ALBUM OF THE YEAR
WHO WILL WIN
I suppose this is a fairly open category, without one dominant sound this year. Boygenius will have its supporters, as will Jon Batiste, who made the most ambitious album amongst the nominees, and the aforementioned SZA. But when there’s a fairly even field, I bet on the surest thing. And that’s Taylor Swift’s Midnights.
Truth be told, I think it’s middle-of-the-road Taylor, which means it’s still way better than most mere mortals could achieve. Without a titan to take her down, I think she will win her fourth Album of the Year Grammy. The fact that she is in the middle of one of the most successful artistic enterprises of all time will help. Midnights may only show up in the final chapter of her Eras Tour set, but I suspect it’ll be hard to separate the two achievements for a lot of voters.
WHO SHOULD WIN
Did you read what I just said about Olivia Rodrigo? At least half of her sophomore album GUTS is on par with “Vampire,” and the rest isn’t too far behind. I used a technicality to select my personal favorite album, the Linda Lindas’ Growing Up, as number one on my 2023 list, but GUTS was second by a wide margin. As modern pop grows more and more synthetic, it can also become bloodless. Rodrigo and producer Daniel Nigro have shown the ability to stay very modern while maintaining the raw power and emotion that we all love in whatever genre we grew up with.
WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN NOMINATED
Molly Tuttle and her band Golden Highway released a sensational modern bluegrass album in 2023, City of Gold. With the exception of 2002 Grammy winner O Brother Where Art Thou?, I don’t think another album prominently featuring bluegrass has ever been nominated for Album of the Year. (They get their own specialty category, which this year features albums by Billy Strings and Willie Nelson in addition to Tuttle.) Tuttle is an exceptional guitar player, and working with dobro God Jerry Douglas as co-producer, she has crafted an album with elements of rock & roll and psychedelia in addition to traditional country.
That’s four. Previously, we ran through the three rock and two alt categories. That makes nine predictions, and I’ll probably stop there. I suppose I could do the other 85 categories too, but, you know, I don’t want to seem pushy.