“Entertainment Weekly” Makes A Grab For Those Indie Rock Pageviews

gimmeindie.jpgWell-versed in the knowledge that nothing gets people clicking around Web sites like a photo gallery, nothing gets people arguing on the Internet like a slightly specious list, and no demographic has more work-hours time to click on said photo galleries and argue over said lists than the knowledge workers who proclaim themselves lovers of the nebulously defined genre “indie rock,” Entertainment Weekly has put together a photo gallery/list called “The Indie Rock 25,” which assigns one album to each of the 25 years since 1984, a year that was apparently defined by the Replacements’ Let It Be. There are some arbitrary rules (no solo acts, albums that came out on an indie overseas but a major in the U.S. are OK), some arbitrary picks (see: Bright Eyes in 2005), lots of white dudes (cf. 1993: Ultimate Alternative Wavers over Pussy Whipped? Really?), and an obligatory mention of Radiohead, whose stature in “indie” probably wouldn’t exist were it not for the major-label machine of 15 years ago but I’ll probably be stuck arguing that until I’m blue in the face. Full list after the jump.

1984: The Replacements, Let It Be
1985: The Smiths, Meat Is Murder
1986: R.E.M., Life’s Rich Pageant
1987: Dinosaur Jr., You’re Living All Over Me
1988: Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
1989: The Pixies, Doolittle
1990: Fugazi, Repeater
1991: My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
1992: Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted
1993: Built To Spill, Ultimate Alternative Wavers
1994: Guided By Voices, Bee Thousand
1995: Archers Of Loaf, Vee Vee
1996: Belle And Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister
1997: Modest Mouse, The Lonesome Crowded West
1998: Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
1999: Sleater-Kinney, The Hot Rock
2000: Yo La Tengo, And then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out
2001: The Shins, Oh, Inverted World
2002: Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights
2003: The White Stripes, Elephant
2004: Arcade Fire, Funeral
2005: Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning
2006: The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America
2007: Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
2008: Radiohead, In Rainbows

The Indie Rock 25 [EW]

  • Anonymous

    I’m actually a little bit excited about the Vee Vee mention.

  • noliebro

    this is a very predicatable list from entertainment weekly….they chose radiohead, spoon and brighteyes..big surprise

  • Tauwan

    2001: Is this it?

    2005: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

  • dog door

    pretty safe list. I’m still stunned people like Spoon though.

  • Anonymous

    Radiohead doesn’t get a mention until 2008?

    @dog door: You’re being cut from the team.

  • Tauwan


    weren’t all of Radiohead’s releases on a major label [Capitol or EMI or something?] til In Rainbows dropped?

  • Chris N.

    The “no solo acts” thing seems a tad arbitrary.

  • graeffufighting

    As much as I love The Hold Steady, I think I would have gone with Ys or Return To Cookie Mountain over Boys And Girls In America. Also, if you’re gonna go with any Sleater-Kinney album, go with The Woods.

  • SuperUnison

    Wow, that was easily twice as good as the list I was expecting. However, maybe I just have a lazy view of the 80s and 90s.

    Knowing that I’ve hated Interpol for a whole five years is weird though.

    @whoneedslight: I just got into Archers of Loaf last month. Vee Vee is, indeed, a pretty damn good record. Why aren’t there bands like that anymore?

  • Anonymous

    @Tauwan: You’re right, of course. It’s just a little odd to see them on this list as “indie” 6 years after they started playing Madison Square Garden.

    I am also confused by Bright Eyes (and he’s a solo act, right?) And I might have picked Girls Can Tell for Spoon, but other than that, this list really isn’t bad.

  • Nunya B

    @Chris N.: It seems like a stab at 1993 to me. Didn’t Rid of Me AND Exile in Guyville come out that year?

  • Tauwan


    Yeah, wasn’t 2006, like THE year of TV on the Radio.



    Me too man, I can -WARNING SHOWING MY AGE -talk for days about indie rock from 2000 onwards and just can’t believe that it seems like only yesterday we were all going ga ga over the switch from the mainstream dominance of your Limp Bizkits, Kid Rocks, and the like to the “bubbling up from the underground” sounds of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, and any band that was different with a “the” top of their name. [White Stripes, Strokes, Hives, etc...]

  • westartedthis

    they had to be on indie labels, so no TVOTR or Is This It. making Radiohead the 2008 pick is kind of a wink wink nudge nudge.

    with the parameters they set for themselves, it’s not that bad of a list.

  • R. Morast

    curious. i wonder how many of these acts were actually written about in EW.

  • Lucas Jensen

    @R. Morast: Actually, EW used to cover things like Oval, so, yeah, they probably did. Having said that, I love The Hot Rock and all, and I know the Lips are on a major label, but The Soft Bulletin ain’t on here? That thing was a watershed event in indierockdom.

  • Captain Wrong

    OMG! I can’t believe they left out _________. And putting in _________? What are they smoking???

  • Anonymous


    I would love love love a Loaf reunion.

  • drjimmy11

    some arbitrary picks (see: Bright Eyes in 2005)

    really? try listening to the album maybe.

  • graeffufighting

    @Tauwan: Indeed it was. But it was completely understandable why. I love that record. “Providence” = shivers down my spine.

  • SuperUnison

    They had to get a bright eyes nod in there just to acknowledge his footprint. Same goes for built to spill and radiohead. Plus, it’s EW so they’re at least another press cycle away from getting over the idea that he’s the “new dylan” or whatever condescending boy geniusy horeshit they’ll still be trying to tag him with when he’s fucking 30. Also, I looked back through my itunes and it seems like I bought an obscure hardcore record every 2 or 3 weeks in 2006. It’s probably good that I started smoking pot around then, otherwise I’d probably be much more bitchy about them picking “Elephant” over “Burn Piano Island.”

    @Maura Johnston: Thank you, Separation Sunday is totes their masterpiece. They had all the dense, biting aspects of hip hop and hardcore, plus better lyrics and an overarching story that I can’t quit getting lost in.

    @whoneedslight: Yeah. Tangentially, I’d seriously consider “Foolish” by Superchunk over “Bee Thousand” Mainly because I only like about half the songs on “Bee Thousand” while “Foolish” is maybe the best record I got into last year. Not a dud on there, just a couple I’m not infatuated with.

  • Hamm Beerger

    Interesting. I have all these albums except Bright Eyes, Belle and Sebastien, and Built to Spill. And I bought, hated, and returned the Built to Spill at some point in the 90s.

    Being from the Triangle area, I always assumed that the Archers of Loaf weren’t a big deal outside of North Carolina (or the South, at the most). Nice to know they were noticed… I’ll have to put Vee Vee on the stereo tomorrow.

  • tigerpop

    @graeffufighting: Srsly. The Hot Rock is good, but wasn’t nearly as defining as The Woods or Dig Me Out.

    @kisskisskiss: They had to mention BTS, but There’s Nothing Wrong With Love came out in 1994, and they had to pick a GBV record, but Alien Lanes came out in ’95, and Archers of Loaf went there b/c EW had to mention more than one band that never jumped to a major. Makes sense, don’t it? (I still think Exile was the obvious choice.)

    @Lucas Jensen: re: Lips/Bulletin/watershed moment for indie rockdom — Yes, but it was on Warner. I’m not sure, but I think that qualifies as ironic.

  • Maura Johnston

    @drjimmy: i can name a ton of better albums by bands that came out in 2005 off the top of my head. ‘the woods’? ‘separation sunday’ (which is much better than ‘boys & girls’ imo)? lcd soundsystem?

    and if pj harvey can be eliminated because of the ‘no solo artists’ thing for rid of me then so can bright eyes. :P

  • Anonymous


    Don’t get me started on my Superchunk love. Incidental Music would probably be a desert island disc for me. I will never understand how that band didn’t have massive success.

  • Chris N.

    @kisskisskiss: ‘Exile’ was just the album I had in mind.

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