A Consumer Guide to the Plastic People of the Universe

In A Consumer Guide to the Plastic People of the Universe (2021), Joe Yanosik reviews and grades every known PPU record on the planet (including side projects and mutations, not to mention books and DVDs), all the while — through a series of “historical interludes” — telling the band’s remarkable story, from their post-Beatles/Velvets-obsessed roots in Prague to their critical (if somewhat unwitting) role in … Continue reading A Consumer Guide to the Plastic People of the Universe

From the Archives: Five Most Questionable Pazz & Jop Winners

(Results up to 2002, obviously out-lamed several times since.) 01:  Gangsta’s Paradise (welcome to the happy music) Total tripe!!! 02:  Eternal’s 1st hit (straight music rip off of the 23rd psalm) unbelievable, God- you are owed royalties! 03:  Anything by Feargal Sharky (recorded while gargling through an air fan) 04:  Anything RnB from L.a (not enough vocals please add another school choir) 05:  Modern vocal latin pop house – Shakira-Lopez-aGuileera-Martin … Continue reading From the Archives: Five Most Questionable Pazz & Jop Winners

“The destruction of the Village Voice” (Artforum)

Artforum gathers obits from Christgau, Greg Tate, Molly Haskell, J. Hoberman et al. The photo by Sylvia Plachy of Alexander Cockburn leading an editorial meeting is terrific; it provides the sort of romantic anti-romantic vision of what it must have been like to work at the Voice, at least in the minds of every writer who dreamt of doing such a thing. (I was lucky, … Continue reading “The destruction of the Village Voice” (Artforum)

“The Voice and Its Village”

“When I think about my two stints at the now-shuttered Village Voice—for which I freelanced regularly from the late seventies to the late eighties, returning as a staff writer from 1994-1999—one unexpected but apt word that keeps popping to mind is ‘fecund.’ My recollection that I worked for two or possibly three different papers all hawked under the same name doesn’t seem remarkable, because the … Continue reading “The Voice and Its Village”

David Bowie and Pazz & Jop

Yesterday David Bowie died at the age of 69; today, the Village Voice published its annual Pazz & Jop Critics Poll, though they no longer cite (at least that I can see online) what edition it is—the 43rd or 44th, I think (unless it’s the 44th or 45th). I haven’t yet listened much to Blackstar, the album Bowie released just a couple days before his … Continue reading David Bowie and Pazz & Jop

Pet Shop Boys, Critically (10)

Snippets from Chuck Eddy’s Village Voice review of Introspective (“18 Shopping Days Left,” December 13, 1988), which I’ll hopefully comment on later (feel free to jump in yourself). My only general comment is that the review is not as over-the-top about PSB as I half-remembered it being. In fact, it skews somewhat in the other direction: Chuck seems unconvinced by (and skeptical of) PSB overall … Continue reading Pet Shop Boys, Critically (10)

Pet Shop Boys, Critically (8)

As promised, a few snippets from Barry Walters’s Voice review of Please, dated June 3, 1986. There’s a lot of funny and interesting stuff in this review, and it’s tricky quoting bits from it sans context — much of the review is centered around the then-merely perceived notion of the Pet Shop Boys’s gayness — so I’ll limit my sampling to specific bits which hopefully … Continue reading Pet Shop Boys, Critically (8)

Q: “Is Pazz & Jop Critically Ill?”

So asks Mark Kemp. A: Yes, indeed, but this is not a new development (the patient’s condition has been worsening for years), nor does it (in my view) have anything (or anyway, very little) to do with the records the critics chose. Having said as much, I’m now obligated to come up with better reasons for its demise — and eventually I will. Continue reading Q: “Is Pazz & Jop Critically Ill?”