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Singles 2014

1. Wa$$up – "Jingle Bell" – Mafia
2. Chainsmokers – "#Selfie" – 604/Dim Mak
3. HyunA – "Red" – Cube Entertainment
4. BiS – "STUPiG" – Avex Trax
5. Kate Nash – "Sister" – Have 10p
6. Courtney Love – "Wedding Day" – Cherry Forever
7. Orange Caramel – "So Sorry" – Pledis Entertainment
8. Tinashe ft. Schoolboy Q – "2 On" – RCA
9. Nicki Minaj – "Lookin Ass Nigga" – Young Money/Cash Money
10. Crayon Pop – "Uh-ee" – Chrome Entertainment

Albums 2014

1. After School – Dress To Kill – Avex Trax – 15
2. Hong Jin Young – Life Note – Loen Entertainment – 15
3. Wa$$up – Showtime – Mafia – 15
4. Jiyeon – Never Ever – KT Music – 10
5. Kali Mutsa – Souvenance – Shock Music – 10
6. Infinite – Be Back – Woollim Entertainment – 10
7. Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams – Washington Square/Razor & Tie – 10
8. Kitty – Don't Let Me Do This Again – self-released – 5
9. Kelis – Food – Ninja Tune – 5
10. Vixx – Error – Jellyfish Entertainment – 5
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Okay, "consensus" isn't and shouldn't be an exact synonym for "unanimity," but the way I use it and dictionaries define it is far closer to "unanimity" than to "some people sometimes have similar opinions on something with some overlap as to who has similar opinions and some overlap as to what the opinions are." The latter seems to be how Robert Christgau and Glenn McDonald and Jack Thompson and probably a myriad others are using it in response to this year's Pazz & Jop poll.

I'm raising this issue not because I think we should always stick with the meanings that were in effect back when there were hula hoops but rather because the word "consensus" in its hula-hoop days (and potentially still) does something good that the new, added usage could well obliterate, which is to describe the process or behavior of an entire group, as a group.

That in the previous Pazz & Jop both Christgau and I and a handful of others put Neil Young's Americana in our respective top tens doesn't mean he and I and they have some sort of consensus on the album. We're not acting as a group and our coming together in this way doesn't meaningfully constitute a group (though maybe the ten of us could get together once a year for a party or something).

I use "consensus" in two basic ways:

(1) Regarding how a group makes a decision, to decide by "consensus" means that everyone or near everyone in the room signs off on the decision. Not everyone necessarily will be 100 percent happy with all aspects of the decision: it might be arrived at through discussion, argument, negotiation, and compromise. But everyone is on board with it. If someone disagrees strongly with a position or course of action, that person in effect has a veto. The word "consensus" here specifically and precisely distinguishes this mode of decision-making from other forms of decision-making, such as a vote in which the majority or plurality of voters carry the day; or a decision by a manager, or owner. In a consensus decision, the process by which the decision is reached may include straw polls, but a minority or faction can't be overridden in the way that it can be in a decision by majority or plurality vote or in a command decision.

Decisions by juries are often by consensus. Decisions by legislatures rarely are.

P&J isn't an election or a decision (though it has the feel of an odd combination of election and opinion poll), but you can see how talking about consensus or lack of consensus among the voters does violence to this meaning of "consensus."

(2) Regarding people's opinions or attributes, a consensus would mean something like "the general opinion of a community or group." So if 97% of climate scientists think global warming is real and man-made, then there's consensus. 80% wouldn't be enough to claim consensus (IMO), even if those 80% are right and the other 20% have no good reason to disagree.

That 65% of P&J voters didn't put Yeezus in their top ten (and presumably it wasn't number one for most who did, so let's say that somewhere between 80% and 95% of voters didn't make it their number one (I don't want to spend the time getting an exact number)), shows how ridiculous it is to say that the strong showing of Yeezus is a sign of some sort of consensus. (And it'd just be babble to turn this around and say that there's a consensus that e.g. most albums outside the top ten aren't the album of the year.)

I think the reason that "consensus" has wandered to include a new meaning — vaguely, to note that there are some criss-crossing similarities among some individuals, some things in common — is that there isn't some other shorthand that's available to wave at such similarities. So the word "consensus" gets to be the shorthand, even if this new meaning takes out the far more useful old meanings. But a shorthand is no good if there isn't real, actual consensus as to what the shorthand is short for. If there isn't general understanding, you shouldn't use the shorthand, unless there's at least some common sense of how to take the disagreements further. (E.g., there's certainly no general agreement as to whether Macklemore & Ryan Lewis are real hip-hop, but people know that there's no general agreement here, and using the word "hip-hop" doesn't paper over such disagreements.) In any event — this is a somewhat different complaint — "consensus" is becoming a buzzword, people waving at ideas they've not actually worked out, trying to quickly communicate thoughts they don't yet have.
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Posted this comment over at rockcritics.com:

Xgau likes to imply ideas rather than spell them out, which I find frustrating. When he says "the atomization of taste known as the long tail may have a cutoff" I think he means a cutoff in time (it's the atomization not the tail that's being cut off), and what he means by cutting off the atomization is that the trend towards more things in the tail and fewer things in the nontail will slacken and eventually reverse. What it is that's being atomized isn't as clear: year-end lists? poll results? critical taste? consumer taste? And — though he doesn't state this at all — I'm pretty sure that one of the things on his mind is that there needs to be enough concentrated critical support for talented but commercially borderline artists so that at least some of these artists will earn a living and a few will get significant attention. Something like that. And this means that the critical "consensus"* has to include support for artists who aren't getting enough consumer support. And also on his mind might be that consumer support for musical artists can't be totally atomized or no one would earn a living at music.

But I don't see where he's really laying out the issues, at least not the way I would, which is:

(1) Of all the people with musical talent and potential musical talent, almost all the money and attention go to a very tiny tiny tiny few. I don't have a number, but I doubt that 1% or even .01% expresses how tiny it is. Most everyone else is subsistence or earning a living through something else. And therefore lots of people don't even get to develop their talent.

(2) This isn't going to change hugely (here's my piece on cumulative advantage), but I'd think the task is to get more people out of the "tail"** and into subsistence and more people out of subsistence into the middle. And the way to do this isn't by getting critics to get less diverse in their musical interests but by getting the country in general to start diminishing economic inequality rather than what the country is doing now, which is to increase it. With more disposable income in the lower reaches, this gives the commercially marginal a chance to get middling and a chance for some of the noncommercial musicians and would-be musicians to become at least marginal.

Taste not atomizing, Robert Christgau & Frank Kogan unite in vagueness, 'consensus' means what? )
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Was worried that some well-meaning copy editor at the Voice would not believe me when I listed "Wassup" as by Wassup and would change it to the other "Wassup." But they got it right (or more likely there weren't enough copy editors, well-meaning or otherwise). Some other oddness on the site, though: the first time I checked Matana Roberts' Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile, Chuck Eddy wasn't listed as having voted for it, though he had. But a few minutes later, his name was on there.

Not enough ballots from The Singles Jukebox.

I made no comments this time.

1. Crayon Pop - "Bar Bar Bar" - Chrome Entertainment
2. Baauer - "Harlem Shake" - Jeffree's/Mad Decent
3. GLAM - "I Like That" - Big Hit Entertainment
4. will.i.am ft. Britney Spears - "Scream & Shout" - will.i.am/Interscope
5. MBLAQ - "Smoky Girl" - J.Tune Camp
6. EvoL - "Get Up" - Stardom
7. Cassie ft. Rick Ross - "Numb" - self-released
8. Wa$$up - "Wa$$up" - Mafia
9. Tiny-G - "Minimanimo" - GNG Productions
10. Gaeko & Choiza & Simon D & Primary - "난리good!!! (AIR)" - Amoeba Culture

1. After School - First Love EP - Pledis Entertainment - 15
2. Orange Caramel - Orange Caramel - Avex - 15
3. D-Unit - Affirmative Chapter.1 EP - D-Business Entertainment/Windmill Media - 13
4. Matana Roberts - Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile - Constellation - 13
5. Kate Nash - Girl Talk - Have 10p - 10
6. SNSD - Love & Peace - Nayutawave - 10
7. Kitty - D.A.I.S.Y. rage EP - self-released - 9
8. Cassie - RockaByeBaby - self-released - 5
9. Sturgill Simpson - High Top Mountain - High Top Mountain/Relativity - 5
10. will.i.am - #willpower Deluxe Edition - will.i.am/Interscope - 5

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I was thinking of leaving the albums category blank, since I didn't give it the attention it needed, and Ashley and Kacey would have done fine without my vote. But Sturgill deserved the shout-out. (Not that any category got the attention it needed. And I’m already second-guessing what I wrote about Sturgill Simpson’s bitterness; not that the bitterness isn’t glaringly evident, but I don’t know if I did right by its complexity. Simpson’s in an interesting fight with his pain (I mean both senses of “with”). Trigger at Saving Country Music thinks “The World Is Mean” is about acceptance and moving forward. I’m not sure about that. But I am a bit worried about not having been fair. But who said life was fair?)


1. 2YOON - "24/7"
2. Miranda Lambert - "Mama's Broken Heart"
3. Kacey Musgraves - "Blowin' Smoke"
4. The Civil Wars - "The One That Got Away"
5. Luke Bryan - "That's My Kind Of Night"

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6. Sturgill Simpson - "Life Ain't Fair And The World Is Mean"
7. Cassadee Pope - "Wasting All These Tears"
8. Chris Stapleton - "What Are You Listening To?"
9. Taylor Swift - "22"
10. Gwen Sebastian - "Suitcase"


1. Sturgill Simpson - High Top Mountain
2. Ashley Monroe - Like A Rose
3. Kacey Musgraves - Same Trailer Different Park

Bunch of other categories )


Sturgill Simpson could rename himself Grumpy Stodgill, so resolved is he to be left-behind and to resent it. So the album works way better as music than as music criticism, but I'm sure Grumpy'll take that tradeoff. Hard, bitter, immovable.

Korean duo 2YOON's "24/7" isn't country so much as it's a visit to a country theme park (that's exactly how it's portrayed in the video). But as a lark rather than a lived-in world it manages to be more alive and rousing than a year's full of defensive, redneck partying, maybe because it isn't burdened with having to represent the vitality of an American South that is still determined to feel defeated.

Women have been going musically berserk in response to broken hearts since well before Frankie plugged Albert (not to mention Johnny) and Miss Otis sent her regrets. And Kacey's "Merry Go Round" references Malvina Reynolds' "Little Boxes" (1962), and it could have footnoted Ray Davies' "Well Respected Man" (1965) as well, for adoring the girl next door while dyin' to get at her. But there is a twist of feminism and newness coming from the McAnally-Musgraves-Lambert-Monroe clique, as they frame these old tropes as a breaking out rather than a breaking down. This isn't all that new either - Martina McBride and Shawn Colvin were lighting up the sky in rebellion a decade before Miranda struck her match with "Kerosene." But if people keep claiming a newness, this could lead to their creating some genuine newness. The experience isn't new but the response to it can be.

Technical details )

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Was thinking of my definition of power pop — "pop melodies with loud guitars and sometimes power chords" — and realized that one could say the same about the music I call "the loud pretties," music like the New York Dolls' "Jet Boy" and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." But I don't consider the latter power pop. Power pop (e.g., Crayon Pop's "Bar Bar Bar," which is putting "power pop" on my mind these days) has a much cleaner sound. The prettiness of "Bar Bar Bar" seems separable from the musical attack. The two accompany each other without being integral to each other. Whereas in the loud pretties, the guitar squall and the vocal squall seem one and the same, the melody emanating from the squall.

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(The Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and the Who's "I Can See For Miles" are poised between power pop and the loud pretties — though you need to understand that in their time, in comparison to the surrounding sounds, they seemed really loud, especially "Miles.")
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Here's a slight rewrite of my Pazz & Jop comments. I'd whipped the comments out in three hours right at deadline, and I liked the result: power and emotion maybe because of the rush. But owing to the speed, some ambiguities were left in, and some useful details were left out. So I've tweaked the sentences a little, and expanded a few.

Budokan )
People decided to imagine where the rage comes from )

A young woman, a member of a K-pop group, writes a tweet that goes, "The differences in levels of determination ^ ^. Let us all have determination." And several members of the same group take to twitter to concur, or re-tweet, with Jiyeon's concurrence maybe taking on an edge, the phrase, "I applaud you, acting genius," seeming like sarcasm. Hwayoung, the group member whom these tweets are apparently directed at, tweets back, "Sometimes determination alone is not enough." And from here the Internet takes over, seeing this as a set of girls ganging up on another girl. And videos that were obviously faked or even more obviously taken out of context begin to appear, to support this narrative, of a gang of girls bullying another girl: At the K-pop track-and-field events Hwayoung's umbrella is blowing apart in the rain and none of the other girls are helping her. Next image, they're force-feeding her while on a Japanese game show, jamming a rice cake into her mouth. (Amazing that that's taken as bullying; I mean, it's a game show, it's done for laughs, it was broadcast on TV, when it aired thousands saw without seeing any bullying; a few minutes earlier in the very same episode, Jiyeon, supposedly Hwayoung's main antagonist, also had a rice cake shoved into her mouth. Of course, the antis who distributed this as evidence of bullying edited that part out.) And we've got a photo where Hwayoung was on one escalator and the other girls were on another, definitive proof that she was ostracized, shunned.

So, there's a story basically creating itself out of air, but a story that's already in so many people, waiting for an excuse to take to the air.

Make the other members suffer as well )

Singles )

Albums )

Music Bank )
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34 Pazz & Jop voters listed Korean music on either their singles or albums ballot, as opposed to last year's lonely 18, but if you subtract out those whose only Korean vote was for K-pop's first American hit, the number falls to 10. I won't say that "Gangnam Style" failed to whet anyone's appetite or stoke anyone's curiosity, since I don't know how many people's long lists contained Korean content that didn't make their top tens.* And our sample size is pretty small anyway.

Here's who voted for K-pop that wasn't just "Gangnam Style."** I've put in bold those who didn't vote K-pop in 2011 (though Marsh and Considine included stuff from 2011). "Paparazzi" and "Sherlock" are in Japanese. Luke McCormick is new to me.

Vijith Assar - Ga-in "Bloom"
Justin Chun - Dal★shabet Bang Bang, Dal★shabet "Have, Don't Have," SNSD "Paparazzi"
JD Considine - TaeTiSeo "Twinkle," Psy "Gangnam Style," 2NE1 "I Am The Best," Wonder Girls "Like This"
Chuck Eddy - Trouble Maker "Trouble Maker," Psy "Gangnam Style"
Kevin John - G-Dragon "Crayon"
Calum Marsh - Miss A Touch, SNSD The Boys, Miryo Miryo AKA Johoney
Luke McCormick - G-Dragon "Crayon"
David Cooper Moore - Sistar "Alone," Orange Caramel Lipstick, Orange Caramel "Lipstick," T-ara "Lovey-Dovey."
Brad Shoup - SHINee "Sherlock" (Japanese ver.)

This is assuming I didn't miss anything.

I voted for 14 K-pop tracks and albums, which I admit is an absurd number. Last year I voted for 12 (well, 11 for K-pop and 1 for trot).

Nothing from K-pop other than "Gangnam Style" got more than 2 votes, unlike last year, when GD&TOP's "High High" got 3, HyunA's "Bubble Pop!" got 5, and 2NE1's "I Am The Best" got 7. I'm surprised Sistar's "Alone" didn't get anyone other than Dave and me.

Affinity list )

Footnotes )
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A track I voted for made the Freaky Trigger Top Forty, Dev's "Take Her From You"! In the 2011 poll a track I voted for made the Top Four, so this should be no big deal — except I'm sure nothing I voted for this time will make the Top Four. In fact, I was surprised anything I voted for made it at all.

But to the point of this post. Is there anyone out there who can parse the lyrics to Dev's "Take Her From You"? Who the "you" is seems to change, therefore confusing me as to who is being taken from whom, and where she's being taken!

Thank you.

The other point of this post is that I love everything about Dev's demeanor. She's absolutely her own strange-shaped self! She's absolutely confident! She's absolutely self-aware!

Also, she's got the sexiest singing in music. Tied with Cassie, anyway.
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Whiffing )

1. Taylor Swift "Red"
2. Miranda Lambert "Fastest Girl In Town"
3. Charles Esten & Hayden Panettiere "Undermine"
4. Lionel Richie ft. Jennifer Nettles "Hello"
5. Taylor Swift "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
6. Eden's Edge "Too Good To Be True"
7. Eric Church "Creepin'"
8. Kelly Clarkson ft. Vince Gill "Don't Rush"
9. Luke Bryan "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye"
10. Kix Brooks ft. Joe Walsh "New To This Town"

Other categories )

COMMENTS: Quandary ) "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" has the sort of glorying in self-deception that country lyricists and singers drool over; and even if the sound is fundamentally pop, there's a clarity in the arrangement that likely comes from country. Meanwhile, "Red" is the first time Taylor's written what sounds like an actual teenybopper song, as if it had been created during an elementary school exercise in beginning poetry. That's meant as a huge compliment.

Hayden Panettiere, who as a true teenpopper had thoroughly bored me, suddenly has a bead on my emotions. Talk about finding her voice.

I don't know if "Don't Rush" is a direction for Kelly Clarkson or just a blip. She was confused and feckless on her last two albums, the wrong big blast of this person's and that person's pop rock. And now here she is in '70s middle-of-the-road warmth and pain, and the richness of her pipes returns. And Lionel Richie, who to a good extent defined '70s middle-of-the-road warmth and pain, provides a terrific setting for Jennifer Nettles' half sandblaster of a voice, lushness that doesn't lose its gristle.

Lots of great male voices in country, which is fortunate because in every other genre I pay attention to the men tend to sound ridiculous.

Frank Kogan

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Frank Kogan's Pazz & Jop Ballot 2012

1. T-ara "Lovey-Dovey" (Core Contents Media)
2. Orange Caramel "Lipstick" (Pledis Entertainment)
3. Trouble Maker "Trouble Maker" (Cube Entertainment)
4. ChoColat "I Like It" (Paramount)
5. Dev "Take Her From You" (Universal)
6. Dev "In My Trunk" (Universal)
7. Cassie "King Of Hearts" (Bad Boy/Interscope)
8. Wonder Girls "Like This" (JYP Entertainment)
9. Sistar "Alone" (Starship Entertainment)
10. T-ara "Day By Day" (Core Contents Media)

1. T-ara Funky Town EP (Core Contents Media) 13 points
2. T-ara Mirage EP (Core Contents Media) 13 points
3. ChoColat I Like It, The First Mini Album EP (Paramount) 12 points
4. Neil Young Americana (Reprise) 10 points
5. Miss $ Miss Us? EP (Brand New Music/Windmill Media) 10 points
6. Serebro Mama Lover (Columbia Europe) 10 points
7. E.via E.viagradation Part 1. (Black & Red) EP (Dline Art Media) 8 points
8. DJ Bedbugs Teenpop Lock And Drop Volume 2 [self-released] 8 points
9. Miss A Touch EP (JYP Entertainment) 8 points
10. Orange Caramel Lipstick (Pledis Entertainment) 8 points

COMMENTS: Interesting the different ways the public reacts to mass shootings, depending on the setting, or on what story just happens to catch hold. Now, after those little kids were killed at Sandy Hook, it's about gun control and mental health. But back in 1999, with the Columbine shootings, the story was about teens bullying teens, the killers having responded to years of torment, the public decided. The psychology of the killers may have been no different from that of the man a few months earlier up in Greeley who'd walked into a disciplinary hearing and let blast rounds of fire, or the guy in L.A. a few months later who shot seventy bullets into a Jewish Community Center. But for Columbine, teens shooting teens, people decided to imagine where the rage comes from – one of the few instances where the public wondered what it felt like to be the shooters. One of the many notes put next to the crosses at Clement Park said to the two dead killers, "If only you could have held on for a couple of more months," the time till graduation.

When the Voice ran my Columbine piece, Doug Simmons forwarded me a bunch of emails they'd gotten in response to the shootings. I recall one of them being truly chilling: "After 50 years of oppression, this is payback." Mostly what I was reading, though, was the pain, everyone a former student, everyone seeming to have lived a perpetual gauntlet. Or that's how I remember them, maybe my own memory telling me stories.

Which I'll admit is an overdramatic intro to something that lacked violence, much less murder. But here goes:

Make the other members suffer as well )
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Dave over on Tumblr:

I like voting in it — stayed on board for the Jackin’ Pop year (voted in both polls) and have thought about staying on this year, since for better or worse it’s the only huge critics poll. Glenn McDonald is still doing stats, which alone kind of makes me want to participate. Just wondering if anyone is staging a parallel poll or “vote for Hinder” style shenanigans.
I'm voting (also voted in '06, when they fired Chuck and Xgau and, not incidentally, shut the door on me, too). The poll obviously doesn't mean what it once did: it's not going to reveal many surprises, since these days polls and wrapups and sum-ups are all over the Internet weeks and months prior. Also doesn't have the brains on call it once had. But it's the only place where ballots and writers show up in bulk, and it can provide an excuse for mass taking-of-stock all over the Web, not just at the Village Voice site. I remember some exciting ILM back-and-forth back in the day. Better some chance for a mass taking-of-stock than zero chance of a mass taking-of-stock, and there's no good reason for me not to be part of it.

Sistar Bedbug )
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My Pitchfork Vertebrates' List, Top Albums 1996–2011*

 photo Ashlee Simpson Autobiography cover.jpg

Saw Will Adams' email about his posting his Pitchfork list at the last second, was inspired to check on how last that second really was, began typing at 10:00 PM Mountain Daylight Time (deadline was midnight, some indeterminate time zone), and they cut me off at 10:15, when I'd gotten to exactly twenty but right before Aly & AJ Insomniatic, Arling & Cameron All-In, Marit Larsen Under The Surface, and Miranda Lambert Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Also missing was whatever I hadn't gotten around to exhuming from 1996 through 1998 (Bring It On soundtrack? [EDIT: Which was like 2000, actually]), plus whatever else I'd forgotten.

The order is somewhat accidental.

Funky Town was released January 3, 2012, now that I check.

*They're calling it "The People's List," but since that title is pretentious and juvenile, I came up with one that was just as juvenile but more novel; was originally going to call it "The Bipeds' List" but decided to show some backbone.
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Cleaning out the garage.

Top Nonsingles, 2011:

1. DJ Bedbugs "Young Money Cash Minogue"
2. Chucha Santamaria Y Usted "Miami Lakes"
3. LeAnn Rimes "The Bottle Let Me Down"
4. HyunA ft. Zico "Just Follow" (live on Music Bank) [webrip]
5. Dev "Take Her From You"
6. Mr. Collipark ft. Ying Yang Twins & DJ Kool "Let The Beat Hit"

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7. SOOLj ft. Tarae of Smash Bounce "앞 뒤 생각하지 말고"
8. Miranda Lambert "Fastest Girl In Town"
9. Miranda Lambert "Fine Tune"
10. Block B "Halo"
11. LPG "찔레꽃"*
12. Teddybears "Cisum Slived"
13. Kelly Clarkson "Einstein"
14. Clinah "So What If (똑같으면 뭐 어때)"

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15. Kelly Clarkson "Honestly"
16. LPG "내 눈에 안경"
17. Dev "Kiss My Lips"
18. Wonder Girls "Stop!"
19. SNSD "I'm In Love With The Hero"
20. Dev "In My Trunk"
21. SOOLj with DJ Tiz "Because I Am A Man (Inst.)"
22. Dev "Lightspeed"
23. CB1 ft. B-Free "We Roll"
24. Teddybears "Glow In The Dark"
25. Crucial Star "잘 찾아봐"

Freaky Trigger Songs Of 2011 ballot )


So, why doesn't the live 'Just Follow' count as a single? )

What was the question? )

So, you were too chicken to vote for 'Miami Lakes.' What do you have against Miami? )

Oh, I get it. )

What about disco? )

One (Always Trotcore) )
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Intro blah blah )


1. Taylor Swift "Mean"
2. Reba McEntire "If I Were A Boy"
3. Jamey Johnson "Heartache"
4. Eric Church "Homeboy"
5. Reba McEntire "When Love Gets A Hold Of You"
6. Gillian Welch "The Way It Goes"
7. Taylor Swift "Sparks Fly"
8. Keith Urban "Long Hot Summer"
9. Aaron Lewis "Country Boy"
10. The Band Perry "You Lie"


1. Miranda Lambert - Four The Record
2. Sunny Sweeney - Concrete
3. Lauren Alaina - Wildflower
4. Randy Montana - Randy Montana
5. Pistol Annies - Hell On Heels
6. Eric Church - Chief
7. Zach James - Machos Pathos

Other categories )

Country music can go fuck itself )
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2NE1 in ilX 'n' P&J

"I Am The Best" ranks only 38th in the ilX poll but receives wild gushes from those who'd not previously heard it: "there is something beyond just the synth timbre that is really evoking early 90s hoover rave bumping up against acid and pop music that is essentially aural catnip to me, only with a stronger editor behind the song to avoid Lady Gaga's songs' unfortunate tendency to become scattershot and unfocused."

Here is a list of everyone I could find who isn't me who voted Korean in Pazz & Jop 2011. Let me know if I missed somebody. Those in bold are voters I don't remember previously hearing of:

Vijith Assar - HyunA "Bubble Pop!"
Brent Baldwin - Shin Joong Hyun Beautiful Rivers & Mountains
Justin Chun - 4minute "Mirror Mirror," After School "Shampoo"
Michaela Drapes - 2NE1 "I Am The Best"
Chuck Eddy - GD&TOP "High High," 2NE1 "I Am The Best"
Phil Freeman - Wonder Girls "Be My Baby," 2NE1 "I Am The Best"
Richard Gehr - Shin Joong Hyun Beautiful Rivers & Mountains
Steve Holtje - A Pink "My My," BoA "Milestone"*
Andy Hutchins - 2NE1 "I Am The Best"
Kyle Kramer - HyunA "Bubble Pop!"
Todd Kristel - 2NE1 "I Am The Best"
Josh Langhoff - X-Cross "Crazy"
David Cooper Moore - HyunA "Bubble Pop!"
Brad Nelson - Wonder Girls "Be My Baby," Miss A "Good-bye Baby," 2NE1 "Ugly"
Chris Randle - HyunA "Bubble Pop!" 2NE1 "I Am The Best"
Tal Rosenberg - GD&TOP "High High"
Chris Weingarten - HyunA "Bubble Pop!"

I, by the way, voted for 11 or 12, depending on whether Galaxy Dream are Korean or not. Also, I worry that the inordinate time I spend trawling the Web for K-pop means that I'm overlooking a lot of great Rumanian dance pop and South African house (like this).

I'm not doing an affinity list this year, since I'm pretty sure Chuck and Dave are the only ones who voted for three songs or albums that I voted for (Chuck was three songs and Dave was three albums).

*"Milestone" is as far as I know a Japan-only release so probably should count more as J-pop; actually, other than the Japanese pronunciation/timbre, the song could be American, even country pop.
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How to get Maura Johnston interested in K-pop )

Britney )

IU, "The Story Only I Didn't Know." I don't have a good explanation for why a particular ballad hits me, since most go in one ear and out the other, leaving only torpor to mark their passage. Here, IU creates a space of intense agony, the music standing stark still. Her small voice sounds almost matter-of-fact. Like adding up deadly accounts. (So, torpor bad but stillness good?) (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAQ0d3LAtZ0 [click CC if you're not seeing English captions])

Galaxy Dream ft. Turbotronic, "Ready 4 Romance." Take any room, from shack to bar to ballroom, dim the lights, add breaths and echo effects, and voila! A dark, erotic, cavernous space. The cavemen figured this out early, using shadows and torches.

HyunA, the Bubble Pop! EP: on reality TV HyunA plays herself as a goofball and brat (search YouTube for "HyunA screams at chicken"), yet this does nothing to undo her sexual aura. On live performances of "Just Follow" she moves slow, her face expressionless, the expressionlessness expressing force and haughtiness, and an inner stillness — the stillness totally sexualized. I wonder what she thinks of it. Does the force field of sexiness that emanates from her have anything to do with her, or is it just a thing that she ("she") can use? Is it just her gorgeous, slightly blank face and her way of barely moving, restraint in her gestures, onto which we project the force field? She and Zico had performed "Just Follow" seven consecutive times [EDIT: over ten days, that is]; at the end of the eighth they deliberately break character and smile, "See, we're normal warm people after all"; and HyunA winks. But this is a controlled warmth, "See, I've been here all along," her revealing herself in her own time, doling out the warmth but only when she wants to. So besides warmth what's revealed is mastery, the ability to control the revelation, the smile demonstrating more control since it says "I can turn my roles on and off." The fear and hysteria she puts on when she wants to go girlie-girlie is a role too — even if the various roles all happen to be the truth. [EDIT: This P&J para, written Dec. 22, 2011 or thereabouts, was my first attempt to get at the awe-and-aura-not-requiring-distance point I next made a week later on my lj and a few days after that on Tumblr.]

Singles ballot )

Albums ballot )

Why I don't capitalize the m in 4minute )
koganbot: (Default)
Freaky Trigger readers display a range of reactions to the high finish of 2NE1 in the Freaky Trigger Readers' Poll:

(I'm the guy in the white jacket, third row, left.)
koganbot: (Default)
Holy shit! Somebody else also voted for E.via in Pazz & Jop. Here's Todd Kristel's singles ballot:

1 DJ Zinc (ft. Ms. Dynamite), "Wile Out" (Zinc Music/Bingo Bass)
2 Vybz Kartel (ft. Popcaan & Gaza Slim), "Clarks" (Chrome)
3 California Swag District, "Teach Me How to Dougie" (Checkmate/Capitol)
4 M.I.A., "Born Free" (Interscope/N.E.E.T.)
5 E.Via, "Pikachu (Pick Up! U!)"
6 Far East Movement, "Like a G6" (Cherrytree/Interscope)
7 Big Boi (ft. Cutty), "Shutterbugg" (Def Jam)
8 Laura Bell Bundy, "Giddy on Up" (Mercury)
9 Sleigh Bells, "Rill Rill" (Mom + Pop/N.E.E.T.)
10 Intocable, "Estamos en Algo" (Sony Latin)

Todd and I had no votes in common, but four of those singles were in my top twenty ("Pick Up! U!," "Born Free," "Estamos en Algo," and "Like A G6") and another three were in my top 95 ("Giddy On Up," "Teach Me How To Dougie," and "Wile Out"), so I wouldn't be surprised if Todd haunts the same Websites I do. (My own E.via votes were for EPs.)

Affinity list )
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 photo Jamey Johnson long beard.jpg

Here's my tracks and albums ballots for ilX's 2011 poll. Difference between this and the other polls I do is that in this one we can only vote for tracks and albums that have been nominated. Of course, we can nominate a whole lot ourselves, but I deliberately nominated a mess of country tracks I knew I wasn't going to have room to vote for, since I wanted to vote a lot of things that would get votes from someone else too. Also, this way I got to vote for several tracks from 2009 that were nominated by others.

We were instructed to copy and paste our votes directly from the final list of nominees, as "syntax is of utmost importance" (I understood the reason for that instruction perfectly, recalling how back in Pazz & Jop 2005 the Voice poobahs failed to add together votes for Robyn's "Be Mine!" and Robyn's "Be Mine"). So here are my lists as pasted, including my vote for "Jamie" Johnson. (I'd've had the opportunity to vote for Jamey Johnson under tracks, but what was nominated there wasn't nearly as good as "Poor Man Blues," "Cover Your Eyes," "Lonely At The Top," etc.)

Tracks )

Albums )

Jamey Johnson )


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