The 65th Annual Grammy Awards take place on Sunday, February 5, with music fans gearing up for the rematch of the century: Adele vs Beyoncé.
Both artists are in the running for Album of the Year, six years after Adele took home the top prize for her third album, 25. The win over Beyoncé’s critic-adored surprise album Lemonade was highly controversial; Adele herself famously stated that Beyoncé deserved the award during her acceptance speech.
This year, the British singer competes with her record-breaking fourth album, 30, released in 2021. A four star review in The independent praised the songs as “cleverly crafted ballads about love and its various torments”, with Adele’s voice, as always, the main draw. “Adele possesses that perfectly imperfect voice, gigantic and weak at the same time,” wrote critic Annabel Nugent. “It’s epic without resorting to gaudy, melismatic affections. It yawns in unexpected forms and makes intonation fun.”
Beyoncé, meanwhile, surprised fans and critics with her disco and house-influenced album Renaissance. “In an all-encompassing spirit of musical modernism, trap, house, glitchtronica, disco, ragga, South African gqom and future funk are all lobbed into a heady mix, with songs flowing into each other and changing course mid-stream,” wrote critic Zei Mark Beaumont in his four star review.
Also vying for Album of the Year are rapper Kendrick Lamar, Adele’s fellow Brits, Coldplay and Harry Styles, pop star Lizzo, Abba, Mary J Blige and Brandi Carlile. Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny completes the list of 10 nominees and makes history with his album Un Verano Sin Ti, that is the very first Spanish-language record to be nominated in the AOTY category.
Here’s a look at the runners and riders for the “Big Four” categories: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist.
nominees for album of the year
30 – Nobility
Trip – ABBA
Un Verano Sin Ti – Bad rabbit
Renaissance – Beyoncé
Good Morning Gorgeous (Deluxe) —Mary J. Blige
In these quiet days -Brandi Carlile
Music of the spheres – Coldplay
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers – Kendrick Lamar
Special – Lizzo
Harry’s house -Harry Styles
Pronunciation: Kendrick Lamar has multiple Grammys to his credit but has been painfully rejected for Album of the Year three times, in favor of Daft Punk, Taylor Swift and Bruno Mars. his fifth album, Mr. Morale and the Great Steppers, is well worth the accolade, with its thoughtful and often tender musings on childhood, celebrity culture, infidelity and fatherhood. In the battle of the pop titans, Beyoncé must surely triumph over Adele with her dazzling disco-inspired album Renaissance. A curveball (but still well deserved) would be Bad Bunny with his boastful, sun-kissed Un Verano Sin Ti.
Will Win: Beyoncé
Record of the year nominees
“Don’t Shut Me Down” – ABBA (Benny Andersson, producer; Benny Andersson & Bernard Lohr, engineers/mixers; Bjorn Engelmann, mastering engineer)
“Easy on Me” – Adele (Greg Kurstin, producer; Julian Burg, Torn Elmhirst and Greg Kurstin, engineers/mixers; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer)
“Break My Soul” – Beyoncé (Beyoncé, Terius “The-Dream” Stemmed-Diamant, Jens Christian Isaksen and Christopher “Tricky” Stewart, producers; Brandon Harding, Chris McLaughlin & Stuart White, engineers/mixers; Colin Leonard, mastering engineer )
“Good Morning Gorgeous” – Mary J Blige (D’Mile and HER, producers; Bryce Bordone, Serban Ghenea and Pat Kelly, engineers/mixers)
“You and Me on the Rock” – Brandi Carlile featuring Lucius (Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings, producers; Brandon Bell, Torn Elmhirst, and Michael Harris, engineers/mixers; Pete Lyman, mastering engineer)
“Woman” – Doja Cat (Crate Classics, Linden Jay, Aynzli Jones and Yeti Beats, producers; Jesse Ray Ernster and Rian Lewis, engineers/mixers; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer)
“Bad Habit” – Steve Lacy (Steve Lacy, producer; Neal Pogue and Karl Wingate, engineers/mixers; Mike Bozzi, mastering engineer)
“The Heart Part 5” – Kendrick Lamar (Beach Noise, producer; Beach Noise, Rob Bisel, Ray Charles Brown Jr, James Hunt, Johnny Kosich, Matt Schaeffer, and Johnathan Turner, engineers/mixers; Michelle Mancini, mastering engineer)
“About Damn Time” – Lizzo (Ricky Reed and Blake Slatkin, producers; Patrick Kehrier, Bill Malina, and Manny Marroquin, engineers/mixers; Michelle Mancini, mastering engineer)
“As It Was” – Harry Styles (Tyler Johnson and Kid Harpoon, producers; Jeremy Hatcher and Spike Stent, engineers/mixers; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer)
Pronunciation: For the uninitiated, or anyone confused about the Grammys’ distinction between “album” and “record,” the latter credits the producers, mixers, and engineers who helped create these hit songs, along with the artist or band yourself. There are plenty of big names among this year’s nominees, including Greg Kurstin, who produced Adele’s comeback single “Easy on Me,” Abba’s Benny Andersson on the Swedish pop group’s own comeback, and The Dream for Beyoncé’s powerful anthem “Break My Soul”. Resting quietly among that lavish offering, though, is Brandi Carlile’s beautiful, finely crafted “You and Me on the Rock,” produced by Dave Cobb, one of the top producers in Nashville today.
Will win: “Easy on Me” – Adele (Greg Kurstin, producer; Julian Burg, Torn Elmhirst and Greg Kurstin, engineers/mixers; Randy Merrill, mastering engineer)
Should win: “You and Me on the Rock” – Brandi Carlile featuring Lucius (Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings, producers; Brandon Bell, Torn Elmhirst and Michael Harris, engineers/mixers; Pete Lyman, mastering engineer)
Song of the Year
“abcdefu” – Gayle
“About damn time” – Lizzo
“All Too Well” (10 minute version) (the short film) – Taylor Swift”
“The way it was” – Harry Styles
“Bad Habit” – Steve Lacy
“Break My Soul” – Beyoncé
“Easy for me” – Adele
“God Did” – DJ Khaled
“The Heart Part 5” – Kendrick Lamar
“Just so” – Bonnie Raitt
Pronunciation: It’s interesting to see a song that gained viral fame on TikTok find its way onto such a prestigious list. With nearly a billion streams on Spotify, “abcdefu” is also probably one of the most successful. But does it hold a candle to the other nominees? No chance. It’s catchy, sure, but Gayle’s shoddy delivery is ripped straight out of the Billie Eilish screenplay, while the lyrics are clunky at best, childish at worst. Judges would be better off casting their vote in Lizzo’s favor, with her defiant single “About Damn Time,” Kendrick’s “The Heart Part 5,” or Beyoncé’s “Break My Soul.”
Will win: “Break my soul” – Beyoncé
Should win: “Break my soul” – Beyoncé
Best New Artist
DOMi and JD Beck
Pronunciation: A real mixed bag here, including a rare triumph for the British in the form of Isle of Wight duo Wet Leg. The last British act to win this award was Dua Lipa in 2019, with Sam Smith before that in 2015. Another four years later, maybe they have a chance? However, they have stiff competition from the American singer-songwriter Omar Apollo and the world-dominant Italian rockers Måneskin.
Will win: Maneskin
Should win: Maneskin
The winners will be announced on February 5, 2023 at the ceremony, which will be broadcast live from the Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles. The American public can tune in to CBS and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+.