Jay-Z and Kanye West Guard the Throne

And try to bring back the group listen

Willie Davis


Jay-Z and Kanye West
Watch the Throne (#3 album)

Pazz and Jop 2011
Joyful Noises
Finding the bright side of 2011
By Maura Johnston

Suffering from Realness
The spotlight shines on Adele's heartbreak
By Katherine St. Asaph

Written on the Body
tUnE-yArds, PJ Harvey, and St. Vincent get physical
By Eric Harvey

Guarding the Throne
Jay-Z and Kanye West try to bring back the group listen
By Mike Barthel

Games People Play
Lana Del Rey lights up the Internet
By Tom Ewing

Riding the Bummer
Drake and the Weeknd wallow in their miseries
By Nick Murray

The Incredible Shrinking Album
Pazz & Jop's album results get Soundscanned
By Chris Molanphy

Confuse the Market
Post-crossover, indie retreats
By Scott Plagenhoef

California Demise
Tyler, the Creator and EMA feel the bad vibes
By Jessica Hopper

Most Valuable Supporting Player
André 3000 has a great year without a single starring role
By Andy Hutchins

Just Dance
The year ravers and pop fans learned to (file) share
By Michaelangelo Matos

Top 10-Plus
The year's big albums, from tUnE-yArDs on down

Singles Going Steady
Rolling down from "The Deep"

Raves and Rants
Making cases for the great and the grating

The Personals
Feelings, whoa-whoa-whoa

The Web has made that aura increasingly difficult to summon, as the ever-increasing penetration of the Internet has systematically revealed both how few truly unique experiences exist and how different those events that are supposedly shared are. ("Who is Arcade Fire?") But there seems to be a feeling that finding a way to evoke these feelings of connection—despite their evident unreality—is absolutely necessary, whether to sustain the value of art as a sacred realm or to nurture a shared sense of collective societal purpose. ("We are the 99 percent.") What Watch the Throne's ultimate success suggests is that, even in the current environment of bottom-up creation, the experience of culture—the thing that creates its meaning—is something that can be most successful when coordinated from the throne on down.

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