Record of the Year
Bad Guy – Billie Eilish
7 Rings – Ariana Grande
Without Me – Halsey
Sucker – Jonas Brothers
Talk – Khalid
Old Town Road (Remix) – Lil Nas X (Featuring Billy Ray Cyrus)
Truth Hurts – Lizzo
Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) – Post Malone and Swae Lee
(Alternatives: Someone You Loved – Lewis Capaldi, Senorita – Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello, You Need To Calm Down – Taylor Swift)
Last year saw the same song take home both Record and Song of the Year at the Grammys. It was too hard to ignore the cultural and commercial significance of a song like This Is America for voters, but this year there isn’t an equivalent favourite. There’s just days to go until nominations are revealed, but for me the set of hits I expect to be in contention could result in a number of potential winners.
Starting with the out and out locks for this category; Ariana Grande was bound to make it into the big 4 for the first time this year. Her team have opted for 7 Rings here and Thank U, Next in SOTY. Personally I’d have rather seen the album’s title track across this category too, where I think it would become my personal choice of a winner, but 7 Rings saw an even longer run at #1 on the Hot 100. I’d place Sunflower at the same level of lock for the category too, its position in the Top 10 for 33 weeks, a feat only matched by two other songs in history gives it enough longevity to be a definite inclusion. Post Malone being in this category last year will certainly back up this idea.
There’s a definite trend with the songs I think will make Record of the Year, everything has seen a very long life on the chart. Whether that’s songs that have taken literal years to reach #1 (Truth Hurts), or songs that broke the all time record for most weeks at #1 (Old Town Road) voters have so many long running hits to choose from. Perhaps I’m being over zealous in my expectation that all of these massive hits will make it in, but this year I just can’t see many missing out. Those two songs I mentioned are probably the final two locks for the category, the former peaking at just the right time for Lizzo and the latter becoming the biggest Meme fuelled hit single in history. Old Town Road probably won’t win a Grammy, but it’ll feel very weird if it’s not nominated here.
All but one of my choices reached #1 on the Hot 100, whereas just half of the category had done by the time of last year’s show (Shallow ended up reaching the top spot a few weeks later). Of those tracks, I’ve opted for Talk by Khalid, one of the year’s most inescapable radio hits. Khalid is sure to receive even more Grammy love than ever before this year, in terms of prominence in music there’s few new artists who have managed to capture the public in the same way. Talk is probably my favourite song of his so far and it stands out nicely as a fun RnB Pop hit among some more emotive songs. Non #1s that could be here instead? You Need To Calm Down for Taylor, or Lil Tecca’s Ransom look like the most likely, but Girl by Maren Morris might just be an unexpected inclusion too.
I’ve opted to not include the current #1, Someone You Loved which if it does make it into Record of the Year would be all by itself as a Piano led ballad among massively produced hits. I think it may just have taken off a bit late for the voters a fair few weeks ago now, I think he has a much better chance in the SOTY category anyway. Does Without Me count as a ballad? It’s more mid tempo than other songs in contention, but perhaps that could take over as the more emotional centerpiece of the category. Yet another monumentally long running hit.
That leaves a song from a Best New Artist favourite and the big outlier above. Bad Guy was the obvious choice to submit here, it certainly sounds like nothing else that’s topped the chart over the last few years, while Billie Eilish is the year’s breakout teen star. Weirdly I’d say Song of the Year is the category I’m more certain that Eilish will make it into, where voters like rewarding young songwriters. That leaves Jonas Brothers, an artist that at the start of 2019 you’d never have even considered could be Grammy contenders. Sucker is an undeniable hit though and one of the year’s most obnoxiously catchy hits. Weirdly I think the ‘boyband grown up’ look and style will suit them, they were nominated for Best New Artist in 2009 after all. Now 10 years on I think they just might make their second Grammy nod another general field one.