Looking at this year's roster of the 2022 Record Of The Year nominees for the 2023 GRAMMY Award show, there's two stories to be told: superstar comebacks made a killing, and the new crop of stars are proving to be equally as powerful.
The past year has given us much-anticipated returns from titans like Adele, Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige, and even ABBA made a triumphant comeback after nearly 40 years. And while genre-melding mainstays Lizzo, Doja Cat and Brandi Carlile continued to crank out hits, Steve Lacy had a true breakthrough moment, and Harry Styles’ latest evolution solidified him as a pop icon.
Suffice to say, the race for Record of the Year — which is awarded to the artist and the producer(s), recording engineer(s) and/or mixer(s) and mastering engineer(s) — is going to be hotly contested at the 2023 GRAMMY Awards show. From Beyoncé's foray into dance music to Styles' unstoppable chart-topper, the winner is far from a sure thing.
Before tuning into the 2023 GRAMMYs on Feb. 5, 2023, get fully acquainted with this year's 2022 Record Of The Year nominees below.
The 2023 GRAMMY nominations are officially here. See the complete list of nominees across all 91 GRAMMY categories.
ABBA — "Don't Shut Me Down"
After almost four decades away from the limelight, Swedish pop royalty ABBA made a joyous return in 2021 with the dual single, "I Still Have Faith In You" and "Don't Shut Me Down." The latter opens with the ageless sound of Agnetha Fältskog's voice over gently plucked strings, evoking the opening swell of a Broadway musical. Then the disco guitars hit, and we're right back in ABBA's world.
"Don't Shut Me Down" helped usher in an unexpected next act for the beloved group, including a new album, Voyage, and a groundbreaking live show featuring their de-aged "digital avatars." As band member Björn Ulvaeus told The Guardian, their new music was written "absolutely trend-blind" to preserve its essential ABBA-ness. Luxuriating in the rich, open-hearted sound of "Don't Shut Me Down," you'd think no time had passed at all.
Adele — "Easy On Me"
Adele has built a highly decorated career on the gale-force strength of her emotions, and 'Easy On Me' is no exception. Released as the lead single from the British superstar's first album in six years, 30, "Easy On Me" taps into the pain of her divorce and its toll on her son.
Written as a plea for understanding from a mother to her child, the result is a rousing piano-led torch song as only Adele can make. With her emotions laid bare, "Easy On Me" set the stage for the 15-time GRAMMY winner's latest era.
"There's something hopeful about it, as well as sad," Adele told Radio 1 of her comeback ballad. "Obviously I bawled my eyes out when I was writing it and singing it." As ever, her toil was our gain.
Beyoncé — "BREAK MY SOUL"
Back in June, Beyoncé set the internet alight by casually updating her Instagram and Twitter bios with the message, "6. BREAK MY SOUL midnight ET." Fittingly for its late-night drop, "BREAK MY SOUL" saw the 28-time GRAMMY winner coming for house dance floors.
With a four-to-the-floor beat that references Robin S's classic "Show Me Love," Bey's banger also pulls in elements of hip-hop and bounce music to thrilling effect. Reteaming with Tricky Stewart and The-Dream — the co-producers on Bey’s Song Of The Year-winning smash "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" — the pop hitmaker skillfully paid homage to house music's Black queer roots in the context of a post-pandemic anthem.
Generous and bursting with life, "BREAK MY SOUL" provided the perfect entrance to Beyoncé's seventh album, Renaissance, which followed the next month with heavyweight club credentials.
Mary J Blige. — "Good Morning Gorgeous"
In the week before she took to the stage at the 2022 Super Bowl for over 100 million viewers, R&B icon Mary J. Blige seized the moment to release her 14th studio album, Good Morning Gorgeous. On the rousing title track, Blige moves past heartbreak to preach self-love above all else — a message embraced and amplified by fans on TikTok.
That silky, yet powerful voice — familiar from 2000s classics like "Family Affair" and "Be Without You" — is once again the centerpiece on "Good Morning Gorgeous," backed by warm bass and steadily strumming guitars. Blige co-produced the song with her frequent collaborator D'Mile and five-time GRAMMY winner H.E.R., the latter of whom considered the assignment a dream come true.
Ever honest in her music, Blige told "Good Morning America" she "had to learn how to love myself out of a negative place." Self-acceptance looks great on her.
Brandi Carlile featuring Lucius — "You and Me on the Rock"
After revisiting the past in her bestselling memoir, Broken Horses, Brandi Carlile returned to her pen and paper to conjure her seventh album, In These Silent Days. The album opens strikingly with Carlile's GRAMMY-nominated hit, "Right On Time," before easing into "You and Me on the Rock" — now, another GRAMMY-nominated single.
Deeply personal and quietly romantic, "You and Me on the Rock" reflects on the solid foundation of Carlile's home life with her wife, Catherine, and their two daughters. "Me out in my garden and you out on your walk/ Is all the distance this poor girl can take," the six-time GRAMMY winner sings to her love, evoking a scene of blissfully domestic groundedness.
Produced by folk and country lifers Dave Cobb and Shooter Jennings, "You and Me on the Rock" also features Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig of indie-pop group Lucius on backing vocals. As Carlile described it to Stereogum, "The song just felt really feminine to me."
Doja Cat — "Woman"
On her GRAMMY-nominated third album, Planet Her, Doja Cat invited listeners into a world entirely of her own creation. After seeing success with the album’s first three singles — the GRAMMY-winning SZA collab "Kiss Me More," the Weekend-featuring hit "You Right" and the top-10 jam "Need To Know" — Doja kept the momentum alive with "Woman."
To craft the song's distinctive Afrobeats-inspired sound, Doja turned to a brains trust of producers who are practiced in dancehall, reggae, pop and R&B: Crate Classics, Linden Jay, Aynzli Jones and Yeti Beats. For all the sleekness of the production, Doja holds center stage, stepping lithely between singing and rapping on the theme of female empowerment. Top it all off with her immaculately choreographed dancing in the song’s music video, and consider Doja Cat a triple threat.
Steve Lacy — "Bad Habit"
"You can't surprise a Gemini," Steve Lacy croons with breezy nonchalance on "Bad Habit," the second single from his 2022 album, Gemini Rights. That sentiment might be true, but even someone as effortlessly cool as Lacy was surprised by the runaway success of his breakout hit.
A laidback rumination on a could-have-been love affair, "Bad Habit" caught fire on TikTok before beginning its unlikely ascent to No. 1 on the Billboard Top 100, unseating the weeks-long reign of Harry Styles' "As It Was." (Now, the two meet again in this very category.)
With its loping guitar, funk synths and Lacy's never hurried vocals, "Bad Habit" isn't your typical chart hit. Before taking off on his own, Lacy honed his pared-back melodies and Prince-inspired hooks as part of alternative R&B group the Internet, as well as in collaboration with the likes of Solange and Kendrick Lamar. Those experiences all inform "Bad Habit" — but even Lacy admits that his newfound solo success "still doesn't feel real yet."
Kendrick Lamar — "The Heart Part 5"
Having secured his place in the hip-hop pantheon, Kendrick Lamar is not one to coast on reputation. On "The Heart Part 5" — a brilliantly dense rap masterclass released ahead of his fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers — Lamar sounds as urgent as ever. The "Heart" series of standalone releases began in 2010, with each signaling the start of a new era for the Compton rapper.
"The Heart Part 5" sees the 14-time GRAMMY winner lay out his state of the union over a restless beat that samples Marvin Gaye's "I Want You," helmed by production outfit Beach Noise. Flipping that song's sultry strut, Lamar raps in long, detailed verses about the challenges and contradictions of Black life, delivering diamond-cut lines like, "Desensitized, I vandalized pain." Accompanied by a video that uses deepfake technology to morph Lamar into Black celebrities, "The Heart Part 5" is a pure artistic statement that deepens on each listen.
Lizzo — "About Damn Time"
As Lizzo was nearing completion on her fourth album, Special, the three-time GRAMMY winner got the feeling something was missing. Eager to channel the uplifting confidence of her 2019 hit, "Good As Hell," Lizzo created "About Damn Time" — and found that positivity and then some.
Co-produced by Lizzo’s trusted producer Ricky Reed and hitmaking songwriter/producer Blake Slatkin, "About Damn Time" delivers an infectious disco-funk beat and a slew of instantly quotable (and very Lizzo-esque) lines. With a viral TikTok dance to boot, "About Damn Time" hit its stride as summer warmed up, and landed Lizzo her second No. 1 hit.
After the "major traumas and hard experiences" of recent years, Lizzo told Audacy she "wanted to write a song that allowed us to take a moment and celebrate our survival, and celebrate how far we've come." Mission accomplished.<em></em>
Harry Styles — "As It Was"
Harry Styles staked his claim on 2022 with the announcement of his third album, Harry's House, offering up "As It Was" as an early gift. The lead single rushes along with gleaming synth-pop melodies and an achingly catchy chorus, elevating the pop-rock sounds of Styles’ previous album, 2019’s Fine Line — and subsequently launching him into an even bigger superstar stratosphere.
From the moment of its release, "As It Was" went on an unstoppable run, becoming the longest-running U.S. No. 1 by a UK act on the Billboard Hot 100, with 15 weeks in the top spot. Ironically, "As It Was" is lyrically centered on loneliness, but its racing melody disguises the song as a feel-good hit — and that might just be what makes "As It Was" so special.
It also marks a big moment for Styles and his right-hand men, co-producers/co-writers Tyler Johnson and Kid Harpoon. "As It Was" earned Styles his first nominations for Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year, and Harry’s House notched his first Album Of The Year nod.
2023 GRAMMY Nominations: See The Complete Nominees List
The 2023 GRAMMYs, officially known as the 65th GRAMMY Awards, returns to Los Angeles' Crypto.com Arena on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, and will broadcast live on the CBS Television Network and stream live and on-demand on Paramount+ at 8-11:30 p.m. ET/5-8:30 p.m. PT.
The eligibility period for the 65th GRAMMY Awards is Friday, Oct. 1, 2021 – Friday, Sept. 30, 2022. All eligible awards entries must be released within this timeframe.
The Recording Academy and GRAMMY.com do not endorse any particular artist, submission or nominee over another. The results of the GRAMMY Awards, including winners and nominees, are solely dependent on the Recording Academy’s Voting Membership.