Alternatives: Feel It Still – Portugal, The Man, Redbone – Childish Gambino, That’s What I Like – Bruno Mars
Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first. Will Despacito, the joint longest running #1 song in US chart history and the biggest Latin crossover hit of the last decade miss out on a General field nomination? My instinct says no, but given the similar situation that Drake was in last year with One Dance (I confidently predicted it was a 100% lock for a nomination in this category) perhaps sales records aren’t everything for Grammy voters? Despacito was even more inescapable than that hit last year though and I think if the voters are going to get behind it in one of these categories, Record of the Year will be it. Having a Justin Bieber on board will only improve the songs chances here, he’s basically a Grammy veteran at this point.
It’s interesting that including Bieber, every other act I’ve chosen above has been nominated for a general field category. Ed Sheeran is the only one who hasn’t appeared in Record of the Year, where I think Shape of You ends up as the most obvious nominee this year. His most danceable hit to date, I’m convinced I’ve seen it performed by about 12 different performers this year. To say that hook has been inescapable would be an understatement and as Ed Sheeran’s long overdue first #1 hit in the US its place here is all but confirmed. You could say the same for Kendrick Lamar’s Humble, which while on paper might seem like a massively different beast to Shape of You, their place as the peak commercial moment for two of the more successful Grammy favourites of the last decade is obvious. I don’t think Humble will give Kendrick his first general field win, Alright was definitely a stronger track and song to contend with here, but a nomination looks certain.
The final two selections are where it gets difficult, I had a huge list of potential tracks to choose from here. Just a few months ago I was convinced that early 2017 viral hits Bad & Boujee and Black Beatles could stand a chance, but this would be extremely surprising to see now. Other Hip Hop tracks such as French Montana’s Unforgettable and Lil Uzi Vert’s breakout hit XO Tour Llif3 have garnered buzz over the last few months too, but I feel that the Rap voters will stick with Kendrick.
Portugal, The Man’s Feel It Still has been building and building and could stand a real chance at a nomination here given it’s current airplay, while I would never rule of That’s What I Like becoming Bruno’s sixth nomination in this category. For a truly out there wildcard prediction though I’m throwing Redbone into the mix. Everyone was surprised when D’Angelo’s Really Love made the cut in this category 2 years ago and if there’s a song that those same RnB voters will gravitate to it’s surely Redbone. Donald Glover could be well onto an EGOT soon.
The two songs I’ve chosen though are both acts who have previously been nominated for Record of The Year, but neither have won. The first being Imagine Dragons who’s have had a huge crossover year in 2017. Their songs Believer and Thunder have become top 10 Hot 100 hits, but with the former breaking the record on the Rcok Songs chart for most weeks at #1 it surely has a huge chance here. Believer is a massive record too, and is definitely the most obvious rock track to be nominated here. The other act is 4 time Record of the Year nominee Taylor Swift, who once again has released a hit single just weeks before the Grammy eligibility period ended, with her album set to be in contention for the following year’s show. She has done this for both of her last two albums, and both times the lead single, We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and Shake It Off respectively have scored a nomination here. Look What You Made Me Do is not one of the best records of the last 12 months. In fact it would definitely be the worst Taylor Swift ROTY nominee, but the Grammy voters are often incredibly stubborn in their ways and giving Taylor Swift major nominations in something they really like to do.