Hooray and huzzah, the Pazz & Jop poll, calculated from the ballots of 700 critics around the globe, is up and running and ready for your perusal. Congratulations to Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, whose w h o k i l l walked away with the albums poll; and Adele, whose inescapable yet compelling even on umphundredth listen “Rolling In The Deep” dominated the singles vote. And there were essays! Oh boy were there essays. Check below.
• We have me on Beyoncé, tUnE-yArDs, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj, and other artists who bucked the bummer trend of 2011 and hit musical pay dirt.
• Eric Harvey looks at tUnE-yArdS, PJ Harvey, and St. Vincent, who got corporeal with their albums.
• Katherine St. Asaph on the heartbreak of Adele.
• Tom Ewing on the many meanings of Lana Del Rey.
• Mike Barthel on Jay-Z and Kanye West bringing back the communal listening experience, or at least trying to.
• Scott Plagenhoef on the retreat of indie after its late-’00s commercial breakthrough.
• Nick Murray on the generational bummer described by Drake and The Weeknd.
• Chris Molanphy running the SoundScan numbers on the top 10 singles and albums.
• Michaelangelo Matos on collision between dance-heads and pop-house fans.
• Jessica Hopper on the wave of California feel-bad, led by EMA and Tyler, the Creator.
• Andy Hutchins on André 3000, 2011’s Most Valuable Supporting Player.
So much to read! Please come back this week for extended ballots from choice critics as well as commentary from the peanut gallery.
And many thanks to Glenn McDonald, whose number-crunching skills are unparalleled; Amanda Woytus, copy chief extraordinaire and a woman of great patience; John Dixon and Jesus Diaz for making it look good (and Bob Baker for allowing as much that could fit as was humanly possible); Camille Dodero and Nick Greene for their web production work; Mike Uchtman for CSV-wrangling assistance; Martika Finch, Milo McBride, and Kevin Pierson for fact-checking; Nick Murray for an incredible amount of moral support; Rob Harvilla and Zach Baron for handing over a well-oiled machine; and Tony Ortega for letting me run with all this.