Last week, the Recording Academy released their nominations for this Jan.’s 62 Grammy Awards ceremony, with Lizzo, Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X leading with the most nominations for solo artists with eight, six and six nods apiece.
All three of those artists are up for Album of the Year, one of the biggest rewards of the night, for their respective albums Cuz I Love You, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?, and 7. Other musicians up for Album of the Year include H.E.R., Lana Del Rey, Ariana Grande, Bon Iver and Vampire Weekend.
Post Malone, Khalid, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, among other artists, are up for Record or Song of the Year, as well. Alicia Keys returns to host and announced the nominees alongside the Recording Academy president and CEO, Deborah Dugan.
Cuz I Love You stomped into the mainstream this past spring, and with good reason, as Lizzo’s album was accessible and confidently fun. Billie Eilish, who made news as Coachella’s youngest performer in 2019, was a hit for the single “bad guy,” which itself has three nominations including Record of the Year and Song of the Year, and her album was full of similar cold-but-cool songs. Lil Nas X broke the Billboard charts with “Old Town Road (Remix),” which is also Record and Song of the Year, but 7 was underwhelming as a whole to critics.
Nominees for Record of the Year — awarded to the producers, audio engineers and performing artists for a single track — include album of the year nominees H.E.R., Grande, Lizzo, Eilish, Bon Iver and Lil Nas X, alongside Post Malone & Swae Lee for “Sunflower” and Khalid for “Talk.”
Song of the Year nominees, which is awarded to the songwriters for a single track, include Eilish, H.E.R., Del Rey and Lizzo, alongside Lady Gaga’s “Always Remember Us This Way,” Tanya Tucker’s “Bring My Flowers Now,” Taylor Swift’s “Lover,” and Lewis Capaldi’s “Someone You Loved.”
The last general category award, Best New Artist, is strangely nominating Lizzo and Tank and the Bangas, two acts who have been releasing music for considerable amounts of time. Joining them are Americana act Yola, funk duo Black Pumas, Spanish singer Rosalia, pop singer Maggie Rogers, Eilish and Lil Nas X.
Genre-specific awards were full of surprises for both inclusions and omissions, just like any other year of the Grammys. Best Rap Album nominees include 21 Savage’s trap-filled i am > i was, Tyler, the Creator’s IGOR (which is heavier on singing than previous Tyler efforts), Meek Mill’s Championships, YBN Cordae’s The Lost Boy and Dreamville’s Revenge of the Dreamers III (which includes J. Cole, JID, EARTHGANG and other Dreamville Records signees). Curiously missing were Denzel Curry and Vince Staples short-but-sweet projects from this past year, ZUU and FM!, respectively, and JPEGMAFIA’s All My Heroes Are Cornballs.
The nominees for Best Alternative Album includes four titans of the genre: Thom Yorke for Anima, James Blake for Assume Form, Vampire Weekend for Father of the Bride and Bon Iver for I, I. They are joined by Big Thief for their third album U.F.O.F. All of the artists aside from Big Thief are no strangers to Grammy attention, but all five were easy to nominate considering their respective critical acclaim.
The Best Pop Vocal Album award is filled by Grammy-winning stars Beyonce for The Lion King: The Gift, Taylor Swift for Lover, Ed Sheeran for No.6 Collaborations Project, and then Album of the Year nominees Ariana Grande and Billie Eilish. All of the albums enjoyed decent critical success save for Ed Sheeran’s, a collection of pop-rap singles that had high-caliber guests but not many high-caliber songs.
Other artists nominated include John Legend, Flume, Tool, Anderson .Paak and Gary Clark Jr. For a full list of nominees, click here. The 2020 Grammys will air on Jan. 26.
Carl "CJ" Zabat is a music columnist for The Daily Cardinal. To read more of his work, click here.