Song of the Year
Bad Guy – Billie Eilish O’Connell, Finneas O’Connell (Billie Eilish)
Always Remember Us This Way – Lady Gaga, Natalie Hemby, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna (Lady Gaga)
Without Me – Ashley Frangipane, Brittany Amaradio, Amy Allen, Louis Bell, Justin Timberlake, Timothy Mosley, Scott Storch (Halsey)
Girl – Maren Morris, Greg Kurstin, Sarah Aarons (Maren Morris)
Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse) – Austin Post, Khalif Brown, Scott Lang, Billy Walsh, Louis Bell (Post Malone and Swae Lee)
Truth Hurts – Melissa Jefferson, Eric Frederic, Jesse Saint John, Steven Cheung, Mina Lioness (Lizzo)
Thank U, Next – Ariana Grande, Victoria Monét, Tayla Parx, Njomza Vitia, Kimberly Krysiuk, Tommy Brown, Michael Foster, Charles Anderson (Ariana Grande)
Someone You Loved – Lewis Capaldi, Samuel Romans, Thomas Barnes, Peter Kelleher, Benjamin Kohn (Lewis Capaldi)
(Alternatives: Talk – Khalid Robinson, Guy Lawrence, Howard Lawrence (Khalid), Light On –
Maggie Rogers, Thomas Hull (Maggie Rogers), Norman Fucking Rockwell – Lana Del Rey, Jack Antonoff (Lana Del Rey))
There are literally just hours to go until the Grammy Awards 2020 nominations are announced, so I’ll attempt to keep this round of Song of the Year short (That will never happen).
There’s a fair bit of crossover between ROTY and SOTY in my choices, but this is hardly surprising. Billie Eilish getting a Song of the Year nomination for a song she wrote and released at 17 will be too easy for the voters to get behind, especially for how unique Bad Guy sounds. Truth Hurts is a modern pop classic at this point and pretty much every voter will have sung those lyrics along at some point of the last few months. Without Me and Sunflower were unavoidable radio hits, but unlike a few of those that I don’t think will make the cut they are written in such an emotive and delicate way that it makes them even more memorable.
Speaking of those omissions, Old Town Road is probably the most obvious. We’ve seen that outside of Despacito, most songs with ridiculously long chart runs, the likes of Uptown Funk and Shape of You, have actually missed out on a category focused purely on the songwriters. Given it’s place as a rap built over a sample too, I just can’t see it appearing here. I’d be surprised if we see the likes of Senorita or Sucker in this category too.
I didn’t pick out a single country song (other than Old Town Road I guess) for Record of the Year, but I’ve tipped two here for contention. Speechless was the genre’s big crossover in the last year, at least until Dan + Shay followed it up with their top 10 peaking Justin Bieber duet 10,000 Hours. Speechless is a bit too ‘wedding song’ for me, but voters will lap that stuff up. Maren Morris may have made it into Record of the Year for The Middle last year, but since she didn’t have a writing credit she wasn’t eligible for SOTY. It feels appropriate that she reunited with that song’s writer, Sarah Aarons for Girl. It wasn’t on my list for a while, but over the last few weeks I’ve been starting to think it could have a real chance to make it here.
Perhaps we should also count Lady Gaga’s Always Remember Us This Way as a country song too, especially considering its from some of the women who were previously nominated here for the incredible Girl Crush. It may not have the same chart success as a ‘single’ as Shallow did when it made this category last year, but I really think voters will still be on a high from the Bradley Cooper film as they make their selections this year. I personally think it’s the best song on the soundtrack, where I think it’s actually a better choice to submit than the bigger vocal performance of I’ll Never Love Again.
Outsiders who could make it here? I think Lana Del Rey could be the alternative choice, alongside the likes of Vampire Weekend and Bon Iver, while Light On feels like a true festival anthem at this point, so could be in contention. I’ve gone with Thank U, Next over that lot though, which feels like some of the smartest writing in a pop song this year. Ariana really should make all three General field categories this year, but Song of The Year is probably her lowest chance of doing so.
That leaves one song that should make it into the category and is looking likely to become the eventual winner. Someone You Loved was inescapable for months here in the UK and across Europe, and it’s slowly built and built in the US into the same. The likes of Ed Sheeran, Adele and Sam Smith have taken this trophy with chart conquering ballads, I’m not sure what it is about America, but they seem to love Brits who sing really emotional songs about relationships. The Grammy voters will too and I’d say Someone You Loved has fast become the most likely eventual winner in any big 4 category.