MARIA MAGDELEINA

writer, podcaster, child of God

I thought of writing my predictions for this year’s Grammy Awards, but the 2021 nominations make it really hard for me to take a guess. I thus decided to simply write about whom I think deserves to win (I won’t go through all the categories, only the most important ones).

RECORD OF THE YEAR

Award to the Artist and to the Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s) and/or Mixer(s) and mastering engineer(s), if other than the artist.1

The list of songs nominated is quite eclectic. First, we have Beyoncé‘s “Black Parade“. It sounds like another “Run the World (Girls),” but better and for another cause. It’s good, but production-wise, the song has nothing particular. As for the title, it’s not that original. I have a feeling Beyoncé and/or her writers were very inspired by My Chemical Romance (“Welcome to the Black Parade“).

Second, the songs that make you dance: “Say So” (Doja Cat) and “Don’t Start Now” (Dua Lipa). The first is good, but passive, easily forgettable, but you can’t forget it if you have Tik Tok. Sounds like something you’ve heard before. The second is full of energy, a great mix of 80’s pop and modern dance music.

Third, in the rap/hip-hop category: “Savage” (Megan Thee Stallion), “Circles” (Post Malone), and “Rockstar” (Dababy). The third one was like Dababy attempting to write a less darker version of Post Malone’s song “rockstar.” I forgot it as soon as I heard it. “Circles” is not bad. It’s not Post Malone’s best song, but it’s nice to hear a sentimental Post Malone. Finally, what do I think about Megan Thee Stallion’s song? Horrible. And I don’t think it’s fair that Beyoncé is nominated twice in the same category. Another song of Megan’s could have been nominated.

Fourth, the best songs on the list are “everything i wanted” (Billie Eilish) and “Colours” (Black Pumas). They’re both greatly produced. Beautiful music to the ears. The beginning of Billie’s song reminds me of “Fast Car” by Jonas Blue (a song also covered by Black Pumas).

Who should win? Black Pumas for their song “Colours.” It’s fresh music, something we haven’t heard in a while.

Billie Eilish won RECORD OF THE YEAR in 2020 for “Bad Guy.”

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Award to Artist(s) and to Featured Artist(s), Songwriter(s) of new material, Producer(s), Recording Engineer(s), Mixer(s) and Mastering Engineer(s) credited with at least 33% playing time of the album, if other than Artist.2

They’re all solid albums. We know the Grammys have a penchant for Taylor Swift, but evermore was better than folklore, so it’s ok if she doesn’t win, and honestly, I don’t want her to win. She’s won enough awards haha.

I don’t like Coldplay in general, but their concept album Everyday Life is a beautiful, poignant surprise as much lyrically as sonically. The album deserves a blog post on their own.

The lyrics in Hollywood’s Bleeding (Post Malone) and Chilombo (Jhené Aiko) are the albums’ biggest weaknesses. I don’t think they’ll win. They are both the least solid albums on the list.

Women in Music Pt.III (HAIM) is like a more alternative version of folklore. I’m personally not a fan of HAIM, but they might win this one. I wouldn’t be mad if they do.

Future Nostalgia (Dua Lipa) is a great concept album, pure pop. The sounds really represent the title. The lyrics are also not Dua Lipa’s strength, but the music makes up for it. She might also win.

Black Pumas have a great album too: fresh sound, lyrics, voice… They could win too.

Lastly, there’s Jacob Collier’s album Djesse Vol. 3. I had never heard of the English musician before, but I’m really glad I discovered him. Djesse Vol. 3 is a colourful album and has a techno and galactic vibe. It’s a great album, but to me, ALBUM OF THE YEAR has to be given to an artist that created an album that had a great impact on people (globally) and that is original, or has pushed creative boundaries/were innovative.

Who should win? According to the definition I gave, folklore would be that album. It’s hard to say, but I’d go with Coldplay’s Everyday Life.

Along with Adele, Taylor is the only of two female artists to win ALBUM OF THE YEAR twice.

SONG OF THE YEAR

A Songwriter(s) Award. A song is eligible if it was first released or if it first achieved prominence during the Eligibility Year. (Artist names appear in parentheses.) Singles or Tracks only.3

This category focuses on the songwriting skills (melody and lyrics). For “Black Parade,” the lyrics are okay. They are not as poignant as H.E.R’s “I Can’t Breathe” for example. But then again, Beyoncé is celebrating and not necessarily fighting. She encourages the embrace of culture and history, but just like in “Run the World,” the lyrics are tinted of cliché lines, such as “I can’t forget my history is her story, yeah.” I mean, we’ve heard this before. Also, I’m surprised there were nine songwriters involved in the making of this song.

“Don’t Start Now” has a great melody, but poor lyrics. Typical pop simplicity, nothing that hits you. Same for “Circles,” but as mentioned before, it’s nice to hear Post Malone sing a soft melody.

I have no particular comments for “The Box” (Roddy Ricch). Another passive song. At least “Say So” was good melody-wise, contrary to this one…

I Can’t Breathe” (H.E.R)” has powerful lyrics, especially towards the end of the song. I got chills listening to it. The song is written in a way that puts anyone in the victims and their families’ shoes. Great lyrics, but I would’ve like a little more of “show, don’t tell” techniques.

Now the songs with the best songwriting skills: “Cardigan” (Taylor Swift), “everything i wanted,” and “If the World was Ending” (JP Saxe Featuring Julia Michaels). The songwriters are talented storytellers. The lyrics are stories that rhyme and the verses are so in tune with the melody. The rhythm is pure poetry. These songs embody the “show, don’t tell” technique. Perfect structure for each (I’ll review each song separately in the future). The best out of the three is “Cardigan,” then comes “If the World was Ending,” and at last, “everything i wanted.” Why this order? I mean, Taylor Swift is one of the best songwriters of all times. She knows how to write any kind of song. We’re not going to debate this. However, “Cardigan” isn’t the best song off of folklore, so it’s a pass for me. Billie still needs to grow as a songwriter. I can’t wait to hear her future songs. And as for Julia Michaels and JP Saxe, I haven’t heard the latter’s other songs, but I know Julia is a clever songwriter. Her songs are unique because they are representative of her personality and I love how she references trends, relatable topics, etc. Just like Billie does (but in a less emo way). Julia has written better songs than this one though.

Who should win? H.E.R should. Her song is an important one. It gave me the chills. “I Can’t Breathe” is a legacy song.

Adele won SONG OF THE YEAR in 2017 for “Hello.”

BEST NEW ARTIST

This category recognizes an artist whose eligibility-year release(s) achieved a breakthrough into the public consciousness and notably impacted the musical landscape.4

I’ll go really quick for this category. Ingrid Andress, Phoebe Bridgers, and Chika really impressed me, as well as Kaytranada (a Canadian artist by the way). Nevertheless, the one that impressed me the most is Noah Cyrus. THE END OF EVERYTHING EP is a beauty that deserves a blog post on its own.

Chance the Rapper won BEST NEW ARTIST in 2016.

BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE

For new vocal or instrumental pop recordings. Singles or Tracks only.5

I like Justin Bieber, but to nominate “Yummy” is a little disappointing from the Academy. The vocals on “Say So” are ordinary.

Now for Harry Styles‘ “Watermelon Sugar“: I love Harry’s imagination and how a book inspired him to write this song. His vocals are great on this track. The same goes for Dua Lipa on “Don’t Start Now,” but I do believe her vocals shine more on other songs from her album Future Nostalgia. I don’t think the songs nominated for Billie and Taylor are strong enough vocally to win a Grammy.

Who should win? Harry Styles or Dua Lipa.

Lorde won BEST POP SOLO PERFORMANCE in 2014 for her song “Royals.”

BEST POP DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE

For new vocal or instrumental duo/group or collaborative pop recordings. Singles or Tracks only.6

Un Dia” (J Balvin, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny & Tainy), “Intentions” (Justin Bieber Featuring Quavo), and “Exile” (Taylor Swift Featuring Bon Iver) fall flat next to “Dynamite” (BTS), and “Rain On Me” (Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande). Regarding Lady Gaga, the only good song off of Chromatica was “Stupid Love,” which I’m surprised was not nominated in the previous category.

Who should win? BTS!!

Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus won BEST POP DUO PERFORMANCE in 2020 for “Old Town Road.”

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM

For albums containing at least 51% playing time of new pop vocal recordings.7

Lady Gaga‘s album Chromatica was not a favourite of mine last year. In my opinion, it’s her worst album to date. I have a feeling she was trying to top what she did years ago with The Fame and Born This Way, but she followed the wrong path. Even Artpop was muuuuuuch better. However, her vocals are great, no denying that.

We can forget Justin Bieber‘s album Changes. It’s an okay album with okay vocals. Some good songs here and there, but nothing grandiose.

I don’t think I would have put folklore (Taylor Swift) in this category. It’s more of a folk/country/acoustic album than a pop one.

This leaves us with Fine Line (Harry Styles) and Future Nostalgia (Dua Lipa), which I’d like to review separately one day. They’re both great concept albums with great vocals and production.

Who should win? Harry or Dua Lipa.

Bruno Mars accepting the award for BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM in 2014 for Unorthodox Jukebox.

BEST MUSIC VIDEO

Award to the artist, video director, and video producer.8

All the music videos nominated in this category deserve to win. The least best is Drake and Future‘s “Life Is Good.” In general, they’re all great, I can’t pick one. Can’t wait to see the results on Sunday!

Rihanna won BEST MUSIC VIDEO for “We Found Love” in 2013.

That’s it! What are your thoughts? Are you going to watch the Grammys this year? Who’s performance are you excited to see? Let me know!

Source for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8: https://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/2021-grammys-complete-nominees-list

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