Leading up to the Grammy nominations on Nov. 10, Rolling Stone is breaking down 16 different categories. For each, we’re predicting the nominees, as well as who will (and who should) win on Grammy night.
The Foo Fighters are Grammy catnip, especially given Dave Grohl’s eager participation in the festivities. They’ve been nominated 31 times and won 15 awards, including a record five times for Best Rock Record. While they did win it as recently as 2022 for Medicine at Midnight, the emotional heft of But Here We Are makes it likely they’ll take home the statue again. “It’s a very strong album with experimental, deep cuts and deals with complex feelings of grief,” says SiriusXM DJ Justin Kade, “which a lot of people can relate to.” That said, Metallica has never won in this category despite receiving nominations for their past two records. “I think it’ll go to Metallica,” says Jason Squires, program director of KFRR in Fresno, California. “It’s their time. When you think rock, you think Metallica.” Never forget, though, that this is the Grammys, where Bonnie Raitt won Song of the Year last year over more culturally defining hits from Lizzo, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, and Harry Styles. Joni Mitchell’s comeback story is truly amazing, and there are many older voters who likely will resonate with her health struggles and draw inspiration from her return to the stage. If the guitar-rock vote splits between the Foos and RHCP, look for Mitchell to take this prize.
But Here We Are
When Dave Grohl lost both drummer Taylor Hawkins and his mother in the same year he poured his grief into But Here We Are. Leadoff single “Rescued” (“I’m just waiting to be rescued, bring me back to life”) sets the tone for the album, which culminates in the funereal lament of “Rest.” It’s an intense journey, and also the most focused Foo Fighters record in years. “They got back to doing what they do best,” says Squires. “Big old fat rock songs with big old fat choruses.”
This album is the sound of four confident men with nothing left to prove and lots of long, dark, brooding songs to share. It ends with the more than 11-minute “Inamorata,” which stands with the mightiest epics in the band’s catalog. “These guys don’t fuck around,” says Kade. “This is a back-to-basics record that goes back to the Black Album. They just sound like the best version of themselves.”
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Return of the Dream Canteen
When guitarist John Frusciante returned to the Red Hot Chili Peppers after a 10-year absence, the band created way too many songs to fit on 2022’s Unlimited Love. They returned just six months later with Return of the Dream Canteen. Produced by longtime collaborator Rick Rubin, the album leans deeper into the funk and sublime weirdness that made the Chili Peppers one of the biggest bands of their era. They haven’t been nominated for a Grammy since 2012, so these back-to-back albums may make them due. “They’ll probably be nominated for this one,” says Kade.
This Is Why
Almost 20 years into their career, Paramore returned from a five-year hiatus as elder statesmen focused much more on reviving the sounds of post-punk and alt-rock than anything from the days of “Misery Business.” Hayley Williams is writing lyrics that her original fans find quite relatable as they grow into their thirties and forties. “In a single year, I’ve aged one hundred,” she sings on “C’est Comme Ça.” “My social life, a chiropractic appointment.” “That’s one of my favorite albums of the year,” says Squires. “Who would have thought a band I saw play Warped Tour and some smaller places can now go play arenas all these years later? But they went away for a while, and absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
Joni Mitchell at Newport
Bob Dylan’s 1965 electric set will forever stand as the most surprising moment in the history of the Newport Folk Festival. But the second-most surprising moment took place 57 years later, when Joni Mitchell came out for an unannounced “Joni Jam” with Brandi Carlile, Marcus Mumford, Wynonna Judd, Taylor Goldsmith, and a troupe of others offering loving support. It was her first time playing in public since a brain aneurysm in 2015, and her first full concert set since 2000. Mitchell, at 77, delivered a performance no one was sure they’d ever see again, offering readings of classics such as “Both Sides Now” and “Big Yellow Taxi” informed by the wisdom and struggles of age. “That album definitely deserves recognition,” says Kade. “If anyone would nominate it, it’s the Grammys, since they always go a little deeper.”
This story is adapted from Rolling Stone’s fourth annual Grammy Preview issue, released ahead of the start of first-round voting on Oct. 13th. We featured SZA on the cover, spoke to some of the year’s biggest artists about the albums and singles that could earn them a statue come February, made our best predictions for the nominees in the top categories, and more, providing a full guide to what to watch for in the lead-up to the 2024 awards.