2017 Pazz and Jop ballot

The first ballot I’ve submitted in several years, in fact.

Top 10 Singles (videos below)
1. A.Chal, “Love and Hennessy”
2. Angus & Julia Stone, “Snow”
3. Blaenavon, Soko, “No One Else in Mind”
4. Kygo w/Selena Gomez, “It Ain’t Me”
5. Lana Del Rey, “Love”
6. LCD Soundsystem, “Call the Police”
7. New Pornographers, “Play Money”
8. Sevyn Streeter, “Before I Do”
9. Smokepurpp, “To the Moon”
10. Weekend w/Daft Punk, “I Feel it Coming”

We all know this is nothing
Ordered alphabetically, internet style (my actual #1 would be #3 or #5 or #9), and featuring: two songs experienced as radio singles (Selena Gomez and the Weekend/Daft Punk); two or three songs mined from other year-end lists; a bunch more discovered throughout the year via Spotify’s much-heralded algorithms (“Al Gore rhythms” as my friend Gary calls ’em); at least four songs (more on my runners-up list) about getting fucked up (Angus Stone says he “can get fucked up on absolutely anything” like it’s a great come-on line, which, here, it is); some girls; some boys; two or three songs I suspect won’t outlive February 2018, but who cares, they sound great now; hard and fast beats; sad, wimpy ones; Achtung Babyisms disguised as Berlin-era Bowieisms; pop music as an ageless conundrum (“look you kids with your vintage music” swoons 32-year-old grizzled veteran Lana Del Rey); fatalism if not utter defeatism about the future of making, if not experiencing, music itself (Neko Case: “I only play for money, honey”), the prognosis of which is apparently as comforting as the prognosis for everything else; fidget spinners.

7 thoughts on “2017 Pazz and Jop ballot

  1. Forgot to send P&J my change of email several years ago, had pretty much stopped reading the results around then anyway. (Is that a sign it doesn’t matter to me? That it does matter but I don’t want it to? That I’d like to think it matters and don’t want to see evidence that it doesn’t? That I want to avoid the discourse? (One reason I keep holding off on listening to latter-day Taylor Swift is that I want to avoid the conversations about her.) That I want to think the discourse is unapproachable and don’t want to see evidence otherwise?)

    Only track on your list I can guarantee I’d heard before is “Before I Do,” though I’d probably heard “It Ain’t Me” as well. Interesting that you, me, Alfred, Chuck were touched by Streeter in our disparate travels. (“Fallen” is in my current Top 75, “Before I Do” on my equally long list of “Borderlines.”) “Before I Do” sounds like the kind of R&B that wasn’t reaching Chuck back when he had that long convo with Tim Finney on ilX about whether or why he – Chuck – didn’t like that much modern R&B.

    I like that in “Before I Do” “go” means “enter,” “stay,” “go further,” rather than what it means in most romance songs, which is “leave.”

    “Before I Do” is simultaneously tentative and open and optimistic. Compare to the apocalyptic certainty and pessimism of Eric Church’s “Before She Does.”

    For me, the vocals are a barrier to the other eight songs on your list, which tend toward the recessive – if “tend” and “recessive” can coexist in the same sentence. “To The Moon” is the grumpy adjunct to Blaenavon-Stone mistiness.

    I’m also veering away these days from hip-hop with prettyish-tuned vocal hooks. (“Veer” is the jaunty adjunct to “tend” in this paragraph.)

    Whereas I find myself voting for women who use the word “bitch.” (“Vote” probably means “enter,” “stay,” “listen further” rather than “vote,” given that I’m not participating in P&J. Did vote in the Freaky Trigger poll, though. For some reason I don’t print my voting lists until results are announced, though of course you can find out easily enough: see playlist link above, but add in Qri’s “Diamond” and Girl’s Day’s “Love Again” as nonsingles that made my 20 for the Freaky Trigger ballot. Of course the playlist’ll start changing again when I get back to Denver on Tuesday.)

    Anyway, here’s a list of my favorite Year 2017 tracks from Cameroon, all discovered on YouTube via its Al Gore Rhythms:

    Jovi “Ou Même”
    Mani Bella ft. Tenor “Déranger”
    Yungtime ft. Mihney “Uh uh, uh hum”
    Reniss “Pilon”
    Jovi “Devil No Di Sleep”
    Maahlox le vibeur “Un Bon Plantain”
    Koppo “Gromologie”
    Franko “On Sassoit Pas”
    Tenor “Kaba Ngondo”
    Reniss “Manamuh”
    Tenor “Bahatland”
    Tata “Ndaleh”

  2. I finally did post my 2017 list in December 2018, “Before I Do” at 59 and “Fallen” at 61. And if you mosey round my livejournal, you’ll find my 2018 ballots* but not my long list, which is still under construction. Iirc, Dave is also in the Sevyn Streeter fandom, an explicable club despite my belonging to it.

    Is DaniLeigh’s “Lil Bebe” the “Before I Do” of 2018?

    Oh, and Cassie Ventura’s back, and Dev.

    *If you post your ballots or lists for 2018 I’ll link my own lists there, along with Chuck’s, Dave’s, Don’s.

  3. Oops, I meant to write “an inexplicable club despite my belonging to it,” but I mistyped. I suppose either works, or they both equally don’t work. In any event, the Cassie club and the Dev club are inexplicable as well, despite my belonging to each. After all these years I still haven’t figured out my Cassie fandom.

  4. Frank, I was looking at my 2018 sort-of playlist in Spotify today, to see if I was finally up for trying to come up with an actual Top 10, but I just don’t feel inspired to go through with it (the process of re-listening, ordering, etc.). I did a 2017 list last December, but even that was an anomaly, as I don’t think I compiled one the two or three years previous, at least (if I did, I tossed them off quickly and forgot about them even quicker). I still like reading some other people’s lists and thoughts (less and less people with every year, however), but usually now dread the prospect of lifting a finger myself to do that work.

  5. As for the Cassie, I’ve listened to it a handful of times and it isn’t really reaching me but she still has a great SOUND, so I’d like to find my way into the rest of it.

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