Breaking Down the 12 Most Fascinating Categories of the 2019 Grammys

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From greatest pop solo efficiency to greatest city up to date album to greatest music video, we’re analyzing probably the most attention-grabbing races at this 12 months’s ceremonies.

Every 12 months, the Grammys are crammed with hotly contested winners, losers and also-rans, and the 2019 ceremony will likely be no exception. From tight races between heavy hitters to classes crammed with first-timers, this 12 months crowded crop of nominations is alternately fascinating, shocking and typically downright weird.

Ahead of the telecast on Sunday (Feb. 10), we've damaged down every little thing it’s worthwhile to know concerning the nominations within the 12 most attention-grabbing classes outdoors of the Big Four (report of the 12 months, album of the 12 months, tune of the 12 months and greatest new artist) at this 12 months's Grammy Awards. Who will stroll away with a golden gramphone in hand is anybody's guess, however whether or not you care about gospel, nation, digital/dance, rock or anything, try our evaluation beneath.

Best Pop Solo Performance

Beck, "Colors"
Camila Cabello, "Havana" (Live)
Ariana Grande, "God is a Woman"
Lady Gaga, "Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?)"
Post Malone, "Better Now" 

Let’s leap proper in with the wackiest class of all, lets? The nominees for greatest pop solo efficiency are nothing in need of bonkers, operating the gamut from a last-minute reside model of Camila Cabello’s “Havana” — a tune that truthfully ought to have dominated final 12 months’s ceremony in its unique type — to a piano model of the title observe off Lady Gaga’s Joanne, whose album cycle is nicely and really previous its second. (Gaga's LP, an homage to her late aunt, already garnered two nominations final 12 months, together with one on this identical class for “Million Reasons.”) 

Throw in a pair of tracks that dubiously blur the traces of what precisely constitutes "pop" in 2019 — the experimental alt of Beck’s “Colors” and the mumbling hip-hop singalong of Post Malone on “Better Now” — and the class turns into a blended bag of head-scratching proportions. The solely really present pop banger within the class is Ariana Grande’s cleverly feminist “God Is A Woman,” which may bode nicely for the famous person come Sunday (even when she received’t be on the ceremony, following a disagreement with Grammy producers.)

Best Pop Vocal Album

Camila Cabello, Camila
Kelly Clarkson, Meaning of Life
Ariana Grande, Sweetener 
Shawn Mendes, Shawn Mendes
P!nk, Beautiful Trauma 
Taylor Swift, Reputation 

In a post-Drake period the place the very definition of “pop” feels at occasions fractured past recognition, these are precisely the form of nominees traditionalist pop lovers crave in the most effective pop vocal album class. With not a single rock band or rapper in sight, the sphere is diva versus diva versus diva as matriarchs like Kelly Clarkson and P!nk sq. off towards the subsequent technology of superstars like Ariana Grande and Camila Cabello.

While Shawn Mendes could be the lone male nominee (for his glorious eponymous third LP), the true outlier right here is definitely Taylor Swift’s Reputation. The follow-up to 2016 album of the 12 months winner 1989 was Swift's first foray into darker, city sounds and — regardless of its record-breaking, critically acclaimed tour and chart dominance — Reputation was largely snubbed by The Recording Academy this 12 months. In truth, greatest pop vocal album is the one and solely class Taylor’s nominated in, which can have one thing to do along with her selecting to skip this 12 months’s ceremony altogether. As for the remaining? We suggest a sing-off of really epic vocal gymnastics to determine the winner.

Best Electronic/Dance Album

TOKiMONSTA, Lune Rouge 
Jon Hopkins, Singularity
Justice, Woman Worldwide 
Sofi Tukker, Treehouse
SOPHIE, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides 

A battle of SOPHIE versus Sofi? The former mononymous producer spent years crafting information for everybody from Madonna to Charli XCX behind a shroud of thriller earlier than unveiling her public persona and face for the primary time with the discharge of “It’s Okay to Cry,” the primary single off Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides. The album acquired common approval for SOPHIE’s rejection of sampling in favor of making waveforms from scratch, and has since been marked as a pivotal shift within the course pop music might be headed as we enter a brand new decade.

Meanwhile, Sofi Tukker, the NYC-based duo, have generated huge buzz round Treehouse (thanks largely to their single “Best Friend” being utilized in Apple’s multi-platform marketing campaign to launch the iPhone X), and the dance-pop bangers hold approaching songs like “F**ok They” and “Baby I’m a Queen.” The most compelling backstory, nonetheless, maybe belongs to TOKiMONSTA, the LA-based DJ producer who crafted the electro-R&B of Lune Rouge after recovering from a near-fatal mind illness which briefly robbed her of the power to stroll, converse and even grasp the very idea of music.

Best Rock Song

Greta Van Fleet, “Black Smoke Rising” 
Twenty One Pilots, “Jumpsuit”
Bring Me the Horizon, “MANTRA”
St. Vincent, “Masseduction”
Ghost, “Rats”

In the race for greatest rock tune, the fellows of Greta Van Fleet stay the style’s of-the-moment golden boys. While the talk stays divided over whether or not the most effective new artist nominees are the second coming of Led Zeppelin or just a blatant rip-off of the long-lasting rockers, “Black Smoke Rising” marks a welcome return to the glory days of traditional rock for the style’s most ardent followers. Other attention-grabbing songs of be aware within the class embrace the high-concept acoustic/laborious rock hybrid of Twenty One Pilots’ “Jumpsuit” in addition to the weaponized glam of St. Vincent’s “Masseduction.” However, the momentum may very nicely swing in Greta Van Fleet’s course because the surprise boys of rock’s previous, in addition to its future.

Best Urban Contemporary Album

The Carters, Everything Is Love
Chloe x Halle, The Kids Are Alright
Chris Dave And The Drumhedz, Chris Dave And The Drumhedz 
Miguel, War & Leisure
Meshell Ndegeocello, Ventriloquism

Could the scholars have grow to be the masters? In a enjoyable accident, the most effective city up to date album class pits Beyoncé — nominated for Everything Is Love, her shock collaborative album with husband Jay-Z — towards protégés Chloe x Halle. (The R&B wunderkinds, who’re signed to Bey’s Parkwood Entertainment, had been found after the mega-star noticed their cowl of her 2013 single “Pretty Hurts” on YouTube.)

While drummer Chris Dave’s debut with The Deadhedz is jam-packed with stand-out visitors together with Anderson .Paak, SiR and Anna Wise, and Miguel’s War & Leisure earned the crooner his third consecutive nod within the class, the crown remains to be The Carters’ to lose on this class — regardless of each Jay and Bey’s fairly contentious historical past with the Grammys. (In case you forgot, Jay-Z was shut out eventually 12 months’s ceremony regardless of main the group with eight nominations for four:44, whereas Beyoncé’s Lemonade controversially misplaced out on album of the 12 months in 2017 to Adele’s 25.)

Best Rap/Sung Performance

Christina Aguilera feat. GoldLink, “Like I Do”
6lack feat. J. Cole, “Pretty Little Fears”
Childish Gambino, “This Is America” 
Kendrick Lamar & SZA, “All The Stars” 
Post Malone feat. 21 Savage, “Rockstar” 

Split between heavy hitters and darkish horses, the most effective rap/sung efficiency class is a packed area with multiple chart-topping hit vying for the trophy. Post Malone and 21 Savage’s collaboration “Rockstar” spent eight weeks dominating the Billboard Hot 100 in late 2017, whereas Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” impressively debuted at No. 1 following the discharge of its zeitgeist-shattering music video final May. “All The Stars” stays an awards season favourite, with three different Grammy noms (together with report of the 12 months and tune of the 12 months) in addition to twin nods for greatest unique tune on the Golden Globes and Oscars. However, a darkish horse like “Pretty Little Fears” by 6lack and J.Cole or “Like I Do” — Christina Aguilera’s collaboration with GoldLink off her criminally underappreciated Liberation — may nonetheless shock the three Goliaths and pull off a significant upset.  

Best Country Duo/Group Performance

Brothers Osborne, “Shoot Me Straight”
Dan + Shay, “Tequila”
Little Big Town, “When Someone Stops Loving You”
Maren Morris feat. Vince Gill, “Dear Hate”
Bebe Rehxa & Florida Georgia Line, “Meant to Be”

It’s hardly the primary rodeo for many of 2019’s nominees for greatest nation duo/group efficiency. This 12 months would mark the fourth win within the class by powerhouse quartet Little Big Town, whereas songs by the Brothers Osborne have been nominated for 4 consecutive years with no single win to the band’s title. Meanwhile, first-time nominees Florida Georgia Line and Dan + Shay have been almost inescapable on nation radio in 2018 with “Meant To Be” (that includes Bebe Rexha) and “Tequila,” respectively. And whereas the highlight on Maren Morris has largely been on targeted on “The Middle,” her dance-pop collaboration with Zedd and Grey that’s up for each tune of the 12 months and report of the 12 months within the Big Four classes, her heartfelt "Dear Hate" duet with Vince Gill — recorded in response to final 12 months’s tragic mass capturing at a rustic music pageant in Las Vegas — has the quiet energy and emotional resonance to probably come out on high.

Best Gospel Album

Jekalyn Carr, One Nation Under God
Tori Kelly, Hiding Place
Jonathan McReynolds, Make Room
The Walls Group, The Other Side 
Brian Courtney Wilson, A Great Work 

Though clearly filed below the gospel/up to date Christian music area, it could be simple to mistake this 12 months’s greatest gospel album nominees for a pop vocal class. Evangelist Jekalyn Carr, who earned her first Grammy nomination for greatest gospel efficiency/tune in 2016 on the age of 18, focuses her large voice on a communal worship expertise with One Nation Under God, whereas the soulful, acoustic Make Room earned Jonathan McReynolds his second consecutive nod on this class after final 12 months's Life Music: Stage Two. Meanwhile, The Walls Group’s layered harmonies and vocal gymnastics on The Other Side would sound correct at residence within the up to date R&B world and Brian Courtney Wilson vibrates with Motown power throughout A Great Work.

The most conspicuous standout right here, although, is Tori Kelly’s excellent Hiding Place, which marks a uncommon pivot for a pop star venturing into gospel territory. While the previous greatest new artist nominee’s 2016 debut, Unbreakable Smile, was executive-produced by pop maestro Max Martin and featured high-profile visitor spots by Ed Sheeran and LL Cool J, she will get help from the likes of Kirk Franklin, The HamilTones and even fellow nominee McReynolds this time round. If Kelly nabs a win, it could be a significant crossover second within the seven-year-old class, the place a bonafide pop singer has by no means been nominated earlier than. 

Best Musical Theater Album

The Band’s Visit (Original Broadway Cast)
Carousel (2018 Broadway Cast)
Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert (Original Television Cast)
My Fair Lady (2018 Broadway Cast)
Once on This Island (New Broadway Cast)

With three well-loved Broadway revivals, a Tonys heavyweight and a reside TV musical within the race, the Grammy for greatest musical theater album may go any course. The Band’s Visit swept the Tony Awards final June, profitable 10 of its 11 nominations (together with greatest musical, greatest unique rating and greatest sound design). However, the Tel Aviv-set Tony darling might be thought of the least music-focused of all of the Grammy nominees. Led by John Legend, Jesus Christ Superstar Live is the primary reside TV musical to earn a nod within the class, whereas the revival of Once on This Island proved groundbreaking due to beautiful performances by Broadway royalty Lea Salonga, American Idol alum Tamyra Gray and particularly Glee breakout Alex Newell in a gender-bending flip as mom of the Earth Asaka.

Best Song Written For Visual Media

Kendrick Lamar & SZA, “All The Stars" (Black Panther)
Sufjan Stevens, "Mystery of Love" (Call Me By Your Name)
Miguel Featuring Natalia Lafourcade, “Remember Me” (Coco)
Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper, “Shallow” (A Star Is Born)
Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble, "This Is Me" (The Greatest Showman)

Each tune in the most effective tune written for visible media class is supposed to behave as an vital piece of a bigger entire — to shoulder the burden of a movie’s emotional arc by serving to an viewers actually really feel one thing from their seats in a darkened theater. Sufjan Stevens’ “Mystery of Love” added a bittersweet melancholy to Oliver and Elio’s ill-fated Italian romance in Call Me By Your Name whereas “Remember Me” principally tore out the hearts of moviegoers on the finish of Pixar’s Coco.

Meanwhile, crowd favourite “This Is Me” single-handedly turned Keala Settle right into a star and stored audiences regularly flocking to The Greatest Showman, because the musical grew to become the leggiest film to ever hit theaters since Titanic, whereas “All The Stars” introduced hip-hop credibility to Black Panther’s shouts of “Wakanda without end!” However, the frontrunner for the Grammy win is probably going “Shallow” from A Star Is Born. From the second Lady Gaga’s Ally stepped on stage, gripped the mic and set free a wail –you know the one — audiences had been enraptured and a star was (re)born.

Producer of the Year

Boi-1da
Larry Klein
Linda Perry
Kanye West
Pharrell Williams

After thirty years within the business, Linda Perry — the longstanding producer and songwriter behind hits for everybody from P!nk and Gwen Stefani to Christina Aguilera and Celine Dion — is lastly up for producer of the 12 months, the primary girl to earn a nomination since 2004. If Perry takes residence the statue, she’ll even be the primary girl to ever win the award within the 61-year historical past of the Grammy Awards.

Competition is stiff, nonetheless, with Pharrell Williams up for his third attainable win within the class and first-time nominee Kanye West thought of a frontrunner for his work on Pusha T’s Daytona, Teyana Taylor’s Okay.T.S.E., his personal Ye and extra. Plus, don’t depend out Kanye’s fellow first-time nominee Boi-1da, a Jamaican-Canadian producer with credit on among the 12 months’s largest hits, together with Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy, Drake’s Scorpion and The Carters’ Everything Is Love.

Music Video

The Carters, “Apeshit” 
Childish Gamino, “This Is America”
Joyner Lucas, “I’m Not Racist"
Janelle Monae, “PYNK”
Tierra Whack, “MUMBO JUMBO”

Some might argue that the artwork of the music video is much less related in a post-MTV panorama, however these 5 high-concept visuals beg to vary with their highly effective messages and social commentary. Both “Apeshit” and “This Is America” almost broke the web after they had been dropped on the unsuspecting plenty, with the previous’s prescient themes of excessive artwork, holy matrimony and black excellence set within the Louvre and the latter’s visceral, graphic violence chatting with the expertise of what it means to be black in in the present day’s America.

Meanwhile, Janelle Monáe’s “PYNK” served up its personal slice of contemporary feminism because the singer and Tessa Thomson led a motion of feminine energy in a rose-colored desert utopia. More than a 12 months after its launch, the shock worth of watching the showdown between a white, MAGA hat-wearing Trump supporter and a younger black man in Joyner Lucas’ “I’m Not Racist” nonetheless hasn’t worn off, and final however not least, mumble rapper Tierra Whack is the clear underdog along with her unforgettable, almost incomprehensible “MUMBO JUMBO” — one chapter of her acclaimed Whack World visible album — set in a bloody, nightmarish dentist workplace of the longer term. (Seriously, followers with weak stomachs be warned.)

The 61st Annual Grammy Awards air this Sunday, Feb. 10 on CBS.

Breaking Down the 12 Most Fascinating Categories of the 2019 Grammys