Wednesday, February 11, 2004

OK, so Pazz & Jop. I am hating on the fact that I got no ballot, yeah, but I really did enjoy reading all the associated materials this morning. Every year it's like Christmas morning, this just happens to be one Christmas that I didn't get that dirt bike I wanted. I will stop bitching about this now, I promise.

My favorite album charted at #17, which is tight; that's about the best I could've hoped for. I'm a bit disappointed that Jay-Z didn't make the top ten - Shins better than Jay-Z? Really? Anyway, here's my thoughts on the top tens:

1. Speakerboxx/The Love Below: Pretty good and annoying, respectively. I really thought that backlash would push Elephant to #1. Do people really enjoy listening to The Love Below all the way through? It's not just an exercise in endurance? "Dracula's Wedding" is hot, though.

2. Elephant: Pretty good but not revelatory. I think it's interesting that Outkast and the White Stripes have been gaining momentum with records that just don't stand up to their creators' previous work. I don't think it's just hating or hipster sniffling to say that Speakerboxx/The Love Below can't fuck with Aquemini or that Elephant can't touch White Blood Cells. My overly harsh thoughts on Elephant are here.

3. Welcome Interstate Managers: Huh? Really? What exactly is the median age of P&J voters? I haven't heard this album, and no way am I going to buy it.

4. Hail to the Thief: I like this album OK. I don't listen to it very often, though. I don't know when or why exactly I stopped caring about Radiohead, but it happened.

5. Fever to Tell: I really like this album, and I'm glad it overcame haters to do so well. I'd say it's the best album I've heard in the top ten.

6. Chutes Too Narrow: I've been meaning to buy this, but it hasn't happened yet. No way is it the 6th best album of the year, though.

7. Electric Vision: See #6. One the one hand, "The Laws Have Changed" is a surprisingly great song. On the other hand, I haven't bought it just because I haven't really been in a mood to buy twee-ass indie rock. So far, this list is way heavy on twee-ass indie rock. Fever to Tell isn't twee, and Speakerboxx isn't indie rock, but everything else on the list (including The Love Below) is probably both.

8. Kish Kash: I wanted to like this record more than I did. I liked it, though.

9. Decoration Day: I've avoided this because I have absolutely zero interest in "southern rock". I really like "Outfit", though, so maybe I'm just quibbling.

10. Boy in Da Corner: Wow, the influence of ILM really must be growing. I like this album, and I'm glad it did so well. Is this the first time an import-only album made it into the P&J top ten? If so, righteous.

I'll talk about the singles list later, but a couple of quick things: upon the first couple of listens, I'm going to predict that College Dropout makes next year's top ten. Or my top ten, at least. It's probably too much to think it's beat the new Norah Jones on next week's Billboards, but I think it'll be strong competition. And it will sell five million copies. This album is like ice cream on a hot day, seriously.

Also, I enjoyed a lot of Christgau's year-end essay, but this part irked me to no end:

"Our rolls are larded with part-timers who buy many records and miss many more. And they're joined annually by newbies who learned to write from literary theorists and honed their opinionizing skills in the dog-eat-dog cenacles of college radio. These latter tend to festoon their ballots with arcane faves—mostly negligible song-crafters or art bands, or so I infer from artist-title-label, hearsay, and their more familiar choices. But most voters still like songs..."

Fuck you very much, Christgau. I didn't get a chance to lard up the rolls, but that didn't stop me from feeling personally insulted. I'm part-time, I buy records, I learned a lot from lit theory and working college radio, and I like songs. You don't. I've read your Consumer Guides; you like world-music reissues and the first Canibus album. Your old ass can fuck right off and let Chuck Eddy do the essay next year; he does all the work these days anyway.