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Who’ll win at the Grammys, and who should

Adele and Beyoncé have racked up plenty of nominations, but prepare for some surprises.

Beyoncé has nine Grammy nominations this year.Mason Poole/Parkwood Media

The 65th Grammy Awards, which air Sunday night on CBS, haven’t quite solved the problem of music’s sprawl, but the slate of nominations and performers signifies that the Recording Academy, which puts the show on every year, has been trying to chip away at it. Nominees include heavy hitters like Beyoncé and Adele as well as up-and-comers like Wet Leg and Muni Long. The awards also include a new songwriter of the year category, a long-overdue nod to the behind-the-scenes people who help make pop great. While there are some nominations and categories that remain baffling (the pigeonholing of the Spanish belter Rosalía’s wild, thrilling “Motomami” into the Latin rock or alternative category; the gold-watch best rock performance nomination for Beck’s Neil Young cover), there aren’t many utter missteps, which is itself a marked improvement over the ceremonies of a decade or two ago.

As of press time, Sunday’s telecast, the biggest platform for popular music after the Super Bowl, had announced a tribute to the 50th anniversary of hip-hop (first given Grammy consideration in 1989) featuring LL Cool J, Big Boi, Busta Rhymes, DJ Jazzy Jeff, The Roots, and a slew of other big names, as well as an In Memoriam segment will feature tributes to Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie, Migos’s Takeoff, and country legend Loretta Lynn. Meanwhile, announced performers include the Puerto Rican mogul Bad Bunny, the glam-pop multi-hyphenate Harry Styles, and the Americana powerhouse Brandi Carlile. One would think that other top nomination-getters, like Beyoncé (nine), Kendrick Lamar (eight), and Adele (seven, tying Carlile), would be added to that list, although the unpredictability of the 2023 music business — not to mention the constraints placed upon any awards show by television — makes no assumption safe.


RECORD OF THE YEAR (given those “responsible for the piece of recorded music deemed the best” of the period from Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2022)

Should win: Harry Styles’s “As It Was” wound up being one of last year’s most reliable pop confections, its sunny-day production intensifying the conflict of its happy-sad chorus. It was ubiquitous at its peak, yet it’s managed to remain fresh nearly a year after its release.


Will win: Adele’s “Easy on Me” was a massive single that allowed the British singer to show off her still-formidable pipes — and it’s the type of pop song that would have been showered in Grammys 10, 20, or even 50 years ago.

Also nominated: ABBA, “Don’t Shut Me Down”; Beyoncé, “Break My Soul”; Mary J. Blige, “Good Morning Gorgeous”; Brandi Carlile feat. Lucius, “You and Me on the Rock”; Doja Cat, “Woman”; Steve Lacy, “Bad Habit”; Kendrick Lamar, “The Heart Part 5″; Lizzo, “About Damn Time”


Should win: Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” is a glittery, in-your-face masterpiece, full of hooks and moments that made people want to drop whatever they were doing and dance; it called back to club music’s bygone eras while forging a path into a future where everyone can be fabulous in their own way.

Will win: Credit to the Grammys for making this category an utter toss-up. Adele’s “30″ was launched with the tear-jerking “Easy on Me,” but its follow-up singles faded; Bad Bunny’s “Un Verano Sin Ti” was the year’s biggest blockbuster, an artistically adventurous, politically charged statement from an artist whose potential has a seemingly infinite upside. The high caliber of nominees overall might result in a split that favors old reliables, so I’d bank on “Voyage,” the first album in four decades for the Swedish pop masters ABBA, to take home the big prize.


Also nominated: Mary J. Blige, “Good Morning Gorgeous”; Brandi Carlile, “In These Silent Days”; Coldplay, “Music of the Spheres”; Kendrick Lamar, “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers”; Lizzo, “Special”; Harry Styles, “Harry’s House”


SONG OF THE YEAR (given to songwriters)

Should win: Songwriters have more of a Grammy spotlight this year thanks to the introduction of the Songwriter of the Year category — although unlike this category, singer-songwriters aren’t eligible there. As a pure achievement of songwriting, Taylor Swift’s 10-minute take on her “Red” track “All Too Well” is pretty astonishing — and the response it engendered isn’t just a testament to her celebrity, but to her skill.

Will win: Bonnie Raitt’s “Just Like That” is a beautiful story-song that tackles modern-day problems with grace and a sharp eye; her knowing voice only makes it more potent. She’s already won 10 Grammys, but this one, should she win, will be the first for her as a songwriter.

Also nominated: Gayle, “abcdefu”; Lizzo, “About Damn Time”; Harry Styles, “As It Was”; Steve Lacy, “Bad Habit”; Beyoncé, “Break My Soul”; Adele, “Easy on Me”; DJ Khaled feat. Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, John Legend, and Fridayy, “God Did”; Kendrick Lamar, “The Heart Part 5″




Should win: I’ve been on the Wet Leg bandwagon since their first single, the thudding, cheeky “Chaise Longue,” crash-landed into left-of-the-dial radio playlists in 2021. Their first album built on that single’s promise delightfully, combining sardonic, elliptical alt-rock with youthful insouciance; their music is so appealing, they even charmed Styles into covering one of their songs and inviting them on tour.

Will win: Måneskin are a new(-ish) band that celebrates the music business’s traditions in many ways; not only did the Italian quartet come to global prominence after winning the Eurovision Song Contest, just like ABBA, they’re also flag-wavers for the idea of Real Rock persisting through the 21st century.

Also nominated: Anitta; Omar Apollo; Domi and JD Beck; Samara Joy; Latto; Muni Long; Tobe Nwigwe; Molly Tuttle

Steve LacyBen Stas for The Boston Globe


Should win: “Bad Habit” was a bewitching left-field hit that showed how pop in the 2020s could be way less moribund than its 2010s equivalent.

Will win: “Easy on Me,” a weepy smash for one of pop’s last true divas.

Also nominated: Bad Bunny, “Moscow Mule”; Doja Cat, “Woman”; Lizzo, “About Damn Time”; Harry Styles, “As It Was”


Should win: Baltimore punkers Turnstile’s “Holiday” is three minutes of high-octane thrashing that turns the last 30 years of rock, with its forays into hip-hop and electronic music, into a thrilling anthem.

Will win: The title track of Ozzy Osbourne’s “Patient No. 9,” a sprawling epic that shows off his straight-from-the-dark-side wail and features the late Jeff Beck on guitar. (Expect Brandi Carlile’s “Broken Horses,” also nominated here, to get rock song of the year, which goes to the songwriter.)


Also nominated: Bryan Adams, “So Happy It Hurts”; Beck, “Old Man”; The Black Keys, “Wild Child”; IDLES, “Crawl!”

Wet Leg Theo Wargo/Getty


Should win: “Chaise Longue” may be nearly two years old, but its verve, sauciness, and deceptive hook make it the best song here.

Will win: Florence & the Machine’s gender-norm-flipping “King” is a close second.

Also nominated: Arctic Monkeys, “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball”; Big Thief, “Certainty”; Yeah Yeah Yeahs feat. Perfume Genius, “Spitting Off the Edge of the World”


Should and will win: Beyoncé's “Virgo’s Groove” is a roller-rink-ready throwback to the robo-funk era that gains a blissed-out edge from B’s vocal performance. (But Muni Long’s “Hrs and Hrs,” a metaphor-rich slow jam that shows off Long’s buoyant voice, is another standout in this strong category.)

Also nominated: Mary J. Blige and Anderson .Paak, “Here With Me”; Lucky Daye, “Over”; Jazmine Sullivan, “Hurt Me So Good”


Should win: If nothing else, the title track of DJ Khaled’s “God Did” deserves props for its audacity — the superstar producer brought along fellow A-listers Rick Ross, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and John Legend, as well as up-and-comer Fridayy, for an eight-plus-minute celebratory posse cut.

Will win: Kendrick Lamar’s “The Heart Part 5″ pairs Lamar’s incandescent rhymes with a flip of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You.”

Also nominated: Doja Cat, “Woman”; Gunna and Future feat. Young Thug, “Pushin P”; Hitkidd and GloRilla, “F.N.F. (Let’s Go)”


Should win: Ashley McBryde’s high-concept small-town chronicle “Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville” is a fantastic showcase of one of country’s most exciting talents, who combines old-Nashville stylings with winkingly told stories about modern life.

Will win: Maren Morris’s “Humble Quest,” a luminous, liberated pop-country album that doesn’t shy away from talking about the singer’s real-life struggles.

Also nominated: Luke Combs, “Growin’ Up”; Miranda Lambert, “Palomino”; Willie Nelson, “A Beautiful Time”


Should win: The Lin-Manuel Miranda-written soundtrack for Disney’s “Encanto” spawned the chart-topping “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” a sing-along-made salsa-pop track, and other songs that united families’ streaming habits.

Will win: But the myth of The King remains strong, and Baz Luhrmann’s fever-dream biopic “Elvis” was accompanied by a soundtrack that framed Presley’s career as an antecedent of 21st-century pop, with artists like Doja Cat, Kacey Musgraves, and Jack White covering, interpolating, or just saluting his legacy.

Also nominated: “Stranger Things, Season 4 (Vol. 2)”; “Top Gun: Maverick”; “West Side Story”

Taylor Swift Matthew Lee


Should and will win: Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well: The Short Film” built on that song’s mythology with a seven-chapter film, shot on 35mm (!) and meticulously constructed, about young heartbreak — the only way that one of the most dissected songs in her pored-over catalog could have been brought to life onscreen.

Also nominated: Adele, “Easy on Me”; BTS, “Yet to Come”; Doja Cat, “Woman”; Kendrick Lamar, “The Heart Part 5″; Harry Styles, “As It Was”