow up to previous SOTY nominee Alright, you only have to look at follow up DNA for this, but it’s place as Kendrick’s true commercial breakthrough as an individual track is what will help its cause the most here. HUMBLE. works brilliantly well in and out of the context of full album DAMN, and with Kendrick delivering his most on the mark hook to date he could be onto a winner in 2018.
The final previous nominee I’ve included is potentially the least likely track to make the cut here. On release Million Reasons was just the standout moment on a great, but not classic Lady Gaga record. In the year since release and thanks in large part to its starring moment in Gaga’s Superbowl spectacular, it has gone on to become the most enduring ballad in her discography. A song that works as well played on acoustic guitar, piano, or with a full band it’s quintessential Gaga despite its stripped back nature and was the truest glimpse of Gaga The Songwriter that we saw last year. I say it’s an outsider here as there are a few country leaning ballads that voters could edge towards instead, including the heartbreaking return of Kesha with Praying, or the equally emotive Tin Man from Miranda Lambert. Two of my favourite singles of the last year, both would make incredible general field debuts for their respective performers.
The other, more left field pop choice here is Issues by Julia Michaels which has gathered some real buzz going into this year’s show. Unlike anything else here and yet written and performed by the writer of recent worldwide hits like Sorry by Justin Bieber, Issues could be the outsider’s choice in this category. I personally feel this would make more sense than the likes of Taylor Swift scoring a nomination for Look What You Made Me Do, where in fact the Little Big Town performed Better Man ends up being her better chance at a nomination here. I’ve also put Issues ahead of a Rock act such as Imagine Dragons who could see Believer be their first foray in a Songwriter’s category. The writing team of Julia Michaels and Justin Tranter is long overdue a Grammy nomination and I feel that Issues could give them exactly that.
It’s surely a surprise that I’m not about to call out a certain Latin crossover hit as my pick for Song of the Year for next year’s awards and it’s even more of a surprise that I haven’t even given Despacito a place in my nomination predictions. I have just been wrong about huge #1 commercial hits and this category before, the likes of Uptown Funk and Get Lucky have missed a nomination altogether in the past, so I’m going the opposite way completely for once and prediction a snub altogether. The song I am predicting will be the odds on favourite to take the award though? Logic’s suicide hotline name-sake 1-800-273-8255. As a song, it may not be as instantly recognisable as a ‘song’, the half rapped/half spoken verses and second half appearances from other potential debut nominees Alessia Cara and Khalid make for a surprisingly strange listen, but this is exactly the sort of song that Grammy voters will get behind. I fully expect a nomination, a Grammys night closing performance and potentially a win here for a song that’s message is arguably the most integral part of its songwriting.