Barry Bruner
Toronto, ON

This year, Flying Lotus’s Cosmogramma was likened to a “symphony,” and Miguel Atwood Ferguson’s Suite for Ma Dukes saw a full release. Recent years have also seen Damon Albarn’s opera Monkey: Journey to the West and Adam Theis’s Hip-Hop Symphony. These classical forms are inspiring a lot of exciting material—maybe 2011 will be the year of the dubstep concerto.

David McFadden-Elliott
Berkeley, CA

Rick Ross, expert liar
Courtesy Island Def Jam
Rick Ross, expert liar

Details

Pazz and Jop 2010
Rise of the Douchebags
Kanye West and James Murphy turn their private flaws into public triumphs
By Zach Baron

Never Forget
Cee Lo Green sums up 2010 in two little words
By Rob Harvilla

Little Pink Polos for You and Me
Wallowing and/or reveling in social anxiety with Arcade Fire and Vampire Weekend
By Eric Harvey

The Wayward Crucifixion of M.I.A.
On the dodgy, opportunistic, truffle-fry-fueled campaign against both Maya and Maya
By Charles Aaron

Leave Chillwave Alone
In defense of the nostalgia-steeped genre Ariel Pink both invented and abandoned
By Simon Reynolds

Attack of the Singing Rappers
On Drake, Nicki Minaj, B.o.B., and the art of the debut-as-pop-crossover
By Clover Hope

The Great Gay-Pander-Off of 2010
Katy, Nicki, Ke$ha, P!nk, and Gaga taste the rainbow
By Rich Juzwiak

The Internet-Rap Atomization
Odd Future, Lil B, Wiz Khalifa, et al. build tiny kingdoms, and rule them
By Tom Breihan

Justin Bieber, Twitter Casanova
The Most Popular Boy in the World rules the only voting bloc that matters: pre-teen girls
By Camille Dodero

The Top Ten
From Kanye West to The Suburbs

The Personals
Industry Woes, Cultural Theories, Polite Suggestions, and Calls of Bullshit

Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, “Telephone”: a song about a young girl in her 20s who’s too busy to text her friend or talk on her cell phone; based on informal observations walking around the city, this immediately moves it into the realm of science fiction.

Phil Dellio
Toronto, ON

The year’s most dispiriting trend: redefining genres so they reflected the listener’s own cramped tastes. When critics praise Janelle Monáe or How to Dress Well as great r&b, or Ariel Pink as a terrific update of late-’70s studio-rock, you know they haven’t listened to a note of contemporary r&b, or assume that standing the proper distance from the microphone signifies the act’s polish. The critical success of Monáe, How to Dress Well, and Ariel Pink actually showed the contempt with which r&b and studio-rock were still held by indie-leaning listeners, years after the Neptunes supposedly made things easier for them.

Alfred Soto
Miami, FL

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