Friday, December 30, 2011

Pazz and Jop 2011

My "tracks" ballot was a near-last minute composition, and in fact the main reason I submitted one at all is because I'm rather ideologically opposed to being one of those kinds of writers who only submits an albums ballot. I love how chart pop trends are moving away from R&B and toward club/rave music, and yet there weren't many hit pop singles that I found truly memorable this year. IOW, I liked the songs I heard on the radio, but I very rarely felt the need to listen to any of those songs on their own. So I had to make some unconventional choices. And yes, there are only nine tracks on the list.

I didn't follow music news as closely as I did in past years, so I didn't feel I had much to say about the state of music in 2011. Sure, I have plenty to say about the new music I like, but a snappy wordbite that the VV would see fit to publish in a year-in-review article? This year I'm not that guy. On that note, please excuse my fairly brief comments.

Seeing as M83 have fared amazing well in the year-end roundups thus far, I threw a few more points toward "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming", with hopes of giving it a little more help toward a high finish in the standings. I've always preferred a top-heavy ballot anyhow. I definitely didn't see this critical breakout coming for M83, I will have more to say about that in a future post.

My ballots:


M83, "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming", Naive, 25 points
PJ Harvey, "Let England Shake", Island Records, 17 points
Wolves in the Throne Room, "Celestial Lineage", Southern Lord, 13 points
The Caretaker, "An Empty Bliss Beyond This World", History Always Favours the Winners, 10 points
Death In Vegas, "Trans-Love Energies", Portobello Records, 7 points
Modeselektor, "Monkeytown", Monkeytown Records, 7 points
I Break Horses, "Hearts", Bella Union, 6 points
Tim Hecker, "Ravedeath, 1972", Kranky, 5 points
Surgeon, "Breaking the Frame", Dynamic Tension Records, 5 points
Mogwai, "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will", Rock Action Records, 5 points


Britney Spears, "Till the World Ends", Jive
Lady Gaga, "Edge of Glory", Interscope
Low, "Try To Sleep", Sub Pop
Mogwai, "George Square Thatcher Death Party", Rock Action Records
Nicki Minaj, "Super Bass", Young Money
Patrice Baumel and Nuno Dos Santos, "360-may-2011-podcast-for-trouw", no label
Paul Woolford & Psychatron, "Stolen", Hotflush Recordings
Raveonettes, "Recharge and Revolt", Vice Records
William Basinski, "Disintegration Loops dlp 1.1 (orchestrated by Maxim Moston), no label

* note that these are listed alphabetically ... tracks ballots for P&J are unranked anyhow.


Twenty years have passed since the end of the 1980's, and the threat of communism dominating the world now seems more quaint and distant than people making records with huge gated drums and cornball synths. M83 want things to stay that way. If you can set up a mental block in front of all the unlikable things about the 80's while still longing for the days when everything on the radio sounded like "Midnight City", then you'll probably love "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming".

I used to be able to remember all the song titles from every album I bought. Now, something will be on the radio for six months, but one day I'll finally hear the song I.D. and say to myself "oh, this one is by Britney Spears"? This happens far more often than I'd like to admit. Maybe technology has made certain types of memory redundant (e.g. who remembers phone numbers anymore?) or maybe too many brain cells have decayed over the years. The second possibility is a scary thought. It means that one day I'll end up bedridden and won't remember anything about my past life other than the chorus to "Love Will Tear Us Apart".

Have we reached the point where podcasts tell us more about what's going through an artist's mind than singles or albums do? Is this why I look forward more to hearing podcasts (especially techno/club music) than albums a lot of the time?

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