Music tastemakers of a certain vintage still go crazy over The Village Voice‘s annual Pazz & Jop poll. The poll asks a who’s who of music critics for their favorites in music over the previous year. The results for 2010 were published recently, and Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy was voted the best album of 2010 by a landslide, receiving almost double the votes of the runner-up, LCD Soundsystem’s This is Happening. Yeezy then ran roughshod over the singles list as well, placing three songs in the Top 10 (at numbers 4, 5 and 6). The best single tally unsurprisingly favored Cee-Lo Green, whose delightfully vulgar “Fuck You” triumphed convincingly over the likes of Janelle Monae (whose “Tightrope” finished at #2) and Robyn (whose “Dancing on My Own” claimed the #3 position).
Kanye’s #1 finish marks the third time an album of his has been voted the best of the year it was released by the P&J poll contributors. His debut, The College Dropout, was voted the #1 album of 2005, and the follow-up, Late Registration, finished tops in 2006. Somewhat amazingly, all five of Kanye’s studio albums have finished in the Top 10 on a year-end Pazz n Jop list.
The rest of the top ten is pretty equally split between indie faves who are still kind of under the radar (Beach House, The National, Sleigh Bells), indie faves who have broken through to the mainstream (Vampire Weekend, The Arcade Fire & The Black Keys), a modern R&B diva with classic influences (Janelle Monae) and a veteran rapper (Big Boi). Fans of commercial pop music probably won’t find anything to crow about-the only album in the Top 50 that’s sold over a million copies so far is Taylor Swift’s Speak Now (#26), but I was pleasantly surprised to see many of my favorite albums of the year finish in the upper portion of the chart, including Robyn (#13), The Roots (#18), Cee-Lo (#21), Erykah Badu (#23), Drake (#24), Spoon (#28-an album I should’ve placed in my Top 40 but didn’t) and Gil Scott-Heron (#47). Of course, there are also a handful of albums that were critically adored that I just didn’t “get”. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the appeal of LCD Soundsystem, and I’m equally flummoxed by the appearances made by M.I.A.’s latest (#31) and Rick Ross’s Teflon Don (#34). Meanwhile, the fact that both Ke$ha and Waka Flocka Flame made appearances in the Top 100 makes my stomach turn. But hell, the purpose of lists like this is to give people something to argue about. If everyone liked the same things, the world would be a lot less interesting place, right?
If nothing else, the Pazz n Jop list gives me a chance to review the music made in the past year, reminds me of some albums I may have missed (or not paid attention to), and gives me a chance to crow about how dope Kanye is yet again.
You can view the albums and singles lists, view the list of critics that participated, and look at 2009 and 2008’s lists here.
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