Grammy nominations: Three talking points, from album of the year snubs to new artist contenders

As the year's biggest pop albums are sidelined, could this lead to the second hip-hop Album of the Year winner in Grammys history? Roisin O'Connor and Alexandra Pollard go through the biggest talking points of this year's Grammy nominations

Friday 07 December 2018 16:14
Gearing up for the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards 2019

The nominees for the 2019 Grammy Awards were announced this afternoon, with Cardi B, Kacey Musgraves and Janelle Monae amongst the nominees for the most prestigious category: Album of the Year.

Here are the biggest talking points ahead of the ceremony, which takes place in Los Angeles on 10 February.

1) The Albums of the Year category is one of the strongest in years

Janelle Monae

There have been some questionable winners in the Album of the Year category of late. Last year, Bruno Mars’s 24K Magic beat out Kendrick Lamar, Lorde and Childish Gambino, all of whom made arguably better albums. In 2013, Mumford & Sons’s Babel won, despite being nominated alongside Frank Ocean’s universally lauded Channel Orange. But this year, any one of the eight nominees would be worthy winners. Each is vastly different from the next. Cardi B’s rightly popular debut Invasion of Privacy has been recognised alongside By the Way, I Forgive You, the sixth album from folk-rock singer Brandi Carlile. Janelle Monae and Kacey Musgraves, both of whose records were in the top five of The Independent’s Albums of the Year list, have also rightly earned a nod. The biggest curveball, of course, is elusive R&B artist H.E.R. – but she too would be a perfectly deserving winner. (Alexandra Pollard)

2) Film soundtracks have risen through the ranks

Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga star as a alcoholic musician and an aspiring singer in the 2018 remake

There are a handful of dedicated Visual Media categories at the Grammys – Alexandre Desplat’s Shape of Water score has been rightly nominated in the Best Score Soundtrack, while The Greatest Showman’s “This Is Me” and Coco’s “Remember Me” are among the Best Song Written for Visual Media nominees. But this year, film soundtracks have crept into the big hitting categories too. The Kendrick Lamar-curated Black Panther: The Album has been nominated for Album of the Year, while its single “All the Stars” has been nominated for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. So, too, has Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born duet “Shallow”. (Alexandra Pollard)

3) With Taylor Swift snubbed, a hip hop artist could win album of the year for the second time in history

Taylor Swift is one of the most decorated stars in pop. At age 20, she became the youngest artist to ever win Album of the Year when her second LP Fearless earned the biggest award of the night. In 2016, she became the first woman to win that achievement twice with 1989 – causing some controversy for winning over Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. along the way.

However, Swift’s album Reputation, released in 2017, was snubbed from this year’s Album of the Year category, leaving it noticeably lacking in any major pop records. This could leave the field clear for hip hop artists like Janelle Monae, whose album Dirty Computer is a more than worthy winner, or Kendrick Lamar, who has been nominated three times for Album of the Year but lost out in the past to pop acts like Swift and Bruno Mars.

Taylor Swift accepts the award for artist of the year at the American Music Awards

Monae and Lamar are up alongside three other major contenders: Post Malone, Drake and Cardi B, all of whom released big-hitting records in the past 12 months. Cardi B’s album Invasion of Privacy has featured in many publications’ album of the year lists, while Drake’s Scorpion and Post Malone’s Beerbongs & Bentleys broke several records this year.

Lamar has been nominated for an incredible eight awards at the 2019 event, including Album of the Year, plus Record of the Year and Song of the Year for “All the Stars” ft SZA, from the Black Panther soundtrack.

See the full list of nominees here.

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