Casting predictions for general field winners at the 63rd Grammy Awards
(Photo by Ashley Kenney/Assistant Photo editor. Photo illustration by Emily Dembinski/Illustration director)
Music’s biggest night is finally here.
After a two-month delay, the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony is premiering live Sunday. Though the ceremony will be held virtually this year, the new format can still foster fierce competition for the four coveted general field categories: Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist.
Keep reading to catch the Daily Bruin’s predictions for artists who will bring home the gold.
Album of the Year: “folklore” by Taylor Swift
No album perfectly encapsulated 2020 better than Taylor Swift’s “folklore.”
With its illustrative storytelling and mature sound, Swift’s eighth studio album gracefully captured the momentary anxiety and longing felt by many during the pandemic. The surprise release is a stark departure from the witty pop anthems Swift usually pens, making it one of the largest musical risks she’s ever taken – and one that paid off.
“folklore” was one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2020, landing her the honors of Apple Music’s Songwriter of the Year and one of Entertainment Weekly’s Entertainers of the Year.
Having won Album of the Year twice before, “folklore” would be Swift’s third time taking home the award, making her the first woman to accomplish the feat. And while Dua Lipa’s hit-filled “Future Nostalgia” and HAIM’s multidimensional “Women In Music Pt. III” provide strong competition, “folklore’s” critical and commercial success amid the pandemic grant Swift an obvious and deserving win.
– Ashley Kenney
Record of the Year: “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion feat. Beyoncé
Go grab some ice water – it’s about to get hot in here.
With silky-smooth flows and unabashed confidence, Megan Thee Stallion and Beyoncé brought the heat with their remix of the 2020 single “Savage.” The hip-hop track is a proud celebration of womanhood, oozing a bravado that only this Houston duo could pull off. Blending Beyoncé’s lush harmonies with Meg’s fierce delivery, the song’s powerful duality achieved widespread popularity on TikTok as well as overwhelming critical acclaim. The track also topped the Billboard Hot 100, granting Hot Girl Meg her No. 1 debut on the chart and a potential sweep of “Record of the Year.”
Though the category is chock full of heavyweights like Doja Cat’s “Say So” and Post Malone’s “Circles,” these contenders fail to be anything other than catchy songs. Meanwhile, “Savage” boasts of big bands and bodacious bodies, ushering in an era of unflinchingly bold Black female empowerment. If the single is to earn the accolade, it would be the second rap song to do so, marking another important step in increasing hip-hop’s visibility in critical spaces.
Meg may be classy, bougie and ratchet, but she’s also soon to be the next winner of “Record of the Year.”
– Vivian Xu
Song of the Year: “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa
For the last decade, the Song of the Year award has been given to a single that peaked in the top two spots of the Billboard Hot 100.
Assuming the trend continues, the main contenders this year would be Roddy Ricch’s “The Box,” Taylor Swift’s “cardigan,” Post Malone’s “Circles” and Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now,” the remaining appearing to be quasi-nominees for the sake of diversity and wokeness. From there, the list can be trimmed further with the Record of the Year-Song of the Year overlap – either by song or by artist – that has prevailed the last four years, leaving Dua Lipa’s disco kiss-off and Post Malone’s dream-pop torch song.
If this were the mid-’10s when sentimentality reigned supreme, then “Circles” would be the obvious answer.
But it’s 2021, and Dua Lipa is able to bring to life the contradictions of a post-break-up night out for the Recording Academy’s newfound taste for the upbeat. The verses have a glimmer of regret, but with a few ego-boosting lines – “So moved on, it’s scary,” she eye-rolls – her heartbreak is pushed aside for the dance floor. By the chorus, she commands the club with stilettoed confidence: “Walk away / You know how / Don’t start caring about me now.”
With efficient and dynamic songwriting, Dua Lipa is ready to stand with a Song of the Year Grammy in hand.
– Austin Nguyen
Best New Artist: Doja Cat
The cat may outmatch the stallion in winning this year’s Best New Artist.
Doja Cat’s main competition for the Grammy award is fellow hip-hop artist Megan Thee Stallion. Like Doja Cat, several of Megan Thee Stallion’s songs have gained viral status on TikTok, cementing her role as a rising star in the music industry. Although Megan Thee Stallion’s 2020 legal battle with her label threatened to mar her growing popularity, the impact of her chart-topping “Savage” and “WAP” have nonetheless made her a household name.
Despite this, Doja Cat’s superior streaming numbers and massive online presence still give her a significant boost in winning the award.
Moreover, with the Recording Academy’s prioritizing of mainstream success over critical acclaim in determining the winner for the accolade, critical darlings like Phoebe Bridgers, D Smoke, Kaytranada, and CHIKA are likely to lose against their more famous contemporaries. Other contenders such as Noah Cyrus and Ingrid Andress also haven’t achieved significant mainstream or critical success, putting them at an even greater disadvantage against Doja Cat.
Achieving moderate acclaim from the critics yet high adoration from the masses, Doja Cat is sure to take home the Grammy by the end of the night.
– John Arceno