The 2016 Grammy Awards are tonight – the messy, reckless, unpredictable party of the awards season, where the actual awards take a backseat to the outfits, rivalries, and performances. It’s bound to be the highlight of our Monday nights this year, especially with the amazing slate of nominees. This playlist contains only songs by 2016 Grammy nominees, so listen to it to evaluate the potential winners and get psyched up for tonight’s awards. Then, tune in tonight to witness the awards first hand!
Listen to the whole Spotify playlist here!
Nominee: Sam Hunt (Best New Artist, Best Country Album)
Song: Take Your Time
Y’all. If you are not acquainted with Sam Hunt yet – GET ON IT NOW. He’s a former college football player-turned-singer/songwriter-turned solo country singing superstar. He’s got so much working for him – he’s got a great voice, he can talk/rap (?) and make it sound cool, his songs are on fiiiire, and he is the most attractive crooning angel in country music. This song is baby makin’ music right here. If you want more, listen to the entire Montevallo album. Speakers. That’s all I’m saying.
Nominee: Disclosure (Best Dance/Electronic Album)
Song: Magnets ft. Lorde
The second I heart Latch by Disclosure & Sam Smith, I was hooked. Their Caracal album is an EDM/pop dream. In Magnets, Lorde brings her seductive/creepy tone to a dope beat that you can’t stop listening to.
Nominee: Kendrick Lamar (Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Dance Recording, Best Rap Performance, Best Rap/Sung Collaboration, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album, Best Music Video)
Kendrick has the most Grammy nominations this year with 11, so chances are he’s going to walk away with one. Or two. Or almost all of them. Kendrick has a way of bringing life into every single song he records, whether it be through the inspiring and moving lyrics or multi-genre-infused instrumentals that prove he’s a true artist. With Alright, this has become not just a song but an anthem for millions, and that is the mark of a music icon.
Nominee: Florence + The Machine (Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Rock Performance, Best Rock Song, Best Recording Package)
Florence made us wait four long years before releasing a new album, and it was well worth it. How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful has more of an ethereal vibe to it than her previous records, but I’m not complaining. Hiding is actually a bonus track that happens to be one of my favorite tracks so here it is.
Nominee: Miguel (Best R&B Song, Best Urban Contemporary Album)
Nothing can top Miguel’s Grammy-winning song Adorn – in fact, topping his amazing 2012 album Kaleidoscope Dream is hard too, but coffee is a strong follow up. It channels the same feels from Adorn, but with a little more flair, and I’m so here for it.
Amy Poehler – Yes Please (the audiobook) because SHE’S GRAMMY NOMINEE, AMY POEHLER. I’ve only read the book and not listened to it, but based on this small clip, I want to give her all the Grammys. And because we’re still obsessed with Hamilton and excited about their performance at the show, I’ll also plug one of the many favorites off the album, Non-Stop. I mean that ending, tho.
Nominee: Hamilton (Best Musical Theatre Album)
Song: Wait For It
There’s no real best or worst tracks from the Hamilton cast recording, because it’s all very, very good. However, Helpless and Wait For It are the two songs that I think stand best on their own – if you aren’t familiar with the musical, don’t like musicals, or are just going to listen to one track instead of taking the whole two-act journey. Both remind me of the best parts of late-90s R&B.
As I write this I realize that Traci will probably pick a song from Hamilton too, but we’re basically a Hamilton blog now so I think that’s appropriate.
Nominee: Alabama Shakes ( Album Of The Year, Best Alternative Music Album, Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, Grammy Award for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical )
Song: Don’t Wanna Fight
Here’s a moment you realize you’re getting older: an artist appears on Saturday Night Live and you’ve never heard any of their songs. That was me with Alabama Shakes in 2015. I love the old-school Southern rock and bluesy vocals, mixed with a modern synth sound. Not ALL of their songs are exactly my cup of tea, but you can’t deny that they deserve their place with the other nominees.
Nominee: Taylor Swift
Song: I Wish You Would
I’m probably supposed to be embarrassed about this, but I sort of like Taylor Swift. I don’t think her live performances are amazing, but she has a better grasp of how to write a really great pop song than most artists out there – in fact, she was under contract as just a songwriter as a teen. New!Taylor also knows who to partner with: I always thought I Wish You Would had sort of a Haim vibe, but it was actually produced with Jack Antonoff (fun) which works, too.
Nominee: James Bay (Best New Artist, Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song)
Song: Hold Back The River
I think James Bay is really excellent and is sort of this year’s Hozier, not that Hozier is going anywhere. I hope he sticks around for a good while and I really think he will. I have copied and pasted three different songs into this list so you really can’t go wrong with the entire album.
Nominee: Kacey Musgraves (Best Country Album)
Kacey Musgraves is the future of country, and I like it. In a lot of ways she’s a throwback to the sassy, non-P.C. country of Loretta Lynn. Heck, one of Kacey’s early songs includes the lyric “my idea of heaven is to burn one with John Prine.” Other than the release of her album, one of Musgraves’ biggest moments in 2015 was performing Follow Your Arrow at an NPR Tiny Desk Concert the day the marriage equality decision came down. I don’t think Pageant Material got as much radio play as it maybe should have on country stations, but it didn’t go overlooked at the Grammys.