The Grammys are, debatably, music’s biggest night, and Album of the Year is the ceremony’s biggest award.
This article looks at several albums that seem to be likely nominees for the big prize in the 2024 ceremony, whose eligibility period is October 1, 2022 to September 15, 2023. Each year, there’s a mix of expected selections, surprises, and “Grammy choices” — the kind of older skewing or overly sophisticated choices that only the Grammys have in the best album mix. We have all those bases covered.
These predictions are not based on our opinion of the album nor whether these albums are better than others that are not mentioned. What this column intends to do is predict what the Grammys will nominate, and that has nothing to do with an album’s actual quality.
There’s three albums that are almost certain to be nominated this year: Midnights by Taylor Swift, Guts by Olivia Rodrigo and SOS by SZA. These all seem like sure things, particularly Midnights as the biggest album of 2022 and one that is eligible for this year’s ceremony. SOS would give SZA her first AOTY nomination – CTRL was snubbed in 2018 – and Rodrigo her second for her alt-rock leaning Guts.
Speaking of rock, Foo Fighters’ But Here We Are seems like the best pick for representation in that category aside from Guts. The album is the band’s first following the death of longtime drummer Taylor Hawkins and has been their best received album in years. There’s many country contenders, but Zach Bryan’s self-titled album seems like the front-runner there, combining critical acclaim with popularity and a bona fide number one hit in “I Remember Everything”.
Foo Fighters – But Here We Are
Olivia Rodrigo – Guts
Taylor Swift – Midnights
SZA – SOS
Zach Bryan – Zach Bryan
What else could be nominated this year? There will be eight nominees, and that leaves us three more spaces after that quintet of locks. Indie folk supergroup Boygenius made a huge splash with their debut full-length The Record and it seems like an album will sweep the rock and/or folk categories. It’s just outside my list of locks, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it makes the actual list later this week.
World Music Radio, Jon Batiste’s follow-up to his surprise 2022 winner We Are, is also an outside contender. As is Live at Newport, a recording of Joni Mitchell’s unannounced set at the 2022 Newport Folk Festival that was her first public performance in nearly a decade. If nominated, the Mitchell recording stands a chance at being a We Are style spoiler, particularly since she’s never won this award herself. (although Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters was a tribute to her and won in 2008.)
Lana Del Rey’s Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. and Miley Cyrus’ Endless Summer Vacation also belong in this tier. Del Rey’s album seems more likely than Cyrus’, but both received strong reviews and Endless Summer Vacation features the big hit “Flowers”.
There’s typically only one country album in this category and I’ve already included Zach Bryan in the locks, but I wouldn’t count Morgan Wallen’s One Thing at a Time out. Despite Wallen’s controversy, One Thing at a Time was a blockbuster and featured one of the longest running number ones of all time in “Last Night”. His Dangerous: The Double Album was not nominated in this category last time, and the Academy might decide to include Wallen here instead of leaving him only in the country categories.
Boygenius – The Record
Jon Batiste – World Music Radio
Joni Mitchell – Live at Newport
Lana Del Rey – Did You Know There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.
Miley Cyrus – Endless Summer Vacation
Morgan Wallen – One Thing at a Time
What about esoterics? Those surprised “I never expected that” choices? I feel like Live at Newport is going to cover that ground this year, but you can never be too sure that the Grammys won’t make more than one surprise choice even with eight nominees. Brandi Carlile, who is prominently featured at Live at Newport, could score her own nomination with Sweet Western Sound.
It could also be a big night for the Canadian indie band Alvvays, whose Blue Rev was one of 2022’s most acclaimed albums and is eligible for these awards. They could easily make an appearance outside of the rock and alternative categories. As could British singer-songwriter Arlo Parks, who netted a Best New Artist nomination in 2022 but lost and whose My Soft Machine feels like a natural continuation from Collapsed in Sunbeams.
Rising folk star Noah Kahan’s Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever), Latin star Karol G’s Mañana Será Bonito, alt-country singer-songwriter Jason Isbel’s Weathervanes, rapper Travis Scott’s Utopia, and indie darling Mitski’s The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We are all albums that could be in the mix for the last one or two spots in album of the year, but they might just get genre awards instead.
Arlo Parks – My Soft Machine
Alvvays – Blue Rev
Brandi Carlile – Sweet Western Sound
Jason Isbell – Weathervanes
Karol G – Mañana Será Bonito
Noah Kahan – Stick Season (We’ll All Be Here Forever)
Mitski – The Land is Inhospitable and So Are We
Travis Scott – Utopia
The nominees for the 2024 Grammy Awards will be announced on Nov. 10, 2023 starting at 10:45 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time or 7:45 a.m. U.S. Pacific Time.