The Grammys are happening this weekend. SZA leads the way with the most nominations this year, including Album of the Year for SOS. But over the last few days, I’ve seen experts from Variety to Vulture publish “will win/should win” lists that predict that while SZA should win in the major categories, the Grammy for AOTY will go to Taylor Swift’s Midnights.
Meanwhile, Pitchfork agrees that SZA should win but that it’ll be Olivia Rodrigo’s GUTS that with the Grammy, noting that it often happens that the most nominated artist does not end up with the Album of the Year. Examples: Beyoncé and Jay-Z. So maybe that requires an extra qualification – is it the most nominated Black artists who don’t end up with the Album of the Year? How is that Beyoncé, the artist with the most Grammys of all time, has never won Album of the Year?
Earlier this week, I wrote about The Greatest Night in Pop, the new Netflix documentary about the making of “We Are The World”. Lionel Richie hosted the American Music Awards on the night they were able to gather all those artists together to record the song so there was a lot of footage from the AMAs included in the doc. Including scenes where they presented the “Favourite Black Single” and “Favourite Black Album”. Those are the words that flash across the screen and in that moment, Jacek and I were like… WTF, say what, come again?
They don’t use that terminology anymore but it’s not like it’s not there anymore, they’ve just replaced it with the word “urban”. Black artists win in the “urban” categories, the categories considered less prestigious, and they are often shut out of the most prestigious category, Album of the Year. This is one of the reasons why so many acclaimed artists, like Frank Ocean, don’t f-ck with the Grammys anymore.
If it were up to my vote, it would be SZA and SOS, no question. I love this album SO much. I’ve already written about “Kill Bill”, a huuuuuge song in 2023. Same goes for “Low” and “Seek & Destroy” and of course “Snooze”. There are no skips on SOS – this is an exhilarating work from a “generational talent”. And while Taylor Swift often sucks up all the oxygen in the room for the way she’s able to turn her personal life into a musical experience, we don’t talk enough about SZA’s ability to share her heartbreak, her desires, her disappointments, and her depravity through song. Her lyrics are honest to the point of self-flagellation, she can be mean, self-deprecating, so soul-baring, it’s crushing, but at the same time… hilarious! The first time I heard “Forgiveless”, I laughed out loud for hours after I heard the line, “I’m too profound to go back and forth, with no average dork”. And that’s not just on one track – on almost every song she can find the humour in pain or embarrassment or romantic f-ckery.
But f-ckery just might be what we’ll be getting on Sunday. I don’t want it, but at this point, from the Grammys, you almost expect it.
Attached – SZA earlier this week at the Billboard Power 100 event.
Yours in gossip,