When I saw that my final blog entry on the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll was to be a rap song by YG (feat. Nipsey Hussle), I was bummed. I’ve seen enough of these generic party anthems held up as great art.
But then I read that the song’s title ‘FDT,’ stands for “Fuck Donald Trump” and I realized, regardless of the song’s quality, we couldn’t have a finer closing song for this series.
I featured an Angel Olsen song on the blog back in March of 2014 and didn’t give her another thought until she showed up on this year’s Pazz & Jop poll at #12 on the albums list and #13 on the singles list.
Olsen is a St. Louis-born singer-songwriter who reminds me a bit of Courtney Barnett. 2016’s My Woman is her fourth full-length release.
If ever a band was made for year-end critics lists, it’s Radiohead. They’ve been releasing albums full of bleeps and bloops to high praise for more than a decade now.
I really loved the Radiohead of The Bends and OK Computer but their appeal pretty much ended for me there (though parts of In Rainbows were listenable). After a five year hiatus, the band released A Moon Shaped Pool last year to (shocked) critical acclaim. It landed at #7 on the Village Voice Pazz & Jop albums poll.
Tied for the ninth spot on Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll is Rihanna’s ‘Work,’ probably the least interesting song on her excellent album Anti. Anti shows up at #13 on the albums list.
Coming in at #11 is ‘No Problem’ by Chance the Rapper. His album, Coloring Book, was named the fourth best of the year. If this song is any indication, Chance the Rapper isn’t for me, although I’ve heard enough good things about him that maybe I should give him another chance.
David Bowie’s Blackstar topped the Village Voice 2016 Pazz & Jop album list, but he doesn’t show up until #8 on the singles list. To be fair, he shows up at #9 as well, with the album’s title track.
At #8 is ‘Lazarus,’ probably the best song on Blackstar, and given the added meaning it took on following Bowie’s death, probably worthy of a much higher spot on this list. Come on, Solange ain’t got nothing on Bowie.
The seventh best single of 2016, according to Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll, is the title track to Leonard Cohen’s final album, You Want It Darker.
As with David Bowie’s #1 spot on the album list, you have to figure Cohen shows up this high because he shook off this mortal coil. He’s a critical favorite anyway, but nothing invites praise like dying.
Tied for the fifth spot on Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll of the best 2016 singles is Mitski’s ‘Your Best American Girl.’ Mitski’s fourth studio album, Puberty 2, shows up at #15 on the albums list.
Who is Mitski, you ask? Well, I did, anyway. She is a half-Japanese, New York-based singer-songwriter. This track is about meeting an American man and realizing they aren’t compatible enough to stay together.