Photo of Foo Fighters, courtesy artist


It's Sept. 1, meaning there are only 30 days left for artists to release music eligible for the 2016 Grammys.

Next year's nominees will consist of recordings and albums released between Oct. 1, 2014, and Sept. 30, 2015, suggesting it's likely most of the would-be contenders have already reached the public. So who's in the running?

We've examined some of the past year's worthy projects for a very preliminary outlook of possible nominees. (Note: These are not our official predictions for nominations by category, which we typically reveal later in the fall.)

Photo of Taylor Swift by Christopher Polk/Getty

Taylor Swift's 1989, which arrived last October, is going to be a behemoth in this year's race. After 43 weeks, the album is still No. 7 on the Billboard 200 album chart and it's produced multiple No. 1 hits, most recently "Bad Blood," featuring Kendrick Lamar. Expect Swift to dominate when the nominations are revealed in December.

Another strong title will be Foo Fighters' Sonic Highways, which released last November, but will certainly have its sights set on the Best Rock Album and Album of the Year categories. Hot on its heels, however, will be Mumford & Sons' electric Wilder Mind. And given how much the Recording Academy loves both acts, it's hard not to see them nabbing multiple nominations.

It's also safe to assume Lamar's own To Pimp a Butterfly, one of the most acclaimed LPs of the year thus far, has been a frontrunner for a nod for Best Rap Album and possibly Album of the Year since its release in March.

Photo of Kendrick Lamar by Brad Barket

Speaking of the Best Rap Album field, it's going to be another tight and heavily watched competition, with Drake's platinum-selling If You're Reading This It's Too Late certainly in the running for a nomination, along with Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment's Surf, A$AP Rocky's At.Long.Last.A$AP, Future's Dirty Sprite 2, Big Sean's Dark Sky Paradise, Wale's The Album About Nothing and Dr. Dre's Compton: A Soundtrack by Dr. Dre, which will be hard to ignore.

Additionally, three 2014 albums should be in the mix: J. Cole's very worthy 2014 Forest Hills Drive, Run the Jewels' Run the Jewels 2 (Variance's 2014 Album of the Year) and Azealia Banks' debut Broke with Expensive Taste. There's also the possibility of a surprise release from Kanye West, which could certainly shake things up in an already crowded race.

The Weeknd's newly released Beauty Behind the Madness will also likely be on many voters' shortlist, as will Tame Impala's Currents, Florence + the Machine's How Big How Blue How Beautiful and Alabama Shakes' Sound & Color. We'd also like to see Carly Rae Jepsen's E•MO•TION, by far one of the best pop records of the past year, performing strongly come nomination time.


Photo of Tinashe performing at El Rey in Los Angeles, by Theonepointeight

Newcomers such as Leon Bridges (Coming Home), Hozier (Hozier), Sam Hunt (Montevallo), Courtney Barnett (Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit), Dillon Francis (Money Sucks, Friends Rule) and Tinashe (Aquarius) may also see their debut records faring well, as could The xx's Jamie xx, whose debut album In Colour has received plenty of praise.

With only weeks to go in the eligibility period, new albums from Lana Del Rey (Honeymoon), Disclosure (Caracal), CHVRCHES (Every Open Eye), Gary Clark Jr. (The Story of Sonny Boy Slim) and Mac Miller (GO:OD AM) are some of the LPs scheduled to arrive this month which could attract the attention of the Recording Academy, but it will be very close, considering the amount of great material already released this year.

Photo of Father John Misty performing on 'Late Night,' by Lloyd Bishop

Other such candidates may include: Father John Misty's I Love You, Honeybear; Björk's Vulnicura; Young Fathers' White Men Are Black Men Too; Kacey Musgraves' Pageant Material; Jason Isbell's Something More Than Free; Blur's The Magic Whip; Lianne La Havas' Blood; Ashley Monroe's The Blade; My Morning Jacket's The Waterfall; The Decemberists' What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World; Best Coast's California Nights; Madonna's Rebel Heart; Death Cab For Cutie's Kintsugi; Brandon Flowers' The Desired Effect; Modest Mouse's Strangers to Ourselves; and Mark Ronson's Uptown Special.

Of the 2014 albums which may sneak in to the running, there's D'Angelo's Black Messiah; Cold War Kids' Hold My Home; Little Big Town's Pain Killer; AC/DC's Rock or Bust; Flying Lotus' You're Dead!; Caribou's Our Love; Jessie Ware's Tough Love; Weezer's Everything Will Be Alright in the End; Mary J. Blige's The London Sessions; and Nicki Minaj's The Pinkprint, which could be the 13th album fighting for a spot in a six-way race for Best Rap Album.

While it's still extremely early to predict the actual nominees by category, the aforementioned titles are simply some of the possible contenders. A lot can happen over the next few months as the final nominations are selected, but with only a few more days to release Grammy-chasing music in time for the 2016 race, it's safe to say you've already heard from most of the candidates.

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