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GRAMMY CHEW: OUR PICKS FOR THE BIG FOUR (PLUS ONE)

The awards season is well underway, and we’ve already seen the American Music Awards, with its superstar cast, experience flat ratings, and the star-studded Golden Globes were down a bit. We now look to the Oscars, which approach without a true blockbuster to galvanize viewership. And in our own industry, we look ahead cautiously as Team Grammy prepares for the big show on 1/26. In the past, the Grammys have been a fabulous platform for those once-a-year music consumers; we now ponder the possible marketplace effect, especially in a year when many big stars won’t be involved.

With all that in mind, we survey the Big Four categories plus one—Producer of the Year, Non-Classical—and offer our picks.

 

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

LB: It’s Billie Eilish’s year. That said, it’s down to her and Lizzo. I pick Billie. She’s like the Dylan of her generation.

SG: Me too. Both are solid entries, but Billie’s album managed to be boundary-pushing and highly accessible at the same time.

RECORD OF THE YEAR

LB: Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” in a walk. It was the biggest record of the year, without question, it reached every kind of audience and it was fun—which we all needed in a pretty fucked-up year.

SG: “Old Town Road.” It went beyond music and ruled pop culture.

SONG OF THE YEAR

LB: This is another place I think Billie goes up against Lizzo. I feel like this one goes to Lizzo; “Truth Hurts” was huge.

SG: This category confounds me. Taylor Swift’s “Lover” is a strong, timeless, mature love song with a classic pop vibe, and I see this as one place in the Big Four where the voters might go with classic over zeitgeist.

BEST NEW ARTIST

LB: Billie is the Best New Artist of the year. Lizzo really isn’t new; they bent the rules to let her in. But this should go to Billie. Her arrival resonates with pop culture for a new generation. That said, this is a very strong field with several deserving contenders, including the magical Maggie Rogers.

SG: 100%. Billie Eilish is the embodiment of this category—and she had an impact by every conceivable measure, right out of the box. Who knows how it’ll shake out, but she truly deserves it.

PLUS ONE: PRODUCER OF THE YEAR

LB: I pick FINNEAS, with an Oscar analogy: Whoever directed the Best Picture winner should get Best Director. So FINNEAS’ work with sister Billie should earn him the trophy.

SG: I’ll take Jack Antonoff, who worked on the Taylor and Lana Del Rey records, two acclaimed sets with divergent styles; he’s beloved in Grammyland.

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