WHO WILL WIN
I love SZA’s creepy/sweet murder lament “Kill Bill.” Everything about it works. I love the way producers Rob Bisel and Carter Lang open with a bit of a queasy Mellotron, and then SZA’s voice enters as a lovesick ex who can’t get over the past. For a little while, you could almost believe you were hearing Dionne Warwick doing a Burt Bachrach number from the sixties – it’s that breezy. But you never lose sight of that queasy pulse underneath.
And that never lets up, through a pure pop chorus and verse structure that gradually progresses to … well, just take a look at the song’s title. It scores on every level, and it will beat out a tough field that has a strong Miley Cyrus track and a not-as-strong Taylor Swift track (but it’s Taylor Swift, so, you know…)
WHO SHOULD WIN
I’d be fine with SZA taking the prize, but Olivia Rodrigo’s “Vampire” was my Record of the Year from the first time I heard it and nothing has changed since. It’s an epic takedown of a “bloodsucker, famef**ker” who has used her. Beginning with a simple piano, it builds the way that Billie Eilish’s Barbie number should have been built.
WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED
100 gecs’ “Dumbest Girl Alive” doesn’t really have to build. As an introductory THX Deep Note fades, a stabbing guitar line speeds right past eleven on your dial and we are off. Drums and synths punctuate the sound for a few more moments before Laura Les begins her auto-dissection. Two minutes of hyper-pop perfection.