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Strong Competitors for the 81st Grammy Awards

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Strong Competitors for the 81st Grammy Awards

Photo Courtesy of Grammy Awards

Photo Courtesy of Grammy Awards

Photo Courtesy of Grammy Awards

Photo Courtesy of Grammy Awards

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As 2019 begins and the previous year’s accomplishments are reviewed, awards season is fast approaching. With the 61st Grammy Awards less than three weeks away, everyone has their opinions on what should win in each category. Song of the year, one of the biggest awards, has eight strong competitors of various styles and entering into the Grammys with some perspective can serve to be helpful.

The first nominee, “All the Stars” by Kendrick Lamar and SZA, is a mix of hip-hop and pop. Though this is not typical for the genre, the message and contents of the lyrics reflect more depth than a typical pop song does, perhaps due to the fact that this song is part of the “Black Panther,” one of the most popular movies of the year. Though the song itself is not dynamic, it keeps a certain intensity that drives it throughout.

“Boo’d Up” by Ella Mai, the second nominee and arguably one of the lesser known songs on the list, seems to just be a typical vapid love song at a glance, but when actually listened to, the way the singer portrays her emotions can be felt throughout. It is not a hard or extremely thought-provoking song, but it is charming in its own right, providing an easy listen with heartfelt and happy lyrics. On its own, the vocalist’s tone is pleasant to listen to and she stays within her ability, something that not all singers understand to do. Out of the nominees, it is one of the more lyrically repetitive, but that works in its favor here.

As some people likely suspected, “God’s Plan” by Drake is another nominee for Song of the Year. This song is very reflective of Drake, playing to his strong suits and showcasing his lyric-writing abilities as usual. In general, the song is well-written and has a consistent tone. As a bonus, it provides us with one of the most iconic song lyrics of 2018.

Another popular artist, Shawn Mendes, has his song “In My Blood” up as a nominee as well. Upon first listen, anyone who has any experience with his music can immediately recognize his voice and general style, including the building intensity that is very typical of him. However, though it is very much his style, it works well in his favor, as his voice, the organization, and circular dynamics, starting soft before building and then ending soft, express the pain that is behind the story being told by the lyrics.

The fifth nominee, The Joke by Brandi Carlile, is a complete change from every other song up for this award. The first, most noticeable feature of the song is that the vocalist is excellent. She exhibits strengths in her technique that not all modern singers reach. Additionally, the heavy orchestral instrumental, though it does contain pretty typical drum sounds, is a welcome change from some of the more artificially constructed backtracks that are more popular nowadays. The heavy themes are handled well and are appropriate for this song. Stylistically, this song is very different from every other entry except possibly “Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

Very different from the previous nominee, “The Middle” by Zedd and Grey is a pretty perfect example of what has recently been trending in the Top 40. It is the most typical pop song out of the nominees, but still seems to show more depth than the average trending song. It is relatively repetitive both musically and lyrically; generally, Zedd is a good producer, but this is not his most unique work.

“Shallow” by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, the seventh contestant, is another soundtrack song. As with much of her content recently, this song is a departure from the pop-heavy Lady Gaga that many of people know. However, this is not an unwelcome change. This is altogether a pleasant song and once again proves that Lady Gaga can pull off just about any look or style that she tries.

The last song, but certainly not the least, is “This Is America” by Childish Gambino. This song, and the accompanying music video, likely caused more buzz than any other out of the nominees. As a song, it stands decently enough on its own, providing parts that contrast interestingly and move it at a good pace.

Each nominee for Song of the Year, one of the most prestigious Grammy Awards, seems to have some pretty stiff competition this year. Some people will be greatly disappointed and some will be extremely happy about the results, but, either way, the winning song and accompanying artist will surely be worthy of this honor.

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Strong Competitors for the 81st Grammy Awards