Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The 1983 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll

Albums

1. Michael Jackson: Thriller (Epic) 1305 (100) *
2. REM: Murmur (I.R.S.) 986 (77)
3. Talking Heads: Speaking in Tongues (Sire) 746 (67)
4. X: More Fun in the New World (Elektra) 717 (65)
5. The Police: Synchronicity (A&M) 470 (43)
6. U2: War (Island) 372 (36)
7. Lou Reed: Legendary Hearts (RCA Victor) 365 (31)
8. Johnathan Richman & the Modern Lovers: Jonathan Sings! (Sire) 324 (33)
9. Richard Thompson: Hand of Kindness (Hannibal) 310 (33)
10. Bob Dylan: Infidels (Columbia) 282 (29)
11. Elvis Costello: Punch the Clock (Columbia) 261 (26)
12. Culture Club: Colour By Numbers (Epic) 257 (27)
13. Randy Newman: Trouble in Paradise (Warner Bros.) 247 (26)
14. George Clinton: Computer Games (Capitol) 241 (24) **
15. Big Country: The Crossing (Mercury) 238 (25)
16. Jerry Lee Lewis: The Sun Sessions (Sun import) 238 (12)
17. Aztec Camera: High Land, Hard Rain (Sire) 232 (22)
18. T-Bone Burnett: Proof Through the Night (Warner Bros.) 230 (24)
19. David Bowie: Let's Dance (EMI America) 221 (23)
20. James Blood Ulmer: Odyssey (Columbia) 217 (17)
21. Rolling Stones: Undercover (Rolling Stones) 211 (22)
22. The Blasters: Non Fiction (Slash/Warner Bros.) 206 (21)
23. New Order: Power, Corruption and Lies (Factus) 202 (23)
24. Malcolm McLaren: Duck Rock (Island) 201 (20)
25. Prince: 1999 (Warner Bros.) 185 (19) ***
26. Violent Femmes: Violent Femmes (Slash) 177 (18)
27. Was (Not Was): Born to Laugh at Tornadoes (Geffen) 172 (19)
28. Graham Parker: The Real Macaw (Arista) 171 (17)
29. Marshall Crenshaw: Field Day (Warner Bros.) 169 (18)
30. The Replacements: Hootenanny (Twin/Tone) 158 (13)
31. Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (RCA Victor) 157 (15)
32. Tom Waits: Swordfishtrombones (Island) 150 (15)
33. Eddy Grant: Killer on the Rampage (Epic) 141 (13)
34. Trio: Trio and Error (Mercury) 140 (16)
35. Kid Creole and the Coconuts: Doppelganger (Sire) 124 (13)
36. The Fleshtones: Hexbreaker (I.R.S.) 113 (9)
37. Linda Ronstadt: What's New (Asylum) 112 (11)
38. King Sunny Adé and His African Beats: Synchro System (Mango) 103 (9)
39. Nile Rodgers: Adventures in the Land of the Good Groove (Mirage) 100 (12)
40. Paul Simon: Hearts and Bones (Warner Bros.) 100 (11)

*Includes 1982 votes, 288 (26), but not the 1982 votes of those who also voted for Thriller in 1983.

**Includes 1982 votes, 158 (16).

***Does not include 1982 votes, 564 (57); if they had been and duplication subtracted 1999 would have finished fourth at 739 (75).

This poll compiles ballots from 207 critics, each of whom divided 100 points among 10 1983 LPs. Maximum points per album: 30. Minimum: 5. Points determined placement, with total mentions (in parentheses) used for tie-breaking.

Singles

1. Michael Jackson: "Billie Jean" (Epic) 75 *
2. The Police: "Every Breath You Take" (A&M) 66
3. The Pretenders: "Back on the Chain Gang" (Sire) 65 *
4. Afrika Bambaataa & the Soul Sonic Force: "Looking for the Perfect Beat" (Tommy Boy) 45 *
Prince: "Little Red Corvette" (Warner Bros.) 45
6. Eddy Grant: "Electric Avenue" (Epic) 43
7. Michael Jackson: "Beat It" (Epic) 42
8. Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel: "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)" (Sugarhill) 35
9. Run-D.M.C.: "It's Like That"/"Sucker MCs" (Profile) 31
10. Talking Heads: "Burning Down the House" (Sire) 29
11. Elvis Costello: "Everyday I Write the Book" (Columbia) 27
12. Big Country: "In A Big Country" (Mercury) 26
13. George Clinton: "Atomic Dog" (Capitol) 25
14. David Bowie: "Let's Dance" (EMI America) 22
Lionel Richie: "All Night Long" (Motown) 22
Donna Summer: "She Works Hard for the Money" (Mercury) 22
17. Eurythmics: "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" (RCA Victor) 21
Herbie Hancock: "Rockit" (Columbia) 21
19. Indeep: "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life" (Sound of New York) 19 *
20. Culture Club: "Church of the Poison Mind" (Epic) 18
Culture Club: "Karma Chameleon" (Epic) 18
S.O.S. Band: "Just Be Good To Me" (Tabu) 18
23. Culture Club: "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?" (Epic) 17 *
24. David Bowie: "Modern Love" (EMI America) 16
Lyres: "I Want To Help You Ann"/"I Really Want You Right Now" (Ace of Hearts) 16

*Includes 1982 votes: Jackson 5, Pretenders 43, Afrika Bambaataa 1, Indeep 2, Culture Club 5

EPs

1. Los Lobos: ". . . And a Time to Dance" (Slash) 54
2. Let's Active: Afoot (I.R.S.) 48
3. Jason & the Nashville Scorchers: Fervor (Praxis) 30
4. The Bongos: Numbers With Wings (RCA Victor) 23
5. The Bluebells: The Bluebells (Sire) 20
6. The Alarm: The Alarm (I.R.S.) 18
7. Minutemen: Buzz Or Howl Under the Influence of Heat (SST) 15
8. Minor Threat: Out of Step (Dischord) 14
9. Bangles: Bangles (Faulty Products) 13
10. DFX2: Emotion (MCA) 12

*Includes album votes, 4.

Videos

1. Michael Jackson: "Beat It" 63
2. Herbie Hancock: "Rockit" 33
3. Michael Jackson: "Billie Jean" 32
4. Talking Heads: "Burning Down the House" 23
5. George Clinton: "Atomic Dog" 18
6. Rolling Stones: "Undercover of the Night" 15
7. ZZ Top: "Sharp Dressed Man" 14
8. Cyndi Lauper: "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" 13
9. Michael Jackson: "Thriller" 11
The Kinks: "Come Dancing" 11
Randy Newman: "I Love L.A." 11

Village Voice, Feb. 28, 1984


1982 Essay | Dean's List 1984