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2000 Pazz & Jop: Albums While They Last

2000 Pazz & Jop: Albums While They Last

Guess who didn’t win the 27th or 28th Pazz & Jop Critics’ Ballot. C’mon, I’ll even offer you a touch. For those who have been rooting for him, you didn’t give him a lot probability. However when you regard the motherfucker because the epitome of all that’s vicious and/or venal in common music, you might nicely have assumed the worst — in any case, assuming the worst is a behavior of yours. Now you bought it, proper? His identify is, his identify is, his identify is — Mr. Triple Hassle himself, Eminem/Marshall Mathers/Slim Shady, who completed solely fourth among the many 586 execs, prose poets, hacks, hackers, slackers, hobbyists, copywriters, and grey eminences who participated in our most humongous rock critics’ ballot ever. Eminem was approach forward of the neck-and-neck if not but tits-and-pecs Shelby Lynne and D’Angelo, however nicely behind third-by-a-hair Radiohead. Though PJ Harvey attracted no extra voters than her fellow Brits, whose chief sang extra winningly on her report than on his personal, Pazz & Jop’s almost-famous level system boosted her almost-perfect document to second in a yr when supporters of D’Angelo, Eminem, and Radiohead felt no obligation to disclaim their faves’ flaws.

As for the perfection of our largest winner since Pazz & Jop hit our on-line world, suffice it to say that OutKast’s fourth album has individuals crying masterpiece, and that no matter my private rankings I used to be glad Stankonia beat Tales From the Metropolis, Tales From the Sea. Having determined that The Marshall Mathers LP was so intense it needed to be my No. 1 despite the fact that Harvey had generated the extra through-inspired document, I used to be in no place to quibble that Stankonia doesn’t keep for 73 minutes. If the voters felt that OutKast’s singles-topping “Ms. Jackson” and “B.O.B.” blew such distinctions away, that feeling alone proved it. Hallelujah! Our first actual rap winner since De La Soul in 1989 or — relying on the way you outline actuality, all the time the important thing to hip-hop metaphysics — Arrested Improvement in 1992. And whereas the surest proof that the top is close to might be that our greatest golfer is black and our greatest rapper is white, African American artists have suffered well mannered liberal prejudice so commonly in our ballot that it was good to see OutKast profit from it. Relative to the dreaded Mathers, the reformed Atlanta drug sellers — hey, that element couldn’t be some Slim Shady persona-twist, might it? — appear fairly protected.

However that’s a jaded studying. Stankonia can also be the deeper musical selection, its hooky funk far stickier than Eminem’s brightly tripping high-versus-low pitch juxtapositions and its raps much more speedy and rhythmic, with bonus factors from diehards hung up on music being performed stay. Its imaginative and prescient of a group as enmeshed in pleasure as in duty is a method out of the gangsta lure, too. However in 2000 Eminem was the extra momentous artist, and never solely as a result of he was white, or “provocative.” It’s as a result of he was sensible, galvanizing an viewers everybody knew was there with rhymes of outstanding if not unduplicated technical bravado that layered ranges of which means hip-hop had all the time hinted at however by no means so absolutely exploited — and in addition as a result of, removed from indulging the woman-hate that has lengthy been a sorry cliché of our richest style, he begins the ugly labor of unpacking it, in phrases that by no means kowtow to the general public moralists whose imprimatur would taint any such improvement for his trustworthy.

Please, I’m not claiming Eminem is a caped crusader battling for justice underneath cowl of warning sticker. He’s only a rock star, the old style sort who cares (even) extra about fame than cash and isn’t a creature of the lifelong profession calculation that distinguishes the present glut of Mickey Mouse Membership alumni from the Bay Metropolis Rollers. However he’s so intimate with the dissembling pseudoauthenticities gangsta rappers lay on buddies and foes that he’s taken them someplace, and on this, as Frank Kogan’s “Open the Trapdoor Eminem” makes as clear as is appropriate, his stardom offers leverage. Many consider such multifaceted contradictions are over the heads of a younger viewers that’s much more confused than he’s — certainly that’s why pundits are in a lather over his Grammy nods whereas nobody peeps about Steely Dan’s 19th-place Two Towards Nature, through which cheaters plot to drive a wronged spouse insane and a lovable pedophile units up a three-way together with his “Janie Runaway.” I don’t assume so — youngsters in love usually hear lyrics higher than professionals holding their noses. And one purpose I made a decision to publish Kogan’s explication de gestalt was that numerous my colleagues weren’t getting it both.

Unannounced, 2000 turned out to be what some have been proud to anoint “Yr of the Rock Critic.” Sadly, it wasn’t in-house causes célèbres like Jim DeRogatis’s Bangs bio or Richard Meltzer’s Da Capo best-of that impressed the heavy respiration. It was sanction from common tradition’s Holy See — Hollywood. First got here Excessive Constancy, which deftly imported Nick Hornby’s London-based record-geek novel to Chicago. After which the clincher, Virtually Well-known, an entertaining fantasy with a cute premise that introduced each Lester Bangs and Cameron Crowe as paragons of a J-school integrity few have been conscious that they had something to do with. Enjoyable flick, however the primary factor it advised me about rock criticism occurred when it positioned halfway up the Voice’s a lot smaller movie critics’ ballot. As each filmmaking and tradition fable, this critic most popular not simply Excessive Constancy however Gladiator. Us guys is probably not so stylish, however as a gaggle we’re additionally not so rattling avant-genteel. Which is why I used to be bummed by all of the voters’ Eminem-keyed boilerplate — from “homophobic” and good ol’ “misogynistic” to “rhyme expertise” and “city tales,” not all equally inaccurate however all ineffective rhetorically and analytically. After we win our Pulitzer, the brand new Voice possession will publish the Eminem part individually and distribute it in faculties. Additionally included would be the Napster-etc. “Hazard — Sky Falling” and “Boogie Oogie Google,” an unsolicited-and-then-some missive from inactive critic Julian Dibbell, whose identify I struck from the rolls myself, however who was then invited to vote by way of — life may be so poetic typically — pc glitch.

Pazz & Jop’s hugeness could be a ache within the ass; God meant higher issues for me than extracting indie labels from CDNow so surfers who’ve clicked over from The Drudge Report will know who accountable for the newest Nitin Sawhney joint. We did lastly achieve attracting extra African People and hip-hop specialists (unidentical cohorts, as Condoleezza Rice and DJ Koala will quickly clarify to Charlie Rose), however past that I doubt the dimensions of the factor impacts outcomes a lot. What it does is present proof towards elitism, claiming aesthetic authority for knowledgeable consensus quite than rhetorical drive. My concept has all the time been that listening to plenty of music so you’ll be able to write about a few of it’ll train anybody issues they’re higher off figuring out. Dullards dance with smartasses and cranks harangue geniuses because the buzzworthy corrects for the tried-and-true and the strictly private stays that means.

Patterns assert themselves — Greatest New Diva, Nice Nation Hope. However additionally they shift. Those that think about alt-country yesterday’s information as a result of Jay Farrar took a powder, for example, ought to notice that 2000 gave us a younger Nice Nation Hope (Shelby Lynne, whose fifth and greatest album is up for a “new artist” Grammy), an previous GCH (Merle Haggard, whose 76th and greatest album snared a P&J debut), and a middle-aged GCH (Steve Earle, whose 11th and squishiest album coasted on cred), in addition to the shocking reprise of trans-Atlantic transubstantiators Billy Bragg & Wilco, the suspect alt-countrypolitan resuscitation of the Jayhawks, and two standard-bearers from the Bloodshot flagship: Warners/Whiskeytown refugee Ryan Adams and Neko Case, 36th together with her Boyfriends and 118th together with her New Pornographers. Strap your self to a tree with roots, they belong in any future-conscious overview of American pop. Over the many years, as extra younger critics reduce their chops on school radio’s different-is-better-but-new-will-do, the pop half has angered many militant avant-gardists, not all of whom can be voting if we utilized the identical exacting requirements to criticism they assume they apply to music. However polls usually measure consensus, and an exciting consensus is what pop is.

So we look at the outcomes and conclude that 2000 was a fantastic yr for hip-hop. Ignore the wailing wall of alt-rap ideologues and thirtysomething grouches sounding identical to the doomsayers of that nice yr for alt-rock 1994 — who, OK, had some extent, however historical past doesn’t all the time repeat itself, and this historical past started earlier than alt-rock knew its identify. After 20-plus years, the style previously generally known as rap continues to be exfoliating from each its pop-crossover and bohemian-purist trunks. Our document eight hip-hop finishers embrace Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah commanding robust style help and major-label alt-rappers Jurassic 5 jollying none, acutely aware pioneer Widespread forging onward, New York undergrounders Lifeless Prez and Talib Kweli & DJ Hello-Tek edging low, younger loonybird Eminem and previous quack Dre, and probably the most dominant P&J album because the mid ’90s, when Gap, then Harvey, then Beck ran away with successive polls. Though it one way or the other did not excite alt-country roots fanciers, Stankonia could be very a lot of a spot — East Level, the working-class-when-there’s-work Atlanta ’hood the place Dre 3000 and Massive Boi stay giant with out playa enjoying. But by backing up front-porch solidity with assault-weapon sass, its massively profitable run on the pop charts packs as a lot metaphysical ambition as any alt-rock master-statement. OutKast have to see extra of the world earlier than they will take it to George Clinton’s stage. However observe that no Clinton album ever breached our prime 10. Not solely do hits come extra naturally to funk innovators today, so does standing.

Ah, hits — the place “r&b” lives, supposedly, solely on our chart rhythm issues have been all the time getting misplaced beneath the album-cut staples of school/alt radio. So we canned the reissues class, which had degenerated right into a dick-size contest for well-promoted luxurious packing containers and tokens of retro hip, and expanded to 40 singles from 25. And in a technical adjustment to the Napster-etc. brouhaha — which moved the wags at Spin to call “your arduous drive” album of the yr — we outlined a single (too broadly) as any particular person music. So maybe the best way hip-hop and r&b overran our chart — 11 rap data prime 25, 5 extra under, plus Aaliyah and Sisqó and Badu and Scott and R. Kelly and Lucy Pearl and Macy (not David) Grey and three Future’s (not Desmond) Childs — displays the dispersion of the album-rock vote into the mists of limitless selection, whereas people who love rhythm issues remained social beings tryna get this get together began. Or perhaps, with deserving teenpop right down to Britney and ’N Sync smashes (no Pink? no M2M?) and the 38th-place “Kryptonite” and “The Dangerous Contact” the one respectable new radio-rock novelties (no Matchbox Twenty! no Bon Jovi!), the foolish likes of “Nation Grammar,” “Shake Ya Ass,” and “Thong Music” could possibly be cheered on because the affirmations they all the time are. Perhaps it was only a nice yr for hip-hop.

An analogous logic would then pertain on the album chart, which for all its neotraditionalism has all the time honored the accessibly avant-garde — progressive populism, name it. This dream is mocked by avant-garde militants, who’re so postpop they’re barely conscious that hip-hop could be an artform, though the town dwellers amongst them presumably acknowledge its existence as different individuals’s noise. However for many who maintain to the avant-pop hope/phantasm, the argument would go, the scant guitar-band choices have given solution to an underground rap attaining essential mass and dozens of larger names approaching maturity. In comparison with the low-overhead Blackalicious or Del the Funky Homosapien, the Jurassic 5 appear as blandly good-time to me because the Del Fuegos of early Amerindie, however I like what their end signifies. Widespread lastly made our chart with probably the most musical of his 4 trustworthy albums. I’m solely sorry that De La Soul (81st) and the late-released Wu-Tang Clan (45th) didn’t get the respect their accrued accomplishments warrant.

It seems, nevertheless, that the voters didn’t discover 2000 such a nasty yr for younger guitar bands. After dipping to 18 in 1998 and 14 in 1999, Pazz & Jop debuts rebounded to 20 in 2000. These embrace the solo bows of Wu-Tang’s Ghostface and Whiskeytown’s Adams, the winterbloom of 63-year-old Hag, and the reunited Go-Betweens (whose ’80s shutout proves that typically we miss even guitar bands), in addition to the recent hip-hoppers and Greatest New Diva Jill Scott. However Lynne and Neko Case lead us to a assorted alt-rock contingent, from the aggressively typical Travis and Coldplay and Marah and Queens of the Stone Age to the glacially keyby Sigur Rós to the dissimilarly punky Le Tigre and On the Drive-In to my favourite pairing, mopey Mancunian Badly Drawn Boy and calm Californians Grandaddy.

Few of the brand new newbies are alt-rock within the acquainted Amerindie sense: the Springsteenish Marah and the metallic Queens forswear any collegiate vibe, Sigur Rós are from Iceland and starvation, and three others are simply plain British. Even when Travis are dumb sub-Bluroroasis tunesmiths who appear alt over right here as a result of we’ve gotten so chauvinistic, along with Coldplay and Badly Drawn Boy they betoken an Anglophilia revival that picks up on the thrill that a number of years in the past surrounded electronica. Why not? Damon Gough isn’t simply one other depressive with hooks — his album mutates like Tough slightly than marching like Bluroroasis. Six thousand miles away within the sun-baked Modesto flatlands, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy has additionally been nurturing a present for track biking. Thom Yorke, name your guru.

In case you have been questioning, Yorke appears to be what occurred to the thrill surrounding electronica. Was 2000 the yr when Moby launched his world takeover from the highest of our 1999 ballot? Or was it the yr when not a single danceable techno album positioned among the many voters’ 100 favorites? The latter, I’d say. (Right down to 50, on your tree-killing info: Björk, Bebel Gilberto, theasteriskedEgoTrip’sTheBigPlayback*whichgot30pointsfromallthede admag’splayasandstillfellshortfuckyouguys, James Carter’s Chasin’ the Gypsy, Wu, Emmylou, North Mississippi All Stars, Dandy Warhols, Modest Mouse’s Moon and Antarctica, and John R. Money). Nevertheless it was additionally when the world’s biggest rock band cough cough selected to concede techno its futuristic pretensions by emulating illbient texture and move. Though Radiohead’s delicate, synergistic train in pomo magnificence is accounted terribly troublesome by Child A’s anhedonic supporters, don’t waste any paranoia on it. Not solely was extra recondite music out there from intercourse image D’Angelo, the years to return promise horrible difficulties value warning individuals about — and I don’t imply the fallout from Primal Scream’s dystopian XTRMNTR, which does a Radiohead-style strong for pomo ugly.

Within the part entitled “The W,” you can find many conflicting theories of what Washington’s return to Reaganism will imply to progressive music. I have a tendency towards agnosticism in re such broad social questions, which signifies that on the very least I feel it’s deluded to wax optimistic, simply because it’s deluded to swear the rattling Democrats will come roaring again in 2002. However as standard I hope you grant this a lot to Pazz & Jop’s model of the rattling Democrats, parents tied to the tried-and-true: New doesn’t equal progressive. Though inspired by the three Greatest Previous Divas — Scott’s spectacular ninth place didn’t cancel long-awaited efforts by Sade or Erykah Badu or the newest from the fecund Madonna — I think that our citizens’s openness to younger guitar bands comes at the price of insensitivity to previous ones, and that fresh-obsessed hip-hoppers taking De La and Wu-Tang as a right are not any higher. U2 wrote some songs and received many props, Yo La’s lounge enterprise misplaced some followers because it reassured others, and whereas my clique was satisfied that the world’s biggest rock and roll band hip hip hooray had lastly slipped, the 10th-place end of Sleater-Kinney’s All Arms on the Dangerous One, after 1999’s The Scorching Rock got here in 23rd, might imply we have been mistaken. However a few of my deepest satisfactions in 2000 have been offered by previous artists as much as previous tips with new twists: Lou Reed’s Ecstasy (63rd), Sonic Youth’s NYC Ghosts & Flowers (104th, Jesus), and RZA’s supremely meditative Ghost Canine soundtrack (83rd). Perhaps I’m only a rattling New Yorker, however the voters’ choice for younger repeater Elliott Smith’s soupiest album, to not point out previous farts the Jayhawks’ smiliest, will get me mad.

Prime 10s do rein one in. Me, I’d have beloved to tip my poll to the life-sentenced Waco Brothers (two mentions), in-it-to-win-it Amy Rigby (six), ‘buked-and-scorned Fatboy Slim (six), postexotic Youssou N’Dour (9). However I think many citizens would have stored itemizing putative subsequent huge issues, typically strictly private ones. Of the document 1621 albums named by our 586 respondents, 1021 appeared on exactly one poll. Determine a imply size of an hour and it might take an individual 40 work weeks to eat every of those leisure merchandise as soon as. Or put it one other approach — 1621 is nearly half the entire estimated annual album manufacturing of the mid ’80s. That is, as I hope everybody no less than glimpses, the flip aspect of each the Napster brouhaha and the Mickey Mouse Membership blitzkrieg, every of which is equally as responsive (or not) to the incomprehensibilities of defining and servicing an viewers.

Ponder the 2000 label breakdown. A full half of our major-label albums got here from the megacorp I name UniMoth — 11 in all, 4 of the highest seven, on Interscope, Island, MCA, Motown, Big, DreamWorks. However breaking final yr’s report of 14, 18 of our finishers have been on unbiased labels, be these well-capitalized ventures by renegade bizzers from the philanthropic Danny Goldberg to the profiteering Richard Branson or tiny outfits like Le Tigre’s feminist Mr. Woman or renegade bizzer Aimee Mann’s DIY SuperEgo. That is hardly a utopia — these don’t exist, not beneath anyone’s capitalism. However it’s myopic to see solely doom within the spectacle of a music business that may conceive no market huge and malleable sufficient to control on a scale acceptable to its number-crunchers besides youngsters who don’t but know their very own energy — youngsters who might stay passive ceaselessly, in all probability gained’t, and are sure to vary in different methods regardless. And it’s additionally myopic to assume the music business stops with the five-going-on-four megacorps up prime. Will Napster-etc. put an finish to the album — and, boo hoo, Pazz & Jop — as we all know it? I have a tendency towards agnosticism in re such broad social questions, which isn’t to say I don’t marvel — and fear — typically. Then once more, I’m additionally on document as mourning the demise of the monoculture. Those that don’t, which suggests all too many technodeterminists, ought to rejoice as an alternative that for the foreseeable future some Web facility or different will allow anybody with a modicum of motivation to get his or her recorded music to simpatico people — perhaps retail, perhaps fucking free.

Is that this progress? Of a kind, at a loss. However in a historic second when no music is able to offering the aid all anti-Reaganites crave, perhaps the trail of knowledge is to go away the pronouncements on who and what does and doesn’t really herald progress to the Nayda-hatas and their reverse moralizers among the many rattling Greens. I simply determine that in a marginalized left, the symbolic one Pazz & Jop screens a minimum of the real-world one the place it’s oh so marginally located, all who want justice for the deprived are my allies — nevertheless pathological their personalities, impotent their techniques, or delusory their respect for the truly present deprived.

As rock turns into ever extra self-conscious, what I choose lately to name well-liked music encompasses an ever extra incalculable profusion of aesthetic…”ranges”? “approaches”? “multivalences”? “tones”? However what’s fascinating concerning the ones rock stars go for is that they transfer plenty somewhat than nurturing subcultures. For 30 years now, ever since I uttered the phrases “semipopular music,” I’ve needed each whereas too typically settling for the straightforward one. Subcultures are for firm, solace, safety, inspiration. Provided that they’re exceptionally robust and fortunate have they got an opportunity of germinating change. Symbolically but once more, rock stars with a pipeline to the truly present deprived maintain out the potential of one thing extra. The unlamented Eazy-E was proud to donate cash to the rattling Republicans, and I wouldn’t put the identical stratagem previous his reverse immoralizer, Eminem’s man Dr. Dre. However then again, Eminem has cameoed on extra rap data up to now yr than anyone this aspect of that ho Snoop. So right here’s my modest proposal: that the great Dre, the soiled Southerner within the faggoty pants, give Marshall Mathers a name.

Prime 10 Albums of 2000

1. OutKast: Stankonia (LaFace/Arista)

2. PJ Harvey: Tales From the Metropolis, Tales From the Sea (Island/Def Jam)

three. Radiohead: Child A (Capitol)

four. Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP (Aftermath/Interscope)

5. Shelby Lynne: I Am Shelby Lynne (Island)

6. D’Angelo: Voodoo (Virgin)

7. U2: All That You Can’t Depart Behind (Interscope)

eight. Yo La Tengo: And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out (Matador)

9. Jill Scott: Who Is Jill Scott? Phrases and Sounds Vol. 1 (Hidden Seashore)

10. Sleater-Kinney: All Palms on the Dangerous One (Kill Rock Stars)

Prime 10 Singles of 2000

1. OutKast: “Ms. Jackson” (LaFace/Arista)

2. Eminem That includes Dido: “Stan” (Aftermath/Interscope)

three. OutKast: “B.O.B.” (LaFace/Arista)

four. U2: “Lovely Day” (Interscope)

5. Madonna: “Music” (Maverick/Warner Bros.)

6. Nelly: “(Scorching S**t) Nation Grammar” (Common)

7. Eminem: “The Actual Slim Shady” (Aftermath/Interscope)

eight. Mystikal: “Shake Ya Ass” (Jive)

9. Future’s Youngster: “Say My Identify” (Columbia)

10. (Tie) Aaliyah: “Attempt Once more” (Blackground/Atlantic)
Macy Grey: “I Attempt” (Epic)

—From the February 20, 2001, problem


Pazz & Jop essays and outcomes may also be discovered on Robert Christgau’s website. His most up-to-date guide, Is It Nonetheless Good to Ya? Fifty Years of Rock Criticism, 1967–2017, was revealed final yr.


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