The seventh and eighth top songs on 2018’s Pazz & Jop poll have also been featured on the blog before, demonstrating exactly how firmly I have my finger on the pulse of the popular music landscape. Or that I have to post 365 songs each year so I’m bound to get it right once in awhile.
At #7 is Kacey Musgraves with ‘High Horse,’ the first single from her celebrated album Golden Hour. Golden Hour claimed the #1 spot on the poll’s album list, adding to a year of tremendous accolades for Musgraves’s third full-length release, culminating in the Album of the Year Grammy this past weekend. That album is certainly appreciated in my house.
The #6 song on this year’s Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll comes from Mitski’s album Be the Cowboy, which tied with Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy for #3 on the Top Albums list.
I have heard a lot of good things about Mitski, and this album in particular, but I regret to report that I just didn’t get it. I didn’t hear any memorable melodies, the production was unimpressive, and overall the whole thing just fell flat. But clearly it is striking a nerve for a lot of people, so this one might just be on me.
Over the last several years, I’ve featured songs from the top of Village Voice’s annual Pazz & Jop poll, which compiles the picks of hundreds of music critics into a master Top 100 Albums and Top 50 Singles.
Well, Village Voice closed up shop last year, first moving online only and then ceasing new content creation entirely. It looked like a sad end to a poll dating back to 1974 that gave a fascinating glimpse into the changing popular music landscape.
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.