Another Grammy rule change has allowed more songwriters to become eligible for album of the year. In past years, writers had to contribute to 33 percent of an album to qualify, but that threshold has been removed. One effect is that dozens of names — including featured artists, producers and engineers, in addition to songwriters — can now be on the ballot as contributors to a single album. If Bieber’s “Justice” wins, for example, around 100 people will take home Grammys.
Also notable are this year’s four rock categories. Last year, the Grammys earned plaudits for nominating many women, but this year the list is almost entirely male-dominated. For rock album, AC/DC competes against Paul McCartney, Foo Fighters, Chris Cornell and Black Pumas.
Alternative music album features a more diverse mix, with Halsey (“If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power”) competing against Japanese Breakfast (“Jubilee”), Arlo Parks (“Collapsed in Sunbeams”), St. Vincent (“Daddy’s Home”) and the men of Fleet Foxes (“Shore”).
Among other categories, the contenders for best pop vocal album are Bieber’s “Justice,” Doja Cat’s “Planet Her,” Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever,” Rodrigo’s “Sour” and Ariana Grande’s “Positions.”
Drake, whose “Certified Lover Boy” was ignored by the top categories, is up for two awards: best rap performance (“Way 2 Sexy”) and best rap album, in which “Certified” will compete against “Donda,” J. Cole’s “The Off-Season,” Nas’s “King’s Disease II” and Tyler, the Creator’s “Call Me If You Get Lost.”
The nominees for best country album are Chris Stapleton’s “Starting Over,” Sturgill Simpson’s “The Ballad of Dood and Juanita,” Mickey Guyton’s “Remember Her Name,” Brothers Osborne’s “Skeletons,” and “The Marfa Tapes” by Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall and Jack Ingram.