Here are nine titles that have a pretty good chance of earning a slot, though these are by no means the only albums worthy of the distinction.
Adele – 25
There is practically zero chance that Adele won’t be nominated for the industry’s top prize for a second time in a row, and there’s a pretty good chance she’ll win it yet again. 25 was the best-selling album of 2015 by a wide margin, despite the fact that it was released very late in the year, and it was one of the most critically beloved as well. The “Hello” singer has everything going for her, and she’s a guaranteed thing.
Beyoncé – Lemonade
Of all the people who could be up for this prize, the only other person we can count on is Beyoncé. The R&B/pop star’s latest albumLemonade made enormous waves and was loved by everybody who heard it, and it is one of two sure nominees this coming year. If, and when, she is nominated, it will be Bey’s fourth time in the category.
Bon Iver – 22, A Million
Thanks to its last-minute eligibility grab, alternative act Bon Iver could wind up a nominee in this field for the first time. The group disappeared for a while after collecting both the Best New Artist and Best Alternative Music Album Grammys a few years back, and they’ve returned better than ever. With nominations in three of the four major verticals already to their credit, one for AOTY wouldn’t be too strange.
Chance The Rapper – Coloring Book
The Recording Academy is absolutely gearing up for Chance to have a big year, and that could include a nomination for the biggest trophy. The organization changed its rules earlier this year to allow titles that were only made available via streaming platforms, an alteration that many believe was inspired by Chance’s Coloring Book, which became the first album to make it into the top 10 on the Billboard 200 based entirely on streams.
Drake – Views
Views isn’t the best Drake album when looking at the reviews, but the album is simply too massive to ignore. The title blasted in at No. 1 with more than one million units shifted in its first week, and since then it has run the show for 13 nonconsecutive weeks, easily making it thebiggest title of the year. The record has also launched two massive singles—“One Dance” and “Hotline Bling”—which everybody still remembers.
David Bowie – Blackstar
Blackstar is certainly a good album, but it’s really the timing and the story that make Bowie’s final record so plausible as a nominee. The title was released just days before the legendary musician passed away, which spurred it to the top of the charts, marking his first turn at No. 1here in the States. Bowie has only won a single Grammy in his career, so voters are sure to try and rectify that this time around.
Kanye West – The Life Of Pablo
A Kanye nomination probably isn’t in the cards this time around, though it is possible. The boastful star’s latest album The Life Of Pablowas received fairly well upon its somewhat messy release earlier in the year, though it won’t go down as one of his best efforts. Kanye is a favorite in this category, having been up for the biggest award five times, though he’s never won.
Paul Simon – Stranger To Stranger
Amidst a crowd of mostly young stars, it would be great to see a time-tested star be nominated as well, and Paul Simon could be just that person. His latest solo record was a commercial and critical success, and Grammy voters, who typically skew older, might have a hard time not giving a nod to one of their all-time favorites.
Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool
One of the weirdest acts out there, Radiohead are also almost guaranteed Grammy nominations every time they emerge with new music. The alternative duo has been up for this prize three times previously, though they’ve never won, and they may have to suffer through another loss if they’re nominated this year.