Defend Your Ballot: Andrew Winistorfer, Pazz and Jop 2012 Contributor
You can't really know where you're headed unless you know where you've been. For that reason, we're taking a look back at Pazz & Jop 2012 to drill down into the ballots of contributors and voters who participated. Maybe amongst the rubble we'll find clues about what lies ahead for music lovers in 2013. Here, music writer Andrew Winistorfer defends his ballot.
- Pazz and Jop 2012 Table of Contents
Okay. Andrew Winistorfer. Who are you, how many times have you voted in Pazz & Jop, and why should we trust you?
I am probably the most small potatoes writer to "Defend My Ballot" on here. I am a freelance writer based out of Madison, Wisconsin, which means I have a more meaningful relationship with cheese than you do. I have written for Noisey, Potholes in My Blog, the AV Club, and I run a popular tumblr called Vinyl in Alphaetical. This is my first time voting in Pazz and Jop, because I was too embarrassed to beg to be included when I was a working music blogger. And no one should trust me because I voted for Riff Raff unironically.
Well, first things first: Since you are from Wisconsin, let's talk cheese. One time when I was in Wisconsin I went to a cheese shop and got a sandwich with 13-year-aged-cheddar and it smelled so bad, I could barely get it to my mouth. But it was delicious. What's your favorite kind of cheese?
I'm a simple man of simple tastes: I fuck with cheddar predominantly.
You know, I'm not sure it's accurate to say I have a favorite cheese. Cheese is so readily available here (like, they have good cheese at gas stations here) it's something I hardly think about. We wear it on our heads here, after all. I guess medium sharp is what I'm saying
That sounds right. Cheese seems like a good way to transition into Riff Raff. So, my question is pretty simple: Riff Raff?
That is the question, right? Like, is Riff Raff for real? Is he even any good? Is his beard on purpose? What does he dream about? What does he do right before bed? When did he graduate high school? As you can tell, I have thought more about Riff Raff in 2012 than any other media construct.
What have you learned? And on the real, how the hell did this guy end up in your Top 10?
When I started doing my ballot, I thought about all the stuff that I listened to in 2012, and what stuff engaged me the most. Riff Raff makes that list, because not only is he an insane thing to ponder, his music, to me, is more fun than about anything else. His songs don't make any sense, but they are insane in an engaging way. His wordplay is so nonsensical, it swings around to being brilliant somehow ("I done shook dice with Larry Bird in Barcelona"). I guess the short answer is that I am easily susceptible to a dude with a stupid beard rapping "Rap Game (hilarious pop culture reference)" bars at me over cheap ass beats. I don't think I can explain why I liked Birth of an Icon anymore than I could explain the idea of Riff Raff as a performing artist to my grandma. I am the worst at defending my ballot
You're doing a great job so far. Let's talk more about your grandma. If you were to show Riff Raff to her, how would you phrase it?
Well, I'd probably have to explain that there can be people who are only famous on the Internet first. My grandma doesn't even have an e-mail anymore, I don't think. We all got her a computer in like 2007, and she used it for a month and bailed. I'd probably play her "Bird on a Wire" and tell her it's the number one song in the country.
Would she believe you?
She probably wouldn't believe that YouTube exists. Or maybe I'm stereotyping my grandma, and she's got the new Le1f mixtape on blast in her Chevy Malibu right now. Shouts out to Alvina.
Alvina sounds awesome, but let's get back to the ballot.
Not really. A free mixtape released in January isn't going to have much legs for polls like this, you know? I also think that there are two dividing camps on Das Racist in general -- the side that will never see them as anything other than 2008's Riff Raff and the side that thinks they were the best rap group these last three years (I am of this camp) -- and Nehru Jackets sort of passed both camps.
For me, it was the album I most listened to in 2012 -- which counts for something, I think, in these polls. It was political, had great singles (I still play "Swate" once a week), and proved that Heems isn't fucking around. He's probably never going to get the right amount of credit for being as good as he actually is.