Friday, December 21. 2007
I sent my Pazz & Jop ballot to the Village Voice today. The new albums list:
The numbers divide up 100 points. I sent the same ballot into Idolator, but couldn't get their website interface to let me log in, and missed their early deadline (5PM EST) by less than an hour (i.e., 5PM my time). They use a different, less flexible point scheme. We'll see whether they count it.
I didn't offer a singles ballot. I don't think of music these days in terms of singles, and didn't make any notes on them (as I had in the past, but never consistently). Idolator asked for 5 reissues, so I offered:
This was impressionistic and does not match the ordering of my published lists. There are a lot of problems sorting out reissue lists. These just seemed more worthy of mention than, e.g., Howlin' Wolf, The Definitive Collection, which is exactly as great as you have every reason to expect it to be.
If there's a theme to this year's list it's that world beats are coming to America. Two of five (Youssou N'Dour, Papa Noel) are Africans doing African things, but three more are first world integrators (Manu Chao, Gogol Bordello, MIA), as much at home here as wherever there is. Making room on the list are drops from usual totals in jazz (three) and hip-hop (one). John Fogerty is the odd man out. I often have had a slot for a mainstream rock record, and he not only fills it, he is the very definition of classic rock. I seem to be in a very small minority in liking his record, but it sounded great from first play, and antiwar screeds get extra credit around here. Lots of jazz further down the list. Hip-hop, especially alt/underground, has been my main change of pace from jazz over the last few years, but the only others to have made my A-list so far are Buck 65 and So Called, if you count them.
Currently, the rest of the list, minus jazz and late 2006 and old stuff newly discovered, looks like this:
The asterisks denote records that I got from the library (*) or heard by streaming from Rhapsody (**). These tend to be exceptionally snap judgments, but are a bit more than educated guesses. The whole list is exceptionally volatile right now. I've spent most of this week scrounging through others' lists, trying to get a feel for what everyone else knows and/or thinks. I'm collecting a set of notes on everything I'm streaming, and will post them sooner or later.
In looking for year-end lists, I stumbled across a roundtable in Slate called "The Music Club": Jody Rosen, Ann Powers, and Robert Christgau. I found it because Christgau disclosed his "provisional" top 30 list. This is actually the third of nine pages, three each, but you can find your way around from there. Not many surprises on the list, although note that Lily Allen has risen from A- to the middle of the A pack. Only two records I hadn't heard about: Babyshambles and Soulja Boy.
His year-end conclusion is true for me as well: "But every year I keep hearing more wonderful stuff than I'll ever be able to fully access again, all re-articulating a democratic vitality that shakes me free of my staler habits without destroying the fabric of my daily life." Another quote struck my fancy:
He then goes down through his list. I imagine I could make much the same argument for my list, although in my case I suspect it has more to do with the subtext of the music.