Pazz & Jop 2011 Comments: Raves and Rants

Making cases for the great and the grating

I was going to write something about the weirdly vaporous nature of music lately, but fuck that. I just want to say that I love Lulu.

Brad Nelson
Astoria, New York

Fuck wage stagnation—the women in Pistol Annies' songs have stagnated all their lives. Despite trailers for rent, washing down Ritalin with booze, and family feuds, they know to suck on the bitter to get to the sweet part, and, boy, do they keep smiling; they make themselves the butt of their own jokes because it helps them keep their self-respect while honoring the shallow conceptions of womankind held by their boys from the South.

Details

Pazz and Jop 2011
Essays
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

Comments
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

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Alfred Soto
Miami, Florida

Blissed-out, as it happens, is a great aesthetic for hip-hop, and the trend will surely peak with a Cocteau Twins sample. At the moment, on my office computer's iTunes library, Lil B's "Unchain Me" has twice as many plays as the second most-played song of all time. Which is off Heaven or Las Vegas, naturally.

Miles Klee
Washington Heights

Patrick Stump's Soul Punk would have set the word afire, had it not been an album released by the frontman for Fall Out Boy. Increasingly, any artist who's been immersed in the Warped Tour/media-classified "emo" scene is branded with a scarlet letter, which prevents them from ever crossing over to a non-youth-oriented audience. The continued denigration of niche music for teenagers bothers and befuddles me; the critical hive mind is much narrower than it'd like to think.

Annie Zaleski
Lakewood, Ohio

The only reason I have tear ducts is so that I can bawl uncontrollably when Charles Bradley's hitting those high notes in "Heartaches and Pain." If I ever had to have an operation to remove one of my eardrums, I want to hear this song before the first incision.

Marc Gilman
New York

Never mind the kitsch factor. "Friday" had a hook that stuck like a talon.

Roy Trakin
North Hollywood, California

Learn their name: the Alabama Shakes. They didn't have an album this year (it's coming in 2012), but for my money, they put on the best show of 2011. These no-bullshit rock 'n' rollers, led by singer-guitarist Brittany Howard, are salt-of-the-earth saviors. In a year where I felt so disconnected from what was topping the charts and owning the blogs, discovering this band was cause for a genuine freak-out.

Jeanne Fury
Brooklyn, New York

Das Racist wink their way through Relax, giving you just enough rope to kind of figure out how to make a knot. It is hard not to like them even if I have the sense that they wouldn't like me very much. I am always simultaneously worried that I am taking them too seriously and not taking them seriously enough.

Marc Gilman
New York

I'm a med student. A professor who studies racial disparities in patient access to bariatric surgery asked me my favorite rap song. I said "Down and Out." We poured methylene blue dye down the esophagus to make sure the gastric sleeve staples were working. They were. The best line of the GI tract is the Z-line of the gastroesophageal junction. The best line on Das Racist's Relax is "Young Charles Ponzi, Waka Flocka Fonzie." The best track on Relax is the counting in "Happy Rappy." Yeah, I'm fucking great at med school.

Maureen Miller
New York

 
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