Grammys 2024: Daily Bruin predicts big winners of the 66th annual Grammy Awards
By Kaylen Ho/Daily Bruin
This post was updated Feb. 1 at 7:59 p.m.
The Recording Academy is once again uniting music lovers for a night of sonic celebration.
Returning to Crypto.com Arena, the 2024 Grammy Awards will commemorate the biggest names of the music industry for its 66th year on Sunday. From Song of the Year to Best New Artist, this year’s categories are filled with nominees that are more than strong enough to be named a winner.
Read on for the Daily Bruin’s predictions of who will be awarded the golden gramophone.
Album of the Year: “SOS” by SZA
Through genre bending and eclecticism, “SOS” is more than deserving of being offered album of the year with “Open Arms.”
Released Dec. 9, 2022, SZA’s second album “SOS” offers 23 tracks that each deliver its own auditory experience with chronological coherence. SZA has cemented herself as one of today’s biggest names in R&B since her debut record “Ctrl.” Yet with “SOS,” she has proved that her musical talent exceeds a single, confined genre.
As the most nominated artist at this year’s event with a total of nine nods, SZA demonstrates her undeniable sonic and vocal prowess on her sophomore record. Songs such as “F2F” provide a pop-punk-like sound with powerful vocals, while tracks including “Low” offer a more traditional beat-heavy, hip-hop tone. Even somber ballads, namely “Special,” display a softer melody as SZA dolefully sings of wishing she could meet societal expectations – a brilliant thematic callback to “Normal Girl” and “Drew Barrymore” on “Ctrl.”
Furthermore, the cohesive narrative “SOS” recites – one of the tumultuous phases of a dynamic romance – is unparalleled to that of its opponents in the same category such as Taylor Swift’s “Midnights,” Olivia Rodrigo’s “Guts” and boygenius’ “the record,” which all fail to provide the harmonious diversity that SZA impeccably renders.
SZA would have to be nothing short of a “Gone Girl” for “SOS” to go unrecognized by the Recording Academy.
– Talia Sajor
Best New Artist: Noah Kahan
Noah Kahan is bound to go far at his first of many Grammy Awards.
Though he officially entered the music scene in 2017, Kahan clinched a Best New Artist nomination this year after making waves with his third studio album, “Stick Season.” While his critically acclaimed lyrics center around the isolating cold and disheartening gloom that characterize New England, the folk-pop musician will surely have a reason to celebrate in the California sun this weekend. With his cathartic poeticism, engrossing theme development and impassioned delivery, Kahan deserves to walk away with a golden gramophone in hand.
Founder of mental health initiative “The Busyhead Project,” Kahan stands out in the industry because of his unabashed authenticity, illustrated through his hard-hitting lyrics in renowned songs such as “Growing Sideways.” Tender yet gripping instrumentals pair to round out his nostalgic autumnal aesthetic, perfecting a comforting tone that has won over sentimental listeners and lifted him to the top of multiple Billboard charts. With wildly popular collaborations such as “Dial Drunk (with Post Malone),” Kahan has cemented himself as an essential voice while rewriting the rules of his genre.
Kahan faces stiff competition in the Best New Artist category this year – including recent collaborator Gracie Abrams – but Bronx-born rapper Ice Spice might be closest on his tail. Adoringly dubbed “The People’s Princess,” Ice Spice is undeniably the lineup’s most culturally impactful newcomer, catapulting to fame in 2023 with must-play dance records and even supplying a smash hit for “Barbie,” the highest grossing film of the year. But despite the evident star power, she has not yet presented listeners with the lyrical vulnerability that Kahan so poignantly mastered in “Stick Season,” and her rich tone can’t quite compare to his deep, gritty vocals.
With his immaculate discography and palpable potential, a victory for Kahan would leave listeners with “No Complaints.”
– Victoria Munck
Record of the Year: “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish
Billie Eilish’s “Barbie”-inspired track was undoubtedly made for a show out at the 2024 Grammys.
Released on July 13 as part of the 17-song soundtrack for the summer box office hit, “Barbie,” “What Was I Made For?” has served as a uniting anthem for women around the world. Amassing major popularity on social media as thousands of women compiled videos of themselves to the single’s heartbreaking lyrics, the record masterfully illustrated the gender inequalities and questioning of self-worth that women often experience.
Eilish said as a woman in the music industry, her abilities and physical features are often criticized in a way that a man’s are not. Additionally, the seven-time Grammy winner said while the public’s reaction to the song brought her joy, she was also coupled with profound sadness at how many women could relate to her pain.
While “What Was I Made For?” does face releases from notable artists such as Taylor Swift, SZA and Olivia Rodrigo in the Record of the Year category, its soft melody beautifully intertwined with Eilish’s sincere and despairing lyrics place it in a category of its own. Throughout the past year, no song has characterized and celebrated both the suffering and strength that women across the world experience. Unlike the other nominees, Eilish has gone above and beyond in bridging her listeners, and all women, together.
The change that both Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” and the “Barbie” movie at large has incited is invaluable, but earning a Grammy for the record could never hurt.
– Skylar Fiebrich
Song of the Year: “Anti-Hero” by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is a name synonymous with chart-topping hits, multiple Grammy awards and soon her first Song of the Year.
After her 52 nominations and 12 wins, it seems likely that Swift will soon add another trophy to her collection. “Anti-Hero” was released in 2022 as a single in her 10th studio album “Midnights” and is in the running for Song of the Year. The song has done remarkably well, even after spending a year on the charts, and has become one of her strongest singles to date. Swift’s talent for storytelling shines through the song’s introspective lyrics with heavy focus on personal growth.
“Anti-Hero” went viral through a trend on TikTok with fans acknowledging their own unique traits featuring the lyrics “It’s me, hi, I’m the problem, it’s me.” The song has a widespread appeal partly due to its brutal honesty in addressing internal struggles and coming to terms with them. Swift herself said that “Anti-Hero” was one of her favorite songs to write. Swift’s vast rise in influence and popularity following her 2023 Eras Tour and corresponding movie “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” is a testament to her ability to foster meaningful relations with her fans.
In the same category, “Anti-Hero” faces notable competition from songs such as “Vampire” by Olivia Rodrigo, “Kill Bill” by SZA and “What Was I Made For?” by Billie Eilish. Despite these contenders, the reflective nature and commendable accountability of “Anti-Hero” will grant it the win. Through the lens of vulnerability, Swift implores listeners to explore the nuances of being both a protagonist and antagonist in her own narrative.
“Anti-Hero” serves as a stark reminder that vulnerability is a strength, and it is never exhausting rooting for Taylor Swift.
— Yuna Choi
Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media: “Oppenheimer” by Ludwig Göransson
Ludwig Göransson is a “Destroyer of Worlds” when it comes to the preconceived notions about what music can do in the film industry.
The three-time Grammy winner and double-nominee’s latest film score was released on July 21 as the soundtrack for Christopher Nolan’s biopic, “Oppenheimer.” In 24 electrifying and eerie songs, Göransson reveals the essence of a society torn apart by war, political tension and mistrust alongside one physicist’s journey to reconcile the consequences of his past.
In building his compositions around a six-note sequence that reaches its pinnacle in “Can You Hear The Music,” Göransson progresses a solemn motif into several renditions of varying intensity that transition the film from moments of grave cynicism to powerful optimism. Only Göransson can turn concepts such as “Fission” and “Quantum Mechanics” into suspenseful tracks that mirror the urgency of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s scientific journey. His decision to use the violin as a centerpiece of the score further enhances the stylistic narrative. In the same way that Oppenheimer’s accomplishments paved the way for new possibilities in theoretical physics, Göransson’s compositions redefine what visually potent, character driven movies like “Oppenheimer” can feel like.
Even up against the producers of the “Barbie” soundtrack and fellow double-nominee John Williams, Göransson’s artistry in “Oppenheimer” demonstrates his skill in capturing the poignancy and nuance of a story as complex as Oppenheimer’s.
While Göransson’s ability to keep viewers immersed in the world of “Oppenheimer” is “Something More Important,” the Recording Academy’s formal recognition of the soundtrack’s brilliance would be well-deserved.
– Sydney Gaw