With a few new rule changes in place, I can now give you my early predictions as to who will be nominated in the big four categories at the 59th Grammy Awards which will take place on Feb. 12, 2017. Nominees won't be announced until December, so make sure to come back for my final guesses.
Album of the Year
1. Adele - 25
What's in it's favor: She's one of the most loved and respected pop stars in the world and is likely the last artist in our lifetime to sell two million pure copies in their first week.
What might work against it: Adele is all but assured of a nomination, but if she doesn't, it'll be because everyone has forgotten about the album since it has largely faded from public conscience since its release.
2. Beyoncé - Lemonade
What's in it's favor: Another widely respected artist once again changed the concept of how we view an album release in an age where singles dominate the conversation. Lemonade is also her most personal and daring work to date and she can longer be dismissed as someone who plays it safe.
What might work against it: There may still be some backlash from those who viewed "Formation" and her Super Bowl performance as anti-police. Or basically the people in this SNL skit.
3. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
What's in it's favor: If recent Album of the Year wins for Beck and Daft Punk are any indication, the Grammys have no qualms about giving artists who were embraced by alternative rock stations in the 1990s their just due. It's basically the equivalent of rewarding Bob Dylan, Santana and Ray Charles, but only fast-forwarded a few generations for what I now call the cool dad slot. Their non-campaign campaign also helped garner them some news and the album has been received warmly so far by critics. And you really can't go wrong if Bob Ludwig is your engineer (past AOTY winners Mumford & Sons' Babel, Daft Punk Random Access Memories and Beck's Morning Phase).
What might work against it: As worthy as an artist Beck is, his win still came with some backlash since it was viewed as a reward for an artist who had released superior work in the past. Letting Radiohead in and possibly winning would make the Grammys more predictable, especially in a year where Beyoncé is once again a heavy favorite.