Wednesday, August 22, 2007

People like lists, right? Please tell me people like lists.

Robert Christgau, the Dean of American Windbags, has every Village Voice "Pazz & Jop" critics' poll going back to '71 archived on his website. For no discernable reason, I went through each list and picked my own personal winner for each year from their album and singles lists. In many (i.e. most) cases, my own personal favorite didn't make the list so I had to make due with their choices.

For my own sanity's sake I didn't try to document every snub and absurdity, but I did notice:
- At no point during their 31-year career do The Fall appear to have made either the albums or singles list, yet the Mekons pop up regularly.
- The Go-Betweens were shut out, amazingly, until The Friends of Rachel Worth in 2000.
- Critics reeeeaally hate metal.
- They hated Pink Floyd almost as much.
- I think I've pinpointed 1994 as the year when mainstream pop singles crap out entirely and never recover. There seem to have been surprising numbers of choices in years previous.


1971: The Rolling Stones: Sticky Fingers
(Led Zeppelin IV finished last on their list @ #30, right below Delaney & Bonnie. Haterz.)
1972-73: No poll. Projected winners: Hot Tuna
1974: Big Star: Radio City
1975: Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks
1976: Ramones: Ramones
1977: Television: Marquee Moon
(Overrated, according to the spritely lad from Franz Ferdinand, who while explaining his reasons why here clearly illustrates why his band isn't built to last)
1978: Elvis Costello: This Year's Model
1979: Buzzcocks: Singles Going Steady
1980: The Clash: London Calling
(a controversial pick, I know. When are the tastemakers finally going to rediscover this obscure gem?!?)
1981: Mission of Burma: Signals, Calls & Marches EP
(winner should either be Black Flag - Damaged, or Minor Threat's first EP. Or Juice by Juice Newton)
1982: Flipper: Album/Generic Flipper
1983: REM: Murmur
1984: Minutemen: Double Nickels on the Dime
1985: Hüsker Dü: New Day Rising and Flip Your Wig
(oh yeah, ties are allowed, apparently)
1986: Beastie Boys: Licensed to Ill
(they manage to bounce a few Budweiser cans off the Smiths' heads)
1987: Prince: Sign "O" the Times
1988: Sonic Youth: Daydream Nation
(I know, God forbid someone shouldn’t pick “It Takes a Nation of Millions…” Also, the Pixies’ “Surfer Rosa” didn’t even make their list)
1989: Beastie Boys: Paul's Boutique
1990: Public Enemy: Fear of a Black Planet
(happy now?)
1991: U2: Achtung Baby
(Yes, I unreservedly love it. Bite me).
1992: Pavement: Slanted and Enchanted
(not even my favorite Pavement album - that would be CR, CR, while acknowledging Wowee Zowee might be the "best" - but my favorite of this list)
1993: PJ Harvey: Rid of Me
(winner should be Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang)
1994: Guided by Voices: Bee Thousand
1995: PJ Harvey: To Bring You My Love
1996: DJ Shadow: Endtroducing…
1997: Radiohead: OK Computer
(Yet another bold, divisive pick. Look, I'm not afraid of a little controversy! The point of this is to set tongues wagging).
1998: Neutral Milk Hotel: In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
1999: The Magnetic Fields: 69 Love Songs
A few of the following picks are not-so-emphatic:
2000: OutKast: Stankonia
2001: New Pornographers: Mass Romantic
2002: Neko Case: Blacklisted
2003: Cat Power: You Are Free
2004: Elliott Smith: From a Basement on the Hill
(winner should be Reigning Sound - Too Much Guitar)
2005: Sleater-Kinney: The Woods
2006: Scott Walker: The Drift


1979 - The Records: "Starry Eyes"
(I hate "My Sharona")
1980 - Joy Division: "Love Will Tear Us Apart"
1981 - Gang of Four: "To Hell With Poverty"
1982 - New Order: "Temptation"
1983 - Prince: "Little Red Corvette"
1984 - Prince: "Let's Go Crazy"/"Erotic City"
(mostly for the B-side)
1985 – Kate Bush: "Running Up That Hill"
(I'm sure Alan Partridge would agree w/ me)
1986 - Pet Shop Boys: "West End Girls"
(... and its 2007 descendant)
1987 - Public Enemy: "Bring the Noise"
1988 - Rob Base & D.J. E-Z Rock: "It Takes Two"
(provides the soundtrack to a summer of mayhem in David Simon's Homicide)
1989 - Public Enemy: "Fight the Power"
1990 - Deee-Lite: "Groove Is in the Heart"/"What Is Love"
1991 - Geto Boys: "Mind Playing Tricks on Me"
1992 - Cypress Hill: "How I Could Just Kill a Man"/"The Phuncky Feel One"
(the Suicidal Tendencies reference @ the end of HICJKM helps seal the deal)
1993 - Dr. Dre: "Nuthin' but a ‘G’ Thang"
aaand here's where the rot sets in:
1994 - Nine Inch Nails: "Closer"
(you can toss everything else they did in the garbage if you must, but this was like the goth/industrial/safely freaky/Skinemax "Nuthin' But a G Thang")
1995 - Elastica: "Three Girl Rhumba '95" (aka "Connection")
1996 - Blackstreet: "No Diggity"
("Common People" would've won if we were talking about William Shatner's version)
1997 – Yo La Tengo: "Autumn Sweater" (a really shitty list. Sleater-Kinney's "One More Hour" was my favorite song of this year)
1998 - Aaliyah: "Are You That Somebody"
1999 – N/A; an even worse list. I can't even pick a winner unless I go up my nose [sorry]! No hope; no hope....
2000 - OutKast: "B.O.B."
2001 - Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott: "Get Ur Freak On"
2002 – fucking Missy Elliott again: "Work It"
2003 - OutKast: "Hey Ya!"
(People were practically in shock that an awesome song could still become a ginormous hit by this point. I still maintain that they ripped me off though, as I was using the expression "Hey ya" years before this was released. Plus, I was sued by Rosa Parks before they were. No originality these days!)
2004 - Jay-Z: "99 Problems"
(might've been the 3rd best song on LL Cool J's Radio, but in 2004 it's single of the year)
2005 - Kelly Clarkson: "Since U Been Gone"
(on the level of an okay Pat Benatar song, but by 2005 standards it's practically runnin' s-hit)
2006 - Gnarls Barkley: "Crazy" (winner should be late-period Crazy Frog)

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