The Village Voice Pazz and Jop special is now on newstands, and there aren't too many surprises. The top albums are pretty standard, but I am surprised to see Hail to the Thief at number four and Drive-By Truckers at number twelve. The first seemed to be not loved by many* and I had no idea people liked the DBT album. I haven't heard it myself.

The singles are pretty standard as well, but I'm happy to see Johnny Cash's "Hurt" so high up on the list.

Pazz and Jop is so much better in its online form as you can take a look at the individual entries from all of the critics who have submitted lists. As they put it:

This poll combines ballots from 732 critics, who divided 100 points among 10 2003 albums. Maximum per album: 30. Minimum: 5. Points determined placement, with total mentions (indicated in parenthesis) used for tie breaking.

First, I love that system. Second, I've enjoyed looking at all of these ballots. Here is a list of critics that I have worked with or like: Chuck Klosterman, Greg Kot, Adrienne Day, Jim Derogatis, Sasha Frere-Jones, Andy Greenwald, Nathin Rabin, Stephen Thompson. Please add your own favorites in the comments.

Also: WWB Top 25, My Best of 2003

* I was listening to Hail to the Thief on the way to work this morning and I finally understand why it was underwhelming for a lot of people. It is definitely much better than most music in the world, but compared to what they accomplished with their last three albums, this one seems to fall a little flat in the originality department.