tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l

Every year, venerated New York weekly newspaper The Village Voice tallies up votes from hundreds upon hundreds of music critics for its Pazz & Jop Critics’ Poll and comes up with a pretty-much-definitive list of critical favorites for the year. It then packages that list with a bunch of sharp essays and write-in comments, and the only thing you can do is dive in. For music dorks — or, more specifically, for music-criticism dorks — the morning Pazz & Jop goes up online is something like a second Christmas. Well, Christmas 2 is here.

I’d assumed that Bon Iver would win this year’s poll in a walk, but nope! The albums-list winner, and I did not see this coming at all, is tUnE-yArDs, with Bon Iver way the hell down at #9. The list otherwise includes most of the records you’d expect, but the order can produce some surprises. Wild Flag, for instance, way outperformed expectations, landing at #4. (In this way, they really are the heirs to Sleater-Kinney, who were crushing shit on this list even when they were still basically an underground band.) PJ Harvey, Tom Waits, and Shabazz Palaces also made some waves. Below, check out the list of the top 40 albums and top 20 singles. And if you’re curious how the Stereogum team voted, here are our individual ballots: Scott, Amrit, Corban, and me.


01 tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l
02 PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
03 Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne
04 Wild Flag – Wild Flag
05 Tom Waits – Bad As Me
06 Adele – 21
07 Destroyer – Kaputt
08 Drake – Take Care
09 Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver
10 Shabazz Palaces – Black Up
11 Fucked Up – David Comes To Life
12 St. Vincent – Strange Mercy
13 The Weeknd – House Of Balloons
14 Paul Simon – So Beautiful Or So What
15 EMA – Past Life Martyred Saints
16 Frank Ocean – Nostalgia, Ultra.
17 The Roots – undun
18 Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues
19 M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
20 Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo
21 The Black Keys - El Camino
22 Wilco – The Whole Love
23 Pistol Annies – Hell On Heels
24 Yuck – Yuck
25 Girls – Father, Son, Holy Ghost
26 Beyoncé – 4
27 Gillian Welch – The Harrow And The Harvest
28 Danny Brown – XXX
29 The Decemberists – The King Is Dead
30 Lady Gaga – Born This Way
31 Bill Callahan – Apocalypse
32 Real Estate – Days
33 Radiohead – The King Of Limbs
34 James Blake – James Blake
35 Oneohtrix Point Never – Replica
36 Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972
37 Kate Bush – 50 Words For Snow
38 Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes
39 Raphael Saadiq – Stone Rollin’
40 Wye Oak – Civilian


01 Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
02 Beyoncé – “Countdown”
03 Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”
04 M83 – “Midnight City”
05 Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Niggas In Paris”
06 Azealia Banks – “212″
07 Lana Del Rey – Video Games
07 Britney Spears – “Till The World Ends” (Tie)
09 Adele – “Someone Like You”
10 Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks”
10 Tyler, The Creator – “Yonkers”
12 tUnE-yArDs – “Bizness”
13 Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Otis”
14 Drake – “Marvin’s Room”
15 EMA – “California”
16 Frank Ocean – “Novacane”
16 Wild Flag – “Romance” (Tie)
18 Rihanna – “We Found Love (Feat. Calvin Harris)”
18 The Black Keys – “Lonely Boy” (Tie)
20 DJ Khaled – “I’m On One (Feat. Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne)”

To check out the whole massive list and all the attendant essays and comments, click here.

Tags: ,  
Comments (15)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. It’s a great list, but Britney Spears deserves to be higher, that is one of my favourite songs from this year, and also I’m a 12 year old girl and it’s 1999.

    • Video Games is tied with that song. That says something, doesn’t it?

      • it tells me that “Music Critics” is a less apt description for the voters.

        Also guys, I’m very curious about some of your singles votes. Kreayshawn and Lonely Island, Corban? You know what…I’ll even give you the Michael Bolton song, because it was hilarious the first time, and it has repeat value. Sure. Okay, I can totally see the reasoning there.

        Gucci Gucci? Is this a song that you regularly put on your playlists and put on at parties and share with your friends and family unironically?

        • “Gucci Gucci” is a great song — I’m not using this to justify my including it, but it was in the 20s on the single rankings. It’s funny, memorable, the chorus is great and sure, it’s a novelty, but don’t some of the best songs have that ingrained in their appeal? (Also this is not an endorsement of Kreayshawn in general, cuz “Gucci Gucci” is the only listenable thing she’s made so far)

          • Granted. I feel like there’s a fine line between a novelty single and a genuine single…even taking the Lonely Island song as an example – that is just a very well crafted piece of comedy/pop music. The production is excellent. The joke has a lot of repeat value.

            Gucci Gucci, by contrast, is not well crafted, really. The production isn’t interesting, her voice is grating and overall, it’s not even something I would want to dance to given the opportunity. I haven’t yet, and don’t think I’ll ever understand the non-ironic appeal of it.

            Also, what do you mean by “best songs” have novelty ingrained in their appeal? Do you mean to say that the most successful songs have novelty? Because U Can’t Touch this had novelty and was successful, but then are we also calling it one of the Best Songs of all time, and what is the role of a Music Critic to define how something like that would be considered great.

            I am curious. You definitely don’t owe a justification for your selections, but if you’re willing, it does appear to me that there is a level of “If this song appeals to a large demographic then it is good” among these ‘music critic’ choices. To me, that completely defies the role of a critic. Why even have a critic if Soundscan can tell us what the best songs are anyways. When you say ‘funny’ ‘Memorable’ and ‘the chorus is great’ I’d love to hear what the characteristics are that make it those things.

            Again, using the LI comparison, I could easily write a long passage on where the humour comes from in that song, why it sounds good, what is memorable about it, how it occupies its own space in the music environment, and provides repeat value…I see the reasoning there.

            I’m still not, and never have, heard the reasoning with Gucci Gucci. Musically, or culturally, I am missing something in the discussion, and I’ve read a fair share of articles about her and that song.

          • It was too long and everybody didn’t read it

  3. I feel like a chav after reading the list of albums. I feel like a snob after reading the list of singles

  4. For some reason I don’t see a reply button for your latest posts djfreshie, but I understand what you’re saying, I think the most honest way of doing it, at least for me, was by just putting 10 songs I listened to A TON and songs that I think I’ll turn the volume knob up on for the forseeable future. That’s basically my rationale. I realize it’s not as deliberate as it could/should be, but then again, it’s a singles list. I didn’t weigh on it as heavily as I did the albums.

    • Totally fair. Like I said, I don’t need you to justify it to me. But I think what’s been completely missing for me is the reasoning by a professional in the music oeuvre – something beyond the ‘wink-wink, this is good huh?’ and then after that, the notion that “This is culturally important, even though we acknowledge Kreayshawn is a joke of an artist” which was pitchfork’s “explanation” for it being on their list too.

      If it’s “ha ha, this is a joke, and she’s terrible but it’s catchy” then that’s totally acceptable, and I think your explanation of Novelty+Good Chorus is the same reasoning. I think a lot of writers are afraid to admit that’s all it is? I love Loverboy. Most of their repertoire. And if you asked me why, I’d say “it’s a hilarious joke that these guys were famous at one point, and also the songs are catchy. The keyboards are cool. Big Drums.” That I can rationalize. But when people start saying things like “Culturally significant” I worry about the state of those writer’s connection with music. I think we can all somewhat agree that Kreayshawn is to 2011 what Was (Not Was) was to 1988 or whenever.

      • Yeah, seriously, that Pitchfork bit was ridiculous. Though maybe not as much as their bit about “Niggas in Paris,” on that list, which actually claimed that Kanye’s “HAH” is the sun, moon, and stars, and also the meaning of life or whatever. But it’s hard to compete with how obnoxious that was. Seriously, calm the f down Pitchfork.

        • Pitchfork easily could have used that same explanation for “The Tron Guy.” Like, the Tron guy is funny because of what a loser he is, but in no way is the Tron Guy culturally significant. Culturally significant to rich white 20 year olds who like the internet maybe. All of my Friends from my age group (OLD TIMERS) know who LCD Soundsystem are or Kanye, and most have heard of the Lonely Island and Bon Iver and even M83 some of em. Even the ones with 2 year old children and 9 to 5 jobs. Those groups are Culturally Significant.

          Not one of them, I guarantee, has ever seen that Kreayshawn video or heard of that song. It’s known mostly to people like all of you, and me who work in music, read about music, play music. Its one of those things you’d have seen if you spend a lot of time on the internet too. SO ridiculous to call it significant.

          • Huh, so is Kreayshawn not even that well known? From how people have been talking about that song I was thinking that it was at least near iTunes top 10 sort of popular, but I guess I don’t really pay too much attention to what’s popular these days (for the most part, though sometimes you can’t really escape things like Ke-dollar sign-ha). In that case, that does make the Pitchfork thing even lamer than I was thinking it was…

  5. tUnE-yArDs needs to be at the top of every list ever. In life.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.

%s1 / %s2