Grammys review roundup

Charlie Bickel, staff writer

With the postponement of this year’s Grammys until April 3, due to Covid-19, I had the time to sit down and actually listen to each of the nominated songs beforehand. I made it my goal this year to listen through the nominees before the Las Vegas ceremony, and to present my picks for many of the genre’s single-song awards:


Best R&B Song

Choice: “Good Days” by SZA

I’ve heard nothing but good things about SZA for years, but, honestly, I hadn’t bothered to listen to her music until this year’s round of nominees came out. Big mistake. “Good Days” is one of those songs that’s chill and can be played in the background to just relax with, but also immersive, so you can also turn it up and just drown in it. The riff is beautiful, SZA’s voice sounds awesome, and the production is just so well done. This was an easy decision for me.


Best Rock Song

Choice: “The Bandit” by Kings of Leon

It’s been almost 20 years since Kings of Leon’s debut album was released back in 2003, and it seems like they’re still getting bigger. I’ve heard more about Kings Of Leon’s last two albums than I do about most of their old stuff combined. “The Bandit” is a great example of why. Newer pop rock is often the subject of ridicule, but Kings of Leon shows how to toe the line between catchiness and rock with this one.


Best Rap Song

Choice: “” by J.Cole (with 21 Savage and Morray)

This is classic J. Cole. All the elements of “m y . l i f e” work. The quick percussion over the soulful vocal sample works perfectly with J. Cole’s style and flow. Honestly, I rolled my eyes when I saw that 21 Savage was on this track. His ad libs may be overkill, but his verse is still better than expected. In a genre where hooks are often the weak point of songs, Morray’s hook is a masterclass on how to write a great rap chorus.


Song of the Year

Choice: “Driver’s License” by Olivia Rodrigo

Well, here it is! The song of the year. For most of the other categories, I tried to avoid focusing on the popularity of the song. I just picked what I liked. However, I think the nature of this category lends itself to picking the most important song, not just the best one. While I really liked “Kiss Me More’’ by Doja Cat, “Driver’s License” is the clear winner. It might not even be the most popular option, but Olivia Rodrigo’s rise to fame has been so representative of the pop music landscape that I felt obligated to pick her. Whether you like it or not, this trend of young artists writing songs for people their age is not going away.


Best Metal Performance

Choice: “Genesis” by Deftones

I have to be transparent here. I’m a massive Deftones fan, so I’m biased. While I wasn’t a huge fan of Ohms on the whole, “Genesis” is one of the highlights from the project. It’s cinematic, haunting, and perhaps the most dynamic out of all the options within this category. From tortured screams to buzzing synths and heavy guitars, there’s a lot to love about “Genesis”.