When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?
Billie Eilish has had an absolutely HUGE year, and the Grammys have a long history of rewarding breakthrough female artists with a sweep of their categories, including Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, Alicia Keys, and Alanis Morissette, just to name a few. While time will tell if Billie walks away with a ton of hardware, it's clear the 17-year-old is set to score some serious nods. She is the youngest female artist in 20 years to release an album that spent more than a single week at the top of the Billboard 200, breaking Britney Spears' previous record set with her debut album ...Baby One More Time. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? is truly a modern masterpiece, shaped by Billie's exceptional artistry and brother Finneas O'Connell's unique production -- both of which add a dark, ethereal twist to today's Top 40.
Tyler, The Creator just keeps getting better and better with every drop. IGOR, an album the 28-year-old produced in its entirety, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 -- the first of his decade-long career. His groovy mix of R&B, funk, and rap garnered major critical acclaim, making it the frontrunner of this year's hip-hop releases to receive an Album Of The Year nomination.
thank u, next
Ariana took home her first Grammy last year, with Sweetener winning Best Pop Vocal Album over Taylor Swift's Reputation, Kelly Clarkson's Meaning of Life and Pink's Beautiful Trauma. But even the biggest Ariana stans can admit that her fourth LP is inconsistent. In fact, "thank u, next" -- a single that didn't even appear on Sweetener -- was such a massive hit while voting was underway, it probably propelled Ariana's name to the top of everyone's ballot. However, the title track of her fifth record has set the stage for the 26-year-old to nab her first Album Of The Year nomination, which she rightfully deserves. thank u, next spent two weeks in the top spot on the Billboard 200, and shattered previous streaming records for a pop album in its first week. Eleven out of 12 tracks debuted in the top 40 of Billboard's Hot 100, another record-breaking stat for a female artist. It's also the singer's fourth No. 1 album, proving -- as Nicki Minaj once rapped -- that Ariana truly does "run pop."
Cuz I Love You
Lizzo's big hits -- "Truth Hurts" and "Good As Hell" -- originally appeared on two of her previous releases and were only added to the deluxe re-issue of 2019's Cuz I Love You after taking the charts by storm. That leaves the possibility that she may be shut out of this category, but the buzz surrounding the multi-faceted artist is at an all-time high -- not to mention the album is fantastic. An ode to self-love and knowing your worth, Lizzo's major label debut is the perfect genre-melding manifesto of ferocity and femininity.
Taylor Swift's Reputation was excluded from last year's AOTY narrative -- even with an expanded nominee field. Somewhat surprising, especially considering her history of success on music's biggest night. But Lover has generally been hailed as a return to form for Taylor in comparison to 2017's polarizing LP. The 18-track, platinum-selling album certainly plays up her strengths and proves once again that she is one of this generation's most talented and prolific singer-songwriters.
When I Get Home
Will a nod for When I Get Home be justice for Solange fans and A Seat At The Table? While she did nab her first Grammy nomination and win for the album's lead single "Cranes In The Sky", the 2016 LP, which was recently named the best album of the 2010s by Noisey, was a true tour de force, beautifully articulating the black female experience. Yet it barely registered with Grammy voters. When I Get Home is more than a worthy followup, with Solange's sonic experimentation cementing her as one of the most creative voices in music. Going back-to-back like this? Solange should break through.
Father Of The Bride
Vampire Weekend's long-awaited return to music did NOT disappoint. Father Of The Bride is the group's third consecutive album to top the Billboard 200, featuring frontman Ezra Koenig's expertly crafted and intelligent pop rock. Despite a nearly six-year hiatus, his magic touch still remains, arguably enhanced through collaborations with Danielle Haim, Mark Ronson, BloodPop and former bandmate Rostam Batmanglij. The gorgeous instrumentation and thought-provoking lyrics that define this LP are more than deserving of a nomination.
A Star Is Born (Soundtrack)
It does seem like a stretch for this soundtrack to round out the Album Of The Year nominees, but that's how the Grammy calendar works. While "Shallow" just made the cutoff for last year's submissions, the complete A Star Is Born collection has been patiently waiting in the wings for industry recognition. After all, it did spend three consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 -- the first soundtrack since "High School Musical 2" to do so back in 2007. It's also Lady Gaga's longest running No. 1 album of her career. There's no denying it would be a solid selection, taking into account the dream team of writers and producers assembled to perfect the film's original songs. However, it could be ignored if voters believe it's simply no longer relevant.