Grammys Review: Billie Eilish Snubbed; Silk Sonic and Olivia Rodrigo Take Massive Wins

The 64th annual Grammy awards came with yet another roster of new artists, massive wins across several categories, and snubs many peoples’ favorite artists.

Grammys Review: Billie Eilish Snubbed; Silk Sonic and Olivia Rodrigo Take Massive Wins

Bobby Liming, Sandscript Editor

The incredibly popular and well known music award show, the Grammys, came back for yet another edition of the annual showcase. With massive performances from artists like Billie Eilish, Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, and more, this year’s show had the potential to be, and ended up being, incredibly memorable. Though, in reality, it’s the awards themselves that is the cornerstone of this event, and ends up being the most heatedly debated topic of the show. It wouldn’t be much of an award show without that, right?


To add to this debate, here is the Sandscript’s recap and review of the biggest nominations and winners from the 64th Grammy Awards. 


For those not invested in the show, the Grammys gives out many awards for genres, but also gives out four cross-genre awards, which have been dubbed “The Big Four.” These awards, which end up being the biggest of the night, helps to encapsulate some of the biggest artists of their respective years. Not only do the Grammys award the best album and song of that year, but they also highlight the best recording of a song in the Record Of The Year category, and, finally, a fourth and final award for Best New Artist. 


The award for Best New Artist has always been an interesting one in Grammy history, and not always for the better. The award show has a history of nominating, and, even on occasions, declaring artists winners who were not, by any means, new artists. On top of this, there is also a superstition factor at play with this award, as many people believe that most of the artists who win the award end up not having memorable or persistent careers after receiving it. So, the tension around this award specifically is incredibly high. 


This year, it went to Olivia Rodrigo, which is a totally understandable and exciting pick, in my view. Although there was a huge list of artists who could have landed here, such as Baby Keem, The Kid LAROI, and Saweetie, Olivia’s reach was undoubtable, and it’s amazing to see her get the recognition she deserves for her massively successful debut record, which spread for what felt like all of 2021. 


This was, by no means, the only award Rodrigo would end up taking, though. She would also end up winning Best Pop Solo Performance for her song “drivers license,” as well as Best Pop Vocal Album with her debut, SOUR. Though these awards are definitely warranted and deserved, it did come at the expense of Billie Eilish’s record Happier Than Ever, as well as its title track, being completely shut out from these pop categories. Though SOUR did have some decent highlights, Happier Than Ever still stands out as a much more interesting project. The record features a highly introspective look into her rapid success, and the problems that come with it. Take this, and combine it with flashy, incredible production, and you get a mix that is, in my view, even better than Eilish’s debut. Considering her tendency to be a Grammys favorite, it’s shocking to see her walking away without anything for her sophomore project. 


In yet another major upset, Album Of The Year, the most prestigious award of the show, ended up going to Jon Batiste’s We Are. Though the record is a very soft, and smooth blend of jazz and pop music, its competition left seemingly no chance for Batiste to win this category. Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift, Lil Nas X, Olivia Rodrigo, Justin Bieber, and even Kanye West ended up all losing this category to Batiste. Even though I’m much happier than I would be if some of these other albums ended up winning (such as Justin Bieber, who not only has incredibly bland, uninteresting lyrics and production, but also tastelessly samples Martin Luther King Jr. quotes to introduce Justin), many other records here do feel much more notable and deserving of the win. Eilish’s record, as well as Lil Nas X’s MONTERO, felt like much better picks for this award.


The other two awards in the big four, Record and Song Of The Year, ended up both going to Silk Sonic’s massive single “Leave The Door Open.” Silk Sonic, a collaboration project between Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak, was a massive moment for music in 2021. The duo came together to release an absolutely fantastic R&B throwback album, with grand instrumentation and incredible performances from both artists. Even with artists like Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X up for consideration in both of these categories, it seems more than right for it to go to Silk Sonic. 


The rock and metal awards have, seemingly, been major disappointments over the past several years. It seems as though many music awards tend to do rock music an incredible injustice, mainly by solely nominating artists who were popular ages ago, without considering any exciting, up and coming artists currently. Considering the fact that groups like Foo Fighters won best new album with the incredibly bland album Medicine At Midnight (though, it’s worth noting the tragic death of key member Taylor Hawkins, which is incredibly heartbreaking considering the massive influence he had on the band), and even worse nominations from Paul McCartney and AC/DC. Instead of continuing to fuel what feel like emotionless comebacks (especially AC/DC’s), it would be much nicer if we could also see some recognition for other artists. Black Country, New Road’s For The First Time, Poppy’s Flux, and black midi’s Cavalcade, all would have easily won this category had they been considered. 


The rap categories, though, ended up being much more satisfying. The Best Rap Song ended up, surprisingly, going to Kanye West’s “Jail.” This song has controversy to it, considering that, not only was the rollout for the record this song is from, Donda, was littered with fights between Pete Davidson, Kid Cudi, and Drake, but also that the part two of this track has a feature from Marylin Manson, who has a negative background that won’t be dug into here. However, this first rendition of the track, which doesn’t have Manson as a feature, is still a generally good pick. As messy as the Donda rollout was, “Jail” is still a fantastic, atmospheric, and experimental R&B track, and its placement here is highly respectable. 


For Best Rap Album, too, the winner ended up being a fantastic pick, with Tyler, The Creator’s CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST. On this album, Tyler formats it almost like a mixtape, with its lyrics seeming like a victory lap, and an epilogue to the ideas being presented on his highly-conceptual, previous record, IGOR. Even though some people may feel as though the production is bland, or even empty, these criticisms aren’t overly fair. Though it’s less conceptual, CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST still plays heavily into the musical ideas it attempts to go for. It feels like a natural shift in tone for Tyler, even if it is hit or miss to some, since the record operates more as a full experience than as individual tracks.


Overall, this year’s Grammy wins ended up being kind of a mixed bag of wins; a feeling that isn’t uncommon for any award show. In spite of this, though, there doesn’t seem to be many instances of a downright awful choice for an award. Whether or not this was luck, 2021 being a fantastic year for music in general, or a combination of both, the 63rd Grammy awards remained successful in their most important goal – maintaining a conversation. Music itself is never as enjoyable if you can’t have a discussion about it, and the Grammys are yet another reason to have those conversations. Sharing and exploring music, no matter if your favorites were overawarded or snubbed, lets your favorite musicians keep making their art.