The Best And Worst Of The 2019 Grammy Nominations, According To A Pop Music Obsessive

Drake is among those in the esteemed club to be nominated in Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Song of the Year categories. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella)

By Mike Roe & Chelsea Christian

People have access to more music than ever thanks to streaming, Soundcloud, and more, so it can be tough to find the gems amongst each year's Grammy nominations. We asked L.A. comedian/music obsessive Chelsea Christian to help us annotate this year's major categories with her thoughts on what's on point, what's not, and what we should all go listen to. She also has her own pop music blog, Popping Off.

Here are the top categories, broken down by Chelsea:

Record Of The Year:

Every year, there's one or two lesser-known artists who land a ton of nominations and take everyone by surprise. This year, Brandi Carlile was one of them — she was a pleasant surprise. She's been releasing consistently great music for years now, so it's nice to see her get some time in the spotlight.

  • "I Like It" — Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin
  • "The Joke" — Brandi Carlile
  • "This Is America" — Childish Gambino
  • "God's Plan" — Drake
  • "Shallow" — Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper
  • "All The Stars" — Kendrick Lamar & SZA
  • "Rockstar" — Post Malone Featuring 21 Savage
  • "The Middle" — Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey

Album Of The Year:

First and foremost, where is Mitski? Be The Cowboy was one of the most universally-acclaimed albums of 2018, it was #1 or #2 on most critics' year-end lists, but her music was completely snubbed.

Out of the final nominees, Janelle Monáe's Dirty Computer is my personal choice for Album Of The Year. But realistically, I think Kacey Musgraves is going to win it with Golden Hour.

  • Invasion Of Privacy — Cardi B
  • By The Way, I Forgive You — Brandi Carlile
  • Scorpion — Drake
  • H.E.R. — H.E.R.
  • Beerbongs & Bentleys — Post Malone
  • Dirty Computer — Janelle Monáe
  • Golden Hour — Kacey Musgraves
  • Black Panther: The Album, Music From And Inspired By (Various Artists)

Song Of The Year:

In a truly just world, Mitski's "Nobody" would be a lock for Song Of The Year. Christine and the Queens' "Girlfriend" and "Doesn't Matter" were also two of my favorite singles this year.

I was happy to see "All The Stars" and the rest of the Black Panther soundtrack get so much recognition — I just hope they have the same luck at the Oscars.

  • "All The Stars" — Kendrick Duckworth, Solána Rowe, Al Shuckburgh, Mark Spears & Anthony Tiffith, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar & SZA)
  • "Boo'd Up" — Larrance Dopson, Joelle James, Ella Mai & Dijon McFarlane, songwriters (Ella Mai)
  • "God's Plan" — Aubrey Graham, Daveon Jackson, Brock Korsan, Ron LaTour, Matthew Samuels & Noah Shebib, songwriters (Drake)
  • "In My Blood" — Teddy Geiger, Scott Harris, Shawn Mendes & Geoffrey Warburton, songwriters (Shawn Mendes)
  • "The Joke" — Brandi Carlile, Dave Cobb, Phil Hanseroth & Tim Hanseroth, songwriters (Brandi Carlile)
  • "The Middle" — Sarah Aarons, Jordan K. Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Marcus Lomax, Kyle Trewartha, Michael Trewartha & Anton Zaslavski, songwriters (Zedd, Maren Morris & Grey)
  • "Shallow" — Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper)
  • "This Is America" — Donald Glover & Ludwig Goransson, songwriters (Childish Gambino)

Best New Artist:

Other than Brandi Carlile, H.E.R. was the other act that came out of nowhere and won a ton of awards — but I was hoping it would be Christine and the Queens. Christine and the Queens' Chris is just a consistently beautiful album from start to finish.

  • Chloe x Halle
  • Luke Combs
  • Greta Van Fleet
  • H.E.R.
  • Dua Lipa
  • Margo Price
  • Bebe Rexha
  • Jorja Smith

Best Pop Solo Performance:

I still don't get why Post Malone is considered pop, not rap. Or why that Beck song is considered pop, not alternative. Just seems like a shame when there were so many pure pop songs that missed out.

  • "Colors" — Beck
  • "Havana (Live)" — Camila Cabello
  • "God Is A Woman" — Ariana Grande
  • "Joanne (Where Do You Think You're Goin'?)" — Lady Gaga
  • "Better Now" — Post Malone

Best Pop Vocal Album:

Ariana Grande's total absence from the main categories took me by surprise. "no tears left to cry" was one hell of a comeback moment, and Sweetener was such an interesting, personal album! It's a shame, but if "thank u, next" is any indication, I think she'll make up for it at next year's ceremony.

  • Camila — Camila Cabello
  • Meaning Of Life — Kelly Clarkson
  • Sweetener — Ariana Grande
  • Shawn Mendes — Shawn Mendes
  • Beautiful Trauma — P!nk
  • Reputation — Taylor Swift

Best Dance/Electronic Album:

It was a long shot but I was really crossing my fingers for MNEK to grab a surprise nomination in the Dance/Electronic category. Language was easily my favorite album of 2018 — it's such a fun, cohesive album and his production is flawless.

  • Jon Hopkins - Singularity
  • Justice - Woman Worldwide
  • Sofi Tukker - Treehouse
  • Sophie - Oil of Every Pearl's Un-Insides
  • TOKiMONSTA - Lune Rouge

Here are the rest of the major categories:

Best Dance Recording:

  • "Northern Soul" — Above & Beyond Featuring Richard Bedford
  • "Ultimatum" — Disclosure (Featuring Fatoumata Diawara)
  • "Losing It" — Fisher
  • "Electricity" — Silk City & Dua Lipa Featuring Diplo & Mark Ronson
  • "Ghost Voices" — Virtual Self

Best Rock Song:

  • "Black Smoke Rising" — Jacob Thomas Kiszka, Joshua Michael Kiszka, Samuel Francis Kiszka & Daniel Robert Wagner, songwriters (Greta Van Fleet)
  • "Jumpsuit" — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots)
  • "MANTRA" — Jordan Fish, Matthew Kean, Lee Malia, Matthew Nicholls & Oliver Sykes, songwriters (Bring Me The Horizon)
  • "Masseduction" — Jack Antonoff & Annie Clark, songwriters (St. Vincent)
  • "Rats" — Tom Dalgety & A Ghoul Writer, songwriters (Ghost)

Best Urban Contemporary Album:

  • Everything Is Love — The Carters
  • The Kids Are Alright — Chloe x Halle
  • Chris Dave And The Drumhedz — Chris Dave And The Drumhedz
  • War & Leisure — Miguel
  • Ventriloquism — Meshell Ndegeocello

Best Rap Album:

  • Invasion Of Privacy — Cardi B
  • Swimming — Mac Miller
  • Victory Lap — Nipsey Hussle
  • Daytona — Pusha T
  • Astroworld — Travis Scott

Best Country Album:

  • Unapologetically — Kelsea Ballerini
  • Port Saint Joe — Brothers Osborne
  • Girl Going Nowhere — Ashley McBryde
  • Golden Hour — Kacey Musgraves
  • From A Room: Volume 2 — Chris Stapleton

Best Jazz Vocal Album:

  • My Mood Is You — Freddy Cole
  • The Questions — Kurt Elling
  • The Subject Tonight Is Love — Kate McGarry With Keith Ganz & Gary Versace
  • If You Really Want — Raul Midón With The Metropole Orkest Conducted By Vince Mendoza
  • The Window — Cécile McLorin Salvant

Best Gospel Album:

  • One Nation Under God — Jekalyn Carr
  • Hiding Place — Tori Kelly
  • Make Room — Jonathan McReynolds
  • The Other Side — The Walls Group
  • A Great Work — Brian Courtney Wilson

Best Latin Pop Album:

  • Prometo — Pablo Alboran
  • Sincera — Claudia Brant
  • Musas (Un Homenaje Al Folclore Latinoamericano En Manos De Los Macorinos), Vol. 2 — Natalia Lafourcade
  • 2:00 AM — Raquel Sofía
  • Vives — Carlos Vives

Best Americana Album:

  • By The Way, I Forgive You — Brandi Carlile
  • Things Have Changed — Bettye LaVette
  • The Tree Of Forgiveness — John Prine
  • The Lonely, The Lonesome & The Gone — Lee Ann Womack
  • One Drop Of Truth — The Wood Brothers

Best Comedy Album:

  • Annihilation — Patton Oswalt
  • Equanimity & The Bird Revelation — Dave Chappelle
  • Noble Ape — Jim Gaffigan
  • Standup For Drummers — Fred Armisen
  • Tamborine — Chris Rock

Best Song Written For Visual Media:

  • "All The Stars" — Kendrick Duckworth, Solána Rowe, Alexander William Shuckburgh, Mark Anthony Spears & Anthony Tiffith, songwriters (Kendrick Lamar & SZA), Track from: Black Panther
  • "Mystery Of Love" — Sufjan Stevens, songwriter (Sufjan Stevens), Track from: Call Me By Your Name
  • "Remember Me" — Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez, songwriters (Miguel Featuring Natalia Lafourcade), Track from: Coco
  • "Shallow" — Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando & Andrew Wyatt, songwriters (Lady Gaga & Bradley Cooper), Track from: A Star Is Born
  • "This Is Me" — Benj Pasek & Justin Paul, songwriters (Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble), Track from: The Greatest Showman

Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical:

  • Boi-1da
  • Larry Klein
  • Linda Perry
  • Kanye West
  • Pharrell Williams

Explore the full list with the rest of the nominees here.


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