Who Should Win And Who Will Win At The 2022 Grammys

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Who Should Win And Who Will Win At The 2022 Grammys

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Well, we made it. A week after an especially tempestuous Oscars telecast, the Grammys are coming back on April 3 after being rescheduled due to the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Along with a new date comes a new location: The 64th Grammy Awards, which typically take place in either Los Angeles or New York, will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, the city where the Latin Grammys are usually held each year. The Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah is returning to host, and Jon Batiste of all people received the most nominations this year, followed by Doja Cat, H.E.R., and Justin Bieber.

Performers at this show include Batiste, Brothers Osborne, BTS, Brandi Carlile, Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X with Jack Harlow, Olivia Rodrigo, H.E.R., Nas, and Chris Stapleton, plus a Stephen Sondheim memorial featuring Cynthia Erivo, Leslie Odom Jr., Ben Platt and Rachel Zegler. I wish everyone the best of luck topping Taylor Swift’s Folklore/Evermore medley from last year. (Kanye West, meanwhile, was banned from performing this year due to his “concerning online behavior.”) Foo Fighters were also scheduled to perform before the death of drummer Taylor Hawkins, so it seems possible his bandmates might do some kind of tribute performance, though nothing like that has been announced so far.

It seemed like audiences were pleasantly surprised at the Academy’s ability to pull off a socially distanced, moderately entertaining ceremony last year. (The bar was pretty low, too, if you’ll recall the all-virtual 2021 Golden Globes.) Now that the Grammys are circling back, it’s time to play a little game of Who Will Win vs. Who Should Win? Here are some suggestions and predictions, starting with the General Field categories.

Best New Artist

Arooj Aftab
Jimmie Allen
Baby Keem
Finneas
Glass Animals
Japanese Breakfast
The Kid Laroi
Arlo Parks
Olivia Rodrigo
Saweetie

Who Should Win: As usual, the Recording Academy played it fast and loose with their definition of “new”: On the production and songwriting end, Finneas has technically already won an armful of Grammys simply due to his work with younger sister and main client Billie Eilish. Every time Billie went up to accept a Grammy over the past two years, Finneas was with her, and not just for moral support. He’s already won eight awards in the last two years, one of them being Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical.

Glass Animals might be having a Top 40 moment with “Heat Waves,” but they’ve been a band since 2010. Indie-rock die-hards will have been listening to Japanese Breakfast since 2014 or so, but by Recording Academy standards, Michelle Zauner might as well be an ingénue. Pakistani vocalist Arooj Aftab falls into a similar category, but still, you cannot deny that this level of recognition is extremely exciting for both Aftab and Zauner. The actual “new” artists — as in, released their debut album anywhere between one to four years ago — are the Kid Laroi, Arlo Parks, Baby Keem, Jimmie Allen (who has been in the game for many years but technically went solo in the late ’10s), Saweetie, and Olivia Rodrigo.

Who is the most deserving? It’s really a toss-up between three choices: Rodrigo, who experienced meteoric, much-deserved fame in the span of one year via Sour; Aftab, who critics can’t get enough of AND who fits right in with the Recording Academy’s love of an artist’s artist (think: H.E.R. and Black Pumas); and Japanese Breakfast, whose Jubilee is already an indie classic on par with Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher and anything Belle & Sebastian has ever done. (I’m going with B&S because I think they are the quintessential, classic “indie” act of the last 30 years.)

Who Will Win: Most likely Rodrigo, who seems primed to follow in Billie Eilish’s 2020 footsteps and sweep the top four categories.

Song Of The Year

Ed Sheeran – “Bad Habits”
Alicia Keys – “A Beautiful Noise” (Feat. Brandi Carlile)
Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers License”
H.E.R. – “Fight For You”
Billie Eilish – “Happier Than Ever”
Doja Cat – “Kiss Me More” (Feat. SZA)
Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open”
Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”
Justin Bieber – “Peaches” (Feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon)
Brandi Carlile – “Right On Time”

Who Should Win: As a reminder, Song Of The Year is a songwriter’s award, whereas Record Of The Year is about the track in its finished, fully recorded form. As The Independent’s Adam White said, Sheeran sounds like he’s “rummaging through Abel Tesfaye’s leftovers” on “Bad Habits,” and I frankly don’t think anyone could put it better than that. I love Brandi Carlile and will not hear a bad word about her, but to be honest I think everything present-day Alicia Keys does screams formulaic faux-empowerment, and I actually forgot she even did a song with Brandi in 2020. Speaking of faux-empowerment, I think H.E.R.’s Judas And The Black Messiah song “Fight For You” falls into a similar trap, despite H.E.R.’s best intentions.

Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever” is very nice, but I think we can all agree that Billie has enough Grammys for now. Doja Cat’s “Kiss Me More” is tremendous fun, and I love what producers Yeti Beats and Rogét Chahayed brought to composition. Silk Sonic’s partnership of Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars has totally rescued my overall opinion of Bruno Mars, who I’ve always thought of as an exceptionally talented cover band. .Paak and Mars make sensational music together, and “Leave The Door Open” is a sparkling mirrorball of a song. Lil Nas X’s “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” 100% passes the stuck-in-your head challenge, as does Justin Bieber’s “Peaches,” which I can’t entirely separate from its TikTok dominance. Brandi Carlile’s soaring “Right On Time” I think deserved more love than it ultimately got. And what more can I even say about Olivia Rodrigo’s “Drivers License”? Lots of strong contenders here, but ultimately I think Silk Sonic are ultimately the most deserving.

Who Will Win: Again, I think Rodrigo’s got this one in the bag as well.

Record Of The Year

ABBA – “I Still Have Faith In You”
Jon Batiste – “Freedom”
Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga – “I Get A Kick Out Of You”
Justin Bieber – “Peaches” (Feat. Daniel Caesar & Giveon)
Brandi Carlile – “Right On Time”
Doja Cat – “Kiss Me More” (Feat. SZA)
Billie Eilish – “Happier Than Ever”
Lil Nas X – “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)”
Olivia Rodrigo – “Drivers License”
Silk Sonic – “Leave The Door Open”

Who Should Win: It’s pretty amazing that ’70s pop icons ABBA got their first-ever Grammy nomination in 2022. That in and of itself is deserving of a win. (And “I Still Have Faith In You” is a great power ballad, too!) But the Swedish trio are up against some Recording Academy favorites in Jon Batiste and Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, so I worry that their nomination is more symbolic than anything else. “Freedom” is a fine song, but definitely Grammy bait.

It would be a nice gesture if Tony Bennett and Gaga won for “I Get A Kick Out Of You,” as the 95-year-old singer has retired due after seven decades due to Alzheimer’s disease. Now, I’m definitely not saying I’ll be disappointed if Rodrigo does the sweep I’m predicting, because Sour and “Drivers License” are both game-changers in their own right. But giving this award to ABBA or Tony Bennett and Gaga would be a nice look. You know what would be an even nicer look, actually? Giving both Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year to Lil Nas X, who had to put up with a LOT of BS from the conservative, pearl-clutching peanut gallery around “Montero.”

Who Will Win: I fully expect Rodrigo to get this one too. I really think we’re looking at a big-four sweep, keeping in mind Rodrigo’s ubiquity in 2021 and the Recording Academy’s tendency to repeat patterns.

Album Of The Year

Jon Batiste – We Are
Justin Bieber – Justice: Triple Chucks Deluxe
Doja Cat – Planet Her Deluxe
Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever
Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett – Love For Sale
H.E.R. – Back Of My Mind
Lil Nas X – Montero
Olivia Rodrigo – Sour
Taylor Swift – Evermore
Kanye West – Donda

Who Should Win: I still don’t understand WTF Donda is doing here. I know Ye got everyone to freak out over the last-minute, totally self-indulgent making of Donda, but did anyone actually like listening to the finished product enough to warrant an AOTY nomination? I digress. From what I could tell, audiences and critics really dug Justin Bieber’s Justice, which was certified Platinum and debuted atop the charts of 10 countries, including the US and the Canada. Billie Eilish’s Happier Than Ever is a really strong contender, and it debuted atop the Billboard 200 and topping the charts in 27(!) other countries.

As for Lil Nas X’s debut album Montero, I think it’s super deserving but unlikely to come out on top for AOTY. H.E.R.’s inclusion here feels symbolic at best, because the Recording Academy can’t go one year without pretending that H.E.R. is the most exciting artist to ever exist. I have high hopes for Doja Cat’s Planet Her, but am doubtful it’ll reign supreme. Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett’s I think was a great album, because who doesn’t like a little midcentury nostalgia, but not at all AOTY material. Jon Batiste I guess made an album people liked, but it should not win. For me, it comes down to Taylor Swift’s Evermore and Rodrigo’s Sour, but the scales should tip more in Rodrigo’s favor because her debut moved the needle to such a large extent.

Who Will Win: You already know what I’m going to say. I’ll be shocked if Sour doesn’t get Album Of The Year.

Best Pop Vocal Album

Justin Bieber – Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe)
Doja Cat – Planet Her (Deluxe)
Billie Eilish – Happier Than Ever
Ariana Grande – Positions
Olivia Rodrigo – Sour

Who Should Win: Olivia Rodrigo.
Who Will Win: Olivia Rodrigo.

Best Rock Song

Weezer – “All My Favorite Songs”
Kings Of Leon – “The Bandit”
Mammoth WVH – “Distance”
Paul McCartney – “Find My Way”
Foo Fighters – “Waiting On A War”

Who Should Win: Paul McCartney.
Who Will Win: Foo Fighters.

Best Rock Performance

AC/DC – “Shot In The Dark”
Black Pumas – “Know You Better (Live From Capitol Studios A)”
Chris Cornell – “Nothing Compares 2 U”
Deftones – “Ohms”
Foo Fighters – “Making A Fire”

Who Should Win: Deftones.
Who Will Win: Black Pumas.

Best Rock Album

AC/DC – Power Up
Black Pumas – Capitol Cuts – Live From Studio A
Chris Cornell – No One Sings Like You Anymore Vol. 1
Foo Fighters – Medicine At Midnight

Who Should Win: Chris Cornell.
Who Will Win: Foo Fighters.

Best Rap Album

J. Cole – The Off-Season
Drake – Certified Lover Boy
Nas – King’s Disease II
Tyler, The Creator – Call Me If You Get Lost
Kanye West – Donda

Who Should Win: Tyler, The Creator.
Who Will Win: Nas.

Best Progressive R&B Album

Eric Bellinger – New Light
Cory Henry – Something To Say
Hiatus Kaiyote – Mood Valiant
Lucky Daye – Table For Two
Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, & Kamasi Washington – Dinner Party: Dessert
Masego – Studying Abroad: Extended Stay

Who Should Win: Lucky Daye.
Who Will Win: Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, & Kamasi Washington.

Best Folk Album

Mary Chapin Carpenter – One Lonely Night (Live)
Tyler Childers – Long Violent History
Madison Cunningham – Wednesday (Extended Edition)
Rhiannon Giddens w/ Franceso Turrisi – They’re Calling Me Home
Sarah Jarosz – Blue Heron Suite

Who Should Win: Tyler Childers.
Who Will Win: Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Best Rap Performance

​​Baby Keem – “Family Ties” (Feat. Kendrick Lamar)
Cardi B – “Up”
J. Cole – “My .Life” (Feat. 21 Savage & Morray)
Drake – “Way 2 Sexy” (Feat. Future & Young Thug)
Megan Thee Stallion – “Thot Shit”

Who Should Win: Megan Thee Stallion.
Who Will Win: Megan Thee Stallion.

Best Melodic Rap Performance

J. Cole – “Pride Is The Devil” (Feat. Lil Baby)
Doja Cat – “Need To Know”
Lil Nas X – “Industry Baby” (Feat. Jack Harlow)
Tyler The Creator – “Wusyaname” (Feat. YoungBoyNever Broke Again & Ty Dolla $ign)
Kanye West – “Hurricane” (Feat. The Weeknd & Lil Baby)

Who Should Win: Tyler, The Creator.
Who Will Win: Lil Nas X.

Best Alternative Music Album

Fleet Foxes – Shore
Halsey – If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power
Japanese Breakfast – Jubilee
Arlo Parks – Collapsed In Sunshine
St. Vincent – Daddy’s Home

Who Should Win: Japanese Breakfast.
Who Will Win: St. Vincent.

Elliott Arndt

CHART WATCH


Chris here. Normally I just write the chart section, but due to Rachel taking a few days off, I’ll be joining you for the track reviews this week as well. First let’s look at the week’s hottest singles; for some reason, the Billboard 200 albums chart has not yet been released.

Glass Animals’ “Heat Waves” spends its fourth straight week at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, once again followed by the Kid Laroi and Justin Bieber’s “Stay” at #2, Kodak Black’s “Super Gremlin” at #3, and GAYLE’s “abcdefu” at #4. Bieber’s “Ghost” reaches a new #5 peak, becoming his 20th top-five hit. Per Billboard Bieber is one of only 10 artists to achieve that, a list also including Stevie Wonder (20), Michael Jackson (20), Elvis Presley (21), Rihanna (23), Janet Jackson (24), Drake (27), Mariah Carey (27), Madonna (28), and the Beatles (29).

“We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from Encanto slides to #6; it will be interesting to see whether last night’s Oscars performance with Megan Thee Stallion gives it the juice to shoot back up the chart. Imagine Dragons and JID’s “Enemy” is at #7, while Lil Nas X’s “That’s What I Want” is at #8, and Doja Cat’s “Woman” rises to #9 — new peaks for all three. The latter becomes Doja’s fifth top-10 hit. Adele’s “Easy On Me” rounds out the top 10.

POP FIVE


J Balvin & Ed Sheeran – “Forever My Love” & “Sigue”
If you thought Ed Sheeran as a rapper was preposterous, just wait until you see J Balvin as a sensitive troubadour clutching his acoustic guitar. There is no way “Forever My Love” is only three minutes and 47 seconds long. The reggaeton track “Sigue” is no masterpiece, but it’s a much more appealing convergence of two well-defined shticks.

Tate McRae – “Chaotic”
This is not the most original inspirational piano ballad, but it’s well-executed at least, with a lovely hook, smartly deployed strings, and some stylish distorted vocals around the edges of the chorus.

WILLOW – “PURGE” (Feat. Siiickbrain)
Seems like WILLOW’s mother imparted some of her wicked wisdom. I prefer Siiickbrain’s Skrillex/Swae Lee collab, but it’s nice to be genuinely rattled by a rock song out of the mainstream machine.

24kGoldn & Travis Barker – “In My Head”
Here we have the antithesis of that WILLOW song. Every generation has its own cursed pop templates and whatever this becomes on the chorus is one of the worst of the moment. Barker could’ve at least given 24kGolden some boilerplate power chords.

Kid Cudi – “Stars In The Sky”
The credits suggest this was a leftover from the Lil Nas X album, and it certainly sounds that way, but Cudi at least comes off like he’s having a blast hamming it up with Sonic The Hedgehog in the video.

NEWS IN BRIEF

  • Megan Thee Stallion’s label countersued her, saying she owes her another album. [TMZ]
  • Justin Bieber filed to dismiss a defamation suit he brought against two women who accused him of sexual assaults in 2014 and 2015. [TMZ]
  • Three Lordes star in the video for “Secrets from a Girl (Who’s Seen It All).” [YouTube]
  • Lizzo previewed new single “About Damn Time” (out 4/14) on The Late Late Show. [YouTube]
  • Coin made their late-night TV debut on Jimmy Kimmel. [YouTube]
  • Miley Cyrus cancelled her appearance at Paraguay’s Asunciónico festival after her plane was struck by lightning. [Instagram]
  • Megan Thee Stallion twerked on a piano at the iHeartRadio Music Awards. [Twitter]
  • Joe Jonas sang a loungey Smash Mouth’s “All Star” on The Tonight Show. [YouTube]
  • In a tearful TikTok Charlie Puth said he’ll be releasing the new song “That’s Hilarious,” inspired by a bad breakup, next month. [TikTok]
  • Kehlani’s new album Blue Water Road is out 4/29. [Instagram]
  • Cardi B will debut the song “The Seaweed Sway” on Nickelodeon’s animated pre-school series Baby Shark’s Big Show. [YouTube]
  • BENEE covered Ariana Grande’s “God Is A Woman” for Like A Version. [YouTube]
  • Cardi B appears on an extended remix of Summer Walker & SZA’s “No Love.” [YouTube]
  • Doja Cat shot back at fans on Twitter who were mad her Asunciónico fest set in Paraguay was canceled and she didn’t even greet fans outside her hotel: “i fuckin quit i can’t wait to fucking disappear and i don’t need you to believe in me anymore. Everything is dead to me, music is dead, and i’m a fucking fool for ever thinking i was made for this this is a fucking nightmare unfollow me.” [XXL]
  • Miley Cyrus’ first live album, Attention: Miley Live, is out Friday. [Twitter]
  • BTS shared their favorite film musical moments in a surprise video at the Oscars. [Twitter]
  • A couple days before winning an Oscar, Finneas released the new single “Naked.” [YouTube]
  • James Bay shared the new single “Give Me The Reason.” [YouTube]
  • Tai Verdes released the new song “3 Outfits.” [YouTube]

CLOSING TIME


https://twitter.com/ShelbyLano/status/1506421245612544026

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