Monday, January 12, 2015

2014 Pazz & Jop Poll Predictions

Almost 30 years after its release, Brothers in Arms is going to win Pazz & Jop. The War on Drugs' third album, Lost in the Dream, is my pick to top the annual music critics poll, whose results will be announced on January 14. I like Lost in the Dream -- its pretty guitar textures get to me when I'm in a certain mood -- but it mostly reminds me of Dire Straits' 1985 record, which I would describe as "elegant" and "accomplished" and "sophisticated" and "dreamlike" and "perfectly fine but also a bit much." (By the way, Brothers in Arms landed at No. 20 on that year's Pazz & Jop poll, just barely beating "Money for Nothing" guest vocalist Sting's first solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles.)

If Lost in the Dream does win, it'll be the first time a straight-up indie-rock band won the poll since Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion in 2009. The War on Drugs' strongest challenger will be St. Vincent, the only good thing that's ever come out of the Polyphonic Spree.

Here are the rest of my predictions for the Top 10....

1. The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream
2. St. Vincent, St. Vincent
3. Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2
4. D'Angelo and the Vanguard, Black Messiah
5. FKA twigs, LP1
6. Taylor Swift, 1989
7. Beck, Morning Phase
8. Angel Olsen, Burn Your Fire for No Witness 
9. Aphex Twin, Syro 
10. Sharon Van Etten, Are We There  

I'll talk about my own ballot once the Pazz & Jop results go live Wednesday. But for now, I'll just say that two of the albums I'm guessing hit the Top 10 made my own album list.

(Update: Wow, I was wrong. I assumed that the very late arrival of Black Messiah at the end of the year would keep it from topping the poll. But D'Angelo is indeed your winner. I got the top five right, but in a different order. Overall, I was correct about seven of the top 10, which isn't too shabby. My own ballot is here.)