By Maura O’Malley
Which album rocked 2017? We’re about to find out as music’s biggest night is right around the corner.
The list of nominees for Best Rock Album at the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards features some of music’s brightest young stars. Specifically, Mastodon, Metallica, Nothing More, Queens of the Stone Age, and The War on Drugs are all in the running to take home the category’s GRAMMY. In order to qualify under the Best Rock Album category, more than half (at least 51%) of an album’s playing time must be dedicated to “new rock, hard rock, or metal recordings.”
Below, explore each record that’s up for a Best Rock Album GRAMMY!
Emperor of Sand – Mastodon
Rolling Stone ranked Emperor of Sand #4 on its list of the 20 Best Metal Albums of 2017, and not only is it up for Best Rock Album but its track “Sultan’s Curse” is up for Best Metal Performance. The record is a metaphor for cancer and the trail of destruction it leaves behind, giving the album an emotionally raw finish. Mastodon previously mentioned that vocal improvement was a huge focus in creating their 7th LP, and hard work clearly pays off, as the band now has 2 chances to take home a GRAMMY.
Hardwired… To Self-Destruct – Metallica
By the summer of 2017, Metallica’s 10th studio album, Hardwired… To Self-Destruct, had already sold over 1 million copies in the US. If Metallica were trying to capture the grit of their early years, they succeeded. Rolling Stone ranked it #1 on its list of the 20 Best Metal Albums of 2016. And while the band already won 8 GRAMMYs, they have a shot at winning two more: in this category and Best Rock Song (“Atlas, Rise!”).
The Stories We Tell Ourselves – Nothing More
Texas rockers Nothing More put together an album that can’t be categorized—with each new track on the album comes a completely different sound. “Just Say When,” the soft, acoustic ballad, finds itself on the same album as heavy tracks like “The Great Divorce,” and it works, giving the band their first GRAMMY nomination—for Best Rock Album, Best Rock Song, and Best Rock Performance for the track “Go To War.”
Villains – Queens of the Stone Age
Queens of the Stone Age’s 7th album, Villains, is the one to earn them their 7th GRAMMY nom. The band enlisted top-40 producer Mark Ronson for the album’s production, leaving many longtime fans scratching their heads. Still, the album delivers, oozing both old-school QOTSA and experimentation, as seen on songs like “The Way You Used to Do,” which frontman Josh Homme has unabashedly called a dance track. And besides, doesn’t that we-don’t-care-what-you-think attitude define the band?
A Deeper Understanding – The War On Drugs
A Deeper Understanding marks The War on Drugs’ first GRAMMY nom (and first album released on a major label [Atlantic]). The album’s got elements of classic rock blended with a dreamy sound that’s ahead of its time, and it works in all the right ways.
The 2018 GRAMMY Awards will broadcast live from New York City’s Madison Square Garden at 7:30 PM ET on CBS Sunday, January 28.