These are comments I submitted to the pazz'n'jop poll this year, typos and all:
I live in PHILLY now, which means I get to frequently associate with other Pazz'n'Joppers for the first time since Carey Price moved from State College to NY in '03. I thought I'd hear less indie now that I'm estranged from college radio, but between my housemate's promo stash and you-send-it bearing pals I feel like I've heard more than enough.
Evidently all that stood in the way of Metallica evading actual criticism for their 'challenging' album was their Y chromosomes. If you people don't stop kissing their ass and give them the audience to actually WIN OVER, Sleater-Kinney's going to drop a Metal Machine Music and its gonna be the hardest four-star review of your professional life.
I tried to listen to that Stones album (liked that line about Mick drunk on the couch and becoming a grouch but 'I Walk The Streets Of Love' cancelled that interest fast) but fuck if I care if they can still arena rock unembarassingly (and, btw, they can't). It's not my white male generational baggage on the line.
I'm embarassed that two of the albums on my list weren't even commercially available in 2005. While I think the obsession with macro-social relevance in pop music is an overreach inspired by folks who need to redeem their medium fetish, I've got enough of that noble-ass value system ingrained in my system that the obscurity of the music that mattered most to me does irritate. That doesn't mean I'm going to pretend that Robyn and Electric Six didn't make albums that were stronger, nuttier, funnier and smarter than everybody else's. Hell, maybe I'll vote for them again in 2006.
The way p'n'j comments tend to frame world issues in the solipsistic context of music obsessives is just tough for me to get enthusiastic about (reading, or writing them). People doing their part by overrating Kanye, if not a gaggle of pimps from the tri-state area. Sometimes I'm actually more comfortable with music as background or mere escapism, rather than a symbolic stand-in for political action. At my most self-loathing moments, it all just seems like a gregarious distraction, with the faux-benign fireworks from Green Day to MIA made more offensive by their pretensions.
Our Hero Kanye's biggest hit warned against greedy bitches. Not that it wasn't a classic pop single: infectious, loaded with detail, funny, etc. It was the grandest example of a very popular trend this year: musically engaging, lyrically considered ho-baiting. It's possible I'm overemphasizing a ubiquitous constant, but it really did feel that the muse was strong this year for that side of the gender war. Anybody got ideas as to why?
Music I got really excited about this year: apocalyptic but inclusive disco-metal, open-hearted but well-edited memoirs of adolescence, sex beats from witty cads, jittery drone strums, women who probably know every word to 'I Will Survive,' the most bombastic track on an indie orchestra album, Lil Jon cutesypoo, any new wave single that broke a billboard chart and every batshit word that came out of R. Kelly's mouth.
Here's my ballot. I'm the only person to vote for "Goin' Crazy" and "Toma." Shame on you all.