Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

It is just as good as ”good kid, m.A.A.d. city” and ”To Pimp a Butterfly”.
11
20%
2017 was a poor music year
13
24%
The critics are lazy and pick the already most acclaimed artist
30
56%
 
Total votes: 54

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Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Henrik » Mon Dec 18, 2017 8:23 pm

Vote and/or discuss. As always, be kind.
Everyone you meet fights a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Dan » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:51 pm

It was difficult for me to choose between option 2 and 3, but I eventually decided on option 3. Like every other year, this year I relied on critics' lists (and reviews and ratings from major music publications/sites) for recommendations about what to listen to. I can't say that I'm loving much of what I've heard.

Of course, one possible reason for that could be that I'm simply losing my edge and becoming out of touch with the musical innovations that's happening at the moment... or that it's just a bad year for music.

But something I've noticed over the past couple of years is how the most acclaimed albums of the year seem to make an appearance on almost every critics' list. Maybe this has always been the case (?) but I don't think so. Isn't being nonconformist one of the things music criticism prides itself on? If so, then why are the critics copying each other and becoming so conformist?

Every year I feel that I have to delve deeper into critics' list to find music I like. I guess that's not a bad thing at all as it exposes me to so much more music.

But yeah, it's absurd that DAMN is so dominant.
Let's make this a good year.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby BleuPanda » Mon Dec 18, 2017 9:53 pm

I don't agree with any of these poll options; DAMN is not as good as To Pimp a Butterfly or good kid, m.A.A.D. city. 2017 is a perfectly fine year overall, though it is maybe missing a truly definitive work at the top (but I do have two albums this year in my top 100, and those are both in the top 4, so...). And even if my two choices took the top spot, I also wouldn't call American Dream the best LCD Soundsystem album, nor do I think most people would agree with me on MASSEDUCTION being St. Vincent's best. I certainly don't think the critics are going with the obvious choices here; in the end, even if many of us didn't click with it as much as his previous two masterpieces, DAMN still stood above pretty much everything this year on Metacritic.

The problem with this year is that all the top acts have already created career-defining works. All of these albums are worthy of being album of the year, even if they don't match earlier efforts by the same artists.

I also don't think it's fair to judge an entire year on the very top work; if we did that, 2003 would look like one of the greatest years ever, and that very much isn't the case...

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby StevieFan13 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:47 pm

BleuPanda wrote:I don't agree with any of these poll options; DAMN is not as good as To Pimp a Butterfly or good kid, m.A.A.D. city. 2017 is a perfectly fine year overall, though it is maybe missing a truly definitive work at the top (but I do have two albums this year in my top 100, and those are both in the top 4, so...). And even if my two choices took the top spot, I also wouldn't call American Dream the best LCD Soundsystem album, nor do I think most people would agree with me on MASSEDUCTION being St. Vincent's best. I certainly don't think the critics are going with the obvious choices here; in the end, even if many of us didn't click with it as much as his previous two masterpieces, DAMN still stood above pretty much everything this year on Metacritic.

The problem with this year is that all the top acts have already created career-defining works. All of these albums are worthy of being album of the year, even if they don't match earlier efforts by the same artists.

I also don't think it's fair to judge an entire year on the very top work; if we did that, 2003 would look like one of the greatest years ever, and that very much isn't the case...

I agree with all of this. And I actually thought the last two years have been very good music years (I've had to narrow down my personal list from over 300 songs, not even counting all the great stuff I haven't even heard). Kendrick being named the best is an easy default position (although hey, it wasn't the case with Untitled Unmastered), but as long as his albums are THIS GOOD, I don't think it's either lazy or uncontroversial.
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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Nick » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:10 pm

I love Kendrick and DAMN, but I had to go with option 3. It seems like in the past couple of years the standards for critics have dropped precipitously. I blame much of this on the recent trend of rewarding songs and albums for their cultural relevance at the expense of all other factors. It seems today that any song that is sufficiently "memeified" is going to place high come EOY time.

This very salty post that I may or may not have written and posted on reddit at 1 in the morning on a work night gets the idea across...

So this is what it’s come down to, huh?

With the crowning of “Bodak Yellow” as 2017’s single greatest piece of music, Pitchfork has finally completed their transition from pretentious indie rag to absolute, unsalvageable garbage. Maybe I’m just old and out of touch. Maybe the children are wrong. But I have no idea how a song with such a generic beat and such a generic flow and such generic, mindless lyrics like “Bodak Yellow” is even considered a decent piece of music, much less some groundbreaking work of art.

It’s obvious at this point that Pitchfork has changed, and for the worse. This wouldn’t have happened even five years ago. Back then you could have critiqued Pitchfork for their writing or their attitude or their politics, but their lists? Their lists contained some genuinely forward thinking, boundary pushing music. When they made a list it felt as if they were really trying to reward the best music of the year. Don’t believe me? Their top three songs of 2012 were Usher’s “Climax”, Frank Ocean’s “Pyramids”, and Grimes’ “Oblivion”, three songs that were unique, innovative, and overall well-crafted pieces of pop music. Let’s go back even further, to 2007. Pitchfork’s top three songs from that year were Panda Bear’s “Bros”, Battles’ “Atlas”, and LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends”. There’s no way, absolutely no way at all, that you can tell me that “Bodak Yellow” deserves to be ranked among any of those songs.

And you know what? I actually like some of this list. In the top ten alone I really like “Boys” and “Green Light” and “DNA”. But the songs that I do like are simply overwhelmed by the amount of trash elsewhere. And it’s not even as if these “trash” songs have some redeeming qualities here and there. It’s not as if they’re songs that, while well-executed, just fail to connect with me. The reality is that, try as I might, I simply cannot fathom what makes a song like “Bodak Yellow” or “XO Tour Llif3” an enjoyable, forward thinking piece of music. I can’t even fathom what makes those songs “decent”. To me they just sound like absolute, unmitigated, garbage.

So yeah, I’m getting older. What might have connected with me ten years ago may not connect with me now. But Pitchfork has also changed. And in their attempt to gain a larger audience they’ve shed the bulk of the avant-garde music that might’ve scared off some of their potential audience (could you even imagine something as weird as the 12 minute long psychedelic odyssey that is “Bros” cracking the top ten in 2017?) in favor of music that largely panders to the lowest common denominator.

Congratulations, Pitchfork. I hope all that extra ad revenue is worth it.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Sweepstakes Ron » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:21 pm

Nick wrote:This very salty post that I may or may not have written and posted on reddit at 1 in the morning on a work night gets the idea across...


Whoa, whoa, WHOA. Hold the phone... That was YOU?

Aw geez, the internet really is a small world... I've read your reviews, but I certainly didn't think that you'd have a copypasta like that in you! Congratulations...?

Speaking of which, a bit a snooping around on /r/popheads and a few other sites with similar pophead demographics seems to indicate that "Bodak Yellow" isn't too popular among that crowd either. Just a cursory glance, though.
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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Nick » Tue Dec 19, 2017 12:27 am

Sweepstakes Ron wrote:
Nick wrote:This very salty post that I may or may not have written and posted on reddit at 1 in the morning on a work night gets the idea across...


Whoa, whoa, WHOA. Hold the phone... That was YOU?

Aw geez, the internet really is a small world... I've read your reviews, but I certainly didn't think that you'd have a copypasta like that in you! Congratulations...?

Speaking of which, a bit a snooping around on /r/popheads and a few other sites with similar pophead demographics seems to indicate that "Bodak Yellow" isn't too popular among that crowd either. Just a cursory glance, though.


Yupp, that was me. I found some of the reactions to my post hilarious actually. I was cracking up the next morning as I read all my replies. Trust me, I'm 100% aware of how salty I sounded. I'm also responsible for another ridiculous copypasta about hating the name of the band Portugal. The Man, but that's a story for another day...

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby TVFan365 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:38 am

I loved DAMN. and consider it one of the greatest albums of all time. I had this one on repeat more than his other albums.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby StevieFan13 » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:46 am

TVFan365 wrote:I loved DAMN. and consider it one of the greatest albums of all time. I had this one on repeat more than his other albums.

Yeah, worth noting that it was one of the few 2017 albums to actually earn a place on our top 1000. (I'd say it deserved it).
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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Henrik » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:29 am

I made this poll because I think it's the last option. Admittedly, I haven't listened to a lot of music from 2017, but this is still quite a strong feeling I have. It's not just about Kendrick, but established artists in general that gets almost all the love. Where is the desire for something new?
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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Pierre » Tue Dec 19, 2017 9:45 am

Henrik wrote:I made this poll because I think it's the last option. Admittedly, I haven't listened to a lot of music from 2017, but this is still quite a strong feeling I have. It's not just about Kendrick, but established artists in general that gets almost all the love. Where is the desire for something new?


I've already said it somewhere else when I saw Kanye West and Radiohead raking in excessive (not undeserved, but excessive, though I'm mostly saying that not to re-ignite the debate about The Life of Pablo) acclaim for their last albums, and I'll repeat it: the Pitchfork generation is starting to Rolling Stone-izing itself. Maybe it'll soon be time for a new generation.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby JohnnyBGoode » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:19 am

Option 1: Not really my genre so can't really comment (though in my mid 40s, I'm trying to get more into it & Noname was in my top 5 last year).
Option 2: Personally don't think any 2017 album would have made my top 3 last year (Car Seat Headrest, Radiohead, Bowie) but still plenty of good stuff.
Option 3: I think many individual critics may well have gone for other albums as their #1, but DAMN. was the one that polled highest most consistently to top the cumulative polls of different websites/publications. From a quick look at one where we see individual lists, NPR voted DAMN. no.1 but, while some of those available to see voted it #1, some didn't include at all, and others had a a different #1.
...
Option 4: There's so much music out there (a lot of it good) it's much more easily accessible, the more we listen to, the less time we (including critics) have to spend on individual albums we love. So maybe (while perhaps easier to get out there) harder for lesser known artists to rise to the very top in cumulative terms, with the vote split more & more between the lesser known, while more established acclaimed artists who produce something near their best will get more cumulative attention (most critics will at least give them one listen, they may not all listen to lesser known artists). Therefore it may either take an exceptional album and/or a quiet year from the big hitters for a different result...

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby BleuPanda » Tue Dec 19, 2017 1:56 pm

I don't think there's a lack of love for new artists; SZA and Sampha are getting a lot of love for their debuts, and Lorde is doing phenomenal with only her second album. Vince Staples is also hanging in the top ten with only his second full album; are they not new enough?

The simple fact is, making a stellar debut is difficult. How many debuts sit at #1 for their year? Honestly, music is the one medium I know where we kind of expect older artists to fade into the background to be replaced by younger people. Kendrick Lamar has only been in the spotlight for 5 years! There are singular video games I have waited about that much time for!

Checking, the last time we had a debut album at #1 was Funeral; 13 years ago. Before that we had This It It. Two times this century so far.

Kendrick Lamar is still a young artist; he's simply been working his ass off. Four studio albums in 6 years; most other artists in this era take around 3 years between albums. We rarely see an artist this dedicated to creating new work.

I really don't remember anyone complaining about the top albums from last year; so Kendrick's fourth album is too much but David Bowie's 25th is fine? Hell, Sleep Well Beast is the only album this year that isn't within the first five albums of its artist. The top three from last year were the 25th, 9th, and 16th of their respective artists! So, what, Nick Cave was finally getting his due respect after being in the business for 30 years? Are epic comeback albums given a free pass, even if they require the band to already be established?

I just think you're not looking at the big picture if you think critics are suddenly ignoring debut albums this year. Let's look at the top 10 instead of #1:
2017: 2 debuts
2016: 0 debuts!
2015: 1 (Barnett)
2014: 1 (FKA twigs)
2013: 1 (Disclosure)
2012: 1 (alt-J)
2011: 2 (James Blake, The Weeknd)
2010: 0!

This year is actually on the high end for debuts this decade! This is actually a really young year, all things considered.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby bootsy » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:24 pm

Why is this a poll. This is about one of the silliest and most useless polls I've seen. Would this be a poll if some rock album was number 1 instead. I somehow doubt it.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Henrik » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:37 pm

bootsy wrote:Why is this a poll. This is about one of the silliest and most useless polls I've seen. Would this be a poll if some rock album was number 1 instead. I somehow doubt it.

Because it's #1 with a large margin in the eoy spreadsheet, although very few people I have heard seem to think it's on the same level as ”good kid, m.A.A.d. city” and ”To Pimp a Butterfly”.
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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby BleuPanda » Tue Dec 19, 2017 2:45 pm

Henrik wrote:
bootsy wrote:Why is this a poll. This is about one of the silliest and most useless polls I've seen. Would this be a poll if some rock album was number 1 instead. I somehow doubt it.

Because it's #1 with a large margin in the eoy spreadsheet, although very few people I have heard seem to think it's on the same level as ”good kid, m.A.A.d. city” and ”To Pimp a Butterfly”.



I guess my question is, who are these people you're talking to? If you're looking at this forum, you have to consider the fact that a lot of us don't consider rap our favorite genre, and there are certain factors that would make us like To Pimp a Butterfly more than DAMN. DAMN is Kendrick's most traditional rap album, while To Pimp a Butterfly was infused with a lot of funk and jazz elements. I think, for people who aren't exactly big on rap, having these extra elements gave TPAB a certain appeal, even if the difference in quality isn't that great to someone who appreciates rap in general. We simply don't have enough serious rap fans on this forum to get a meaningful answer out of this poll.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby bootsy » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:49 pm

Henrik wrote:
bootsy wrote:Why is this a poll. This is about one of the silliest and most useless polls I've seen. Would this be a poll if some rock album was number 1 instead. I somehow doubt it.

Because it's #1 with a large margin in the eoy spreadsheet, although very few people I have heard seem to think it's on the same level as ”good kid, m.A.A.d. city” and ”To Pimp a Butterfly”.

Ok so it is. There's a reason it is because the critics overwhelming love this album. This is ridiculous to complain, 'well it's number 1 because .....wait.....wait... because it's number 1 I guess'. I didn't see this poll last year when David Bowie's Blackstar was number 1. It's not on the same level as his previous two albums, SO WHAT? Is Blackstar on the same level as Rise and Fall or Low? Probably not but it was still number 1 for 2016. This shouldn't be a poll. But on acclaimedmusic this nonsense seems to come up when it's something the moderator doesn't like. Go figure.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Pierre » Tue Dec 19, 2017 4:30 pm

bootsy wrote:
Henrik wrote:
bootsy wrote:Why is this a poll. This is about one of the silliest and most useless polls I've seen. Would this be a poll if some rock album was number 1 instead. I somehow doubt it.

Because it's #1 with a large margin in the eoy spreadsheet, although very few people I have heard seem to think it's on the same level as ”good kid, m.A.A.d. city” and ”To Pimp a Butterfly”.

Ok so it is. There's a reason it is because the critics overwhelming love this album. This is ridiculous to complain, 'well it's number 1 because .....wait.....wait... because it's number 1 I guess'. I didn't see this poll last year when David Bowie's Blackstar was number 1. It's not on the same level as his previous two albums, SO WHAT? Is Blackstar on the same level as Rise and Fall or Low? Probably not but it was still number 1 for 2016. This shouldn't be a poll. But on acclaimedmusic this nonsense seems to come up when it's something the moderator doesn't like. Go figure.


Since we've already established countless times that AM is by no means a hip-hop-hostile forum but you're just in complete denial on that point, I'll bet that it's more probably precisely because many artists snatched AOTY status in recent years while they were well into their career (Kendrick was an exception up until now but he isn't anymore) that the issue suddenly entailed a reaction; the fact that it's a hip-hop album is just mere coincidence. But, hey, we all know that you will never admit it because you're a big ball of stubbornness, so whatever. The best answer is to bring back what Henrik told us to do from the start:

Henrik wrote:Vote and/or discuss. As always, be kind.


Seriously, regarding the issue raised here, it's true that the last debut album to be an AOTY was Funeral. There's an interesting question in there: does that mean that zero act since them produced a game-redefining release by bringing in a new, completely fresh take on a music style or creating one from scratch with their debut album? Then again, is it really an issue assuming that no such event can occur with a release after the debut one (Kendrick exemplifies this as even though Good Kid, m.A.A.d. city and To Pimp a Butterfly were not his debuts, they nevertheless revolutionized hip-hop)? Remember Nirvana folks :D Or Radiohead, even. I can't believe I'm writing that. Actually, remember My Bloody Valentine instead :P ;)

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby BleuPanda » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:14 pm

The funny thing to me is, we're also seeing a bunch of breakthrough singles getting a ton of acclaim and also getting dissed on this forum. "Bodak Yellow" and "XO Tour Llif3" are being treated like signs that critics are selling out by picking supposed flash-in-the-pans.

I think there are two options:
1. Every critic has collectively had a massive decline with no apparent explanation within the course of a year
2. This forum, while not hostile to hip hop, might not be the best at assessing the genre's merits, especially its modern form


I think the best way I can put this is by comparing it to my opinion on a lot of classic rock from the 70s. Steely Dan, Derek and the Dominoes, etc., are apparently definitive bands from their era, but they sound like 'just rock' to me. There's a certain point where even the top acts of a style can begin to sound generic to an untrained ear. But are they generic, or the top examples of an oversaturated style?

I think we're reaching that point with some of you in regards to modern hip hop.

So, don't compare DAMN. to TPAB. Compare it to other more traditional rap albums. In that area, I would say it's definitely a stand-out for the last few years.

Let's flip this question; imagine, for whatever reason, the top album of the year was going to be hip hop. Which album would you go with this year if you couldn't choose DAMN, and do you truly believe it is a better album than DAMN?


Hell, here's a more likely reason DAMN is dominating; there are only three hip hop albums in the top 20 this year. Meanwhile, there are 5 rock albums in the top 10. All the people who like hip hop are coming to an easier consensus than the rock fans, as it's really just a battle between DAMN and Big Fish Theory.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby bootsy » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:44 pm

Pierre wrote:
bootsy wrote:
Henrik wrote:Because it's #1 with a large margin in the eoy spreadsheet, although very few people I have heard seem to think it's on the same level as ”good kid, m.A.A.d. city” and ”To Pimp a Butterfly”.

Ok so it is. There's a reason it is because the critics overwhelming love this album. This is ridiculous to complain, 'well it's number 1 because .....wait.....wait... because it's number 1 I guess'. I didn't see this poll last year when David Bowie's Blackstar was number 1. It's not on the same level as his previous two albums, SO WHAT? Is Blackstar on the same level as Rise and Fall or Low? Probably not but it was still number 1 for 2016. This shouldn't be a poll. But on acclaimedmusic this nonsense seems to come up when it's something the moderator doesn't like. Go figure.


Since we've already established countless times that AM is by no means a hip-hop-hostile forum but you're just in complete denial on that point, I'll bet that it's more probably precisely because many artists snatched AOTY status in recent years while they were well into their career (Kendrick was an exception up until now but he isn't anymore) that the issue suddenly entailed a reaction; the fact that it's a hip-hop album is just mere coincidence. But, hey, we all know that you will never admit it because you're a big ball of stubbornness, so whatever. The best answer is to bring back what Henrik told us to do from the start:

Henrik wrote:Vote and/or discuss. As always, be kind.


Seriously, regarding the issue raised here, it's true that the last debut album to be an AOTY was Funeral. There's an interesting question in there: does that mean that zero act since them produced a game-redefining release by bringing in a new, completely fresh take on a music style or creating one from scratch with their debut album? Then again, is it really an issue assuming that no such event can occur with a release after the debut one (Kendrick exemplifies this as even though Good Kid, m.A.A.d. city and To Pimp a Butterfly were not his debuts, they nevertheless revolutionized hip-hop)? Remember Nirvana folks :D Or Radiohead, even. I can't believe I'm writing that. Actually, remember My Bloody Valentine instead :P ;)

LOL at this guy. If I'm stubborn then you are pretentious as hell and pretty ignorant.
You typed all of this and still make no sense. Was this your way to convince me because you failed as usual. No purpose for this poll. None other than to whine about it's not fair that a hip hop album is number one. And you want to bring up stubbornness. That is you trying to type all of the nonsense you typed and that someone took the time to create this poll and you defending it. That's stubbornness.
Last edited by bootsy on Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Setherex » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:47 pm

Nick wrote:
Sweepstakes Ron wrote:
Nick wrote:This very salty post that I may or may not have written and posted on reddit at 1 in the morning on a work night gets the idea across...


Whoa, whoa, WHOA. Hold the phone... That was YOU?

Aw geez, the internet really is a small world... I've read your reviews, but I certainly didn't think that you'd have a copypasta like that in you! Congratulations...?

Speaking of which, a bit a snooping around on /r/popheads and a few other sites with similar pophead demographics seems to indicate that "Bodak Yellow" isn't too popular among that crowd either. Just a cursory glance, though.


Yupp, that was me. I found some of the reactions to my post hilarious actually. I was cracking up the next morning as I read all my replies. Trust me, I'm 100% aware of how salty I sounded. I'm also responsible for another ridiculous copypasta about hating the name of the band Portugal. The Man, but that's a story for another day...

My friend and I found your Bodak Yellow post the day after and thought it was hilarious. So A+ job :mrgreen:

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Pierre » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:49 pm

bootsy wrote:
Pierre wrote:stuff

You typed all of this and still make no sense. And this poll doesn't either.


I think I do, but regardless, I wasn't particularly trying to anyway. The fact that I'm writing a wall of text doesn't necessarily mean I'm trying to make a point (I sometimes do), it may also mean that I'm just rambling about to remind people not to take everything too seriously :D Especially not music.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby bootsy » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:51 pm

Pierre wrote:
bootsy wrote:
Pierre wrote:stuff

You typed all of this and still make no sense. And this poll doesn't either.


I think I do

Nah you don't

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Pierre » Tue Dec 19, 2017 5:54 pm

bootsy wrote:
Pierre wrote:
bootsy wrote:You typed all of this and still make no sense. And this poll doesn't either.


I think I do

Nah you don't


Ooh, schoolyard-level debate here. Time to get back to work :banana-dreads:

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Henrik » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:24 pm

Forget about Kendrick Lamar specifically. Here are some interesting numbers:

From each AM top 10 of the year (the eoy spreadsheet for 2017), here are the number of ”new” artists with a top 10 of the year album.

For example: Frank Ocean was a new top 10 artist in 2012 (because ”Nostalgia, Ultra” is only #27 of 2011), but not a new artist in 2016.

2000 7
2001 5
2002 6
2003 6
2004 7
2005 9
2006 9
2007 5
2008 7
2009 9
2010 5
2011 7
2012 9
2013 1
2014 5
2015 5
2016 3
2017 5

2013-2017 has an average of 4 ”new” artists in the yearly top 10s, while it’s between 5 and 9 ”new” artist in each top 10 albums list from 2000-2012. That sure looks like the acclaim has been more concentrated to a few already acclaimed artists during the last years.

This is of course just an interesting pattern, not a proof that the critics are lazy. :whistle: :D
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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Henrik » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:34 pm

Additional note:
Some of this trend (but not all, I think) probably has to do with that earlier years are more based on all-time lists, that often include only one groundbreaking album per artist and not favor repeated successes to the same extent. If we had an eoy spreadsheet from each year 2000-2012, I think they would also have fewer ”new” artists in the top 10s.
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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby BleuPanda » Tue Dec 19, 2017 6:50 pm

I think there is another trend there; a lot of the bands from the 2000s didn't necessarily hang around. We've written a lot about the instant decline of Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes, for example. I wonder how that number looks going back to the 60s...


Edit: I'm actually checking now. I'll be back with what I find out.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby bootsy » Tue Dec 19, 2017 7:09 pm

BleuPanda wrote:I think there is another trend there; a lot of the bands from the 2000s didn't necessarily hang around. We've written a lot about the instant decline of Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes, for example. I wonder how that number looks going back to the 60s...


Edit: I'm actually checking now. I'll be back with what I find out.

Yeah it's about staying power which as you mentioned those bands didn't sustain. It's Kendrick's fault he's so good. :whistle: 'DAMNit Kendrick, why you so good that you gotta be all on top of the critics list all the time'

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby BleuPanda » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:09 pm

Here's the data I found:

Average top 10 debuts for each decade:
All-time: 6.12
1960s: 5.1
1970s: 6.1
1980s: 6.1
1990s: 7.3
2000s: 6.9
2010s: 5

So, yes, the 2010s are currently below average, but actually comparable to the 1960s; and I definitely think Henrik is on to something by mentioning the fact that all-time lists can help dig out albums by unique artists. Didn't we have some Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen albums from the 2000s in their top 10 for a year, only to quickly slide off once we got lists a few years on? Maybe we should be comparing the EOY files from earlier years rather than what's on the site now to get a better idea about how these years truly compare in their immediate aftermath.

Likewise, the 1990s and 2000s appear to be quite a bit higher than average, so of course the 2010s look odd in direct comparison - good thing a bigger view shows they're both a bit away from the average in opposite directions.

2013 and 2016 are definite anomalies (for now); every other year has at least 4 top 10 debuts. It could be we're having an odd few years, but I think that has more to do with the fact that this is the first era we've really seen a large amount of artists from previous generations making stunning comebacks. Other eras didn't really have people like Leonard Cohen and David Bowie making late-life masterpieces after decades out of the critical spotlight.

Other fun fact: 2 years have an entire top 10 consisting of top 10 debuts, 1983 and 1996.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Henrik » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:22 pm

Great post, BleuPanda! Not that much to disagree about anymore, but very interesting statistics nonetheless.
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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby BleuPanda » Tue Dec 19, 2017 8:37 pm

Going to EOY sheets, let's look to a decade ago at 2007:

EOY sheet rank:
1. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (now #9 for year)
2. Radiohead - In Rainbows (now #1)
3. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver (now #2)
4. M.I.A. - Kala (now #5)
5. Panda Bear - Person Pitch (now #7)
6. The National - Boxer (same)
7. Battles - Mirrored (now #11)
8. PJ Harvey - White Chalk (now #19)
9. Feist - The Reminder (now #16)
10. Burial - Untrue (now #3)

Albums now in the top 10:
4. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago (not even in the 2007 spreadsheet)
8. MGMT - Oracular Spectacular (not even in the 2007 spreadsheet)
10. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer (was #19)

Overall, 2007 moved from 4 top 10 debuts to 5 with the removal of White Chalk.

And, you might say "But that's largely because For Emma, Forever Ago and Oracular Spectacular weren't ranked until 2008"...but, that could be true for something from this year as well. And that also doesn't change the presence of White Chalk back in 2007.

Let's compare 2008:
1. Portishead - Third (same)
2. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes (same)
3. TV on the Radio - Dear Science (now #4)
4. Vampire Weekend - Vampire Weekend (now #3)
5. Nick Cave - Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! (now #12)
6. Deerhunter - Microcastle/Weird Era Cont. (now #6)
7. Santogold - Santogold (now #17)
8. Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid (now #5)
9. Hercules and Love Affair - Hercules and Love Affair (now #10)
10. Lil Wayne - The Carter III (now #8)

Albums now in the top 10:
7. Cut Copy - In Ghost Colours (was #16)
9. Coldplay - Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (was #25)

2008 stays the same as far as debuts go, but it still shows that these things can shift. There are going to be albums that will be reconsidered, and ones that seemed important but didn't actually leave as much impact as we once believed. So don't be discouraged by the lack of new artists or what-not, because it's not like Velvet Underground topped any critic lists back in 1967.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby BleuPanda » Tue Dec 19, 2017 10:07 pm

I also decided to check the top 10 songs, though that's a bit harder to gauge; I counted how many unique appearances occurred in each top 10 (though each song could only count once even if it introduced multiple new entrants), so a year where an artist makes multiple top 10 debuts, they get counted once. I included artists for their first song with a major part, so Kendrick got counted for 2014, Nicki Minaj made "Monster" count for 2010, etc.

Average: 6.03
1960s: 5.6
1970s: 6.3
1980s: 5.4
1990s: 6.2
2000s: 6.6
2010s: 6.1

So, as far as songs go, 2010s are pretty much in sync with previous decades.

Only one year had 10 distinct new artists: 1976. 2004 also only had new artists in its top 10, but Arcade Fire has two songs that year. 2006 also has only new artists with 8 distinct artists, with Hot Chip and Amy Winehouse both managing to land 2 songs. 1978 and 2014 have 9 new artists each (so 2014 is actually one of the biggest debut years!), with Kraftwerk and Caribou being the only repeats.

One year had only two new artists featured: 1980 only found space for Motorhead and The Jam, though The Jam worked in two songs to make up for it.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby prosecutorgodot » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:33 am

Wow, one of BleuPanda's last posts, about being too close to the fire right now and we need to let time pass, was really convincing.
I was going to go on a rant about how 2017 just might be a bad year (similar to 1974 and 1996), but now I'm good.
Also want to commend the good thoughts from everyone about the third option (which I voted for). My last two cents: there are so many storied artists in the top 20s (LCD, National,...), or otherwise new artists that every single publication supports (SZA, Jlin,...). More so than publications losing touch, I see that publications are all voting for the exact same albums (as others have stated). In other words, we are only getting "safe" lists (at least in terms of albums).

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby BleuPanda » Wed Dec 20, 2017 4:53 am

I wonder if we're seeing the other end of the internet's effect; I used to argue music diverged during the 2000s due to the ease of spreading new work; thus, no one had to listen to the same thing if they didn't want to. I believe this is why so few acts could maintain their top status for an extended period. However, I believe we might be seeing the opposite effect; because we're all so connected, we are collectively aware of what the big albums of each year are through word of mouth.

Like, there has to be a few critics featured on this website who are aware it exists, right? And if not this site, they certainly have Metacritic. I feel like we're returning to an era where many of us are listening to the same music throughout the year. And I don't know about other people, but if I see something that didn't click with me getting a lot of sustained hype, I'll usually return to it and see if I can find something more. What this means in the long run, we'll have to see, but I believe a direct effect will be critics either consciously or unconsciously considering their own opinions in relation to others. I think MASSEDUCTION placing 22nd on Pitchfork's list after they gave it one of its less positive reviews is a sign something like this is happening (or, of course, they got St. Vincent's least biggest fan to write the review for their site and everyone else there loved it...).



And - if this truly is the beginning of the decline for the current era of critics, I guess I'll have to gather some people together and start the next era.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Nassim » Wed Dec 20, 2017 8:39 am

BleuPanda wrote:
So, don't compare DAMN. to TPAB. Compare it to other more traditional rap albums. In that area, I would say it's definitely a stand-out for the last few years.

Let's flip this question; imagine, for whatever reason, the top album of the year was going to be hip hop. Which album would you go with this year if you couldn't choose DAMN, and do you truly believe it is a better album than DAMN?


That one is easy, I think Big Fish Theory would make a better number 1 than DAMN. It pushes more boundaries, is as much in synch with its time thematically and just plain sounds better to me.

And yeah, of course an album that comes linked to a big name or that has a lot of steam right when it comes out is more likely to end on EOY lists, most websites do their lists a bit like we do so an album that everybody has listened to is, by definition, most likely to end of more lists than one a bunch of people have heard ; so it takes some time for a hidden gem to get to the top (see how In The Aeroplane Over the Sea slowly climbed the AM ladder with each update).
That being said, DAMN is head and shoulders above other major releases of the year, there’s no reason why that effect would have benefitted him more than LCD Soundsystem, Lorde or St. Vincent.

Where I think DAMN might suffer is at the end of the decade. Most critics will be reluctant to put 3 Kendrick albums on their list, or at least 3 Kendrick Albums on the top 50. And that will be even worse on all time lists, so I could see it losing to Melodrama on the long run (except if Lorde tops it and faces the same effect)

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Dexter » Fri Dec 22, 2017 1:21 am

I'd still pick DAMN. to win the Album Grammy next year, though.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby BleuPanda » Tue Dec 26, 2017 7:09 pm

Another thing I realized; we are talking like this is the third time Kendrick has topped the EOY year, but this is only the second. GKMC only just became number 1 for 2012. Things will shift if Damn is undeserving.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Jonathon » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:42 pm

Two of these albums will drop at Decade's end. There's no way one artist gets 3 top 5 albums of the decade. Even 3 top 10 is unlikely.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Chris K. » Sat Dec 30, 2017 8:04 pm

IMO, 2017 was a pretty boring year for music. I like DAMN. a lot but it pales in comparison to TPABF or GKMC. The rest of the top 10 isn't really that exciting to me either though. American Dream, Masseduction and Melodrama are great as well, but I prefer Blond, A Seat at the Table, A Moon Shaped Pool, Lemonade and Blackstar to any of those three albums.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Gillingham » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:23 am

Jonathon wrote:Two of these albums will drop at Decade's end. There's no way one artist gets 3 top 5 albums of the decade. Even 3 top 10 is unlikely.

Still, both To Pimp a Butterfly and good kid, m.A.A.d. City are shoo-ins for the top ten of the decade. Good chances for top five as well. Not so sure about DAMN. though.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Jonathon » Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:17 am

Gillingham wrote:
Jonathon wrote:Two of these albums will drop at Decade's end. There's no way one artist gets 3 top 5 albums of the decade. Even 3 top 10 is unlikely.

Still, both To Pimp a Butterfly and good kid, m.A.A.d. City are shoo-ins for the top ten of the decade. Good chances for top five as well. Not so sure about DAMN. though.



Neon Bible was once in the top 200 of all-time. Things happened. I imagine we'll see the albums drop into a more typical top 3 albums pattern (See: Kid A, In Rainbows, Amnesiac. Nevermind, In Utero, MTV Unplugged. Sign O The Times, Purple Rain, 1999.)

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Jonathon » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:27 pm

With Kendrick getting #1 album of the year and #1 song of the year, I see him taking the artist of the decade crown from Kanye, and entering the top 60 (maybe even top 50?) of all-time next update.

To Henrik's point, I think critics in this century have always been excited about the idea of contributing to the crowning of new legends. There is a ton of bandwagoning. Remember the Daft Punk Discovery reassessment of 2009? Critics are writers, and ultimately, like a good story. Kendrick's rise as the it artist simply fits their current narrative.

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Re: Why is Kendrick Lamar’s ”DAMN.” in the top of every eoy list?

Postby Jirin » Tue Feb 13, 2018 2:24 am

Out of the albums this year that are legitimate contenders for the top spot, it's the one everybody has heard of.

Critics gotta eat too.


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