Join the Metro Times Press Club: Because no news is bad news.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The 'Pazz + Jop' poll is out today, and here is my own ballot, OK

Posted By on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 11:50 AM

It's Pazz + Jop time! This used to be the very biggest deal for rock critics, back when Robert Christgau was still employed by the Village VOICE and before certain editorial changes caused a lot of people to boycott the poll. For a spell, some other people did a different poll, but that effort lacked the backing and momentum necessary to create a real alternative. So, the VOICE still provides the closest thing to critical consensus one might find anywhere. I believe I voted in the poll myself the first year I wrote for the VOICE, back in 1988. 

According to the music critics of the world, then, the best records of last year are as follows:

1 D'Angelo, Black Messiah (RCA)
2 Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal)
3 The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian)
4 St. Vincent, St. Vincent (Loma Vista/Republic)
5 FKA Twigs, Lp1 (Young Turks)
6 Sturgill Simpson, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music (High Top Mountain)
7 Taylor Swift, 1989 (Big Machine)
8 Angel Olsen, Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar)
9 Spoon, They Want My Soul (Loma Vista)
10 Against Me!, Transgender Dysphoria Blues (Total Treble)

My own VOICE ballot is here, and there are no Taylor Swift or Spoon records on mine because I'm an old cranky weirdo who loves heady drone music, old school black gospel, in-the-red garage rock, whispering folk stuff and just basically any music that's primarily interested in delving right into ecstatic experience (hello, D'Angelo).

I am not an obscurantist, really! I like a great pop song, and listen to that stuff in the car radio every day. Some of my best friends are pop songs. My deal is simply that I don't place much premium on the idea that one music is more important than another just because a lot of other people like it, or don't. (This does not mean we will not cover very popular artists in my tenure as music editor here at the Metro Times! That's another thing entirely — just talking personal taste.)

I've gone ahead and listed my picks below with links to places you can hear the things, if you're so inclined.

1. Tom Carter, Numinal Entry (Halatern)
2. Tashi Wada, Duets (Saltern)
3. Myriam Gendron, Not So Deep as a Well (Feeding Tube)
4. Timmy Vulgar, Genetic Armageddon (American Tapes)
5. D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah (RCA)
6. Oren Ambarchi, Stacte Karaoke (Black Truffle
7. Rebel Kind, Today (Urinal Cake)
8. Various, Folk Music of the Sahel Volume 1: Niger (Sublime Frequencies)
9. Bob Dylan and the Band, Basement Tapes Complete (Deluxe Edition) (Legacy)
10. Velvet Underground, Velvet Underground 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition (Polydor)

The Metro Times list of best albums from last year, both nationally and locally, is here. It's an excellent list.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Best Things to Do In Detroit