The Grammys: Who Deserves the Golden Gramophone?

Media provided by Brando Babini ‘23
With the 65th Annual Grammy Awards having just passed, much controversy has surrounded not only the nominations, but the institution as a whole and what it represents. 

The Grammys is the most anticipated music event of the year and many believe that winning a golden gramophone is the highest achievement for a musician. Though true, there is always controversy surrounding who gets nominated for Grammys and more importantly, who wins. The word “snubbed” is heard too often the week after the Grammys, which brings up questions surrounding who deserved to win this year. Who do Grace’s students think should win such an acclaimed award like the megaphone? 

The big three categories for the Grammys are Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year. Below are the nominees for this past Grammys:

Album of the Year

  • Voyage by ABBA
  • 30 by Adele
  • Un Verano Sin Ti by Bad Bunny
  • RENAISSANCE by Beyoncé
  • Good Morning Gorgeous (Deluxe) by Mary J. Blige
  • In These Silent Days by Brandi Carlile
  • Music Of The Spheres by Coldplay
  • Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers by Kendrick Lamar
  • Special by Lizzo
  • Harry’s House by Harry Styles

Song of the Year

  • “abcdefu” —  Sara Davis, GAYLE & Dave Pittenger, songwriters (GAYLE)
  • “About Damn Time” — Melissa “Lizzo” Jefferson, Eric Frederic, Blake Slatkin & Theron Makiel Thomas, songwriters (Lizzo)
  • “All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (The Short Film)” — Liz Rose & Taylor Swift, songwriters (Taylor Swift)
  • “As It Was” — Tyler Johnson, Kid Harpoon & Harry Styles, songwriters (Harry Styles)
  • “Bad Habit” — Matthew Castellanos, Brittany Fousheé, Diana Gordon, John Carroll Kirby & Steve Lacy, songwriters (Steve Lacy)
  • “BREAK MY SOUL” — Beyoncé, S. Carter, Terius “The-Dream” Gesteelde-Diamant & Christopher A. Stewart, songwriters (Beyoncé)
  • “Easy On Me” — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele)
  • “GOD DID” — Tarik Azzouz, E. Blackmon, Khaled Khaled, F. LeBlanc, Shawn Carter, John Stephens, Dwayne Carter, William Roberts & Nicholas Warwar, songwriters (DJ Khaled Featuring Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Legend & Fridayy)
  • “The Heart Part 5” — Jake Kosich, Johnny Kosich, Kendrick Lamar & Matt Schaeffer, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar)
  • “Just Like That” — Bonnie Raitt, songwriter (Bonnie Raitt)

Record of the Year

  • “Don’t Shut Me Down” by ABBA
  • “Easy On Me” by Adele
  • “BREAK MY SOUL” by Beyoncé
  • “Good Morning Gorgeous” by Mary J. Blige
  • “You And Me On The Rock” by Brandi Carlile Featuring Lucius
  • “Woman” by Doja Cat
  • “Bad Habit” by Steve Lacy
  • “The Heart Part 5” by Kendrick Lamar
  • “About Damn Time” by Lizzo
  • “As It Was” by Harry Styles

In the end, Harry Styles won for Harry’s House in the category of “Album of the Year,” Bonnie Raitt won for Just Like That in the category of “Song of the Year,” and Lizzo won for About Damn Time in the category of “Record of the Year.” 

Before the awards took place on Sunday, Feb. 5th, a poll was sent to Grace students to gain an understanding of their predictions regarding who should win these awards. When asking Grace students who they believed should win Record and Album of the year, the responses varied. 

However, the idea of Harry or Lizzo winning was not one out of sight. Many people wanted these artists to win, as their music has been extremely prominent in the media this year, leading to a non-shocking outcome for their wins. Though true, zero people on the survey expressed a wish for Bonnie Raitt to win the award for Song of the Year. A question then arose: what are the factors that Grace students think about in regard to who they think should win the awards? 

When asking Grace Students their thoughts, most replied with a combination of:

  1. The Quality of the Song
  2. The Artist’s Popularity and Influence
  3. The Artists themselves/their personality   

The idea of influence is really intriguing because, Just Like That is not a song that had a significant influence on the world of music this past year; many had never even heard of it before the awards. Most Grace students displayed the desire for Taylor Swift or Beyoncé to win the award. This popular wish demonstrates the different factors that the recording academy takes into account when deciding who should take home the coveted Grammy.  

The turmoil regarding the public disagreement over the recording academy’s choice of  the winning artist has surrounded the Grammys for years. Maybe the academy is snubbing people for attention, portraying a bias due to an artist’s identity, or even holding a belief that influence plays no factor  in the “best music.” 

Whatever it is, it definitely brings up an important conversation about who gives the recording academy an adequate basis for deciding what “good music” is. Yet there are so many artists that were not nominated for awards this year, which is due to the fact that the recording academy didn’t give them a nomination.

This standard can relate to a plethora of societal issues today: giving a particular group of people the power and authority to say who they think is best at something or most deserving. It is sometimes a deserved authority but can also discourage people when they don’t meet the expectations assigned by that group of people. Hopefully, we can progress to a world where a metal award isn’t a requirement for being a talented artist, a world where people are working for themselves rather than validation from others.