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Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift should lead Grammy wins

Alex Gaines ’25
The 66th Grammy Awards will take place Feb. 4, 2024, with artists such as Taylor Swift and SZA sweeping the nominations.

Nominations for the 66th annual Grammy awards, which celebrate the biggest names and work in the music industry over the past year, were announced on Nov. 10. While every nominee has displayed clear musical talent, only one from each category can get the award. Here are my picks for who deserves – and who will most likely actually win – some of the biggest categories.


Album of the Year

Who Should Win: SZA’s “SOS” or Lana Del Rey’s “Did You Know That There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.” The Recording Academy awards the Album of the Year award with criteria based on artistic achievement and technical proficiency, and they apparently do not take sales or chart positions into consideration. While my first thought immediately went to Taylor Swift’s “Midnights,” there’s something a lot more cohesive and fulfilling about “SOS” and “Ocean Blvd” that make me think one of them deserves the honor more. Both albums feel like a singular body of work, with each having an overarching theme: “SOS” is an album jam-packed with songs about feelings of isolation and loneliness, and “Ocean Blvd” explores Lana’s grapplings with death and spirituality, even featuring an audio recording of a sermon from Pastor Judah Smith. If I had to pick one of the two, Lana’s album truly feels like a perfectly concise collection of songs in completely varied styles that still somehow all connect to each other, and her absolutely stunning vocals carry the listener through all 16 tracks.


Who Will Win: “Midnights.” Even though the Recording Academy doesn’t take sales and charts into consideration, the astronomical impact of the newest Taylor Swift album is too remarkable to ignore. “Midnights” contains some of Swift’s most personal and vulnerable writing yet in songs like “Midnight Rain,” and John Mayer hate anthem “Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve.” With every song in Swift’s 10th album being produced by Producer of the Year nominee Jack Antonoff, each song fits within the same style of bass-boosted synths and echoey samples that truly surround and encase the listener, transporting them to the feelings of Swift’s “sleepless nights” that the album revolves around.

“Did you know a singer can still be looking like a sidepiece at thirty-three?” Lana sings, describing her relationship with the public as an artist whose career is mainly built upon her songs about reckless love and heartbreak.

— Alex Gaines '25


Best New Artist

Who Should Win: Noah Kahan. Currently, the category is under fire for having not-exactly-new artists, such as Kahan, who’s been making music since 2018. However, 2022 was his breakout year, with the title track of his 3rd album “Stick Season” going viral on TikTok and hitting #31 on the Billboard Hot 100 at its peak. Kahan recently announced another tour stretching through August 2024 and has been releasing versions of the new album’s tracks featuring artists like Hozier, Post Malone, and fellow Best New Artist nominee Gracie Abrams. Kahan’s extremely relatable songwriting, where he often discusses his own mental health issues, is incredibly popular and necessary for the current generation of teenagers and young adults, where mental health is more talked about and normalized than ever.

Who Will Win: Ice Spice. After hits like “In Ha Mood” and “Boy’s a liar Pt. 2” skyrocketing in popularity, mostly thanks to social media, Ice Spice has become an “icon” to the fullest sense of the word. Her signature orange hair has created a brand instantly recognizable, getting taken under the wing of stars as big as Taylor Swift. Ice Spice and Swift released a remix of one of Swift’s biggest hits this year, “Karma,” which is also nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance this year. Ice Spice’s cultural impact on music this year cannot be understated.


Song of the Year

Who Should & Will Win: Lana Del Rey’s “A&W.” As the second single on my top pick for Album of the Year, this song is absolutely stunning from start to finish, which is a big deal considering the start and finish of the seven-minute-long track are completely different: the song starts off as a gorgeous piano ballad where Lana reminisces on her innocent childhood, and the reader grows up with her lyricism as she reflects on her experiences as an “American Whore” and her hopelessness in finding true love in a world lacking in it. Throughout the track, the song does a complete transition into a trap beat.The song signifies a theme of self-destruction that Lana has echoed throughout her entire discography, but this song is so notable in that the musical style of the song itself evolves with what Lana is singing about.

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About the Contributor
Alex Gaines ’25
Alex Gaines ’25, Creative Director
Creative Director Alex Gaines ’25 is no stranger to the newsroom. Gaines became intrigued by journalism at Ursus, where she was in awe at the complex layouts Inklings produced. “I used to always compare our papers to the Inklings papers,” Gaines said. “I remember being intrigued by the layouts, which I think drew me to the creative director position.” Though being creative director is a full time job, Gaines still finds time to pursue her other ambitions. “I took a class at UCLA on marketing,” Gaines said. “It was super interesting because I definitely want to pursue something in business.”  

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