How Did D.C. Critics Vote in Pazz and Jop?
So you've been sick of reading about the best albums of 2010 for several weeks now: That means it's time for Pazz and Jop! The Village Voice's annual mega/meta-list of the year's best albums and singles is now online and, the winners are...well, you know who won. Albums: It's the guy who won every list. Singles: It's the song with the expletive. The only surprise among the top 20 albums is that critics are still finding reasons to give a shit about New York snooze-inducers The National.
Actually, I really love reading through Pazz and Jop every year, especially because the Voice posts every critic's ballot. And that includes ballots from D.C. critics. So what did they dig this year?
Washington City Paper's critics—not all of whom live in D.C., mind you—barely overlapped, although two (Steve Kiviat and Ben Westhoff) agreed with the big list, giving Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy top billing (Kiviat gave his other nine picks the same amount of points, though). Michael J. West's No. 1 was Christian Scott's Yesterday You Said Tomorrow; Brent Burton picked Jasmine, by Keith Jarrett/Charlie Haden; Jason Cherkis picked Beach House's Teen Dream; Marc Hirsh picked Kate Nash's My Best Friend Is You; Andrew Noz picked Lil B's 6 Kiss; Nick Green picked Galactic's Ya-Ka-May; and Geoffrey Himes, like Kiviat, awarded every album on his list equal points (true gent, that guy).
What about other critics from D.C. and nearby? Glad you asked. Here are their ballots: Joe Colly, Mark Jenkins, David Malitz, Brandon Soderberg, Sarah Ventre, Stephen Thompson, Marc Masters, Mehan Jayasuriya, Linday Zoladz. I'm probably leaving someone out.
As for D.C. artists: Title Tracks' It Was Easy got a few votes, and Cherkis voted for Medications' Completely Removed. Northern Virginia doom metal trio Salome clocked in at No. 582. D.C. expats Ted Leo and Mynabirds charted at No. 68 and No. 110, respectively. Also, probably some other stuff, but I'm not going to read through the entire 1,844-item list.
However, these data nerds have made Pazz and Jop a bit more browsable, and come up with a bunch of cool metrics and modified lists. One metric is "hipness," the percentage of an album's votes that came from critics that chose to vote for singles, as opposed to critics that didn't, who "tend to be old and grouchy." Or jazz critics, I'd add. One really cool feature: "A World Without Kanye," for which all ballots that voted for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy were discarded, resulting in Album of the Year status for Pantha Du Prince. Cool.