Sandscript’s 63rd Grammy Awards Predictions

Here are the Sandscript’s predictions and takes on the most prevalent inclusions in the 63rd Annual Grammys

Bobby Liming, Sandscript Author

However you may view the Grammys, the award show seems to do a semi-decent job of covering the most mainstream topics in the music industry, which may mean that there are several songs, artists, or albums that you despise and others that you might adore simply depending on your taste. That’s a lot of where the appeal of the show itself comes from; the controversy of its nominations. Many people watch them specifically to see if their favorite artist ended up getting snubbed or not, and what’s important about this is that it starts a conversation, which, in my opinion, is a lot of what makes music such an interesting thing. If you can’t discuss the emotions, lyrics, instrumentation, or anything else behind a song, much of the appeal is gone – it would be like having seen a fantastic or laughably bad movie, and then never being able to talk about it. However, personally, this will be my first time watching the Grammys. I’ve never really been too interested until this specific set of nominations came out, specifically the nomination of one artist in particular, who I’ll be covering along with many of the other most prominent categories and artists this year.


This year especially is going to be a weird one for the Grammys, as they have been a very weird topic as of late for both critics and music fans alike. An example of this was Tyler, The Creator’s call out during a speech after accepting the award where he expresses disdain towards the show. This was due to the fact that he feels as though music gets categorized as “black people music” through categories such as urban (which has since then been changed to “progressive r&b”) and r&b. He explained this stating that, even though his album was meant to be a mostly pop record, as he was trying to distance himself from the rap genre, he was still nominated for best rap album. 


In addition to this, there was also the change of the genre title “world music” to “global music,” where they tried to address its “connotations of colonialism” in light of people who were taking issue with the category, stating that there are too many genres to be covered under just one specific category around music based outside of the United States. This received a fair amount of backlash from nearly everyone, including critics such as Anthony Fantano, who is arguably one of the most influential standalone music critics as of late. He states in a video covering this topic, “(the name change), in the literal sense, fixes absolutely nothing… I feel like the grammys have really just completely ignored the nuanced criticisms; I don’t think it would take much effort on a large scale to have the Grammy’s make a few more categories, create a few more multiple choices on the voting form, smelt a few more phonograph trophies – I don’t think it would be that tough to just get a tad bit more specific…”


With all of these controversies, I think many people might be curious as to how this year is going to play out. I really feel like the Grammys are going to be incredibly careful with their picks this year, as to be honest, a slip up could bring them down significantly more. Add this press-related stress with the amount of songs nominated that focus on major issues from the previous year, the Grammys have a lot on their plate this season. So, with that context, here are the Sandscript’s predictions.


The Big Four (General Categories)


If you’re unfamiliar, the Grammys have four major categories that apply over all of their genre labels, which are called “The Big Four.” They include the awards for Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist.


Record of the Year is a bit of a hard call to make, as there seem to be several songs that would seemingly be hard to place for a variety of different reasons. However, I can mention a few that at least shouldn’t win. You have tracks like “Rockstar” by DaBaby and “Circles” by Post Malone, which come off as boring, lifeless, and even annoying. And, the songs “Say So” by Doja Cat and “Don’t Start Now” by Dua Lipa are so similar to each other that I feel that, if it were one of them, there would be no way of telling which one is better. Now that that’s out of the way, though, there are a ton left that are worth recognition here. “Black Parade” by Beyonce is a track celebrating Juneteenth, a day that celebrates the end of slavery. There’s “Savage” by Meghan the Stallion, which is an absolute banger of a track, and there was Billie Eilish’s “Everything I Wanted,” a rather mellow and calm song about her brother, Finneas, who produces her tracks. All of these songs deserve the top spot here, and I think it’s going to end up going to Meghan or Beyonce. Billie Eilish, in my view, isn’t going to be getting an award this year due to her sweeping all four of these categories last year, sparking outrage from the people who aren’t as fond of her music. It wouldn’t make sense, at least from a press standpoint, for the Grammys to continue to award her this year, especially when she hasn’t put out another record.


For Album of the Year, I feel like Folklore by Taylor Swift is most likely going to win, and is another pick that I think I would support as well. With everything that has been going on in terms of her relevancy in getting the rights back to her music, as well as the sudden release and sister album Evermore, I think the Grammys are more than likely going to aim for this one. The only other one I can see winning is Hollywood’s Bleeding by Post Malone, which is yet another in the ever growing series of artists using emo-trap and pop-rap aesthetics in a super formulaic and uninteresting way. 


Song of the Year is a category to award songwriters for a track. One of the biggest things you can take away out of the nominations almost immediately is the inclusion of the songs “Black Parade” by Beyonce and “I Can’t Breathe” by H.E.R. In 2020, there were many horrific cases of police brutality and systemic racism, something that was seen as quite polarizing in the media to this day. I’m beyond happy to see songs on this topic get such high recognition in the show this year, and I personally believe that the H.E.R. track should be the song to win the category. Everything about the track, from the lo-fi beat to the stunning vocal performance, I feel makes the track so much better than the other nominees. Even the Billie Eilish track, a track which I love, I feel is less of an important song than H.E.R.’s when it comes to representing the year. Other tracks here, “Cardigan” by Taylor Swift and “The Box” by Roddy Rich, I feel are still definitely good tracks, but it wouldn’t make sense, at least to me, for these to get the top spot. My reasoning for this is because of the fact that, in my opinion, the Grammys will instead opt for a song that covers these heavier topics such as racism, especially in a general category, which will get the most press. However, I also believe that “The Box” could be super likely to win this category, considering it’s absolutely insane reach throughout the year.


From here on out, the Sandscript has decided to cover the main categories worth mentioning, so not every category will be touched on. 




Something that really shocked me was in a category I never would have expected to cover here, which is the Best Contemporary Christain Album, which just so happens to include Jesus is King by Kanye West. I’m not sure how the Grammys are going to handle this, because I’m not sure if they feel like they’d be indorseing the controversies he’s been involved with this year (such as his president campaign and the divorce with Kim Kardashian), but whatever they do, it’s going to be a surprise. This inclusion seems like the most completely unpredictable thing they could have done, and I’m genuinely completely unsure how this will play out. 

For the Best Rap Album, I feel like it’d almost have to go to Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist’s Alfredo; It’s a record that seamlessly combines jass instrumentation with hardcore hip-hop, and is beyond deserving of this title. Another album, Royce 5’9”’s The Allegory, while having some decent points during it, expresses issues like supporting anti-vax conspiracies and possibly even homophobia. While the first one does make sense considering his intense situation with his son developing autism, I’m not sure if the Grammys are going to want to promote this album in light of the vaccine coming out soon against Covid-19. 


Best Metal Performance is the category that’s got me the most excited this year. Poppy, an artist we covered here on our Sandscript Top 15 Albums of 2020 article (which you can read here), has been nominated. Now, this sounds boring on it’s own, but she is actually the first female solo artist to be nominated for the category. Obviously, this has me rooting for her, but I’m doubtful she’ll win. Code Orange, a band who’s made a pretty big name for themselves, is more than likely going to end up taking this spot with their track “Underneath,” which sounds like a bit of a combination of Bring Me The Horizon and Pierce The Veil, only I find the screaming sections on this track gimmicky. 


Best Rock Performance is interesting, as it has two artists I personally really enjoy that I’m thinking might win. These are Fiona Apple’s “Shamika” (another artist who made our list!), and Phoebe Bridgers’s “Kyoto.” These are both really good indie-rock and pop tracks which I feel are worthy of the Grammy, but I also feel like “Kyoto” has a wider appeal, which might get some comparisons instrumentally to Coldplay, Tame Impala, and Wallows. 


Speaking of these artists, Best Alternative Album features both Punisher by Phoebe Bridgers and The Slow Rush by Tame Impala. Although both are good in my opinion, I feel like it is going to end up going to Tame Impala, who has come very much into popularity alongside artists like Harry Styles for their combination of indie, pop, and even a bit of psychedelic music. 


Best Pop Solo Performance is genuinely one of the most all-over-the-place categories in terms of quality. I feel like the worst thing about this list is the inclusion of “Yummy” by Justin Bieber, which is a track that was genuinely so poorly received that Justin himself shared a photo encouraging fans to play the track while they were asleep or in order to get more streams. However, it does have some pretty good songs on the list as well, such as “Watermelon Sugar,” by Harry Styles, which is an indie-pop song that was pretty much this year’s summer-hit. There is also the inclusion of “Everything I Wanted” by Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift’s “Cardigan,” which is a relatively slow track with an incredibly atmospheric instrumental and a vocal performance that sounds like something Taylor would have made much earlier in her career. Personally, I think we can expect a Harry Styles win here, considering how loud his fanbase has been. Plus, considering how almost overplayed this song became, I think that it’d be pretty shocking not to see this track win something. 


There wasn’t much I really recognized in the category for Best Dance/Electronic Album, with the exception of one, and that is Madeon’s Good Faith. Madeon, who seemingly takes influences from artists like Porter Robinson (who I think made one of the best electronic records of all time with Worlds), has made a pretty big name for himself throughout the EDM scene, and rightfully so. The music on this record has a lot of texture and depth that you don’t seem to see much of anywhere else, especially in the typically formulaic electronic genre. I’m hoping that this is what they go for, and I don’t see a reason why they wouldn’t.


At the end of the day, the biggest thing we can see this year is the clear conversation about world issues in the music industry. Topics of systemic racism, the global pandemic, and so much more, are going to be showing up here. People may or may not have their own opinions on artists getting involved politically, but either way, this is a time for people to share their own ideologies more so than ever. Especially with the ease of access to being able to publish and create music, it’s more important than it ever has been for these artists to share their opinions and start a conversation about issues going on in the world. While there are very clearly tracks, artists, and albums here who are simply trying to create a song without some deep meaning behind it, which is perfectly valid, more and more are switching into a willingness to talk about these serious topics. If we’re going to see more of anything in the future, it’s going to be that.