Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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The 1991 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll

Albums

1. Nirvana: Nevermind (DGC) 1699 (134)
2. Public Enemy: Apocalypse '91: The Empire Strikes Black (Def Jam/Columbia) 923 (86)
3. R.E.M.: Out of Time (Warner Bros.) 879 (80)
4. U2: Achtung Baby (Island) 651 (58)
5. P.M. Dawn: Of the Heart, of the Soul and of the Cross: The Utopian Experience (Gee Street) 637 (56)
6. Richard Thompson: Rumour and Sigh (Capitol) 466 (42)
7. Matthew Sweet: Girlfriend (Zoo) 383 (34)
8. Metallica: Metallica (Elektra) 374 (39)
9. Chris Whitley: Living With the Law (Columbia) 344 (31)
10. Mekons: Curse of the Mekons (Blast First import) 344 (29)
11. Guns N' Roses: Use Your Illusion II (Geffen) 339 (27)
12. Ice-T: O.G.: Original Gangster (Sire/Warner Bros.) 337 (33)
13. Jimmie Dale Gilmore: After Awhile (Nonesuch) 335 (36)
14. My Bloody Valentine: Loveless (Sire/Warner Bros.) 327 (30)
15. Sonny Sharrock: Ask the Ages (Axiom) 322 (28)
16. Ice Cube: Death Certificate (Priority) 315 (22)
17. Neil Young: Arc/Weld (Reprise) 311 (29)
18. Pixies: Trompe le Monde (Elektra) 308 (26)
19. Seal: Seal (Sire/Warner Bros.) 275 (25)
20. Guns N' Roses: Use Your Illusion I (Geffen) 264 (26)
21. Van Morrison: Hymns to the Silence (Polydor) 243 (24)
22. Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3: [Rare and Unreleased] 1961-1991 (Columbia) 242 (20) *
23. John Prine: The Missing Years (Oh Boy) 241 (29)
24. Bonnie Raitt: Luck of the Draw (Capitol) 232 (27)
25. Massive Attack: Blue Lines (Virgin) 231 (22)
26. Robbie Robertson: Storyville (Geffen) 219 (22)
27. American Music Club: Everclear (Alias) 219 (21)
Cypress Hill: Cypress Hill (Ruffhouse/Columbia) 219 (21)
29. Billy Bragg: Don't Try This at Home (Elektra) 216 (22)
30. De La Soul: De La Soul Is Dead (Tommy Boy) 204 (20)
31. Teenage Fanclub: Bandwagonesque (DGC) 194 (22)
32. A Tribe Called Quest: The Low End Theory (Jive) 186 (19)
33. Linton Kwesi Johnson: Tings an' Times (Shanachie) 179 (14)
34. Sam Phillips: Cruel Inventions (Virgin) 178 (17)
35. Dave Alvin: Blue Blvd (HighTone) 171 (16)
36. Prince and the New Power Generation: Diamonds and Pearls (Paisley Park/Warner Bros.) 168 (18)
37. Dinosaur Jr.: Green Mind (Sire/Warner Bros.) 166 (15)
38. Robyn Hitchcock and the Egyptians: Perspex Island (A&M) 149 (14)
39. Marshall Crenshaw: Life's Too Short (Paradox/MCA) 134 (15)
40. Kirsty MacColl: Electric Landlady (Charisma) 134 (11)

This poll compiles ballots from 300 critics, who divided 100 points among 10 1991 albums. Points determined placement, with total mentions (indicated in parentheses) used for tie-breaking. Maximum per album: 30. Minimum: 5.

*The Dylan box also received 22 votes as a reissue, but since none of its 58 tracks had ever been officially released, it didn't qualify as such. Had its supporters treated it as a new album, it probably would have finished sixth.

Singles

1. Nirvana: "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (DGC) 116
2. R.E.M.: "Losing My Religion" (Warner Bros.) 86
3. Naughty by Nature: "O.P.P." (Tommy Boy) 74
4. Geto Boys: "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" (Rap-a-Lot) 60
5. Metallica: "Enter Sandman" (Elektra) 40
6. P.M. Dawn: "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" (Gee Street) 39
Crystal Waters: "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" (Mercury) 39
8. Public Enemy: "Can't Truss It" (Def Jam/Columbia) 36
Seal: "Crazy" (Sire/Reprise) 36
10. EMF: "Unbelievable" (EMI) 33
11. L.L. Cool J: "Mama Said Knock You Out" (Def Jam/Columbia) 31
12. C + C Music Factory Featuring Freedom Williams: "Gonna Make You Sweat" (Columbia) 30 *
13. Prince and the New Power Generation: "Gett Off" (Paisley Park/Warner Bros.) 24
14. Negativland: "U2" (SST) 23 **
Prince and the New Power Generation: "Cream"/"Horny Pony" (Paisley Park/Warner Bros.) 23
16. Jesus Jones: "Right Here Right Now" (SBK) 20
17. Dream Warriors: "My Definition of a Boombastic Jazz Style"/"Wash Your Face in My Sink" (4th & B'way) 19
The La's: "There She Goes" (London) 19
19. Michael Jackson: "Black or White" (Epic) 17
20. Anthrax/Public Enemy: "Bring Tha Noize" (Megaforce/Island) 16
3rd Bass: "Pop Goes the Weasel" (Def Jam/Columbia) 16
22. Cypress Hill: "How I Could Just Kill a Man"/"The Phuncky Feel One" (Ruffhouse/Columbia) 15
Unrest: "Yes She Is My Skinhead Girl" (K) 15
Divinyls: "I Touch Myself" (Virgin) 15
25. Billy Bragg: "Sexuality" (Elektra) 14
Color Me Badd: "I Wanna Sex You Up" (Giant) 14
Londonbeat: "I've Been Thinking About You" (Radioactive) 14
Pavement: "Summer Babe (Exact Wording of Threat)" (Drag City) 14
U2: "Mysterious Ways" (Island) 14

*Includes 1990 votes: 15. **Includes two EP votes.

EPs

1. Pavement: Perfect Sound Forever (Drag City) 26
2. Blake Babies: Rosy Jack World (Mammoth) 15
3. Living Colour: Biscuits (Epic) 13
4. Digital Underground: This Is an EP Release (Tommy Boy) 12
5. I Hear the Devil Calling Me (Drag City) 11
Yo La Tengo: That Is Yo La Tengo (City Slang import) 11
7. Babes in Toyland: To Mother (Twin/Tone) 9
My Bloody Valentine: Tremolo (Sire/Warner Bros.) 9
9. Dinosaur Jr.: Whatever's Cool With Me (Sire/Warner Bros.) 8
Prisonshake: Della Street (Scat) 8
Scrawl: Bloodsucker (Feels Good All Over) 8

Reissues

1. James Brown: Star Time (Polydor) 84
2. The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1958-1968 (Atlantic Group) 61
3. Ray Charles: The Birth of Soul (Atlantic) 38
4. Phil Spector: Back to Mono (1958-1969) (Abkco) 36
5. Patsy Cline: The Patsy Cline Collection (MCA) 31
6. Howlin' Wolf: The Chess Box (Chess) 28
7. The Clash: Clash on Broadway (Epic) 22
8. Antoine "Fats" Domino: They Call Me the Fat Man . . . (Imperial) 16
9. Didn't It Blow Your Mind: Soul Hits of the '70s (Rhino) 15
10. MC5: Kick Out the Jams (Elektra) 12

Videos

1. Nirvana: "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Samuel Bayer) 59
2. R.E.M.: "Losing My Religion" (Tarsem) 58
3. Michael Jackson: "Black or White" (John Landis) 16 *
4. L.L. Cool J: "Mama Said Knock You Out" (Paris Barcley) 15
5. Geto Boys: "Mind Playing Tricks on Me" (Richard Hunt) 12
Metallica: "Enter Sandman" (Wayne Isham) 12
Public Enemy: "Can't Truss It" (Eric Meza) 12
8. Billy Bragg: "Sexuality" (Jeff Baines) 11
Metallica: "The Unforgiven" (Matt Mahurin) 11
10. Naughty by Nature: "O.P.P." (Rodd Houston and Marcus Raboy) 8

*Eight voters specified the uncensored version. A ninth, whose vote was disallowed, stipulated the withdrawn sequence only.

Village Voice, Mar. 3, 1992


1990 Essay | Dean's List 1992