Song of the Year can sometimes be one of the most difficult verticals to predict when it comes to the Grammys, because how does one decide what a perfectly-written song sounds or looks like? Identifying one of the biggest hits of the year or one of the most successful albums is one thing, but this is a songwriter’s award, and it’s supposed to be all about talent and art, and it can be hard to choose on composition over another. Having said that, it has to be done, and five lucky tracks will be chosen come December (though eligibility to even be nominated ended last week)…but which ones?
Here are my predictions for the 10 songs that I believe have the best chances of being nominated for the Song of the Year Grammy.
Kesha – “Praying”
If Kesha can only see her name appear in one category, her first Grammy nomination deserves to be for the Song of the Year. Her “comeback” single “Praying,” which ended her lengthy break and brought her back into the spotlight for all the right reasons, is nothing short of triumphant, and fans around the world were thrilled to have her back. For Grammy voters, this may be the first time they’re considering how talented Kesha really is, even though many of us have known this for years.
Alessia Cara – “Scars To Your Beautiful”
This Canadian pop singer has been building her profile for the past year or so, and it’s about time she earned at least some love from the Recording Academy. She deserved to be nominated for her debut single “Here,” but since that didn’t happen, fellow top 10 hit “Scars To Your Beautiful” should collect at least one nod, and it would be wonderful for Cara to pop up in the SOTY vertical, especially considering that this song features such a beautiful, important message.
Julia Michaels – “Issues”
Still only just kicking off her career as an artist and not only a songwriter for other acts, Julia Michaels hit it big the first time around with her debut solo single “Issues,” which stalled at No. 11 on the Hot 100, just barely missing out on becoming a top 10. No matter! The song has sold and streamed well, and she’s widely regarded to be one of the best songwriters in the business (and she has the hits to prove it), so a nomination wouldn’t be out of the question for her.
Lady Gaga – “Million Reasons”
While Gaga’s Joanne album wasn’t the success she was hoping for, and her last album ARTPOP was completely ignored by the Grammys, this song could see her return to the ceremony for a potential win. The track bolted into the top five after she performed it during her Super Bowl halftime showing, as that spot gave her an opportunity to introduce it to millions of Americans. That really helped the track’s fates, and now it may earn her a second Song of the Year nod.
Little Big Town – “Better Man”
There aren’t many country songs this year that are likely to wind up in the major categories (or that even have a chance), but in addition to “Better Man” being a big hit in that world, it has something special going for it: the person behind the tune. Noted Grammy favorite Taylor Swift penned the cut entirely on her own, and since she’s headed in a different direction with her own music, this could be a chance for voters to grant her yet another slot inside this category.
Ed Sheeran – “Shape Of You”
One of the biggest hits of 2017 is sure to be nominated in at least one, if not both, of the two most important song groupings. I’m betting that “Shape,” which debuted at No. 1 and went on to rule the all-genre Hot 100 for a dozen nonconsecutive weeks, will eventually be up for both Record and Song of the Year. Sheeran may not collect this trophy not only because “Shape” may not have been the best-written piece of the past year, but also because he collected this particular honor just two years back, and it’s unlikely he collects another one of these so quickly.
Logic – “1-800-273-8255 (ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid)”
While it’s not common to see hip-hop tracks of any kind be nominated for Song of the Year, it certainly isn’t impossible, and if the message and the lyrics are beautiful enough, anything can happen. Logic’s numerically-named “1-800-273-8255” doesn’t just discuss a topic most songwriters would rather leave alone, he puts it front and center, using the National Suicide Hotline’s phone number as the title of what has become his most successful song to date. Add in verses by both Khalid and Alessia Cara, two bright, talented young acts, and this has the makings of a nominee.
Sam Smith – “Too Good At Goodbyes”
The British crooner’s comeback cut is only a few weeks old, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t already swayed at least a few Grammy voters to swing his way now that he has returned. Smith won this category for his breakout smash “Stay With Me,” and while “Too Good At Goodbyes” isn’t quite as remarkable, it’s still very well done, and he likely still holds a special place in the hearts and minds of many who are in charge of selecting the nominees for categories like this one.
James Arthur – “Say You Won’t Let Go”
He’s been a star in the U.K. for a few years now, but 2017 saw James Arthur finally make his mark on American soil with his syrupy sweet single “Say You Won’t Let Go.” The track is the sort of thing that Grammy voters fall over themselves to vote for, and while he may not win, as many people still don’t know who he is (though they may be familiar with his song), this adult pop could fit into this category.
Sampha – “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano”
I always like to include one nomination that is nearly impossible, and this year, I’m giving that slot to Sampha’s emotional, stunningly beautiful song “(No One Knows Me) Like The Piano,” which is perhaps the best track on his album Process, and for those that haven’t given that record a spin, that’s really saying something. Process established Sampha as one of the best writers and producers out there, just waiting to be discovered by the masses, and since he just recently won the Mercury Prize for that full-length (essentially naming it the best album to come from a British artist in the past year), there is another reason for him to earn a coveted slot in this group.