Defend Your Ballot: Luis Paez-Pumar, Pazz and Jop 2012 Contributor

Categories: Pazz & Jop

Kendrick Lamar took both top spots on the Albums and Singles lists for music writer Luis Paez-Pumar.
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 Luis Paez-Pumar defends his ballot.

See Also:
- Pazz and Jop 2012: Top Albums

Okay, Luis. WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU and why should we care about your Important Music Opinions?

Well, I'm awesome, so that's pretty much why. But actually, I write for CMJ, Listen B4 You Buy (soon to be Unrecorded), and this very own Village Voice. I'm also a Community Manager in my day job, which probably lessens the level of importance that my opinions have. Mostly, though, I'd say I tweet most of my music opinions out which should make anyone wary when listening to what I have to say.

Luis-Paez-Pumar Pazz and Jop Ballot
Click for larger version.
Community Manager sounds like something that's way more important than music writing, so shouts to you for having a Real Job. Anyway, let's talk about your ballot. Kendrick Lamar is your number 1. Big freakin' surprise. You really went out on a limb with that one, didn't you? (Note: I'm being sarcastic)

Oh, damn. I thought you were being serious. Anyway, I think that Kendrick somehow surpassed every expectation I had for GKMC. I put Section.80 as my #2 rap album of 2011 (shouts to Shabazz Palaces), and OD was probably the first mixtape I really dug. So having my favorite current rapper still blow my mind on his album solidified it as the best album of the year for me.

How did he blow your mind? Everyone liked that record, but what did it do for you.

Honestly, how he was able to weave his storytelling (always his strongest suit) with musical appeal. If S.80 had any weaknesses, it was that the beats and hooks were lacking, so it sometimes made it a bit of a slog to get through. GKMC, on the other hand, flows so easily, which is a credit to both Kendrick's maturation as a SONGwriter as well as his choices in producers. Plus, there's no random Colin Munroe hook like in "No Make-Up," thank you based god.

That's interesting. I've come around to GKMC, but initially, I kept thinking, "Damn. This isn't as good as Section.80 because the beats are weaker." Which is, like, totally opposite of you.

Wow, yeah, that's EXACTLY the opposite because from my first listen, I knew that GKMC would get more replays from me. It took one listen to "Backseat Freestyle" to hammer that home. Also, I find that I don't skip anything on GKMC; I'm not as down on "Compton" as most people seem to be.

I fucking love "Compton," but you're right, it feels a little out of place on the record. Maybe it's because I associate Just Blaze with, like, loud Rick Ross-style rap, not introspective storytelling like Kendrick.

Right, and "Compton" is Kendrick sort of putting on that hat for once. It's big and brash and not really that subtle, but that's partly why I love it. It's funny that it comes after the exhausting (in the best way) "Sing About Me..." However, I do wish that it was a bonus track and that the album ended on "The Recipe."

You clearly liked "Sing About Me...," as it's your number one single. What do you love about that song? I'm gonna listen to it right now, by the way.

Well, it's a twelve-minute song so listing everything I love might be TLDR. If I had to choose what made it more than just a great song and into discussion for best single (for the record, by the end of the year, I think "Cartoon & Cereal" topped it) is the verse where he takes on the role of Keisha's sister. I can't really recall a moment like that, when a rapper put himself on blast for being a condescending male, and even better, that he pulled it off without seeming corny. "Sing About Me..." had all the potential to be horrible and dragging, but instead, it is the centerpiece of storytelling on an album that is chock full of it. Plus, it sounds fucking awesome.

I never went into listening to Fiona expecting it to be the second-best album of the year, but here we are. When I was growing up, I never really "clicked" with her previous stuff, but for whatever reason (besides it being an incredible piece of music), The Idler Wheel hit me hard. It was one of those albums that didn't let me listen to anything else for weeks at a time. The other big surprise is that Big Boi's album didn't make my ballot (or my top 50 at all). Considering that his previous solo album was my #2 album of 2010, I was surprised to not really dig his new one at all.

I was surprised Big Boi didn't get more love. I liked that album, but it seems like no one else did.

I have to say, I did enjoy the new songs when I saw him play them live, for whatever that's worth.

Looking at your ballot, I am surprised that Frank didn't make it, especially considering your taste. What's up with that? You clearly like emotions and R&B, so....

I do! I, however, thought Frank made a good album and nothing more. I fell in love with the narrative behind it (who didn't?) more than I did the album itself, which I thought dragged at times and had few songs that made me take notice. "Pyramids" is fantastic, "Super Rich Kids" is as well, but it's lacking a cohesive level of excellence that I think he was capable of. And, even though I shouldn't have done this, I think I compared it unfavorably to Kaleidoscope Dream, which was a stronger piece of work overall.

I think that's a fair comparison. They very much operate in the same genre.

Sure, but I'd be lying if I didn't say that I thought more highly of Channel Orange before I heard Miguel.

Was that an instant thing? Like, right when you heard Miguel, were you like, "Oh, fuck. This is way better than Channel Orange.

Pretty much. I think from just the first time I heard the "Adorn" and "Don't Look Back" duo. I think those are the two strongest song either artist released this year.

How many times did you make out to "Adorn" this year?

No comment.

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