Saturday, January 3rd, 2004

Year End Lists Don’t Have To Suck


Cuz Michaelangelo Matos has made them fun again! Check the Seattle Weekly’s 2003 in the Mix and his essay. Elsewhere, Jess Harvell’s year-end is an endlessly interesting grok that had me sprinting for Amoeba and Limewire.

Voting for the Pazz and Jop closes Monday and I’m already scurrred. Since 1997 or 8 (or 9), my gripe has been that the P+J has lost all relevance. Despite record numbers of voters every year, chronic low turnout from the non-white under-35 crowd ensures the list represents nothing close to a real snapshot of critical interests. (And no, please don’t ask me to do the dirty work, I already sent out the email address for the Da Capo Best Of.)

To me, the commentary reads less like the hot and often rudely funny culture-clashes of yesteryear than carefully constructed, artful and bloodless attacks on perceived straw targets (prediction: many words on Liz Phair and death-of-album) or canned one-liners (tho Jon Dolan has elevated that format to an artform). Aside from JD, why wait for that when you’re already in the blogosphere? Anyway, more critics, less drama this year: will Outkast survive the backlash to lock top album honors? Will R. Kelly surprise all by taking the single title from Beyonce? And what kind of outcry might that unleash? Back to sleep, yall.

One thing most year-end lists–not to mention the Voice’s pretty belated package–did make me feel was a major spasm of regret that I spent most of The Year Dancehall Broke on the sidelines. My sincere, heartfelt plea to editors and writers: more context, please? Your farin-ness is showing. (Here’s the part where I wish I could refer folks to an anthology of Rob Kenner’s collected writings.)

One thing you learn from growing up on an island: things and time will tell.


Your Dancehall Pedant

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