If the triumph of tUnE-yArDs in this year's Pazz & Jop albums poll was one of the biggest upsets in the poll's history, then the companion singles poll offered one of its most predictable winners to date: Adele's "Rolling In The Deep." Smart money had been on that song taking the prize since it began its record-breaking chart run almost exactly a year ago, and few songs offered it much realistic competition. When I was predicting results among friends in recent weeks, only two songs seemed like remotely possible spoilers, and I was close enough on one (Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass," which finished at No. 3) and way off on another (Foster The People's "Pumped Up Kicks," at No. 10).
My Sound of the City chart talk colleague Chris Molanphy already viewed the albums poll through the prism of sales in his Pazz & Jop essay, where he lamented the inaccuracy of his own prediction that Adele's 21 would become the third album to ever rank as both the top-selling album of a year and the Pazz & Jop-voting bloc's favorite (after Michael Jackson's Thriller and Bruce Springsteen's Born In The U.S.A.). Apparently not enough of the five million Americans who bought 21 were also professional music critics; the album finished at No. 6 on the poll. But Adele did notch a similarly rare achievement on the singles poll, where "Rolling In The Deep" became the third poll winner in Pazz & Jop history to have also been Billboard's No. 1 song of the year. Again, one of the precedents is an unsurprising '80s blockbuster, Prince's "When Doves Cry," but the other is a bit more surprising: "Gangsta's Paradise." The Coolio smash dominated 1995 with a Stevie Wonder melody and a Dangerous Minds soundtrack placementand it spawned an obligatory "Weird Al" Yankovic parodybut otherwise it's hardly a canonized pop classic. More »