POP/ROCK

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Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" was the best single of 1988, according to the nation's pop critics. In an annual poll by the New York weekly Village Voice, 212 critics from around the country also named Public Enemy's socially charged "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" the year's best album. "Fast Car"--which was cited on 55 ballots--finished ahead of Rob Base and D.J. E-Z Rock's "It Takes Two" (38 votes) and Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child o' Mine" (30). Public Enemy was the runaway album winner, netting 1,011 points in a system that allows each voter to give as many as 30 points to his or her top choice. Stylistically, rap was the big winner, taking nine of the Top-25 single slots.

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