The Best Albums Pitchfork Hated This Year

Categories: Pitchfork

Big K.R.I.T. - 4Eva N a Day
Pitchfork rating: 6.8
What they said: "The problem with K.R.I.T.'s rapping is not that he lacks a personality; it's that he refuses to settle into the one he has."

Au Contraire: So much of this review places the onus on K.R.I.T.'s personality and how he fails to live up to it on this mixtape. But he really doesn't have much personality unless you're really, really impressed by the wizened-old-pimp thing. His two best assets are in tandem: 1) he doesn't distract from the beats 2) that he produced himself. 4Eva N a Day was very quietly the year's best rap album on a purely musical level; if some young buck producer released it as his debut instrumentals tape a la Clams Casino he'd be drowning in year-end hype. And in hindsight, now that we know how much the Big Boi album sucked, maybe it's time to revisit this perfect synthesis of down-home Aquemini spaciness and butt-simple bedroom production. And if you actually remember any of the words on this thing, they're pretty winning and sweet: "You help me sleep," he says to his girl. That's enough of a personality for me.

A Place to Bury Strangers - Onwards to the Wall and Worship
Pitchfork rating: 5.8 and 6.5
What they said: "It amounts to a mostly homogenous, toothless EP that seems to be aiming for a greater appeal, but ends up appealing very little." ... "Perhaps the most problematic thing about Onward to the Wall is its timing."
Au Contraire: The absolute worst tendency of Pitchfork is the assumption that the artist makes music for them and has to change their music according to current shifts in the landscape or risk being branded as "more of the same," unless it's a pet artist where all the reviewer wants is more of the same (see: M83, Real Estate, any rapper). A Place to Bury Strangers made a debut that excited everyone (8.4 Best New Music), then people were dismayed that they made the same record over and over (although they really didn't), and that reviewer's own boredom with covering the artist somehow becomes diminishing returns on the page. A Place to Bury Strangers do one thing and they do it well: stiff, macabre '80s guitar noise with vampiric vocals buried in the momentum. Over four records they've subtly added a pop chorus here, a female voice there, but they are and will remain unfashionable until someone suddenly decides they've made a comeback. Their two records this year were as good as everything else they've done.

Lana Del Rey - Born to Die
Pitchfork rating: 5.5
What they said: "Del Rey's gem-encrusted dreamworld, meanwhile, relies on clichés ("God you're so handsome/ Take me to the Hamptons") rather than specific evocations. It's a fantasy world that makes you long for reality."

Au Contraire: Lindsay Zoladz did a great job of explaining the Lana Del Rey conversation and major pitfalls by fellow critics about it, like the shots at her appearance and her perceived inauthenticity, but like most reviews of Born to Die, it doesn't quite climb out from under the rock of that anti-hype itself. Yes, she's sexually backwards--so's Waka Flocka Flame, Rick Ross, Tyler, the Creator and Drake, all recipients of an 8.0 or higher last year. Yes, she rather joylessly crawls around looking for money and dominant males. But all that does is point to how truly harrowing the point of view is. These are expert pop songs slowed to a miserable crawl by a singer who doesn't have it in her to rebel against her basest desires for validation. That's more horrifying and vivid than any of Kendrick Lamar's tales of being jumped. So many pop stars are strong women in 2012; the one who uncomfortably is not can be a compelling artist too. And Lana really is a true original weirdo: "She laughs like God/ Her mind's like a diamond"--what the hell is that?

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20 comments
ptgrw
ptgrw

@mariasherm #clickhate

Stevie Be
Stevie Be

In 1957 “Jingle Bell Rock” rocked its way to #1. Today “Boom Boom” by Maryse Letarte is going for the gold on Christmas. Isn't it time The Village Voice reviewed "Des Pas Dans La Neige"?

ColbySilon
ColbySilon

@LAWeeklyMusic @soundofthecity <<<< Couldn't agree more about Lana Del Rey.

alexbeebe
alexbeebe

Allow me to just say, this is the most ridiculously disrespectful article I have ever read from a professional news site. I can't believe you people actually wrote an article bashing another news site just because they have opinions different from your's. Everything about this article reads as if you people believe your opinions are absolute fact and that no one else can have a different viewpoint with different criticisms. This entire list basically calls Pitchfork out on simply having a different opinion than you guys, and then you essentially just say "well this is why I disagree and why you're wrong because my opinion simply cannot be wrong". We are all supposed to be respectful and accepting of everyone's opinions on music, even if they're different from our own, and you people at The Village Voice are setting a horrible example. You people are in a professional position as editors, and here you are acting like children by bashing Pitchfork for supposedly being "elitists" while you people are writing about how they're factually wrong because you disagree. You're acting like children. And I'm pretty sure the only reason you guys decided to call out Pitchfork specifically is because they have a reputation for everyone disagreeing with them. Way to go and jump on the bandwagon guys. Simply pathetic behavior.

Dan Albertson
Dan Albertson

Lana Del R... er Lizzy Grant... is awful. "Found nostalgia" at it's worst. Combining knock-off old movie soundtracks with meaningless lyrics isn't art.

Andrew Hershberger
Andrew Hershberger

Except Lana Del Rey's album really is garbage. I don't read Pitchfork and I think they missed the point on Big KRIT but the 5 point whatever they gave Lana's magnum of piss is actually too high.

samcmac
samcmac

@kissoutthejams whoa no way YOU wrote about lana? wut?! [just fuckin with you, good piece]

vandalsondwall
vandalsondwall

@richardbolisay Grimes' "Oblivion" a.k.a "Dayang Dayang" post-witch house, post-apocalypse remix. trolololol.

littlebanalities
littlebanalities

@alexbeebe "Allow me to just say, this is the most ridiculously disrespectful article I have ever read from a professional news site. I can't believe you people actually wrote an article bashing another news site just because they have opinions different from your's. Everything about this article reads as if you people believe your opinions are absolute fact and that no one else can have a different viewpoint with different criticisms."

Interesting take. Especially since, this is an opinion piece and there was no actual bashing involved - unless you consider presenting "a different viewpoint with different criticisms" to be "bashing." 

Please point out where there was explicit criticism of Pitchfork in this article. The writer wasn't attacking Pitchfork - they were offering  a different opinion and then explaining (thoroughly) why they thought what they did. 

There isn't any evidence of the "you're wrong because my opinion simply cannot be wrong" mindset that you mentioned. Unless you turn your head 180 degrees and squint while doing a handstand.

Though I do have to agree that Lana's album was..uh...underwhelming - for exactly the reasons stated above.

jjazznola
jjazznola

@alexbeebe I couldn't agree more. The writing and opinions at the Voice continue to go to new depths of absurdity. This was once a great paper. Those days are long gone. Now they'll let anyone write here. Pitchfork has every right to their opinions just like everyone else. I think they are narrow minded so I don't bother reading but I have nothing bad to say about them. Lana del Rey? Please!

vandalsondwall
vandalsondwall

@richardbolisay POPTIMIST too much! Not a fan of Grimes either, but there's something in that awful weirdness that interests me.

richardbolisay
richardbolisay

@vandalsondwall UGH DEFENDER. just to let you know, there is also nothing that sounds like Gangnam Style this year and it's a better song.

vandalsondwall
vandalsondwall

@richardbolisay Nothing sounded anything like Oblivion this year. It's painfully weird in a good way. Emphasis on the weird.

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