The Grammys According to Me

My thoughts on the Grammy nominations of the year

As the nominations for the upcoming 66th Annual Grammy Awards were being revealed, it made me curious to check it out just for the heck of it. Over the years, I have become ambivalent about the Grammys since, more often than not, it is less about the musicianship or the quality of music, and more about celebrating whatever is popular at the moment. Case in point: Gayle’s “abcdefu” (catchy, I must admit) got nominated for the Song of the Year in 2023. This award is supposed to ‘… honor artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry, without regard to album sales or chart position…’. You get my drift. 

However, despite declining relevance, the Grammys still command the attention of music aficionados like me. I duly investigated the nominations, rolled my eyes at some, sneered at some, nodded in agreement at some, and felt genuinely elated at some. It made me discover a few artists and songs whom I had not listened to. As always, it made me develop thoughts and opinions, which I thought of sharing with you all, before the actual ceremony happens in February 2024.

Album Of The Year:

As someone who pretty much worships Lana Del Rey, it is great to see her among the nominees for various awards including AOTY for her excellent “Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.” I would love to see that album win the big prize. However, in my opinion, SZA dropped the superior album which was “SOS,” and I will be stoked if she wins–and I want SZA to sweep the R&B categories. Given that they would be up against a heavyweight like Taylor Swift, it should be an interesting contest. I will say that as much as I like Taylor’s “Midnights,” fellow nominees like Olivia Rodrigo or Janelle Monáe dropped more interesting and replayable albums. 

(snubs): if you have not listened to Caroline Polachek’s “Desire, I Want to Turn Into You,” do yourself a massive favor and experience one of the most forward-thinking pop albums of this year. I find it somewhat criminal that it is not on the list. Jessie Ware delivered a banger of an album with “That! Feels Good!” Given that they are pretty huge, it was surprising not to see The 1975 on the list for their (really good) new record. 

(eyeroll): Jon Batiste winning the AOTY in 2022 for “We Are” was a surprise for many (including yours truly who was cheering for “Evermore” by Taylor Swift and who staunchly believes it is her best album to date). However, I was on board with the decision. The album was an expertly crafted and richly produced collection of soul-inspired cuts dealing with issues of global relevance. However, Batiste’s new album “World Music Radio” treads much of the same path while being significantly weaker in terms of songwriting and production. It tries to be a musical hodgepodge of sounds, but nothing really sticks. I am surprised to see it get an AOTY nod, despite lukewarm critical reception across the board. 

Song and Record of the Year:

No arguments. Give these awards already to “Kill Bill” by SZA. Rarely does a song capture perfection in terms of performance, style, lyricism, production, and melody. “Kill Bill,” being a murder ballad (is that a valid genre? I don’t know, but it fits), manages to do all that and more, within 150 seconds. Having said that, “What Was I Made For?” deserves my utmost respect. Billie Eilish can make a grown man like me cry. However, given that “Record” of the year has more to do with production values and sonic wizardry on display, I would like to see the optimal solution as SZA getting the record, and Billie getting the song of the year. 

(snub): Wait! “Last Night” by Morgan Wallen is not even on the list?? Also, I would have loved to see “Lost” by Linkin Park (RIP Chester) and “Oh Caroline” by The 1975 somewhere on these lists. 


Not many metal bands in recent memory can boast of having created the online buzz and incessant hype that Sleep Token has generated, much less actually deliver upon that hype by fusing metal, funk, and R&B with aplomb. “Take Me Back To Eden” was proof that mainstream metal music can be thrilling in 2023. Very sad to see they did not get a single nod.

However, I am very happy that boygenius got nods in several big categories, including AOTY, ROTY, and rock songs. For those who don’t know, boygenius is a supergroup of three of melancholic indie’s top heroines: Phoebe Bridgers, Lucy Dacus, and Julien Baker. Whatever they have put out to date, manages to tug at my heartstrings in ways I cannot express in words. I would be glad to see Paramore win the Best Rock Album, although I would not mind it going to the Foo Fighters or even Queens Of The Stone Age. I must mention I am happy to see Arctic Monkeys among the nominees because they happen to be one of my favorite modern rock bands, but I believe they pale in comparison to the other nominees they are up against. 

(snub): In my opinion, Yves Tumor dropped the most stellar album of the year which can be classified as ‘alternative’ (although I must admit I do not fully understand what it encompasses). I kept going back to it a number of times, and it’s an album that rewards multiple listens. Go check out “Praise a Lord Who Chews…” Also, “So You Are Tired” by Sufjan Stevens could have gotten a nod. It is one of the most chilling, yet beautiful songs Sufjan has ever put out (and that is saying something, given his superb discography is full of such gems). I also think that the world is sleeping on an artist like Genesis Owusu. 


(HUGE SNUB): I (still) cannot believe that “Scaring The Ho*s” by JPEGMAFIA and Danny Brown did not receive any nominations. I cannot describe in words how deliriously thrilling, messy, and entertaining that album is, and it is proof that sometimes, too much of a good thing can be a very good thing. 


I am rooting for Chris Stapleton, Zach Bryan and Tyler Childers for the country nods they have received. I would love to see Zach win the Best Country Album. I would be immensely happy to see Jason Isbell win the Best Americana Album. I have been saying it for a few years now–Jason Isbell is one of the most criminally underrated singer-songwriters we have. 

New Artist: 

I don’t really have a horse in this race. It would be cool to see Noah Kahan win this award. Given that she has had a huge year, Ice Spice seems like the person to beat in this category. 

These were my thoughts about some of the more prominent award categories. I could go on and on, like how I would love to see Natalia Lafourcade win the Best Latin Alternative Album, but I should shut up now, and wait in anticipation for the awards next year. After that happens, you can find me critiquing the show for its blunders, or raving about the worthy winners day and night!

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