Grammys 2017 predictions: Who will nab album of the year nominations and who will win?

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

We're still several months out from 2017 Grammy Awards and about a month out from its nominations announcement, but it's already shaping up to be a very contentious night. 

Perhaps the most hyped and critically acclaimed album of the year, Frank Ocean's Blonde, is not in the running for any of the night's awards. This was not an oversight or a snub — his management simply decided not to submit it for consideration. But Kanye West, author of one of the potential album of the year frontrunners, has already declared that he'll boycott the awards if Ocean doesn't get a nomination anyway.

Ocean's management hasn't given any reason for why they didn't submit, but the answer isn't too hard to surmise: the Grammys consistently make the wrong call for their biggest awards. The academy's movements are pretty predictable. If the album has wide pop appeal, is authored by a white artist and leans on live instrumentation, it will win. Two cases in point: 2016 when Taylor Swift's 1989 beat out Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly for their top spot, and 2015 when Beck's Morning Phase beat Beyoncé's self-titled — a snub that Kanye West took special issue with.

Kanye West taking the stage during Beck's album of the year win in 2015.
Source: 
Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Without Frank Ocean's Blonde in the running, it's unlikely we'll see as dramatic a snub, but there's still some heavy competition. Here are our predictions for the album of the year nominees and 2017's likely winner.

Radiohead — A Moon Shaped Pool

Chance for a nomination: Fairly high.

Chance for a win: Long shot.

Despite their long and storied career, Radiohead has never won an album of the year gramophone trophy, though they've earned three nominations in the past. Acts who have consistently received nominations and are nearing the end of their careers often earn themselves a special kind of Grammy voter sympathy. It can turn into a win, even if the album awarded isn't the best in their discography. There's a strong chance A Moon Shaped Pool will find itself with this kind of tailwind to sweep at least into the nominations category, though it likely won't go all the way.

David Bowie — Blackstar

Chance for a nomination: High.

Chance for a win: Slim.

In a similar story to Radiohead, David Bowie also has never earned an album of the year, despite the peerless pedestal upon which he sits in rock history. Additionally, he's only received one nomination, for his pop concession Let's Dance, which was rightfully beat by Michael Jackson's Thriller in 1984. Expect the academy to work to get on the right side of history with a nomination for the late rock god's farewell album. But don't expect it to win.

Drake — Views

Chance for a nomination: Fairly high.

Chance for a win: Nah.

Toronto's very own broke some of the biggest chart and streaming records this year with Views, his long-awaited fourth studio album. It became the first album to notch a billion streams on Apple Music; its single "One Dance" broke Spotify's record for the most streamed song, and it broke the record for most simultaneously charting songs on the Billboard Hot 100. It's unlikely the Grammy voting committee will ignore this success, though Kanye West's The Life of Pablo does present an opportunity for a vote split. Views presence in the album of the year category is a bit of a toss up, but count on its singles making waves in the song categories.

Beyoncé — Lemonade

Chance for a nomination: Certain.

Chance for a win: Less so, but still good.

Breaking the internet doesn't exactly impress Grammy voters, but it also doesn't go unnoticed. Beyoncé's self-titled, which sent the internet into similar hysterics as Lemonade, earned a nomination for album of the year, but lost to Beck's Morning Phase. Considering all the conversation Lemonade regarding the intersection of pop and politics, black women's creative agency and even a good amount of salacious tabloid fare, it will undoubtedly get a nomination. But she's got stiff competition from the likely fifth and final nominee.

Adele — 25

Chance for a nomination: Certain.

Chance for a win: Very high, if not certain.

As so many critics have noted, the Grammy voting academy is reportedly made up of older, white folks. Guess who flocked to buy copies of Adele's 25, breaking first week sales records few thought would ever be broken again? Olds, with kids. But they're obviously not Adele's only fans. She's a music industry executive's dream, who's basically single-handedly keeping Sony's music division afloat. She will come and she will conquer, exactly as she did with 19 in 2012.

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Tom Barnes

Tom Barnes is a senior staff writer at Mic focused on music, activism and the intersection between the two. He's based in New York and can be reached at tom@mic.com.

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