Taylor Swift made a stir in August when she released “Look What You Made Me Do,” the first single from her new album “Reputation.” Despite a somewhat divisive reception it topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and many expected it would earn Swift her fifth Record of the Year Grammy nomination — it didn’t. In fact, the song wasn’t nominated anywhere, but that’s alright because Swift still has chances to win for two other songs, and her best bet might be Best Country Song for “Better Man.”
Swift herself didn’t actually record “Better Man.” She wrote it for the quartet Little Big Town, who are also nominated for Best Country Duo or Group for their performance. It recently won Swift the Country Music Association Award for Song of the Year — the first time she actually won the songwriting award from the CMAs. But the Grammys have been much more receptive to her songwriting skills, having awarded her Best Country Song twice in the past, for “White Horse” (2010) and “Mean” (2012). Does that make her the automatic favorite to win again?
Perhaps, but she has strong competition from the biggest country hit of the year, “Body Like a Back Road” by Sam Hunt, which broke a record with a remarkable 34 weeks at number-one on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Hunt co-wrote the song with Zach Crowell, Shane McAnally, and Josh Osborne, Hunt has yet to win a Grammy, though he contended for Best New Artist in 2016. A historic hit like “Body” might do the trick.
But Chris Stapleton‘s “Broken Halos,” which he co-wrote with Mike Henderson, might also be a formidable foe. Stapleton hasn’t won a Grammy for his songwriting yet, but he won Best Country Album in 2016 for “Traveller” (which was also nominated for Album of the Year), and he’s nominated again for Best Country Album this year for “From A Room: Volume 1.” The recording academy clearly loves him.
Miranda Lambert is nominated for writing “Tin Man” with Jack Ingram and Jon Randall. The Grammys have been inconsistent in their affection for her in the past; she has only won twice despite often dominating the CMAs and the ACM Awards from her country industry peers. This year she was surprisingly left out of the Best Country Album Grammy race for her critically acclaimed two-disc effort “The Weight of These Wings.”
Rounding out the category is “Drinkin’ Problem” by Midland, written by band members Jess Carson, Cameron Duddy, and Mark Wystrach with Shane McAnally and Josh Osborne, who are double nominated for this and the aforementioned “Body Like a Back Road.” Midland also earned a Country Duo or Group nomination for this song. These are their first ever Grammy bids.
Be sure to make your Grammy predictions so that Hollywood record executives and top name stars can see how their songs and albums are faring in our Grammy odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on January 28. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Grammys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our music forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.