The Grammy Nominations of 2019: Who Should Win?

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2019 has provided all listeners with breakout stars who topped the charts early in their careers. / BrooklynVegan

You could call this the year of breakout stars in music with artists like Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X and Lizzo racking up tons of nominations in their first year being nominated at all. Lizzo leads the group with eight nominations while Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X come in second with six each. 

Lizzo and Billie are both nominated for all four of the biggest categories: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist. 

This year’s nominees include some lesser known artists such as “Yola” and “Tank and the Bangers”, who both got the nomination for Best New Artist. There’s also some familiar faces like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Post Malone who have had multiple nominations in the past. 

Below is my list of “who should win” for six of the major categories along with any snubs that I believe were left off. 

Album of the Year

“When we all Fall Asleep Where do we go?”- Billie Eilish

“Thank You, Next”- Ariana Grande

“Cuz I love You (Deluxe)”- Lizzo

“Norman Fucking Rockwell”- Lana Del Rey

“i,i”- Bon Iver

“I Used to Know Her”- HER

“7”- Lil Nas X

“Father of the Bride”- Vampire Weekend

Who should win: “When we all Fall Asleep Where do we go?”- Billie Eilish

Explanation: While “Thank You, Next” included several smash hits like “7 rings” and “break up with your girlfriend, i’m bored”, it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. It’s simply a pop album that appeals to a very wide audience which is why I believe it probably will win, but isn’t very unique. “When we all Fall Asleep Where do we go?” creates vibes that you can’t find anywhere else on songs like “Bury a Friend” and “My Strange Addiction”. Additionally, the production side of this record is flawless when paired with Billie Eilish’s dark and soft spoken lyrics. Billie has an attitude and charisma that you won’t find anywhere else in a 17-year old.  

Snubs: “Igor”- Tyler the Creator 

“Free Spirit”- Khalid

Record of the Year (honors production)

“Old Town Road Remix”- Lil Nas X Featuring Billy Ray Cyrus

“Sunflower”- Post Malone

“Hey Ma”- Bon Iver

“7 Rings”- Ariana Grande

“Bad Guy”- Billie Eilish

“Hard Place”- H.E.R.

“Truth Hurts”- Lizzo

“Talk”- Khalid

Who should win: “Old Town Road Remix”- Lil Nas X Featuring Billy Ray Cyrus

Explanation: Say what you want about the viral Hip-Hop/Country crossover song, but there was nothing this year bigger than “Old Town Road”. It broke the record for most weeks at number one on Billboard’s Hot 100 with 19 weeks which should be enough for Lil Nas X to take home this award. Tik Tok can be credited with giving “Old Town Road” some of the viral success due to its massive popularity on the app and it didn’t hurt Billie Eilish’s streaming numbers either. In another year with less viral hit songs, “Truth Hurts” would have won either Record or Song of the Year. Packed with classic lines like “I Just took a DNA test, I’m 100% that bitch”, it became a song of the summer, just not the song of the summer.

Snubs: None 

Song of the Year (honors songwriting)

“Bad Guy”- Billie Eilish

“Truth Hurts”- Lizzo

“Always Remember Us This Way”- Lady Gaga

“Bring My Flowers Now”- Tanya Tucker

“Hard Place”- HER

“Lover”- Taylor Swift

“Norman Fucking Rockwell”- Lana Del Rey

“Someone You Loved”- Lewis Capaldi

Who should win: “Bad Guy”- Billie Eilish

Explanation: “Bad Guy” is approaching the coveted one billion streams mark on Spotify as the lead song on one of the biggest albums of the year. The line “make your girlfriend mad tight, might seduce your dad type” tells you everything you need to know about Billie Eilish in her portrayal of herself as a “Bad Guy”. 

Snubs: “Without Me”- Halsey

“Sucker”- Jonas Brothers

Best Pop Vocal Album

“The Lion King: The Gift”- Beyonce

“Thank You, Next”- Ariana Grande

“When we all Fall Asleep Where do we go?”- Billie Eilish

“No. 6 Collaborations Project”- Ed Sheeran

“Lover”- Taylor Swift

Who should win: “Thank You, Next”- Ariana Grande

Explanation: Although I previously stated Billie Elish’s “WWAFAWDWG” should win album of the year over “Thank you, Next”, I believe Ariana deserves this category. Best Pop Vocal Album is more about the singing of the artist than the quality of the overall album. There is no question Ariana has a great voice and it is well displayed on “Thank You, Next” which is why I believe this award will be hers. 

Best Rap Album

“Igor”- Tyler The Creator

“The Lost Boy”- YBN Cordae

“Revenge of the Dreamers III”- Dreamville

“Championships”- Meek Mill

“I am > I Was”- 21 Savage

Who should win: “Igor”- Tyler The Creator

Explanation: Seeing that “Igor” was left off of the Album of the Year nominations, I’m predicting the Recording Academy will continue to overlook Tyler’s best Creation. “Igor” is a raw display of Tyler the Creators emotions about relationships and living life. Tyler sings more than on his past works on songs like “EARFQUAKE”, and “GONE/GONE, THANK YOU”. The blend of singing and rapping creates a new dynamic that we’ve always seen from Tyler, but never this effectively. “I am > I Was” was probably 21 Savage’s most dynamic work to date but I don’t see it winning over some of these other albums. “ROTDIII” is also a great album and I believe it will be the winner due to his complex collaborations by members of the Dreamville label (J Cole, JID, EarthGang, Bas, Omen, Cozz, Lute, and Ari Lennox) and outsiders (Da Baby, Young Nudy Ty Dolla $ign and others). This album is an example of true rap with strong lyrics and flow as opposed to mumble rap that swept the hip-hop scene in recent years. With that being said, I still believe “Igor” deserves a slight nod over “ROTDIII” due to the overall creativity of the project which was produced entirely by Tyler. 

Snubs: “Zuu”- Denzel Curry

“Baby On Baby”- Da Baby

Best New Artist

Billie Eilish

Lizzo

Lil Nas X

Black Pumas

Rosalia

Maggie Rogers

Tank and the Bangas

Yola

Who should win: Billie Eilish

Lizzo and Lil Nas X each exploded into the music scene this year with chart-topping smash hits. Although “Old Town Road” and “Truth Hurts”, were very popular songs, Billie Eilish’s album was better and more memorable than either Lizzo’s “Cuz I Love You” or Lil Nas’s “7 EP”. The award is not “Best Young Artist” but Billie being 17 makes her work even more impressive compared to Lizzo who is 31. Although Lizzo has a tremendous success story (which I discussed in my article “Lizzo Shows There is no Timetable on Success”), she has been releasing music for years and doesn’t fit the category of “New” artist as much as Billie Eilish does. “When We All Fall Asleep Where Do We Go?” was an iconic record that established Billie Eilish as a young superstar in music. 

Snubs: Lewis Capaldi

Lauv

Juice WRLD

Da Baby

Megan Thee Stallion

The complete list of Grammy nominees can be found here: https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/2020-grammy-awards-complete-nominees-list

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