There’s less than a month to go until the nominations for the 2019 Grammys are revealed and I have just one more of the general field categories to cover. While the expansion of nominees to 8 means a lot for the likes of Best New Artist, for Album of the Year it could mean even bigger things if an underrated or under performing album manages to find itself among the nominees.There’s not as much crossover with the song categories as you might expect here, but that doesn’t mean 2019 couldn’t be a clean sweep for someone.
Album of the Year
Astroworld – Travis Scott
Beerbongs & Bentleys – Post Malone
Dirty Computer – Janelle Monáe
Golden Hour – Kacey Musgraves
Invasion of Privacy – Cardi B
Reputation – Taylor Swift
Scorpion – Drake
The Thrill of it All – Sam Smith
Alternatives: Colors – Beck, Everything Is Love – The Carters, War & Leisure – Miguel
Continuing a trend that has been seen over recent years in the Album of the Year category, solo acts look like a surer bet for a nomination than groups here. In the last 5 years only 3 groups have been nominated for Album of the Year, with just The Carters counting as one above. I actually think they could miss out on what should be an obvious nomination for an album that never truly broke through in the way that each of Beyonce and Jay-Z’s previous albums did to make it into this category. It would actually be a shame if Everything Is Love finally gave them their deserved AOTY win, given that it pales in comparison to Lemonade or 4:44 respectively.
5 of the acts mentioned above have previously been nominated for this category, with 2 of these even winning at least once. Of these two I’ve opted for Taylor Swift’s Reputation over the enjoyable but perhaps forgotten Colors from Beck. Reputation may not be the runaway favourite like 1989 was 3 years ago but with 8 spaces open I would be very surprised to see it miss out. It scored a huge hit in the form of Look What You Made Me Do, while Delicate is tipped for big success in the pop categories this year. The two remaining acts to have been nominated before? Sam Smith and Drake. For the latter Scorpion follows a recent tradition of ‘rewarding’ albums that have scored at least 3 #1 Hot 100 singles with a nomination here (See Loud, Purpose, Teenage Dream and 21). Sam Smith is less likely to be guaranteed a place, but it really stands out this year as a ‘singers’ album. It’s the simplest production of any of the albums in serious contention, but this could help nicely to follow on from his clean sweep of the other three general field categories back in 2015.
At first glance the nominees I’ve chosen might seem a little too Rap focused, but the expansion of the genre and some particular breakthrough acts in 2018 mean I’m confident we will see a few Rap albums nominated here too. I’ve actually opted for Travis Scott’s Astroworld and Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy over what was my very early prediction of Kendrick Lamar’s Black Panther soundtrack. The lack of inclusion for soundtrack albums in recent years makes me think voters will opt to celebrate newer individual talents over the curation of Lamar’s effort. Especially after all three of his last studio albums made it into the category. Both Astroworld and Invasion of Privacy have seen huge success critically and commercially, but perhaps Cardi B edges Travis for a definite nomination here thanks to her scoring 3 #1 hits in the last 12 months.
Post Malone probably doesn’t even count as Rap when considering the nominees, but I will be very surprised if voters snub him this year thanks to his domination of streaming this year. It’s probably the album that I think will surprise the most people when it ends up nominated and Post could become a dark horse among the nominees once voters start making their selections. The biggest outside is surely Janelle Monáe, who has never really had the Grammys success that she deserves. Dirty Computer was a cultural moment for her, from the visuals to the fashion style to a sound that Pop has been lacking for so long. I think Dirty Computer will just about edge out the equally brilliant War & Leisure from Miguel, who could be her biggest competition in the Urban Contemporary Album category.
That leaves the album that has been building and building in buzz for the Grammys ever since its release back in March. When I did my early predictions back in April I put Golden Hour alongside From A Room…Vol 2 by Chris Stapleton as a good chance fr Country to return to he Album of the Year category again. Of course the Kacey Musgraves album has since become one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year, the sort of record that cant even be labelled with the genre it has been placed in, with true universal appeal. It’s exactly the sort of album that could become a huge favourite for the overall award, especially in a year without an Adele or a Bruno to take over the popular vote. It’s my personal choice and everything seems to be falling into place for Golden Hour to end up in the nominees list come December 5th.