In what might be the most difficult arithmetic they'll do all year, 493 music writers managed to cast their ballots for the best albums and singles of 2012 by the December deadline. This week, the results of the Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop survey have been tabulated and, by runaway margins, we have a new king and queen of the last year in music: Frank Ocean's confessional R&B crossover hit channel ORANGE handily won as the year's best album while Carly Rae Jepsen took the prize for best single with the inexhaustible "Call Me Maybe".
While Ocean was the decisive favorite—mentioned by 35% of voters—the albums list represents only a minor reordering of the medals platform that was Pitchfork's verdict on the year in records—their hivemind put Kendrick Lamar's musical memoir good kid, m.A.A.d. city on top, but both agreed that Fiona Apple's multifaceted return The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do in the number three spot. Beyond an indulgence of a certain level of textual creativity in album titles, though, the votes reveal a year of "weak consensus" or "inspiring diversity."
Beyond all of the accompanying essays and commentaries on "what it all means", my most favorite part of this annual tradition is the giant piles of resulting data. For instance, on a local front, the Village Voice's results disagreed with KEXP listeners' album of the year selection, with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis's platinum the Heist garnering just four votes (one of which was from Charles R. Cross). Two Sub Pop albums—Fear Fun by Father John Misty and Bloom by Beach House—cracked the top twenty. And, in contrast to my own terminally mainstream tendencies, Dave Segal maintained his place among the "least centric" of all critics.
While you peruse the full results, possibly making this face at the injustice of how your own favorites fared, here's a playlist of the critically-endorsed top forty-one singles of last year:
Let us know how you would have voted—being careful to apportion your hundred points such that no album gets less than five or more than thirty (see, math is hard!)—in the comments.