How’d D.C. Do in Pazz + Jop?
The results of The Village Voice's annual Pazz + Jop poll—aka the annual compendium of critical opinion that, given that it drops a month after every other top 10 list, only music scribes truly care about—are out. But how did D.C. do?
First, the albums list: Wild Flag, the so-punk-rock/kinda-classicist supergroup featuring two-thirds of Sleater-Kinney and D.C.'s own Mary Timony, has the No. 4 album on the list, with 91 votes. A D.C.-area artist doesn't appear again until No. 153 (Meshell Ndegeocello, Weather). After that, I see D.C. at No. 251 (The Caribbean, Discontinued Perfume), No 336 (Wugazi, 13 Chambers), No. 461 (Pentagram, Last Rites), No. 542 (Office of Future Plans, Office of Future Plans), No. 651 (Martyn, Ghost People), No. 802 (Title Tracks, In Blank, one spot above Limp Bizkit), No. 902 (Blow Your Head Vol. 2: Dave Nada Pres. Moombahton), No. 902 (Bluebrain, The National Mall), No. 902 (Muhsinah, Gone EP), No. 902 (Chain and the Gang, Music's Not for Everyone), No. 902 (recent expats Tennis System's Teenagers), No. 902 (Joe Lally, Why Should I Get Used to It), No. 1583 (Void, Sessions 1981-1983), No. 1583 (Brian Settles/Central Union, Secret Handshake), No. 1734 (Carol Bui, Red Ship) No. 1734 (Wale, Ambition), and No. 1734 (Spoonboy, The Papas). Also, out-of-town stuff from local labels Cuneiform, Lovitt, Paw Tracks, and Carpark.
The singles list: No. 16 (Wild Flag, "Romance"), No. 78 (Wild Flag, "Black Tambourine"), No. 226 (Wild Flag, "Future Crimes"), No. 343 (Wild Flag, "Endless Talk"), No. 604 (Wild Flag, "Boom"), No. 604 (Wild Flag, "Electric Band"), No. 604 (Wild Flag, "Short Version"), and No. 604 (Wild Flag, "Something Came Over Me.") You almost feel bad for the two Wild Flag songs that didn't make the list. As for non-Wild Flag singles: Benoit & Sergio's "Everybody," "Principles," and "Walk and Talk" tied for No. 343 along with several hundred other songs (they had two votes each).
A bunch of local (and localish) singles got one vote apiece (which is to say they tied for 604th place): Win Win ft. Lizzie Bougatsos' "ReleaseRPM — Nadastrom Moombhaton Mix," Outputmessage's "Game Over," The Evens' "Two Songs" (sic?) and "Warble Factor," Deleted Scenes' "Bedbedbedbedbed" and "A Litany for Mrs. T," Benoit & Sergio's "Boy Trouble," expat Craig Wedren's "Are We," Wale's "Bait" and "Lotus Flower Bomb," Chain and the Gang's "Detroit Music," Title Tracks' "Clench Your First (A Little Closer to Me)" and "Winners Cry," " The Caribbean's "Discontinued Perfume," Meshell Ndegeocello's "Oysters," Carol Bui's "Mira: You're Free With Me," Martyn's "Masks," Slava's "Dreaming Tiger," Wugazi's "P.L.O. Squared," Ital's "Culture Clubs" and "Only for Tonight," and Fat Trel's "Respect with the Tech."
My eyes hurt. Let me know if I missed something.
So, some quick observations about D.C. and the overall list: 1) National music critics are rockist as shit (you knew this). 2) National rock critics really love Wild Flag (you knew this, too). 3) Related: National rock critics favor familiar names. 4) Mary Timony really is the biggest rock star in D.C. 5) You can fairly consider D.C.'s hip-hop and EDM scenes to be on the up-and-up, but with critics (which is not necessarily to say bloggers, and is certainly not to say civilians) they still haven't really penetrated. 6) What folks dance to is not necessarily what critics listen to (but you knew that!). 7) Bluebrain's The National Mall is surely the first smartphone app to land on Pazz + Jop (I've emailed the Voice to check, and will update when I hear). 8) Benoit & Sergio have fans, if not a standout single that everyone agrees on. 9) Only one (one!) record critic with a Pazz + Jop ballot put Wale in the top 10.
A bunch of D.C. critics—or critics who write for D.C. publications—voted, and you can see their ballots. Here's mine. Also scope out ballots from Washington City Paper names Leor Galil, Nick Green, Steve Kiviat, Michael J. West, Joe Colly, Andrew Noz, Brent Burton, Lindsay Zoladz, and Logan K. Young (who listed Lulu; for shame!). Other local critics: Jason Cherkis, Zach Kelly, Mark Jenkins, Dan Kois, Catherine Lewis, David Malitz, Marc Masters, Chris Richards, Allison Stewart, Stephen Thompson, and Sarah Ventre.