Updated Jan. 5, 2021.
The 2021 GRAMMYs are just around the corner, and now the nominations are in for the coveted honor of Album Of The Year. While we'll have to wait until the 63rd GRAMMY Awards air on CBS on Sunday, March 14, to find out who will win, let's take a look at which albums have been nominated for one of the most anticipated GRAMMY Awards each year.
CHILOMBO - Jhené Aiko
Jhené Aiko's third studio album, inspired by Hawaii's landscape and traditional music, was released on March 6, 2020. Acting as executive producer, the GRAMMY-nominated performer teamed up with collaborators Fisticuffs and Lejkeys, who produced 18 of the album's tracks. Aiko also stacked the album with additional big-name collaborators, Nas, Ty Dolla Sign and Future, as well as John Legend, Miguel and H.E.R.
"At some point, I realized that a part of my purpose is to help people get through things," she recently told GRAMMY.com in an Up Close & Personal interview. "Now that I'm studying sound healing and know the importance of sound, I just feel like it's my responsibility as a musician to really take care of the sounds that I put into the music."
Black Pumas (Deluxe Edition) - Black Pumas
Nominated for Best New Artist at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards, the Austin-based psych-soul duo released their debut studio album in 2019 to critical acclaim. "Black Pumas are the answer to the exciting question of what it would sound like if Sam Cooke or Neil Young joined the Wu-Tang Clan," wrote the Guardian.
"...It feels good because it doesn't feel like we tried to cheat the system or anything," GRAMMY-winning guitarist/producer Adrian Quesada told GRAMMY.com last year about their first-time nominations. "There was legit just people out there that believed in what were doing. And if we weren't getting the GRAMMY nomination, we'd still be playing shows. And if we weren't playing shows, we'd be still recording in the studio. We'd be doing this no matter what, but it's pretty amazing."
Everyday Life - Coldplay
Seven-time GRAMMY-winning pop-rock headliners Coldplay released their eighth studio in November 2019. It featured a number of returning producers and collaborators with whom the band had previously worked, such as The Dream Team (Rik Simpson, Dan Green, Bill Rahko), Davide Rossi and Emily Lazar. "It's Coldplay's rangiest and deepest release by orders of magnitude, maybe even their best," Rolling Stone raved in their four-star review.
Djesse Vol. 3 - Jacob Collier
Four-time GRAMMY winner Jacob Collier released his fourth studio album in August 2020. Stacked with guests, Djesse Vol. 3 features Kimbra, Tank and the Bangas, Jessie Reyez, T-Pain, Daniel Caesar, Ty Dolly $ign, Tori Kelly and more.
"The thing about when I make music," the composer and arranger recently told GRAMMY.com, "is that a lot of the decisions that may feel quite technical are basically based in feelings. It's based on an emotional decision."
Women In Music Pt. III - HAIM
The L.A. sisters' highly anticipated third album dropped in summer 2020 to wide critical acclaim. Co-produced by Danielle Haim and longtime collaborators Ariel Rechtshaid and Rostam Batmanglij (formerly of Vampire Weekend), WIMPIII is Haim's favorite record to date. "For the first time, with this record, I don't think I'll ever get sick of it," Alana told GRAMMY.com earlier in the year. "We've always been confident but this is our third record, our third time around the sun if you will, and even thinking back to Days Are Gone (2013), we didn't know anything in the studio." Danielle agreed: "We knew the fundamentals of production when we first got into it, but now we know so much more.
Future Nostalgia - Dua Lipa
Released in March 2020, the Best New Artist GRAMMY winner's second studio album purposefully leaned all the way into an irresistible disco-pop vibe, featuring such writers and producers as Jeff Bhasker, Ian Kirkpatrick, Stuart Price and The Monsters & Strangerz.
"I wanted to do something that felt fresh and new, something that touched on a memory, something that always rings so true to me, especially in my childhood," Dua told GRAMMY.com earlier this summer about the album. "To be able to recreate that in a modern way was an absolute dream for me. I'm so happy that I stood by and honed in on that sound that I love. It makes me feel so good. I'm really proud of this record because I feel like I found my [footing] as an artist and as a songwriter. I really wrote things that I absolutely love. It's definitely a milestone for me in my career."
Hollywood's Bleeding - Post Malone
Released in the fall of 2019, the singer-rapper's third studio album features guest appearances from DaBaby, Future, Halsey, Meek Mill, Lil Baby, Ozzy Osbourne, Travis Scott, SZA, Swae Lee and Young Thug. Producers, meanwhile, included Andrew Watt, BloodPop, Brian Lee, Carter Lang, DJ Dahi, Emile Haynie, Frank Dukes and Malone himself. "Hollywood's Bleeding is immediately Post Malone's most listenable work and may well be the catchiest album you hear in 2019," Consequence of Sound wrote at the time of release.
Folklore - Taylor Swift
In July 2020, multi-GRAMMY winner and pop titan Taylor Swift surprise-dropped her eighth studio album, folklore. The announcement came with no advance singles or prior news around a 2020 album, in contrast to the four-month teasers and singles in the lead up to 2019's GRAMMY-nominated Lover.
"Before this year I probably would've overthought when to release this music at the 'perfect' time, but the times we're living in keep reminding me that nothing is guaranteed," Swift wrote in a social media post around releasing the low-key, stripped-down folklore, which featured production from Jack Antonoff and The National's Aaron Dessner. "My gut is telling me that if you make something you love, you should just put it out into the world. That's the side of uncertainty I can get on board with. Love you guys so much."