One of my favorite things every year is contributing my “best of” list to the prestigious Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll, a compilation of the opinions of seven hundred music critics. I consider it an honor as well, and I’m happy that the albums I vote for at least get a little bit more attention. I don’t keep track of favorite songs closely enough to always do the singles; last year I figured that Ce Lo Green’s “Fuck You” was so dominant that any of my other nominations would concede defeat, so that’s exactly what I wrote down when I submitted my ballot. And the song, as expected, took the top prize.
What did surprise me was how much of my ballot placed me on a deserted island. While I thought these artists released incredible efforts, in most cases I was the sole person to nominate them. I’m well aware that my preference for powerpop, glam, rock and blues doesn’t endear me to a world of rap, shoegazing indie pop and ludicrous Autotune warriors. But where are my brothers and sisters who celebrate this music, despite its low profile?
Each year a brilliant data analyst named Glenn McDonald produces some amazing metrics regarding voter centricity - whose ballots were the most consistent with the results, and whose were in the stratosphere. According to the 2010 report, I’ll need an oxygen mask and a very long cord.
Here is my top ten, in order, along with the number of votes each album received in the poll. If that number is one, that means I am the only Pazz&Jop critic who voted for it.
Len Price 3 – Pictures (one)
Christine Ohlman and Rebel Montez – The Deep End (one)
The Jim Jones Revue – Burning Your House Down (two)
The 88 – The 88 (two)
The Grip Weeds – Strange Change Machine (two)
The Mother Truckers – Van Tour (one)
The Sights – Most of What Follows Is True (four)
Edward O’Connell – Our Little Secret (one)
The Greenhornes – Four Stars (one)
Farrah – Farrah (one)
Now some of these I can understand. Farrah is all but unknown in the USA; O’Connell is a DC musician making a debut album that’s self-promoted and self-distributed. But Ohlman and The Greenhornes have history and a strong legacy; Len Price 3 and The Grip Weeds were getting a massive push from Little Steven and The 88 are well-known from their film and TV work.
Click here for a trove of comments and essays along with the final results.