The Village Voice‘s annual poll of music critics, “Pazz & Jop,” came out this week, and even though the format has always seemed designed for somewhat conservative outcomes, this year’s lists are just… boring. After one and a half months spent adding up the votes (why does it take so long, incidentally? Don’t they have Excel?) they come up with the same #1 album as Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan’s Modern Times. Wow. At least TV On the Radio’s masterpiece came in as a close #2 (apparently beating Dylan in number of mentions, in an event eerily reminiscent of Bush v. Gore). The only thing separating their albums list from every single other critical year-end roundup is… hmmm… the presence of Tom Waits at #10? Well, fine, I guess. The singles list is even more dull, with the typical Gnarls / T.I. / Timberlake / Furtado / Aguilera party posse sitting on top. It’s basically right, but jeez, Peter Bjorn & John all the way down at #25? For shame.
I used to check the Village Voice website obsessively, starting in mid-February every year, desperate to see the definitive year-end best-of list. There were always a couple surprises that would turn out to be totally right on, like Magnetic Fields’ toweringly great 69 Love Songs jumping in at #2 in 1999 based on far fewer votes than the #1 album, Moby’s Play. Perhaps something’s changed in the methodology: it looks like there’s over 300 fewer critics in the poll this year (2005’s 795 versus 2006’s 494). Where did everybody go? Perhaps they got their points-allocation jollies out over at music blog Idolator’s copycat/takeoff/nose-thumb “Jackin’ Pop” poll, whose results came out much earlier, and are somehow more satisfying. Plus Idolator’s faux-naive MS Paint drawing of TV On the Radio standing on a mountain of cookies is way better than the Voice‘s elaborate painting of Dylan running over Kyp Malone. Hate to say it, newspaper: the intertubes are totally beating you.