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

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.

About The Author

Mike McGonigal

Metro Times music editor Mike McGonigal has written about music since 1984, when he started the fanzine Chemical Imbalance at age sixteen with money saved from mowing lawns in Florida. He's since written for Spin, Pitchfork, the Village VOICE and Artforum. He's been a museum guard, a financial reporter, a bicycle...
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