We wrap up SKPop’s 2022 GRAMMY roundup by looking at the Album of the Year category.
An album is the definitive piece of music that an artist releases. While singles dominate the charts and airplay, an album has artistic credibility and scope for a cohesive narrative. Artists who have received multiple and consecutive nominations for this Grammy category can boast of having a flourishing career.
Thus, Album Of The Year is the most coveted Grammy category of the evening.
This year, the Academy increased the number of nominees across all Grammy categories to 10, leading to a stacked and diverse list.
Nominated for this year’s GRAMMY Awards for Album of the Year
1) We are – Jon Batiste
11-time Grammy nominee Jon Batiste has always walked a graceful tightrope, releasing virtuoso jazz records while hanging out with celebrities on The late show. He has been a compelling voice of optimism while being a socially conscious artist.
At WE ARE, Jon reaches the zenith of this creative balancing act, crafting an album as steeped in jazz, gospel, soul and funk as he has been steeped in R&B and hip-hop of recent times.
Notable track(s): WE ARE and FREEDOM
2) Love for Sale – Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
After universal adoration for Cheek to cheek (2014), the unlikely and iconic duo of jazz legend Tony Bennett and one of pop’s most experimental pioneers, Lady Gaga, are back with love for sale (2021) performing interpretations of even more standard classics.
Lady Gaga has always stood out with heart-pounding, explosive music and visuals accompanying her edgy avatar. But when she teams up with jazz legend Tony Bennett, Gaga drops all show and the music flows with ease. The happy duo’s album is magical in its sincerity, simplicity and overall grace. It’s also a fitting swan song to Tony’s breakthrough career.
Standout track: Do I like you
3) Justice (Triple Chucks Deluxe) – Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber stacked his latest record, Justice (2021), with nearly two dozen titles and as many guests. While Bieber was angry that his album was considered “pop” instead of R&B, most of the lineup is as pop as it gets. Star players like DaDominiceaser, Dominc Fike and Giveon bring their A-game with sultry bluesy energy.
Though wildly star-studded and monstrously long, Justice has only a few brilliant moments of lyrical honesty or musical innovation. It’s a well-crafted attempt at a distracted concept.
Standout track: Peaches
4) Planet Her (Deluxe) – Doja Cat
At the other end of the star-studded album spectrum is Doja Cat’s third studio album. This fusion of pop, R&B and hip hop employs lucrative actors like Ariana Grande, The Weeknd and SZA for maximum impact.
But Doja takes center stage on the album, with songs like Woman, get in it (Yuh) and Naked featuring her on vocal and rap features. It’s a bold and expansive record. It’s Doja’s planet, and we just live on it. planet she is an ever-evolving kaleidoscope of pop versatility.
Standout track: kiss me more
5) Happier than ever – Billie Eilish
After sweeping the Grammys two years ago with its upbeat, tricky, horror-inspired beat When we all fall asleep, where do we go? (2019), Billie Eilish set out to record her later work as the world was in the midst of a pandemic and overwhelmed with pressure. What was to follow was a physical and mental transformation.
happier than ever contains torch songs about fame and the outward signs of sanity that come with it. It’s an insightful and restrained counterpoint to his previous album, but equally enjoyable.
Standout track: male fantasy
6) Back of My Mind – SHE
HER (an acronym for Having All Revealed) lives up to the name she chose for herself. Her music and lyrics sound like the singer is wearing her beating heart on her sleeve.
At In the back of my mind, she immersed her production in more expansive sounds, attracting iconic producers like Hit-Boy, Kaytranada and Thundercat to her corner. But lyrically, the bare, confessional tone that makes her so lovely is there.
Standout track: We created it
7) Montero – Lil Nas X
MONTERO (the song) was a resounding announcement from Lil Nas that he wasn’t just a one-hit wonder; he was here to stay. The gay themes evident in the song’s lyrics and a masterful compilation of biblical imagery with a rebellious, edgy twist in the campy music video have unnerved conservatives to no end. Nas X reacted to the backlash with a similar homoerotic prison video for Baby of industry.
The similarly titled album followed is much less cheeky but still naturally genre spanning and really deep in places. It talks about queerness, love and success in a truly unique way and bucks convention while pumping firecrackers.
Standout track: Industry baby
8) Sour – Olivia Rodrigo
Olivia Rodrigo catapulted into stardom since her bedroom pop breakup ballad Driving license caught the frenzy of a generation. His next album had all the hype it needed to deliver. He certainly did. It certainly made her a favorite to win Best Pop Vocal Album as well.
At SOUR, Olivia wears all her pop influences on her sleeve. Yours 4 channels the punk energy of Avril and Hayley, while already seen and Jealousy Jealousy are tributes to the intimate writing of Taylor Swift. It was Gen Z’s definitive album of the year and could be the centerpiece of his Grammy sweep.
Standout track: Good 4 U
9) Forever – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift’s ‘Little Sister’ Is the Grammy-Winner’s Sequel folklore (2020) was written as complexly as its predecessor, because it was while recording 2020’s laid-back record that Swift felt a lingering creative spark and wanted to keep the magic going for a little longer. For the first time in ages, Taylor sought to continue with a sound instead of revising it in the next recording.
She collaborated with The National’s Aaron Dessner to recapture that elegant, contemplative magic and went on to write even more meandering, disjointed, and expansive stories of fictional, interconnected characters. She is finally at a deep breathing stage as an artist, and if the recent reissue of Red is something to pass, it has much more to offer.
Standout track: willow
10) Donda – Kanye West
Although controversial as a popular personality, Kanye’s rapping talent is undeniable. He also has the privilege of being one of the most creative artists. It took a month and a half to come out donda, changing the album again and again.
The resulting album, at once minimalist and maximalist, vulnerable and pompous, is a mixture of highs and lethargy. It’s perfectly indicative of West’s conflicted personality.
Notable track(s): Off grid and hurricane
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Who do you think will win the GRAMMY album of the year?