Are the Grammys ready for Taylor Swift to tie Stevie Wonder, Frank Sinatra and Paul Simon’s record?

Taylor Swift has been making Grammy history for years. She was the youngest Album of the Year winner at age 20 when she prevailed for “Fearless” in 2010 (Billie Eilish broke that record earlier this year). Then she became the first woman to win Album of the Year twice as a lead artist when she prevailed again for “1989” in 2016. Now, with her latest album “Folklore” getting the best reviews of her career and topping the charts for months, she has the potential for another record: the most Album of the Year wins ever for an artist.

That record is currently shared by three men. Frank Sinatra won for “Come Dance with Me!” (1960), “September of My Years” (1966) and “A Man and His Music” (1967). Stevie Wonder prevailed for “Innervision” (1974), “Fulfillingness’ First Finale” (1975) and “Songs in the Key of Life” (1977). And Paul Simon joined the three-timers club with “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1971 as part of Simon and Garfunkel), “Still Crazy After All These Years” (1976) and “Graceland” (1987).

Now Swift has one of the most acclaimed albums of the year, which is also the bestselling album of the year. That should make her a lock, right? Well, if she hadn’t won for “1989,” I’d say that it would. But that victory was more controversial than her first since she beat three acclaimed albums by Black artists: “Beauty Behind the Madness” by The Weeknd, “Sound and Color” by the band Alabama Shakes (led by Brittany Howard) and especially “To Pimp a Butterfly” by Kendrick Lamar.

To be fair, Lamar has no shortage of Grammys (13 to be exact), but he has never won in the general field despite frequent nominations, commercial success, critical accolades and cultural impact (he even won a Pulitzer Prize in 20018 for “Damn”). So he is often cited in the debate over how the Grammys treat music made largely by Black artists for largely Black audiences. In fact, no Black artist has won Album of the Year in over a decade. The last was Herbie Hancock, and that was for covering a white artist on “River: The Joni Letters.”

The last two Album of the Year titles were won by solo female artists like Swift: Kacey Musgraves for “Golden Hour” and the aforementioned Eilish for “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” But given Swift’s specific track record and the abundance of love she has already gotten from the recording academy, they might be concerned about the optics of giving her a third Album of the Year title at age 30 while other artists have been overlooked in top categories.

In fact, the Grammys have already pulled back from Swift in recent years. Since her “1989” victory, her only general field nomination was Song of the Year for “Lover” in 2020 and she hasn’t won again in any category. But “Folklore” might be too big to ignore, especially with her artistic risks winning her more fans among critics than she has ever had before. Without all those past wins, this would be the perfect time for a coronation, but it’s possible voters will think she’s wearing enough crowns already.

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