Last week she served up a song from the Grease soundtrack the very day Fox aired its live performance of Grease. And this week, in the middle of my Pazz & Jop rundown, the Saturday selection is the opening track of Liz Phair’s 1993 album Exile in Guyville, which topped that year’s poll.
Carly Rae Jepsen shows up at #11 in the Pazz & Jop poll with ‘Run Away With Me,’ the song I had at #10 on my own year-end list.
In the twelfth spot is a track by Grimes, the Canadian indie artist. This is the sort of choice that was typical of a list like this one a decade or so back, when alternative and indie artists were the critics darlings and hip-hop didn’t get much respect.
Fetty Wap comes in at #7 with ‘Trap Queen,’ another song and artist that I simply don’t get. At #8 is ‘Uptown Funk,’ which is officially a 2014 song but received enough votes for its early year run that it still made the list. And tied for #9 is Adele with her smash hit ‘Hello,’ one of the only songs in the top ten that doesn’t have a target audience of high schoolers.
Though Kendrick Lamar dominated this year’s Pazz & Jop poll, the runner-up didn’t fare too badly. Courtney Barnett’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, Sometimes I Just Sit came in second on the list of top albums and garnered enough votes to take first place in most non-Kendrick Lamar years.
The Weeknd’s ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ takes the #3 spot in Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll. No argument there. I had it at #4 on my own list.
At #4 is another track from Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. This one is ‘Alright,’ a song that became an unofficial anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement, as it touches on the issue of police shooting black men.
The song has a Do the Right Thing vibe, both because of its subject matter and the use of horns juxtaposed with hip-hop beats.
Each year, the Village Voice asks nearly 500 music critics to list their ten favorite albums and singles and all of that data is crunched to arrive at a consensus master list, known as the Pazz & Jop poll.
I’ve covered the top vote-getters for a few years now, and for the next two weeks I’ll once again feature the singles that topped the poll.
Grease is primarily about the unlikely romance between greaser Danny Zuko and good girl Sandy Olsson, but I always found more emotional resonance in the sub-plot concerning the rebellious Rizzo, played by Stockard Channing.
Rizzo provides comic relief but also has a pregnancy scare that complicates her relationship with Kenickie, and in one of the film’s most touching scenes (embedded below) she gives us a rare glimpse of her vulnerability.