2021 Grammy Predictions: Album of the Year

The 63rd Annual Grammy Awards are held in 2021, but the eligibility period for these kudos celebrating the best in music actually started on September 1, 2019, ending on August 31, 2020. So who will win Album of the Year?

This eligibility period is new for the Grammys. The recording academy moved up their calendar in 2020 in response to the Oscars, which moved their ceremony up to early February, which was when the Grammys usually aired. So the Grammys shifted their telecast to early January and adopted an eligibility calendar that ended a month earlier.

But that’s not the only change the Grammys have undergone in recent years. For the 61st annual event held in 2019, the academy expanded its top four general field categories (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist) from five nominees to eight in part as a response to criticisms over a lack of diversity among the nominees and winners.

Has it worked? Since then, two women in a row have won Album of the Year (Kacey Musgraves for “Golden Hour” and Billie Eilish for “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?”) and Childish Gambino‘s “This is America” made history as the first hip-hop song to win Record and Song of the Year.

But the Grammys didn’t escape criticism even with those acclaimed victors. After a brief stint as president and CEO of the recording academy, Deborah Dugan was fired in 2020 and subsequently alleged misconduct within the academy, including questionable voting practices. The nominees in the top categories, including Album of the Year, aren’t decided strictly by a popular vote of academy members. Nomination review committees make the final decisions, and Dugan claimed conflicts of interests led to vote-rigging.

So where do the Grammys go from here? And who will take top honors? See some of the major contenders below. Check back often as new albums are announced and released.

UPDATED: August 28, 2020

Leading Contenders

“After Hours” by The Weeknd
Label: XO/Republic
Released: March 20, 2020

“Chromatica” by Lady Gaga
Label: Streamline/Interscope
Released: May 29, 2020

“Fetch the Bolt Cutters” by Fiona Apple
Label: Epic
Released: April 17, 2020

“Fine Line” by Harry Styles
Label: Columbia/Erskine
Released: December 13, 2019

“Folklore” by Taylor Swift
Label: Republic
Released: July 24, 2020

“Future Nostalgia” by Dua Lipa
Label: Warner Records
Released: March 27, 2020

“Gaslighter” by The Chicks
Label: Columbia
Released: July 17, 2020

“The Highwomen” by The Highwomen
Label: Elektra
Released: September 6, 2019

“Hollywood’s Bleeding” by Post Malone
Label: Republic
Released: September 6, 2019

“Jaime” by Brittany Howard
Label: ATO
Released: September 20, 2019

“Manic” by Halsey
Label: Capitol
Released: January 17, 2020

“Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial” by Roddy Ricch
Label: Atlantic/Bird Vision
Released: December 6, 2019

“The Slow Rush” by Tame Impala
Label: Modular/Island Australia/Interscope/Fiction/Caroline
Released: February 14, 2020

“3.15.20” by Childish Gambino
Label: RCA
Released: March 22, 2020

Strong Contenders

“Alicia” by Alicia Keys
Label: RCA
Released: May 15, 2020

“Bigger Love” by John Legend
Label: Columbia
Released: June 19, 2020

“Changes” by Justin Bieber
Label: Def Jam/RBMG
Released: February 14, 2020

“Dark Lane Demo Tapes” by Drake
Label: OVO/Republic
Released: May 1, 2020

“Everyday Life” by Coldplay
Label: Parlophone/Atlantic
Released: November 22, 2019

“Eternal Atake” by Lil Uzi Vert
Label: Generation Now/Atlantic
Released: March 6, 2020

“Father of All Motherf*ckers” by Green Day
Label: Reprise
Released: February 7, 2020

“Ghosteen” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
Label: Ghosteen/Bad Seed
Released: October 4, 2019

“High Road” by Kesha
Label: RCA/Kemosabe
Released: January 31, 2020

“Hot Pink” by Doja Cat
Label: Kemosabe/RCA
Released: November 7, 2019

“Hyperspace” by Beck
Label: Capitol
Released: November 22, 2019

“Magdalene” by FKA Twigs
Label: Young Turks
Released: November 8, 2019

“Map of the Soul: 7” by BTS
Label: Big Hit/iriver/Columbia/Virgin/Sony Music Germany
Released: February 21, 2020

“My Turn” by Lil Baby
Label: Capitol/Motown/Wolfpack/Quality Control
Released: February 28, 2020

“Never Will” by Ashley McBryde
Label: Warner Music Nashville
Released: April 3, 2020

“Notes on a Conditional Form” by The 1975
Label: Dirty Hit/Polydor
Released: May 22, 2020

“Rare” by Selena Gomez
Label: Interscope
Released: January 10, 2020

“Romance” by Camila Cabello
Label: Epic/Syco
Released: December 6, 2019

“Rough and Rowdy Ways” by Bob Dylan
Label: Columbia
Released: June 19, 2020

“RTJ4” by Run the Jewels
Label: Jewel Runners/BMG
Released: June 3, 2020

“Sound and Fury” by Sturgill Simpson
Label: Elektra
Released: September 27, 2019

“Suga” by Megan Thee Stallion
Label: 1501 Certified/300 (Warner)
Released: March 6, 2020

“What You See is What You Get” by Luke Combs
Label: River House Artists/Columbia Nashville
Released: November 8, 2019

“Wildcard” by Miranda Lambert
Label: RCA Nashville/Vanner
Released: November 1, 2019

“Women in Music Pt. III” by Haim
Label: Polydor/Vertigo Berlin/Columbia
Released: June 26, 2020

“YHLQMDLG” by Bad Bunny
Label: Rimas
Released: February 29, 2020

Possible Contenders

“Blame It on Baby” by DaBaby
Label: Interscope/Billion Dollar Baby
Released: April 17, 2020

“Born Here Live Here Die Here” by Luke Bryan
Label: Capitol Nashville/Row Crop
Released: August 7, 2020

“Circles” by Mac Miller
Label: Warner
Released: January 17, 2020

“Colores” by J Balvin
Label: Universal Latin
Released: March 19, 2020

“Gigaton” by Pearl Jam
Label: Monkeywrench/Republic
Released: March 27, 2020

“Heartache Medication” by Jon Pardi
Label: Capitol Nashville
Released: September 27, 2019

“Heartbreak Weather” by Niall Horan
Label: Neon Haze/Capitol/SBK
Released: March 13, 2020

“Jesus is King” by Kanye West
Label: GOOD/Def Jam
Released: October 25, 2019

“Legends Never Die” by Juice WRLD
Label: Grade A/Interscope
Released: July 10, 2020

“Music to Be Murdered By” by Eminem
Label: Shady/Aftermath/Interscope
Released: January 17, 2020

“The New Abnormal” by The Strokes
Label: Cult/RCA
Released: April 10, 2020

“Nightfall” by Little Big Town
Label: Capitol Nashville
Released: January 17, 2020

“Ocean” by Lady A
Label: BMLG
Released: November 15, 2019

“Over It” by Summer Walker
Label: LoveRenaissance/Interscope
Released: October 4, 2019

“Pray 4 Love” by Rod Wave
Label: Alamo Records
Released: April 3, 2020

“Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” by Pop Smoke
Label: Victor Victor/Republic
Released: July 3, 2020

“Smile” by Katy Perry
Label: Capitol
Released: August 28, 2020

“Southside” by Sam Hunt
Label: MCA Nashville
Released: April 3, 2020

“That’s How Rumors Get Started” by Margo Price
Label: Loma Vista Recordings
Released: July 10, 2020

Untitled by Sam Smith
Label: Capitol
Released: 2020

“Your Life is a Record” by Brandy Clark
Label: Warner
Released: March 6, 2020

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