pnj.jpgPazz and Jop, revealed!
Just when we thought we were finally done having to think about the music of 2006, we get one last hurrah of ultimate listage. The 34th annual Pazz and Jop poll finally made landfall this week, and unsurprisingly, there were few shockers. Some feigned outrage/interest that Bob Dylan's latest overtook the otherwise consensus disc of the year by TV on the Radio (see image), but a few minor swaps at the top won't be enough to change many opinions at this point, as we approach Presidents Day 2007. The one thing this (hopefully) final 2006 list brings to our attention is just how, and we’ll just say it, mediocre the last year in music was. A good chunk of these albums were seen as letdowns upon release, yet they find their way up on here regardless. With the exception of TVotR, many of the albums on the final list are seen as some of the respective band's weaker efforts. Few fans thought the newest Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Decemberists, or even the very well received Hold Steady albums were their best to date, yet they all comfortably make the list. Perhaps when we look back at 2006 as the year that "indie rock" started heading towards the mainstream, this list will act more as a tribute to many of the bands that pushed the undefined genre towards the breaking point, rather than a direct celebration of the works themselves. For now, it's just a final reminder that there was so little we truly fell in love with last year.

jtbox.jpgJustin Takes Manhattan
There are few, if any public figures that are currently as untouchable as JT. This is the guy, after all, who tore Janet Jackson's shirt off during the super bowl in 2004, yet has always managed to deflect the blame for the incident squarely onto Miss Jackson's shoulder pads. Even when he plays a high profile concert at Madison Square Garden mere days after the same big game three years later, we haven't heard a peep. Nothing. But no matter. Timbo is as big a pop star as one can possibly be and we've got nothing against the dude. His show at MSG appealed to the people it was supposed to (though not everyone) and of course had everyone talking the next day about his live rendition of the timeless classic "Dick in a Box." Seriously, this kid can do no wrong.
(pic via Platform Launch Action, via Brooklyn Vegan)

Remember that old Prince vs. Michael Jackson debate?
So two questions: Did anyone really think Prince was still popular enough to play the halftime show at the Super Bowl? And does anybody, after watching him last Sunday night, now doubt that he's one of the biggest music superstars in the world today? Color us impressed by not only the performance, but by his undeniable lasting star power. As nearly everyone on the planet with access to a TV discovered five days ago at the third most watched television broadcast ever, Prince, when he puts his mind to it, is just about the best performer on earth. There is nothing more to be said. The bar has most certainly been raised on what has been historically a letdown event. Who would have the balls to follow this up next year?

Paging Justin Timberlake...