Beyoncé is up for six awards this year, but there's only one that truly matters: Album of the Year. She is the most nominated woman in Grammy history, but she's never won its biggest award — in fact, she's been passed up for the award twice before. Yet she has been the clear winner since Dec. 13, 2013, when she released her glorious self-titled masterpiece. And this year, Beyoncé will take the biggest award of the Grammys home. It's finally her time.
Beyoncé has always deserved it. Though her surprise album only marks her third nomination in the category (once as a featured guest on Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster), the singer is the most nominated woman in history, and the third most awarded. She was previously nominated for her album I Am...Sasha Fierce, but lost to Taylor Swift's Fearless. Sasha Fierce featured era-defining hits like "Halo" and "Single Ladies," but still didn't get the recognition it deserved. However, being passed over previously will help Beyoncé cement her chances come this Sunday. Historically, the industry has used the award as a sort of lifetime achievement nod to artists who have always deserved it but never won.
And Beyoncé has always deserved it. This year, nobody even comes close to her achievement.
This album was socially groundbreaking. The album was an unparalleled artistic and social achievement. Without a doubt, Beyoncé is the singer's best piece of work and the kind of bold artistic stand pop artists just don't take. Much of it was written in collaboration with Boots, a mysterious formerly homeless songwriter that Beyoncé discovered and made her muse. Their partnership made for her rawest, most personal work yet. Critics everywhere agreed almost unanimously that Beyoncé would go down in history as a great work of art. Though plenty of publications had already unveiled their "Best of 2013" lists by the time the superstar dropped her musical surprise on the world, a handful of important outlets immediately realized the power of the album, placing it as the No. 1 album of the year after only a few days.
It wasn't just an artistic success; the album made feminism the biggest story of music in 2014. While she's never been one to hide her body, this record saw the singer combine her femininity and sexuality, taking them both to new lengths without batting an eye or apologizing. She sampled the writings of world renowned feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ("***Flawless") and discussed giving her husband oral sex in the back of her limousine ("Partition") alongside songs about the joys of motherhood ("Blue"). Beyoncé's unvarnished take on feminism and womanhood paved the way for a historic 2014 — one that saw the longest ever all female Top 5 on the Billboard charts and body-positive hits like "All About That Bass."
The biggest stories of 2014 all started with this record.
It changed everything about album releases. This was a complete paradigm shift for the music industry. On top of being revered by all, her fifth CD completely changed the game of marketing in the music industry, and there is no looking back. The idea that a celebrity of her stature would be able to pull off an entire album release in secret — complete with 17 music videos and some of the biggest guest stars in the world — would have been considered laughable had anybody else proposed it, which made it the perfect opportunity for the singer to top herself.
Though she's a mega star, the strategy behind Beyoncé was still a risk. Her team poured millions of dollars into the project, and it could have been a complete flop. This was simply not how music was released, and the fact that her label, Columbia, allowed her to go this route is only a testament to how in control she is of her own career. It took an army to make this album, and somehow nobody made a peep throughout the entire thing. Once the title and cover appeared on iTunes, it spread across the Internet like wildfire, becoming the music event of the decade. The risk paid off — Beyoncé was an immediate best-seller, topping the Billboard charts and even breaking records on iTunes for how quickly the general public snatched it up. Since then, the album has sold 2 million (and counting) in the U.S. And people have been whispering about the Grammys since the day it was released.
Now the time has finally come. Beyoncé will finally get the recognition she deserves. Her fellow nominees — Sam Smith, Pharrell, Beck and Ed Sheeran — all had big years, but no one even comes close to having the kind of impact Mrs. Carter did. She couldn't be nominated for the Grammys in 2014, but she still opened the award show with a performance of "Drunk in Love." Now, a full year later, her record is ready to close another show down. And it's still the biggest story of the night.