There are more than 83 categories at the 58th annual Grammy Awards, so it would be understandable if fans were a little confused. Song of the Year, Album of the Year, Record of the Year — are they not all the same thing? If you plan on being one of the many millions of Grammy Awards viewers, you might need some clarification. Fear not! We will make sense of all the category crossover chaos.
At first glance, Song and Record of the year can look like the same category. However, though both award individual songs, only two songs, Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" and Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud," are nominated in both categories. That is because, well, there is a difference!
Song of the Year honors the songwriter and is judged only on the composition of the song. Record of the Year, on the other hand, awards the producers and, thus, the track as a whole, factoring in the vocal performance, production and instrumentation. This explains why blockbuster hits with lush production like Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars' "Uptown Funk" and The Weeknd's "Can't Feel My Face" can be nominated for Record of the Year, but are left out of the Song of the Year nominees. Meanwhile, the relatively spare, but sharply written "Girl Crush," from Little Big Town qualified for Song of the Year, but not record of the year.
Now, colloquially people use the term “record” to refer to an album, the same way people use the terms "movie" and "film" interchangeably. The Grammys do not. For the Grammys' purposes, the word "record" only denotes one song. "Album" signifies a compilation of new material, as in the Album of the Year category. This year, The Alabama Shakes, Kendrick Lamar, Chris Stapleton, Taylor Swift and The Weeknd all received nods in this category.
Do the the confusing awards descriptions make a little more sense now? The 58th annual Grammy Awards will air live on CBS Sunday at 8 p.m. EST.