This year marked a big shift for the Grammys. An award show that has become notorious for a lack of representation of hip-hop in the major award categories; and criticized for being out of touch with the changing landscape of music in America. This year’s list of nominees changed that by nominating two hip hop albums and two R&B albums for album of the year, and a fifth outlier nominee Lorde’s Melodrama. Kendrick Lamar’s D.A.M.N. is deserving, so is Jay-Z’s deviation from the norm on 4:44, but Melodrama isn’t just a good album, it has something else on its side, history.
Album of the year is a category that a hip hop artist has never won. Not only that, but the award has been won by a female singer 4 out of the last 8 years. Including a Taylor Swift win over Kendrick Lamar’s best work, How to Pimp a Butterfly, and Adele over Beyonce a year later. If prior shows are any indicator, Grammy voters will likely lean towards what they normally do, female vocalists and art pop. Not to mention that Lorde has proven to be a Grammy favorite in the past; in 2014 she won two, including song of the year. You know what they say, “History repeats itself and that’s just how it goes,” which is ironically a J. Cole quote.
The Grammys also have a pattern of spreading awards out over multiple artists in an effort to diversify the winners. Since the other nominees in the category for Album of the year have 26 combined nominations; it’s likely that Lorde will win based off the fact that the other nominees will pick up wins elsewhere.
Melodrama has good odds to win but not just because it follows a pattern of past winners. It really is a fantastic collection of music. Pure Heroine was edgy, teen boredom for the kids who would never live a life of stardom. It’s an album that’s anti everything except the individual, but all that is different now. The Lorde who wrote Pure Heroine is a much different person than the Lorde who wrote Melodrama. She grew up to live the life that she always watched from afar, and Melodrama is a very different record because of this. It’s a record about growing up, break-ups, the best years of your life, and how they can also be the worst. Full of house party music, piano ballads, acoustic guitar masterpieces and imagery so good you can practically watch Melodrama, not just listen to it.
Side note- DAMN and 4:44 have a combined 57 writers and close to 80 producers. Melodrama? Boasts three writers (Ella wrote 80% of the album by herself) and seven producers in total, a testament to Lorde’s craft.
Hip hop is shooting themselves in the foot, and if we’ve learned anything from the past it’s that rap does not fair well at the Grammys. Couple that with the fact that Melodrama is a work of art worthy of the Louvre and you’ve got yourself an Album of the Year Grammy winner.