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"Is this it" named album of the decade
November 17, 2009 7:45 PM   Subscribe

NME.com list The Strokes' 'Is This It' has topped the 100 Greatest Albums Of The Decade list in the new issue of NME magazine out tomorrow (November 18). The 2001 debut album by the New York band was voted top of the pile by a panel of musicians, producers, writers and record label bosses.
posted by ktrain (164 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Burial's "Untrue". List over.
posted by davebush at 7:48 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


But it isn't. It, that is.
posted by philip-random at 7:48 PM on November 17, 2009


Now, if Yoda can release an album titled "It This Is" we will have a complete set.
posted by effluvia at 7:50 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Hoo boy.
posted by gottabefunky at 7:52 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh good why don't you put an Amazon link in there so I can order it directly?
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:52 PM on November 17, 2009


your favorite band...
posted by fixedgear at 7:53 PM on November 17, 2009


1. Nobody ever agrees on this stuff.
2. The first Strokes album is undeniably a great record.
3. It's NME, what would you expect them to pick?
posted by chaff at 7:55 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Personally, I thought Pretty Flowers made the album of the decade.
posted by lekvar at 7:55 PM on November 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


ok I guess nothing is "undeniably" anything, so deny away . . .
posted by chaff at 7:55 PM on November 17, 2009


Spoon's Girls Can Tell came out in 2001, so the Strokes didn't even have the best album of that year.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:55 PM on November 17, 2009 [7 favorites]


NME are wrong.

AND...

..."Best Music" lists are stupid!

*applause*

THANK YOU CLEVELAND!!
posted by MeatLightning at 7:56 PM on November 17, 2009


Or better yet, can it be purchased on iTunes? And can I download it to my new iPod Nano? And then, once it's downloaded, take the iPod Nano, and slather it in my own tears, which have been brought about by a total loss of hope, and then take the tear-slickened iPod Nano, and blend it into a cocktail of poison and plague rats, and then freeze it into the shape of a gun that fires bullets of faecal dejection, and stalk from cubicle to cubicle within the NME offices, gunning down men and women alike, and finally explode in a shower of caramel rainbows and two-for-one garlic bread vouchers? CAN I?
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:57 PM on November 17, 2009 [10 favorites]


No, It isn't. This is It.
posted by prinado at 7:58 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


....Uh...sure, TD, you do whatever you want to do. We'll be over here, cowering in the corner.
posted by Rangeboy at 7:59 PM on November 17, 2009


But seriously, even by the incredibly debased standards of "best-of" lists, this is ridiculous. While admittedly fun to listen to, Is This It ultimately just reminds you of how much better Marquee Moon is.
posted by Rangeboy at 8:01 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


If that's all there is my friends, then let's keep dancing.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:01 PM on November 17, 2009


Bad list.... enough said.
posted by gonna get a dog at 8:02 PM on November 17, 2009


I'll bet you a million bucks right here, right now, that these eyepiss fuckbuckets haven't listened to anything close to 5% of every single album released over the past 10 years so who in Christ's green kingdom do they figure they're fooling? Oh, that's right: assholes.
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:04 PM on November 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


Is this where we post our own toptens? Oh god I'm not ready no no no the machine is still full of cochroaches and the lightning rods keep slipping off the baboons skulls
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:04 PM on November 17, 2009


Brb
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:04 PM on November 17, 2009


This being the NME, I suspect this Strokes album will top next year's "100 Worst Albums of the Decade" list.
posted by pompomtom at 8:06 PM on November 17, 2009


Not knowing anything about this music publication, I don't even know what kind of music this is supposed to cover. I think my recent music tastes- goth/symphonic metal, Celtic, and trance- fall well outside this list's range.
posted by jmd82 at 8:10 PM on November 17, 2009


Strokes this, NME.
posted by jonmc at 8:10 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Best Albums seems a pretty arrogant name for the list. How about "best rock and roll albums and one Jay-Z album"? I guess it is the prerogative of every genre critic to talk as if all the other genres don't exist.

To echo what I said about pop science - just because they have their pants on doesn't mean they aren't trolling.
posted by idiopath at 8:11 PM on November 17, 2009


Having spent a moment looking over the list, I can say that, while I may disagree with some of the selections, (your favorite band &c.) I like that they went to the trouble to link to examples from each album. Pitchfork and the rest, are you listening? It's nice that you assume that we've heard all the music you love so much, but would it be too much to ask that you provide us some means to judge for ourselves?
posted by lekvar at 8:12 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think I just had a Stroke
s
posted by Sys Rq at 8:13 PM on November 17, 2009


I don't like to criticize lists but there is an appalling (but unsurprising) lack of female-driven bands on that list.

Also, the way they awkwardly crammed a Radiohead album into the top 10 and then into the top 15 was pretty obvious and pretty sad. I mean, I loved both In Rainbows and Kid A but it was clear pandering.
posted by muddgirl at 8:14 PM on November 17, 2009


Number 3 is actually quite entertaining at first but after a few listens you realize that it has burned out something deeply valuable in your essence.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:15 PM on November 17, 2009


PJ Harvey's "Stories From the City" is so goddamn over-rated it hurts.
posted by bardic at 8:15 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


No Lupe Fiasco? Please, remove thine heads from thine asses.
posted by gnutron at 8:16 PM on November 17, 2009


I like it. It is a good album and it's significant how many bands were launched by the strokes, but the best of the decade? No, I don't think so. The whole list is weak and but actually for the sort of shit-for-brains trend monkeys at the NME they could've done a lot worse.
posted by Skygazer at 8:18 PM on November 17, 2009


Burial's material could have been recorded in 1997. Far from the most innovative act even on Hyperdub. I'm impressed by the choice of The Strokes' first album, which must seem deeply worn out by now, but is a strong, sparse record. For me the band that could make these kinds of lists that should come out top is Animal Collective. They are despite their recent popularity one of the most original and influential bands of the decade, and so
much more than The Strokes' comfortable revivalism.
posted by galaksit at 8:18 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm a little weirded out by the fact that of the top 50, the first album that I could say that I'd at least *heard* was Jay-Z's...and the next was Johnny Cash.

Clearly, NME and I do not have the same taste in music.
posted by librarylis at 8:19 PM on November 17, 2009


The good news is that for those of us who detest both The Strokes and NME, this is like a pat on the back telling you you're on the right track.
posted by mannequito at 8:19 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


It kind of surprised me how many of the albums on that list I'd listened to. When the lists come out for each year, I'm usually pretty clueless. This leads me to believe that I listened to only the most predictable albums of each year.

Things I'd have put on this list if I'd written it: Dan Deacon, Girl Talk, Lightspeed Champion, Laura Cantrell. And (must it even be said?) Andrew WK should be on this list. Haters be damned, his music has as much a chance of becoming the postcard for this decade as anyone's.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:20 PM on November 17, 2009


roll truck roll: "ndrew WK should be on this list. Haters be damned"

His work with To Live And Shave In LA is not to be lightly dismissed. But seeing that NME's definition of "music" hardly includes anything but guitar rock I suspect this is off topic.
posted by idiopath at 8:25 PM on November 17, 2009


Who in their right mind thinks 'wincing the night away' is the best of the Shins?
posted by Think_Long at 8:31 PM on November 17, 2009


Lists like this are compiled by people sitting behind their big marble desks, ties done up to 11, clicking their fingers to the fucking Lighthouse Family, getting their dicks sucked by a big Alsatian dog. - Super Hans
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:32 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Stankonia! Madvillainy?
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:32 PM on November 17, 2009


Best Albums seems a pretty arrogant name for the list. How about "best rock and roll albums and one Jay-Z album"?

Um...The Streets, Dizzee Rascal, MIA, Outkast, The Knife: These are not rock bands.

The rock bands on the list mostly sound the same in that early-'00s garage revival way; that reflects a distinct lack of diversity within the rock genre.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:33 PM on November 17, 2009


Sys Rq: "The Streets, Dizzee Rascal, MIA, Outkast, The Knife: These are not rock bands"

Yeah I overstated my case a bit, but I think we are on the same page about the lack of diversity on that list.
posted by idiopath at 8:40 PM on November 17, 2009


meh, at least Crystal Castles is in the top 50.
posted by King Bee at 8:46 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


The strokes are labeled manufactured bullshit. From their vintage leather jackets to their singer who can't sing to their under produced sound they are thoroughly and utterly unoriginal trash.

*vomits*
posted by tylerfulltilt at 8:48 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


XTRMNTR? #3? RLY? Oh Jesus H, that's funny.
posted by blucevalo at 8:50 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


lekvar: Pitchfork's top 500 tracks of the decade list has full streaming versions of pretty much every song. So I assume they will be doing the same with any future lists.
posted by zsazsa at 8:51 PM on November 17, 2009


HEY, I learnt a new term from some chatterin' mean-type internet comments: "dadrock." Specifically, the commenter referred to "sad old dadrock" on a (boingboing?) thread about the videogame "Brutal Legend," and in context was intended to slam bands such as Molly Hatchet, Judas Priest and Def Leppard.

Later I realized that "dadrock" is a moving target, and anything over nine years old is likely to qualify.

Just sayin'.
posted by mwhybark at 8:51 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


'I quite like The Strokes as a comedy group...' -- Paul Morley on DJ Food's Raiding the 20th Century
posted by ardgedee at 8:53 PM on November 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Burial's Untrue was a really good album that has stood up surprisingly well. There are really great albums that never get on lists like these because they don't fit nicely into mainstream genres. DJ Shadow's ...Endtroducing is another one that never hits it. I do have to give Pitchfork credit, they did include ...Endtroducing and at least two Aphex Twin albums for their top 100 albums in the 90s.

In fact I remember when Pitchfork started releasing their top 100 lists and people decried it as such a Rolling Stone / NME thing to do, but they ended up being really, really solid lists. Sure it gets wacky if you get pedantic about what should be first and what not, but using the "any order, the important thing is you listen to them at all" criteria, you can't go wrong.

Strokes are still solid and definitely don't sound dated. They fill that "I know this song!" criteria that any good party playlist needs to consider. Generally you need a known classic (LCD Sound System, Vampire Weekend, Strokes) filling in between the new stuff so people don't get completely loss in a sea of music they've never heard before. It requires you to be aware of the music without that awareness being greater than the composition.

If you really wanted to get into playlist creation theory this is where I would introduce Radio 1 live lounge covers like Editors - Acceptable in the 80s. Again a great cover, and you're not immediately aware that This Is A Cover, because it stands on its own and isn't overshadowed by the original. You know you're good when after two hours your carefully chosen playlist moves into more generic house music and on one really notices or complains.

This careful orchestration exists for one purpose: to keep the headband and leggings girl that seemed to rolled out of an American Apparel store and into your living room from loudly asking for "Poker Face"* (and before that, "Gold Digger" -> "My Humps" -> "In Da Club" -> "Hey Ya"). For that, I salute The Strokes - Is This It! You make girls dance and keep the Lady GaGa off the setlist, how can I ask for anything more?
posted by geoff. at 8:55 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thank Allah for white people, otherwise there'd hardly be any good music!

Oh, and I can name at least 50 albums that most people wouldn't know which a) influenced the Strokes, and b) are better than anything the Strokes did.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 8:57 PM on November 17, 2009


w.t.f. this is dumb.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:58 PM on November 17, 2009


Ok the roaches learned how to pedal backwards so I'm proud to present to you The Best Albums of The Decade Determined By Science

9 Lady Gaga - the Fame
8 Fabolus - Whatevaeva
7 Leslie and the Lys -- gold pants
6 RAMBO - Wall of Death The System
5 Brittnay Spears - t0x1c
4 Justin Timberlake - Hotdog Costume
3 Wyclef Jean - The Masquerade
2 Brittnay Spears - Circus Infections

Aaand #1 Record of all the years!
THE VENGA BOYS!!

Thank you.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:00 PM on November 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


Hmm yeah well it's all very NME isn't it... there is just sooo much exciting stuff been happening that their radar misses completely... What about dubstep? And electro? Where's Skream and Benga? Felix Da Housecat?
Oh well.. at least there's no Coldplay or U2....
posted by Monkeymoo at 9:01 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Any best-of list that has Queens of the Stone Age on it is basically not worth the energy it takes to light up its pixels. Worst live performance I've ever seen, bar none.

Also The Streets are fucking annoying. But I don't particularly care for hip hop, so maybe that opinion is to be expected from me.
posted by Caduceus at 9:02 PM on November 17, 2009


"Thou shall not read NME."
posted by Ron Thanagar at 9:04 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't even know what kind of music this is supposed to cover. I think my recent music tastes- goth/symphonic metal, Celtic, and trance- fall well outside this list's range.

cool tastes bro
posted by decagon at 9:07 PM on November 17, 2009 [9 favorites]


Pan Sonic's Aaltopiiri is a better rock album than all of that shit.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:10 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Huh. Of all the albums off that list, I've only ever listened to more than 30 seconds of Johnny Cash's The Man Comes Around, and of all the artists included, I could only identify Cash, The Strokes, and Queens of the Stone Age (and probably Botch, based on the sheer scarcity of hardcore/mathcore there) by hearing. After figuring out NME's target demographic, though, I'm not sure that bothers me.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:10 PM on November 17, 2009


Haven't looked at the list, but this is my number 1:

Best album of the past 10 years.
posted by empath at 9:11 PM on November 17, 2009


Oh.. this conversation... again.

I like The White Stripes quite a bit, any big named act band that brings their act to Nunavut gets nothing but love from me, but I honestly suspect the best album of the decade is something that only a few thousand people have listened to, no matter what it is.
posted by edgeways at 9:14 PM on November 17, 2009


Any best-of list that has Queens of the Stone Age on it is basically not worth the energy it takes to light up its pixels. Worst live performance I've ever seen, bar none.

I saw them at Continental Airlines Arena about 6 years ago. They weren't bad, but Josh Homme basically carried them. Sleep's Dopesmoker came out in 2003 though, and is pretty much the canonical early 00s stoner album. Also, I'm surprised their sort of KROQ-friendly sound beat out Neurosis and their imitators (including Mastodon); seems to me that sludge has been much more relevant as a tastemaker (to wit: Hydra Head Records).
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 9:14 PM on November 17, 2009


People still read that shitrag?!
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 9:15 PM on November 17, 2009


The Strokes' first album is way too derivative for me. It's like they just took all their ideas from the first album by The Only Ones (1978) and the first album by The Saints (1977), and then called them their own.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 9:16 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually -- from near the bottom of their list -- Sigur Ros's first would be near the top for me as well.
posted by empath at 9:17 PM on November 17, 2009


I can name at least 50 albums that most people wouldn't know which a) influenced the Strokes, and b) are better than anything the Strokes did.

Can you name them? (Or some of them?) This isn't a challenge or anything; I'm just always looking for more stuff to listen to.

(Not that I'm a huge Strokes fan in the first place, but I like all of their obvious forebears.)
posted by decagon at 9:23 PM on November 17, 2009


Now that I've, like, actually looked at the list, oh, well, maybe I'm not so deep in the dadrock or or or maybe thet compilers are my age. The Wilco and Winehouse are still on my heavy rotation list years later and there are one or two other bands and/or albums I have enjoyed.

On the other hand I did see Wilco cited as an avatar of dadrock incarnate as I googled the term. I think Winehouse self-inoculates against the term, though. gawkerrock?
posted by mwhybark at 9:24 PM on November 17, 2009


Also The Streets are fucking annoying. But I don't particularly care for hip hop, so maybe that opinion is to be expected from me.


Well I do care for hip hop. And yes, The fucking Streets are fucking Annoying. High Five!
posted by mannequito at 9:26 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


HP LaserJet P10006: "the first album by The Saints (1977)..."

or maybe I am deep into the dadrock. I just rocked out to that record today. Man, I love that record.
posted by mwhybark at 9:27 PM on November 17, 2009


I like The Streets. And I like most of the albums on that list.

Please don't hurt me.
posted by rokusan at 9:31 PM on November 17, 2009


Okay on second look, I have 20 of those 50 albums. So not really "most" I guess.

But still please don't hurt me.
posted by rokusan at 9:33 PM on November 17, 2009


This is valuable resource for this kind of thing - and seems to show the NME has a surprising consistency for picking what might be called "Whiny, Hipster Music" (Which is my favourite kind).
posted by Jofus at 9:33 PM on November 17, 2009


Honestly, there is really nothing I enjoy less on Metafilter than the endless cavalcade of "look how much more cool I am than the authors of this list" whenever someone posts something like this.

I have no doubt that you can name seventeen bands that you like better than whatever is #1 this time, and I have even less interest in hearing you do so.

These threads are just a fractious mess with everyone measuring their dicks using rulers of their own invention.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:35 PM on November 17, 2009 [8 favorites]


I'm feeling cooler given that I have more than 50% of those albums, but if I could offer up that Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings The Flood as musical perfection, I would.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:35 PM on November 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Rokusan, don't tell the baboons but I like most of these records too, and so do most people probably. They're fine by themselves but pile them up on top of each other and everbady go CRAzy!! All best of lists are staight up snarkchum.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:38 PM on November 17, 2009


HOLT CATS I AGREE WITH EVERY SINGLE ALBUM AND EVERY SINGLE POSITION ON THIS LIST
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:41 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I don't even need to read the link to know that. I'm easily influenced.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:41 PM on November 17, 2009


Incidentally, this NME list doubles as a list of cds I bought this decade that I have in a pile ready to bring to the used record store.

I'm surprised the Arctic Monkeys weren't number one. I recall just a few years ago that their first album was named greatest British album of all-time (McNicholas: 'Beatles? Nah.. Stones? Uh-uh! Kinks? Pfffft.. Arctic Monkeys? Yup, that's the one! And, of course, throw in Oasis, who would never have existed if it weren't for the Beatles, Stones, and Kinks') by the ever-fickle NME. The NME has been progressively going downhill for the past twenty years, and it's completely unreadable now.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:48 PM on November 17, 2009


Dee Xtrovert: "Oh, and I can name at least 50 albums that most people wouldn't know which a) influenced the Strokes, and b) are better than anything the Strokes did."

Please do! Music lists are only good for 1) finding new artists you might enjoy and 2) starting long arguments with friends. The comments here need more 1). Is This It? was my high school album, but definitely not best of the decade. For one thing, the lyrics are pretty mediocre.

My list would probably include Why's Alopecia, Dr. Dog's Takers and Leavers, and Sunset Rubdown's Random Spirit Lover. But I know some of you can do better than me.
posted by yaymukund at 9:48 PM on November 17, 2009


That Strokes record sounded like a bunch of tired, hammered shit when it first came out. And, y'know, who needs Scott Walker's The Drift (2006) when you've got titans like Bright Eyes and Babyshambles delivering the goods? I guess it's good to know that the NME will never change.
posted by porn in the woods at 9:49 PM on November 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


This Is It sounds like DMZ covering the Supremes.
Anyone who can't get behind that should stick MRSA in their ears.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:52 PM on November 17, 2009


jimmythefish: "if I could offer up Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings The Flood as musical perfection, I would."

I rule this to be admissable, and the lack of Neko on the list to be deplorable. But what do I know.
posted by mwhybark at 9:56 PM on November 17, 2009


The Strokes album at number 1 is cursed for me. As is Sound of Silver. Here's why:

For The Strokes, that album was playing one winter morning. I lost control of my car and it hit a curb going sideways at about 20 miles an hour, wrecking half the suspension but keeping it intact enough that I was able to limp it to a garage. This happened during finals week and me, not knowing very many people, had to walk 45 minutes to campus in the freezing cold for a week. Repairs were about half the car's value.

As for The Sound of Silver; That album was playing that same winter. One evening I was warming up the car and scraping ice off when I accidentally locked the keys in the car, while the car was running. It's about 8 pm. I call over campus security using one of the emergency beacon things. They come over and try to break into the car. No dice. During this time I start to dial my mother, 600 miles away, to get on the computer and find a locksmith. Sound of Silver can still be heard within the car. The campus police leave me alone, having contacted a locksmith. I am told by this locksmith that he'll be there in 20 minutes. I walk into the closest building (which is mostly empty, this being evening) and wait. 30 minutes later, the locksmith calls me again, saying he'll be another 20 minutes since he got pulled over for speeding. My car is still running at this point.

So he gets to campus, after some mis-direction he finally spots me and pulls up in his Kia minivan. He has a heavy eastern european accent. After several attempts with conventional gear, he informs me he will attempt to wedge the car open with air bladders. He tries one, but there isn't enough space, so he brings out a second one. This opens up a crack in the door. He brings out a long wire pole, and sticks it into the car, flinging it around until he hooks the inside door handle. And Presto! He's got it. I was so happy at that moment that I wanted to hug this man. It's $160 charge for breaking into my car. To this day I don't lock the door unless the keys are physically in my hand.

In summation, I've had terrible luck in the past, the soundtrack to which is provided by bands Of The Now.
posted by hellojed at 10:06 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, THIS is it, and it has been for almost 50 years and ALWAYS FREAKING WILL BE. Got it?

And the Album of the Decade was obviously Weird Al's Poodle Hat. Although Straight Outta Lynwood was Al's best-selling album ever, the collection that included the palindromic salute to "Bob" Dylan, the 9-minute Zappa tribute "Genius in France", the essential Eminem takedown "Couch Potato", a Spider-Man/Piano Man mash-up, and songs about such serious topics as constipation, incest and decapitation (in the same "Complicated Song"), leprosy, the mind of a sociopath ("Why Does This Always Happen to Me?") and Grand Openings was truly the Total Package.

And since we're entering the final six weeks of a year ending with '9', expect an unrelenting string of "Best of the Decade" lists from every publication, broadcaster and website that desperately wants to be considered big-r Relevant, and presented online in the largest number of clickable pages. I just hope we can sustain an adequate level of snark to make it through...
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:07 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Burial's "Untrue".

Oh god, yes.

List over.

Um... no. But nevermind. I think we can agree that giving Is This It the number one spot is either a genius pun/joke/twisted prank or just sheer stupidity. Seeing as it's the NME, though, I have to go with option 2.
posted by jokeefe at 10:16 PM on November 17, 2009


Because I know you're all waiting with bated breath for my opinion....

1. The Strokes – 'Is This It'
-Boring, derivative rock. Not terrible, but boring and derivative.

2. The Libertines – 'Up The Bracket'
-This is that one where that guy dated Kate Moss and did a lot of drugs, right?

3. Primal Scream – 'XTRMNTR'
-I kind of like this, actually.

4. Arctic Monkeys – 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not'
-Well, I've heard of them, but never listed to them. As far as I know.

5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – 'Fever To Tell'
-I really, really liked the guitarist's college band. They were called "The Boba Fett Experience" and they did a kickass cover of "The Imperial March" from Star Wars.

6. PJ Harvey – 'Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea'
- [this is good]

7. Arcade Fire – 'Funeral'
-Maybe I should be ashamed to admit it, but I fucking love this record.

8. Interpol – 'Turn On The Bright Lights'
- Joy Division cover band

9. The Streets – 'Original Pirate Material'
-As noted above, annoying.

10. Radiohead – 'In Rainbows'
-Radiohead are really just prog rock, aren't they?

11. At The Drive In – 'Relationship Of Command'
-I've actually never even heard of this.

12. LCD Soundsystem – 'Sound Of Silver'
-I think I heard this once, but I don't remember much about it.

13. The Shins – 'Wincing The Night Away'
-Not bad.

14. Radiohead – 'Kid A'
-Yep, prog rock.

15. Queens Of The Stone Age – 'Songs For The Deaf'
-You've got to be kidding me.

16. The Streets – 'A Grand Don't Come For Free'
- Another STreets record? really?

17. Sufjan Stevens – 'Illinois'
-Not terrible.

18. The White Stripes – 'Elephant'
19. The White Stripes – 'White Blood Cells'
-These are two different records?

20. Blur – 'Think Tank'
-I kind of think they peaked with that one annoying song that was all over FIFA '98 for the playstation and every commercial ever. That was a long time ago, though.

21. The Coral – 'The Coral'
-Who?

22. Jay-Z – 'The Blueprint'
-I, for one, am not going to tell Jay Z he shouldn't be on this list.

23. Klaxons – 'Myths Of The Near Future'
-Who?

24. The Libertines – 'The Libertines'
-That guy from the tabloids again?

25. The Rapture – 'Echoes'
-I think someone I know's brother is in this band.

26. Dizzee Rascal – 'Boy in Da Corner'
-Dizzee. Great name.

27. Amy Winehouse – 'Back To Black'
-She should really date that guy in the Libertines, but I do like this record.

28. Johnny Cash – 'The Man Comes Around'
-Admit it-- this is just on here because it's Johnny fucking Cash. I mean, the Nine Inch Nails cover was fucking awesome, but the guy had like 40 records that were better than this one.

29. Super Furry Animals – 'Rings Around The World'
-Cute name. Never listened to them, though.

30. Elbow – 'Asleep In The Back'
-Really? There's a band called "Elbow"?

31. Bright Eyes – 'I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning'
-I fucking hate Conor Oberst, but I really like this record. I don't know how I live with myself.

32. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – 'Show Your Bones'
-Hey, it's these guys again!

33. Arcade Fire – 'Neon Bible'
-Huh. It's not terrible, but it was pretty disappointing after the awesomeness that was Funeral.

34. Grandaddy – 'The Sophtware Slump'
-I've got to admit, I am surprised to see this on the list. I like it, but it doesn't really seem to fit, somehow.

35. Babyshambles – 'Down In Albion'
-"Babyshambles?" Really?

36. Spirtualized – 'Let it Come Down'
-It's no "Ladies and Gentlemen," but what is, really?

37. The Knife – 'Silent Shout'
-Sorry. Never heard of them.

38. Bloc Party – 'Silent Alarm'
-Heard of them.

39. Crystal Castles – 'Crystal Castles'
-Man I loved that game.

40. Ryan Adams – 'Gold'
-This is a joke, I assume? Inserted just to see if we're paying attention, right?

41. Wild Beasts – 'Two Dancers'
-These guys should do a split 7" with Super Furry Animals. For several reasons.

42. Vampire Weekend – 'Vampire Weekend'
-OK, come on. Now I know you're just trolling.

43. Wilco – 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot'
-Fuck. Yes.

44. Outkast – 'Speakerboxxx/The Love Below'
-I'm shaking it like a polaroid picture right now, iykwim (aityd).

45. Avalanches – 'Since I Left You'
-Didn't these guys come out with, like, one album ever?

46. The Delgados – 'The Great Eastern'
-I think I saw these guys once before they changed their name, but I might be thinking of someone else. I know I saw someone called Tour de France, but there've probably been a lot of indie rock bands called that.

47. Brendan Benson – 'Lapalco'
-Is this that guys who's in (one of) Jack White's other band(s)?

48. The Walkmen – 'Bows and Arrows'
-Doesn't do much for me.

49. Muse – 'Absolution'
-Hey look- more prog rock!

50. MIA – 'Arular'
-Oh hell yes.
posted by dersins at 10:25 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


If you asked me to come up with a parody of NME's 50 Best Albums of The Decade my list would look very much like this list. I could have been completely hammered and come up with this list. These choices couldn't cut soup.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 10:36 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


And the Album of the Decade was obviously Weird Al's Poodle Hat.

onefellswoop, you are forever disqualified from ever commenting in a music thread that I can take seriously.

seriously.
posted by philip-random at 10:38 PM on November 17, 2009


I am too old to have an opinion about any of this.

If you need me I'll be sitting in my study drinking scotch from a highball glass and reading the business pages of USA Today.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:39 PM on November 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you need me I'll be sitting in my study drinking scotch from a highball glass and reading the business pages of USA Today.

Lies! The only time anyone ever reads USA Today is when it is given out free in hotels and jetways.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:42 PM on November 17, 2009


For those of you who can look past the boring, derivative, admittedly-fun-to-listen-to-but-worse-than-Marquee Moon nature of the Strokes' debut (and at this moment don't feel inclined to listen to one of the 50 albums you can name which influenced and is better than Is This It), check out their $2 Bill concert series performance from which aired on MTV during the 2002 Superbowl half time. It's killer.
posted by timshel at 10:45 PM on November 17, 2009


bardic: Dude, I'll cut you.
posted by Weebot at 11:29 PM on November 17, 2009


I wrote: I can name at least 50 albums that most people wouldn't know which a) influenced the Strokes, and b) are better than anything the Strokes did.

decagon wrote: Can you name them? (Or some of them?) This isn't a challenge or anything; I'm just always looking for more stuff to listen to.

(Not that I'm a huge Strokes fan in the first place, but I like all of their obvious forebears.)


I agree with 'porn in the woods' that the Strokes sounded like "a bunch of tired, hammered shit when it first came out." And furthermore, most of that list is such obvious third- or fourth-generation retreads of much better, more startling and more original stuff that it makes me wonder if anyone has a sense of musical history left at all!

I'm tired and it's past my bedtime, but I'll try to list 50 artists who inspired the Strokes, or at least seem like obvious precursors. Sometimes the similarity's clear,s ometimes it's just a guitar or vocal style or lyrical stance. In no particular order, but these are all CDs, which I chose to list, as more often than not, the newest versions add tracks to the original vinyl releases of the material.

1) Television "Marquee Moon" & "Adventure
2) Colin Newman "A-Z"
3) Vic Godard & the Subway Sect "What's The Matter Boy?" & "Singles Anthology"
4) The Only Ones "The Only Ones" & "Even Serpents Shine" & "Baby's Got A Gun"
5) The Fire Engines "Hungry Beat" & "Codex Teenage Premonition"
6) Pere Ubu "The Modern Dance" & "Terminal Tower"
7) Richard Hell "Blank Generation" & "Spurts"
9) Josef K "The Only Fun In Town + Sorry For Laughing" & "Young And Stupid"
10) The Associates "Sulk" & "The Affectionate Punch" & "Double Hipness"
11) TV Personalities ". . . And Don't The Kids Just Love It"
12) The Clean "Anthology"
13) Manicured Noise "Northern Stories 1978/80"
14) The Nectarine No 9 "A Sea With Three Stars"
15) Magazine "Real Life" & "Secondhand Daylight" & "The Correct Use Of Soap"
16) Suicide "Suicide"
17) The Laughing Clowns "Cruel, But Fair"
18) The Terminals "Cul-De-Sac"
19) The Loft "Magpie Eyes 1982-1985"
20) Dim Stars "Dim Stars"
21) The Bongos "Drums Along The Hudson"
22) The Go-Betweens "Send Me A Lullabye"
23) That Petrol Emotion "Manic Pop Thrill" * & "End Of The Millennium Psychosis Blues"
24) The Vapors "New Clear Days" & "Magnets"
25) The Blue Orchids "The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain)" & "From Severe To Serene"
26) The Moles "Untune The Sky"
27) The Nightingales "Pissed & Potless"
28) The Great Unwashed "The Great Unwashed Collection"
29) The Embarrassment "Heyday 1979-1983"
30) Howard Devoto "Jerky Versions Of The Dream"
31) The Dream Syndicate "The Days Of Wine And Roses"
32) The Three Johns "Best Of The Three Johns"
33) The Monochrome Set "Eligible Bachelors" & "Volume, Contrast, Brilliance"
34) The Jacobites "The Ragged School" & "Robespierre's Velvet Basement"
35) Orange Juice "The Glasgow School"
36) The Feelies "Crazy Rhythms"
37) The Stranglers "Black And White"
38) Cowboys International "Revisited"
39) The Woodentops "Giant"
40) Alternative TV "Strange Kicks" & "The Image Has Cracked"
41) Nikki Sudden "Waiting On Egypt + The Bible Belt" (especially the first disc)
42) James "Stutter"
43) Ultravox "Systems Of Romance"
44) The Verlaines "Bird Dog"
45) A More "Flying Doesn't Help"
46) Simply Saucer "Cyborgs Revisited"
47) Bird Nest Roys "Bird Nest Roys"
48) England's Glory "Legendary Lost Album"
49) David Kilgour "Here Come The Cars"
50) Slovenly "We Shoot For The Moon"

This was tough to do, because I felt obliged to leave out the really obvious stuff - Wire, Talking Heads, New York Dolls, the Vevet Underground, XTC and so on. But I didn't want to include stuff that seems pretty obvious to me, but whose sound is a little too extreme (I mean, if you actually think the Strokes are great, you're probably not really ready for "Soldier Talk.")

Plenty of great vinyl-only stuff was left off the list. Nitpick all you like, but I made the list up off the top of my head.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 11:32 PM on November 17, 2009 [16 favorites]


The Mountain Goats "Tallahassee"
posted by pianomover at 11:41 PM on November 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


OH I GET IT! It's a Michael Jackson nod.
posted by mek at 11:42 PM on November 17, 2009


That's a list of great records, for any of which I could list 50 obvious percursors that they were ripping off. This game is endless. Listen with fresh ears everytime or resign.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:46 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Lists that make claims to order the "best" albums of a decade are instantly ludicrous. I'm pretty sure everyone here knows that already.

Lists that are made by individuals, though, about their favourite albums of the decade -- how they fell in love with it; what particular times of their life it's connected to; why it still moves them -- are often totally lovely to read.

A whole group of friends of mine and I recently wrote down our End-of-Decade Lists (+ explanatory writing) with this in mind, and we swapped them amongst ourselves.
It was great!

If anyone would like to write one and send it to me (or read mine), send me a mefi-mail. I'm interested in everybody.
posted by Rumpled at 11:49 PM on November 17, 2009


Dee Xtrovert: "I'm tired and it's past my bedtime, but I'll try to list 50 artists who inspired the Strokes, or at least seem like obvious precursors.

HA! Well done. Oddly enough I happened to see an Embarrassment track float by in my iTunes today and happened to discover there are tons of videos of the (to me totally obscure) Kansas band available on the innertubes.
posted by mwhybark at 12:16 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Alright, let's stop the car for a moment. I think this "the Strokes are just shitty Television ripoffs" talk is just a way of saying "I have cooler taste than to like the Strokes." Television is a superior band, I agree. Legends. We all know that. And yes, new bands use older music as their reference points -- hell, most bands sound like some older band. But that doesn't invalidate their work if they make good music with an original angle. And more to the point, Is This It doesn't even sound like Marquee Moon! Where are the 4 minute solos, guitar-as-jazz-saxophone passages, languid tempos, moving basslines, etc.... The Strokes may use similar guitar tones and dry production and tend towards the same kind of non-bluesy chords, but their style is all chug-chug-chug rhythms, nothing but fast downstrokes on the chords, and repetitive, droning melody fragments and arpeggios. They rarely let the guitar stick out as an individual voice (whereas guitar as voice is the Television trademark) instead merging a couple of guitar parts into a single texture. Sure, there are solos on This Is It, but the solo breaks are clean cut -- the band is chugging along, and then DING, it's solo time. Television stitched solos throughout their whole songs. And the solos on This Is It are way more like generic 'satisfying 70s rock solos' than anything Television ever used. The Strokes' repetition makes the -chord changes- the real events in their songs, and they often take their time resolving the progressions, which creates tension. That's their stock.... tension. The minimalism and clarity of the songwriting makes every element more satisfying, and that's why it works. Honestly, I think they took a bigger piece of their aesthetic from the Ramones than Television. In fact, the "50 bands that influenced the Strokes" post makes it clear how hard it is to precisely pin down their sound. But don't be afraid to like them. Just because you know what their favourite records are doesn't mean they're unworthy of praise. They're just a solid band with a sufficiently original angle to make a good record. And let me be clear: ONE good record. I don't know what they were smoking after the first one.
posted by gonna get a dog at 12:18 AM on November 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


I know there are people who think that NME is relevant, I just haven't knowingly met them.
posted by l2p at 12:18 AM on November 18, 2009


Man, I am just not hip and with the times, I guess.

I never listened to Is This It, or if I did it was only once.

I like the White Stripes, but I much prefer DeStijl and Get Behind Me Satan to either of the two albums on that list.

Never was a big Radiohead fan. The Bends was pretty decent, though.

Only Shins album I've listened to is Oh, Inverted World, which I hated except for that one song that was in Garden State.

I will agree that The Man Comes Around is probably the best of Johnny Cash's "American Recordings" series.

I still can't decide whether I like Muse or not.

The rest of these bands I've either never heard of or haven't listened to anything by except a couple radio releases. Except for Blur, which I didn't know had made an album in the last ten years.
posted by Target Practice at 12:41 AM on November 18, 2009


Oh, and Songs for the Deaf, which I also hated
posted by Target Practice at 12:45 AM on November 18, 2009


For comparison's sake here is the music that the NME was attempting to shill for the 60s, 70s and 80s as measured at the end of each decade.

My last memory of actually reading the NME was from the 80s. Back then the writers used to devotee considerable copy into slagging off the pathetic opinions of "Melody Maker" and its readers. Both were published by IPC magazines however and merged in 2000.
posted by rongorongo at 2:29 AM on November 18, 2009


Lists like this are good for one things only: giving keyboard warriors the chance to try and prove their too fucking for this shit... Mission accomplished!
posted by benzo8 at 2:48 AM on November 18, 2009


Good grief - see how angry you've all made me - I can't even type straight!

they're = their
cool*
posted by benzo8 at 2:50 AM on November 18, 2009


Could someone point me to the non derivative rock music aisle plz.
posted by fire&wings at 3:24 AM on November 18, 2009


Could someone point me to the non derivative rock music aisle plz.

Alright buddy, it's over there, way over there to your left. I can't lie to you, though ~ it's mayhem out there. There's swarms of Frog Eyes crawling around, and Laddio Bolocko is coughing up blood, and Old Time Relijun is just sitting there, staring at you, daring you to make one fucking move.

.

(Also ~ Shapes and Sizes, Dirty Projectors, and Megastick Fanfare are all waiting for you behind the door, and those guys don't mess around.)
posted by Rumpled at 3:42 AM on November 18, 2009




I think the real problem is that this decade sucked a short stubby. I don't know if I'm just getting too old, but I don't think that's the case because I both like and listen to a lot of varied shit. But man. This decade. Fuck.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:46 AM on November 18, 2009


What!!!!! [X] but not [Y]????? [N] in [R]th place??????!!!! And [P] sound totally like [Q] so they're not even musicians!!!!!!!!!!!

HULKING OOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!
posted by Cantdosleepy at 3:52 AM on November 18, 2009


different strokes for different folks,
and so on and so on and scooby dooby doo-bee
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:58 AM on November 18, 2009


Too young to catch that reference, kiddies? Too fuckin' bad!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:01 AM on November 18, 2009


HP LaserJet P10006: "The Strokes' first album is way too derivative for me. It's like they just took all their ideas from the first album by The Only Ones (1978) and the first album by The Saints (1977), and then called them their own."

Wow, how have I gone the last thirty-two years without knowing about The Saints? I just listened to Stranded and Lipstick on your Collar and they're pretty awesome. Sort of somewhere between The Ramones and Gram Parker. Thanks.
posted by octothorpe at 4:28 AM on November 18, 2009


That Strokes record sounded like a bunch of tired, hammered shit when it first came out. And, y'know, who needs Scott Walker's The Drift (2006) when you've got titans like Bright Eyes and Babyshambles delivering the goods? I guess it's good to know that the NME will never change.

Seconded. The Drift may be not only the best album of the decade, but the best of the past two decades.
posted by bunnytricks at 4:28 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't get modern rock at all. It all seems to be the same formula. Interesting percussion. Great guitar. Shit lead singer.

But then again this is the guy who's had the Glee soundtrack on repeat for the past week.
posted by Talez at 5:05 AM on November 18, 2009


When I see a thread like this I am always tempted to make up some ridiculous band name (like The Existential Sky-Rabbits or some shit) and go on about how great they are even though no one has ever heard of them and they are SO much better than anything on this list and why isn't it obvious to everyone? Just in hopes that some self-conscious music snob will get taken in and chime in along with me in a vain attempt to score some indie cred.

There are a LOT of great bands out there that could be on lists like this. But to get on the lists, someone must have heard of them. A hell of a lot of people would be hard-pressed to recognize half the bands you all are slagging on. Don't expect them to also have heard of all the bands that are obviously deeply important to you but in reality have never seen much airtime outside of college radio. Blame ClearChannel if you want, but you have to get over the "I am so fucking cool because I know band X and you don't" reaction, and instead just share new music with your friends (without the heavy dose of derision when they don't recognize one of your personal cultural touchstones). You'll be doing everyone a favor.

Which reminds me, I'm really digging the latest single from Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, but damn, if you like that you would LOVE the second album from Existential Sky-Rabbits...
posted by caution live frogs at 5:14 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dee, I could give a fuck less about the Strokes.

Would you name off your five favorite albums, bonus points if they're albums that I would almost surely never heard of in the States or Russia?
posted by fake at 5:16 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


caution live frogs: "you have to get over the "I am so fucking cool because I know band X and you don't" reaction"

I have never in my life heard anyone say what you are quoting. The time of a unified pop music is all but over. The way music is distributed today makes the kind of myopia exemplified by this list all the more starkly ignorant. Someone saying "I don't like that (I like this instead)" may not be trying to one up you. Calling a list "the best albums of the decade" and limiting it as much as this list is simply arrogant.
posted by idiopath at 5:25 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


WHY IS THERE NO WOLFMOTHER ON THIS LIST THEY ARE THE BEST BAND OF EVER AND NO I AM NOT BEING SARCASTIC OR SHOUTING ITS JUST THIS IS HOW YOU TYPE ABOUT WOLFMOTHER IN THIS DAY AND AGE YOU JUST NEED TO BE SO SO EARNEST ABOUT IT FOR THE MUSIC TO TAKE YOU AWAY

. . .

SORRY I WAS JUST THINKING ABOUT WOLFMOTHER AND MY MIND WENT BLANK FOR A MOMENT AND THE SOUND FILLED THE RUSHING BLOOD VESSELS OF MY BRAIN BUT I AM OKAY NOW AND CAN TYPE MORE ABOUT WOLFMOTHER JUST SO LONG AS I DON'T THINK TOO HARD ABOUT IT WAIT WHOOPS JOKER AND THE THIEF IS AN AWESOME SONG AND I NEED TO LISTEN TO IT AGAIN

. . .

REPEATED LISTENINGS AND HOLDING MY BREATH FOR ALL OF WHITE UNICORN HAS TAUGHT ME THAT WOLFMOTHER IS A CONCEPT BAND FROM THE FUTURE WHO ARE HERALDS OF THE PAST TO THE PRESENT SORT OF LIKE IF JESUS WAS REALLY INTO ZEPPELIN BUT THEN GOT MORE IN TO SABBATH AFTER FIRING HALF THE APOSTLES THAT IS A WOLFMOTHER INJOKE DUDE AND YOU ARE BETTER FOR IT AND I'LL BE DONE IN A MINUTE MOM DON'T COME IN HERE NO I DON'T SMELL ANY SMOKE
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:27 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


WHAT. THE. FUCK.

This, sirs, is bulls**t. I don't see Tsukiakari No Michishirube on this list,nor do I see the original soundtrack to Hexyz Force. FAIL.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:32 AM on November 18, 2009


I have never in my life heard anyone say what you are quoting

Oh come on, these threads always end up as indie cred dick-measuring contests. That's part of the fun. Don't pretend otherwise.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:44 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – 'Fever To Tell'
-I really, really liked the guitarist's college band.
...
7. Arcade Fire – 'Funeral'
-Maybe I should be ashamed to admit it, but I fucking love this record.
...
25. The Rapture – 'Echoes'
-I think someone I know's brother is in this band.


Either you are the grand vizier of irony or the human manifestation of why I pick at my hang nails during arguments about music.
posted by zoomorphic at 5:49 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


caution live frogs: "Oh come on, these threads always end up as indie cred dick-measuring contests. That's part of the fun. Don't pretend otherwise."

I can't make sense of what you are saying. I thought you were saying we should just share our music, but then you say people are measuring dicks by mentioning bands other people haven't heard of? Am I missing something here?
posted by idiopath at 6:05 AM on November 18, 2009


I own a number of these albums, and since I haven't been on the bleeding edge of pop music since about 1996, I think something must be very very wrong with this list. It'd be flattering to think otherwise, but I don't. That said, any "rockist" list that leaves out BYOP fails badly enough that even I can see the fail as it fails failingly.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:15 AM on November 18, 2009


I love This is It. A superb disc. The Good, the Bad, and the Queen would get my nod for best of the decade (in the genres this list applies to) but that's just me and I couldn't care less if NME disagrees or not, it's a list voted on by some people and that's all it is.
posted by juiceCake at 6:37 AM on November 18, 2009


It is an utter complete abomination that they left off t.A.T.u's 200 km/h in the wrong lane. Yes, that is all I have to add to this thread. You are welcome.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 7:00 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Either you are the grand vizier of irony or the human manifestation of why I pick at my hang nails during arguments about music.

It's awesomely impossible to to tell, isn't it?
posted by dersins at 7:05 AM on November 18, 2009


"I thought you were saying we should just share our music, but then you say people are measuring dicks by mentioning bands other people haven't heard of? Am I missing something here?"

Too many people share new music by acting like everyone should just know about all these bands already. Not enough people realize that semi-obscure bands are semi-obscure precisely because few people have heard of them, not because they aren't any good, but because they may not appeal to a large group of people (the number 1 song is usually shit, right? If it was any good, it wouldn't be popular enough to reach #1.) My second comment was a reaction to your response - pretending that no one mentions specific bands simply to show off how GOOD their taste is means you haven't read this or any other music thread on MeFi, because there's an awful lot of that in any one of these threads.

I never said sharing music was bad. But there are ways of letting others know about different music without making it look like you're oh-so-cool that you would NEVER listen to band X because really even though they're mainstream and got a lot of radio play and made a lot of money and are a common household name, they are really a derivative of band Y that was briefly popular in three towns in Idaho in the early to mid 90's and how could you NOT KNOW about them?

I mean, really - you can summarize it like this:

Wrong: "The Strokes? What the fuck, man, they're just a rip-off of Band X. I can name umpty-zillion albums that you have never heard of which are way better than The Strokes."

Right: "Oh, hey, if you're really into The Strokes, you might also want to check out Band X, they were a big influence on The Strokes. And if you find out you like Band X, I have other recommendations too."

Think about it. If you meet someone who is really a big fan of a specific band, you aren't going to change their minds or broaden their influences by starting out acting all pissy about what awful taste they must have if they like that band. You can't start by attacking them. Doing it that way = indie cred dick measuring contest. Doing it by building off of what they already like = sharing music without the added snark.

The dick-measuring can be fun, as an observer, as in reading this thread, but in terms of actually getting people interested in new stuff it just comes off as oh-so-better-taste-than-thou. Besides, ALL music is derivative of something. Nobody just creates good new music sans influences.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:14 AM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


. Arcade Fire – 'Funeral'
-Maybe I should be ashamed to admit it, but I fucking love this record.


I'm not ashamed to admit that I fucking love this record.

I fucking love this record.
posted by jokeefe at 7:25 AM on November 18, 2009


Would you name off your five favorite albums, bonus points if they're albums that I would almost surely never heard of in the States or Russia?

Sure, fake.

(DISCLAIMER TO EVERYONE WHO IS WAY TOO QUICK TO ASSUME THAT PEOPLE WHO TALK ABOUT MUSIC THEY LIKE ARE BEING DICK-MEASURING DICKS:
um...
I'm not doing that?)

I don't think my musical taste is better than anybody else's. This is just the stuff that really gets to me. IN THAT SPIRIT, fake, here are the 5 of my favourite albums of the past decade, giving preference to less-recognised stuff, as was requested.

Lucky Dragons - Widows
(My favourite noise album. Feels like a totally new template of approaching music -- sound-to-gut, no involvement of the brain, sundust and gentle crazy.)

Little Teeth - Child Bearing Man
(The exact opposite of musical transcendence. This is musical rolling-in-shit, dicks-a-flapping, tongues a-flaking -- all culminating, basically, in the giddy & pointless expense of kinetic energy.)

Christine Fellows - Paper Anniversary
(For me, Christine Fellows makes every other lady with a piano and a heart to spread around redundant. Quietly amazing songs, brutal honesty, real beauty.)

Daddy's Hands - [Various cassette-rips / floating mp3's]
(A truly great (& ferocious, & insane, & devoted) Canadian punk band. Two of their members are dead now.)

Tenniscoats - Tan-Tan Therapy
(Japanese indiepop, delicately composed and played like they're planting a seed. I probably wouldn't have put this on the list, except that my last.fm statistics inform me that I listen to it all the freakin' time. Gotta respect the quiet achievers.)
posted by Rumpled at 7:33 AM on November 18, 2009


Wrong: "The Strokes? What the fuck, man, they're just a rip-off of Band X. I can name umpty-zillion albums that you have never heard of which are way better than The Strokes."

I do hate that game. You could have said, "The Beatles? They're just a rip-off of Buddy Holley, The Beach Boys and Chuck Berry" Music can't be created in a vacuum and artists are always going to have influences and you can't expect everyone to create their own personal genre.
posted by octothorpe at 7:42 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Merzbow / remixed by Jim O'Rourke: Rainbow Electronics 2
A very sparse noise album, with an excellent use of silence

Peter Brotzmann, William Parker, Greg Bendian: Sacred Scrape
Free Jazz, European meets American

Bob Ostertag, Fred Frith: Getting Ahead
Live tape looping and manipulation and prepared guitar, too obnoxious to be ambient

Manon Anne Gillis: Euragene
Studio album, phase loop minimalism with lowfi sampling and body noises

Schimpfluch Gruppe: Asshole/Snail Dillemma
Post-Aktionist confrontational noise - like punk rock having a psychotic break
posted by idiopath at 7:48 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am so glad that I posted this article. Wow do people ever get bent out of shape over these lists!? IMHO musical taste is as personal as your religious or spiritual beliefs. It's just a fucking list folks....and if you read the article it was compiled from the opinions of record execs, musicians and producers, it's not a poll of fans or readers of NME. Relax jihadists.
posted by ktrain at 7:53 AM on November 18, 2009


IMHO musical taste is as personal as your religious or spiritual beliefs.

Quit playing Rob Gordon to our collective Barrys.

As for my own personal, er, jihad...any list that doesn't include Decoration Day and/or Brighter Than Creation's Dark by the Drive-By Truckers was obviously compiled by sodomites and decaf coffee drinkers.
posted by total warfare frown at 7:58 AM on November 18, 2009


All of the complaints about cooler than thou-ness and dick-measuring competitions apply here, but, really, anyone who claims that they haven't even heard of Jay-Z has absolutely zero business discussing recent popular music.
posted by Copronymus at 8:00 AM on November 18, 2009


30. Elbow – 'Asleep In The Back'
-Really? There's a band called "Elbow"?


Really. There is a fucking GREAT band called Elbow. 'Leaders of the Free World' is their most cohesive/best album so far, however. Although 'Asleep in the Back' has some great tracks.
posted by papercake at 8:13 AM on November 18, 2009


So without entering into the complex and horrifying calculus of how cool I and the bands I like are relative to everyone else and the bands they like:

I'm listening to them right now and Sumday is twice the album The Sophtware Slump ever was.
posted by Nomiconic at 8:31 AM on November 18, 2009


Could someone point me to the non derivative rock music aisle plz.

Exactly, which is why it's OK IMO for them to laud The Strokes' debut because it made a massive impact with its particular style of retro. And for the NME to remember and go with that particular record so many years later is pretty surprising to me. Also, unlike the vast majority of rock on the NME's radar I actually like that record, because it revives something cool, unlike say The White Stripes who consistently refer to things which are cack. All just one opinion of course ...
posted by galaksit at 8:31 AM on November 18, 2009


I mean, I loved both In Rainbows and Kid A but it was clear pandering.

It's hard to top Kid A, but I would put Hail to the Thief above both of them. The biggest "huh?!" I had was the selection of Wincing the Night Away over Chutes Too Narrow.

My list would be something like

1. Arcade Fire - Funeral
2. Radiohead - Hail to the Thief
3. Bloc Party - Silent Alarm
4. Wolf Parade - Apologies to the Queen Mary
5. The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow
6. Spoon - Kill the Moonlight
7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell
8. Life Without Buildings - Any Other City
9. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
10. The Format - Dog Problems
11. Fuck Buttons - Street Horrrsing

but then I like "indie rock." and i go to 11.
posted by mrgrimm at 8:31 AM on November 18, 2009


Elbow won the Mercury Prize. It's not their fault you've not heard of them.
posted by mippy at 8:33 AM on November 18, 2009


Rokusan, don't tell the baboons but I like most of these records too, and so do most people probably.

To be fair, I notice I also like most of the records offered up in this thread as "better" or "should have been included", so when someone says "Scott Walker" or "Neko Case", I feel my head nodding approval, too. I bet I could flip through my umpty-nine gig iTunes folder and find fifty more albums that I'd include here too.... but that would be a lot of work.

So I'm half-stupid, very easy to please, and extremely lazy.

MeFi is self-knowledge.
posted by rokusan at 8:49 AM on November 18, 2009


1. The Strokes – 'Is This It'
-Music for unimaginative kids.

2. The Libertines – 'Up The Bracket'
-GO AWAY

3. Primal Scream – 'XTRMNTR'
- The Andrew Weatherall version of Come Together is brilliant. This isn't on it.

4. Arctic Monkeys – 'Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not'
- Not the second coming of British rock that most would have you believe, but alright. '. Red Light Indicates Doors Are Secured' was fun. I couldn't care less about Alexa Chung.

5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – 'Fever To Tell'
- Not the second coming of American rock that most would have you believe, but alright. '. Maps' was fun. I couldn't care less about Karen O.

6. PJ Harvey – 'Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea'
- Big up the Harv.

7. Arcade Fire – 'Funeral'
- Tunnels is one of my favourite tracks of the decade, easily. i received the 7" of Laika for my 23rd.

8. Interpol – 'Turn On The Bright Lights'
- They are SO naff but not bad. I may have paid real money for this.

9. The Streets – 'Original Pirate Material'
- Better than their later stuff. Have a weakness for UK Garage.

10. Radiohead – 'In Rainbows'
- Didn't get round to it.

11. At The Drive In – 'Relationship Of Command'
-Jesus, I#'d forgotten this band. Kind of emo for freshers who thought themselves above emo. Not bad, but not exactly the kind of band you can have fun with, the po-faced greasers.

12. LCD Soundsystem – 'Sound Of Silver'
- Not the second coming of indie rock that most would have you believe, but alright. 'All My Friends' was fun. I couldn't care less about that Daft Punk one.

13. The Shins – 'Wincing The Night Away'
- Because nobody's heard of Chutes Too Narrow, amirite?

14. Radiohead – 'Kid A'
- I like this. A lot. Better in retrospect now we don't have to go on about it not being OK Computer II.

15. Queens Of The Stone Age – 'Songs For The Deaf'
- Meh.

16. The Streets – 'A Grand Don't Come For Free'
- 'Oh, Dry Your Eyes Mate encapsulates modern masculinity'. Fuck. Off. I only like Fit But You Know It with the Futureheads shouting all over it.

17. Sufjan Stevens – 'Illinois'
- Chicago is lovely.

18. The White Stripes – 'Elephant'
19. The White Stripes – 'White Blood Cells'
-The editor of my student paper laughed at me for saying that Jack White sounded like Engrish karaoke. He bloody does! And that isn't a bad thing.

20. Blur – 'Think Tank'
- I miss the old Blur, but Out of Time is spectrally lovely. The Cornelius remix of Tender is one of my songs of the decade.

21. The Coral – 'The Coral'
- I like the Coral a lot. Prefer In The Morning, though - that kid's got a good way with a melody.

22. Jay-Z – 'The Blueprint'
- Because they couldn't put the Black Album on, I guess.

23. Klaxons – 'Myths Of The Near Future'
- I thought their Best Before expired in 2007. I kind of like them for working Thomas Pynchon references into songs, but they sound like music made by people who once had the experience of being on E described to them and tried to recreate it in sound.

24. The Libertines – 'The Libertines'
-Bor-ring.

25. The Rapture – 'Echoes'
-They like to shout a lot.

26. Dizzee Rascal – 'Boy in Da Corner'
- I like Dizzee, he seems like a bright chap. Grime makes me feel exceptionally white and middle-class somehow; glad that he's crossed over into the mainstream. Also, not as bad as N-Dubz.

27. Amy Winehouse – 'Back To Black'
- You Know I'm No Good is a very, very well-written song.

28. Johnny Cash – 'The Man Comes Around'
- "Better stick him in, lads, he's dead and it'll make it look like we know about country. Who's Laura Cantrell?"

29. Super Furry Animals – 'Rings Around The World'
- Radiator is still their best.

30. Elbow – 'Asleep In The Back'
- Oh god, THANK YOU for picking this over Seldom Seen Kid. This would easily make my top 10 - Newborn is a beautiful record.

31. Bright Eyes – 'I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning'
- I never got on with his voice at all. 'Hi, I'm Conor Oberst, and I'm an indie rock star, and I want to bleed for you with my guitar.'

32. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – 'Show Your Bones'
- Time's up.

33. Arcade Fire – 'Neon Bible'
- i like this, they do epic-chamber-indie well, and Antichrist Television Blues is just great.

34. Grandaddy – 'The Sophtware Slump'
-I forgot all about this album!

35. Babyshambles – 'Down In Albion'
- Bring back National Service.

36. Spirtualized – 'Let it Come Down'
- Nah.

37. The Knife – 'Silent Shout'
- I like The Knife.

38. Bloc Party – 'Silent Alarm'
- This is the first album? TORN. It's good, but it doesn't have I Still Remember, which is gorgeous, and has a line about keeping someone's tie.

39. Crystal Castles – 'Crystal Castles'
- I'm too old.

40. Ryan Adams – 'Gold'
-

41. Wild Beasts – 'Two Dancers'
- I'd have put Field Music in here, but WB encapsulate that je nais sais quoi that FM have. Like a modern Associates, and really strange and wonderful.

42. Vampire Weekend – 'Vampire Weekend'
- They're *alright*. They're not whassisface that sung Paris that makes me think of shopping in Topshop.

43. Wilco – 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot'
- G'won then.

44. Outkast – 'Speakerboxxx/The Love Below'
- Bombs Over Baghdad reminds me of my first year at uni. This doesn't remind me of anything, because it was everywhere. Oh Lordy, it has that really bad 'Roses' record on, doesn't it? BYE THEN OUTKAST.

45. Avalanches – 'Since I Left You'
-I'll give them this.

46. The Delgados – 'The Great Eastern'
- They feel like the forgotten children of Scottish pop, and I love this album. Really soundtracked my first year of university when teh kidz were listening to bloody At The Drive In.

47. Brendan Benson – 'Lapalco'
- Completely missed my consciousness.

48. The Walkmen – 'Bows and Arrows'
-I had forgotten this band. The Rat was ace, but they sound too much like Jonathan Fire*Eater without the fun.

49. Muse – 'Absolution'
- Snorrrrrre

50. MIA – 'Arular'
- Beh.

In short: needs more Ballboy, Maximo Park, B+S and a lot of other thigns that aren't PEDESTRIAN FUCKING INDIE ROCK WHAT'S THE MATTER WITCHU?

posted by mippy at 8:58 AM on November 18, 2009


I quite like Hail to the Thief, but it was produced very quickly to end their contract with EMI and that's pretty obvious from the production values. Good songs but sloppy album.
posted by muddgirl at 9:00 AM on November 18, 2009


Of course, I'm pretty sick and tired of guitar-driven indie rock right now, so my top 10 albums of the decade would include (a) mostly stuff released after 2005 and (b) mostly proggy stuff with melodic vocals like Dirty Projectors, Grizzly Bear, St. Vincent, Deerhoof, New Pornographers, Man Man, etc. etc. etc.
posted by muddgirl at 9:02 AM on November 18, 2009


In scanning this thread, it has occurred to me that I don't think I've heard a single album mentioned here in its entirety. Welcome to the age of the file-sharing of which the ZEROES is the first pretty much complete decade (even if still has a year to go).

Seriously, discussing the great albums of the past ten years feels kind of pointless, as it would have in say the 1940s, even the 1950s and the first half of he 60s (unless you were really into jazz).

The past ten years have been all about single songs. And as such, that's all I'm willing to leg-wrestle about, starting with the Of Montreal's oh so aptly titled:

The Past Is A Grotesque Animal.

warning: last 2 minutes get clipped, but it's proved its point by then.
posted by philip-random at 9:28 AM on November 18, 2009


Surely This (is It.)
posted by haveanicesummer at 10:25 AM on November 18, 2009


In case I haven't completely shredded any scrap of musical taste cred I have left in this thread...

I walked into work this morning humming It's an Awesome Feeling, which unnerved coworkers who are more accustomed to a grumbling and stumbling me, at least until my third cup of coffee.

I swear that the sight of a cheerful me in the morning made them worry about what the hell was wrong with me, and whose body I had stowed in my cellar.

And then I realized, I am the definition of creepy.

Too much MeFi at work lately.
posted by rokusan at 10:42 AM on November 18, 2009


WHY I LIKE EVERY ALBIM ON THIS LIST,
By, a rockist
With ratings
In reverse order

MIA ARULAR 5 *s
incredible, diverse dance music with crazy hooks, non-western instruments, and diplos best production work. Listen to it on a bus to Mumbai

MUSE ABSORBTION 3*
Dudes voice makes up for the overly dramatic production, soaring like Jeff Buckley on meth. Sometimes brings the Morricone western noodling. What explosions in the sky would do if hired to soundtrack Uwe Boll.

WALKMEN BOWS N ARROWS 3*
The Joshua Tree loses it's naive greenery and catches fire after it's girlfriend leaves it for a younger pine. Histrionic? Aren't we all.

BRENDEN BENSON LALPACO 5*
the perfect pop record. Superdrag and Nick Lowe and Badfinger and every true twee Scotsman bow reverantly before his multitracking treacle and matthew sweetass guitar tones.

THE DELGADOS
Just listened to this for the first time and it was catchy. Thanks NME!

AVALANCHES SINCE I LEFT YOU 4*
Funky experimenting to make girltalk embarassed

OUTCAST SB/TLB 3*/5*
SB is decent crunk with smooth edges, but TLB is beyond anything done in hip hop before or since. Funkadelic, Prince, Quincy, Andre in that order. Draculas Wedding made the hippop world ready again for sweaters, sarcasm, and real melody.

WILCO YANKEE HF 17*
My number 1 of the decade and I don't like anything wilco did before or after. Right place, right time, right persona-- Tentative, foolish Joy emrges from Utter Chaos again and again to die in the debris. If this is dadrock i'm ready to impregnate all comers.

VAMPIRE WEEKEND ST 3*
Vocals a bit weak (insert Born Ruffians comparison) but the ripoffs of afrobeat are Paul Simontastic.

WILD BEASTS
another new one on me, decent. Time for coffee!

RYAN ADAMS GOLD 3*
I hate the eagles too but when I'm actually driving in the actual desert and PeaceFul Easy Feeling comes on I just take a sip of my coffee and do the high parts and hope everyone else in the car is asleep.

CRYSTAL CASTLES ST 3*
Lazerpop is a term I just invented for this kind of semi-weird scene. Makes me long for a Mini Cooper. The future of the past is still the 80s, thank god.

BLOCK PARTY SILENT ALARM 4*
MADNESS? NO, THIS IS SPECIAL BEAT! ok they don really sound like ska but something about the goofy seriousness mixed with dancepunk twinkling clean everything is uplifting in the same vein. Born to be superstars.

THE KNIFE SILENT SHOUT 5*
As the album goes on, the dark deep computer voice 6 octaves below the girl singer's gets louder and more desperate. Every song is a new chapter of rising action, like an audio horror movie that you can dance to. Listen again, it's not about love, or loss...it's about terror. Praise Baal and pass the vocorder.

SPIRITUALIZED LET IT COME DOWN 4*
Velvet Universities finest trance-majors b- dissertation

BABYSHAMBLES DOWN IN ALBION 3*
More on this later

GRANDADDY SOPHTWARE SLUMP 3*
hooray electromericana! big ups city country music! hifive Kozeleks of all capacities! Let's get more coffee!

ARCADE FIRE NEON BIBLE 3*
better make it a dubbleshot expresso I'm late to a business meeting with the marketing department. By which I mean my divorce proceedings. Or both.

YEAH YEAH YEAH SHOW YOUR BONES 4*
Whoever decided to move beyond dirty blues no-wave homeland in poppier, more sweeping moors deserves a back slap of kudos. Maybe it was a publicist. Score one for the machines.

BRIGHT EYES IM WIDE AWAKE ETC 5*
oh god did I want to hate this. I wanted to hate this right in its freshly scrubbed fauxNaif face. But for once conar keeps his mumbling cracking and rambling in check with sweet nebraska crooning and live sounding drums and stripped down alt.guitars. I can't help it, emmylou, I can't help but fall in love with you.

ELBOW ASLEEP IN THE BACK 3*
Bit too all over the place to be cohesive imo but with a couple awesome dollaps of whipped cream.

SFA RINGS AROUND THE WORLD 3*
if I was welsh or had been to wales I'd probably love it. As it is I prefer supergrass when it comes to supers, but this is a fine super substitute.

JOHNNY CASH THE MAN 5*
god bless rick rubin forever and ever and may jack white or whoever else keep up this tradition of reinspiring old folks.

AMY WINEHOUSE BACK IN BLACK TO COMM HAHA 5*
Fuck authenticity. I don't really care whether this was entirely manufactured by the unholy pairing of sugarman records house band and crack cocaine. Sure Sharon jones is more soulful and wise and a better singer or whatev but she doesn't capture that feeling where you've fucked up so badly and you know it and you tell the people you've fucked over 'sorry' but they can't forgive you, they try, I mean they pretend to, but in their eyes you both know you're shitt massive worthless shitt who doesn't deserve to live. Morrisey better like this record or he's a total sellout.

DIZEE RASCAL BOY IN THE CORNER 5*
speaking of inauthentic how about a teenage rapper bragging about his mastery of the arts and sexual prowess? How about sampling billy squiers best beat on every single song and it fucking ruling every genres dancefloor. How about inventing or stealing (I am usaian obv) an entirely new dialect based either on mike singer plus bonethugs or bonethugs MINUS mike singer's cartoon dog I can't tell. How bout that?

THE RAPTURE ECHOES 5*
Discopunks biggest admirers move backwards from gang of four into roxy music and bring the more cowbell along.

LIBERTINES ST 4*
Wait for it...

KLAXONS FUTURE 3*
future rave never happened and this should have had more madchester bits and less donking but still--if you want cyberspace this is your best outlet.

JAYZ THE BLUEPRINT
the only mainstream rap record I own. To me best, because of the indelible thread of doom and religious guilt that runs through the hubris like a grey hair, or less romantically, like a dischord in a distortion overtone.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:15 AM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


out on tour, with the Kula Shaker
saw 'em on the cover of the Melody Maker
i don't understand what they mean
and i could really give a fuck
posted by porn in the woods at 11:40 AM on November 18, 2009


jimmythefish: "if I could offer up Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings The Flood as musical perfection, I would."

I rule this to be admissable, and the lack of Neko on the list to be deplorable. But what do I know.


There's no Neko on this list? (Can't read link until i get home.) Wow. That's, um, an interesting omission. Bwwwah?
posted by desuetude at 11:50 AM on November 18, 2009


Pig Destroyer's Prowler In The Yard came out in 2001, so the Strokes or Spoon didn't even have the best album of that year.
posted by rainperimeter at 12:46 PM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, and LSD49's Truth + Explosions was so fucking cool they didn't even bother releasing it, just handed out a few free copies, postered Scientology centers and then killed themselves.
posted by philip-random at 12:52 PM on November 18, 2009


iPhone blacked out for a second apologies

CORAL ST 3*
lots of rattles and klatters and umm flutes? over cute psychpop. Cute!

BLUR THINK TANK 4*
Just Damon alburn being weird. Still fab.

WHITE STRIPES ELEPHANT/WBC 5* apiece
WBC is excellent powerful gutter zep but elephant has timpanis and toy pianos and projects an image in my heart of a burlesque dancer in a gothic brothel dying of hyperbole on a golden couch. Blues opera starring schoolchildren.

SUFJAN STEVENS ILLINOIZ 3*
nice church folk. Hummable.

THE STREET A GRAND DONT COME 4 FREE 4*
After OPM mike wanted to write about his life again, but his life was so weird he felt stupid writing about touring and tv promos so he wrote a memoir. The desperation and small sucesses of being small time and middling in England make for uncomfortable singles but all together add up to Hardyesque portrait of betrayal, lust, confusion, and false hope. Also contains the best gambling song of the decade. Everytime something goes horribly pear in my own life I hear him whining 'it was sposed to be so eeeaaasy' like a cockney clerks character.

QOTSA SONGS FOR THE DEAF 5*
I cannot overstate the importance of this record to those of us from the school of hard rocks. Druggy, hyper, evil, bashing, grungy harmonizing-- it's got something for everyone. Try this: be in any kind of rock band and tell a guy (whether redneck or scenster) you sound like this record. He will nod.

ATDI RELATIONSHIP OF COMMAND 3*
the last good emo record. Definitely more banging that all offshoots.

RADIOHEAD KID A etc 4*
radiohead is fine

SHINS WINCING THE NIGHT AWAY 4*
good mixtape fodder. Somewhat numbing taken together but plucked out individually will change a beloveds life on contact mysteriously. Specially red rabbits man talk about instant nostalgia.

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM SOUNDS OF SILVER 3*
They make all the right references which is as annoying on records as it is at cocktail parties but I can't help finding it endearing if it's being delivered by a hot chick, aka a phat hotchip track.

STREETS ORIGINAL PIRATE MATERIAL 5*
If you think his voice is weird and annoying listen to 'sharp darts' first. UK Ambassador he calls himself in a pretty convential but spicy flowd rap track. Ok, get it? He's reaching out! Take his hand, you won't regret the journey. One minute you're giggling at the stupid anachronisms (artful dodger? Is this a musical?) the next thing you know you're googling Twostep and driving a tiny rental car around Galway blaring Weak Become Heros because even if you weren't there, you were somewhere once, young and idealistic and ready for your scene to change the world, and it's over now, you failed and you're bored you need excitement. Poetry has a sneaky way of teaching your mouth to move while yr mind is still closed.

INTERPOL TURN ON THE BRIGHT LIGHTS 4*
Ian Curtis. There I said it. Oh everyone says that? Oh ok. Can I hear that new York song again? Thanks. Man I was really depressed after 9/11.

ARCADE FIRE FUNERAL 4*
Even gutterpunks like this album. I mean, they fall asleep to it with their bandana'd dogs under a greasy tarp tent on a dry concrete riverbank but hey--everyone needs to feel safe sometimes.

PJ HARVEY STORIES FROM THE C 5*
Her best record. Seemingly simple but rewards extra listens with slow gorgeous gems of songcraftery. She should get heartsick more often, or at least keep eating kris kristoffersons breakfast: bad coffee is better when it's cold.

YEAHx3 FEVER TO TELL 4*
Cum On Feele The Paganizm

ARTIC MONKEYS WHATER PEOPLE SAY 3*
meta-punk is another term I just invented for this endless list's benefit. So tinny it's seemingly recorded in a 5th level classroom in hintershire somewhere it's still a fine example of why rock and roll is the best medium for jittery tennagers to give themselves the finger.

PRIMAL SCREAM XTRMNTAR 3*
the second best VU scholors in the country write an a- dissertation and then slit their wrists

THE LIBERTINES UP THE BRACKET 5*
I was going to write some long defense of these guys as the last bastions of british rebellion in a world increasingly polite and businessminded where the clash wouldn't write white riot for fear of being labeled racist and the replacements would be Yale graduates with tailored suits and 5 year plans and Tall Dwarves would have a high powered agent who hooked up a grizzleybear remix onto the gossip girl sndtk but eh fuck it. If you can't get into a band who
got in a wrestling match during recording and bumped a drum mic (BOMP)and kept it in the song, I can't do nothin for ya man. They're a fookin mess of selfconcious nerouses, and I'm just talking about the arrangements.

STROKES AGAIN
But these guys started all that fashionable professionalism shouldn't I hate them? Good question. Do we blame barry gordy for sanitizing r&b? Yes. But do we listen to Motown with great pleasure? When we're in the mood, sure. Before the strkes everyone in indie rock was a shlub and every punk/garager was a cliché. Since this record, everyone has a stylist, even if it's an internal one. That's just the way of things I guess. Anyway the first time I heard last nite the album hadn't come out yet (Huge Brag!) and I was driving back to college in my busto toyota and after NYC cops that song comes on an I have to hear it again, and again, and I ended up driving around my dorm parking lot banging on the steering wheel when that bassline comes in and trying to descipher that one stupid word (it was Spaceships) deleriously. When the single came out I was delighted. When they became annoyingly ubiquitous I was tickled. When internetters froth with hatred about them, I smile, cuz they made my afternoon feel transcendent once, and I owe them, inestimably.

It wasn't the best of time or the worst of times. It was basically just some times, which were OK, now that I think about it. Cheers 00s!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:55 PM on November 18, 2009 [4 favorites]


The strokes are labeled manufactured bullshit. From their vintage leather jackets to their singer who can't sing to their under produced sound they are thoroughly and utterly unoriginal trash.

The Sex Pistols were also manufactured and recorded unoriginal trash, but still made music that has withstood the test of time and might even be considered "great" in retrospect. Your comment also applies to most Motown groups we now consider "classic".
posted by coolguymichael at 1:37 PM on November 18, 2009


I do hate that game. You could have said, "The Beatles? They're just a rip-off of Buddy Holley, The Beach Boys and Chuck Berry" Music can't be created in a vacuum and artists are always going to have influences and you can't expect everyone to create their own personal genre.

Well, you could have said that about the Beatles. But you'd have been missing a pretty big point, which is that the Beatles brought something to the game, so to speak. And they weren't heralded due solely to their influences, who would have been known by any pop music fan of the time. In fact, they were more admired when they shed some of the overt influences and created something new, and the records of which that's the most true tend to be their best-loved ones today.

My "complaint," if you will, about the Strokes, is that they simply aren't original in any way shape or form. They don't add anything to the game, so to speak. However, that fact tends to be overlooked, because - unlike with the Beatles - most fans of the Strokes have never heard of the their obvious predecessors. Geoff Travis or Jeannette Lee (who 'discovered' the Strokes) talked about their "sexed-up and refined takes on Tom Verlaine and Vic Godard." In other words, a diluted, more commercial takes on what had already been done, performed by a group of good-lloking young men, whose entry to the band was presumably predicated at least partially on looks and upbringing and simply being the spawn of show-biz professionals. They made a record probably most fairly and accurately described as "reasonably solid." I wouldn't mind any of this if the band actually ever approached the achievements of their influences, but they almost never do. The real jury's already in, that's why you can already find dozens and dozens of copies of the Strokes' debut used for two or three bucks.

Some people have asked, and I will be happy to make a CD with some of the highlights from my list, just drop me a line with your address.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 2:26 PM on November 18, 2009


My "complaint," if you will, about the Strokes, is that they simply aren't original in any way shape or form.

I call bullshit on this. I am by no means a huge Strokes fan and could, in fact, only name a handful of songs. But the first time I heard Modern Age, it totally cut through for me. And I knew my Velvets, knew my Television. In its unique moment in time, it was entirely fresh, entirely relevant, maybe not as overwhelmingly so as Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit a decade earlier (really just a rip-off of the Pixies, The Melvins, Husker Du and Mudhoney anyway), but in much the same way.

That is, it got me excited again about what you pull off with drums, bass, guitar, a few chords and a little bit of style.
posted by philip-random at 2:46 PM on November 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


I suspect that the NME's primary reason for the The Strokes being at number one is self-aggrandisement. They were feted as 'the band of the decade' (I'm paraphrasing...possibly) by NME and turned out to be just another band. I believe that NME simply likes to remind people (whether accurately or not) that it was the first to 'big up' The Strokes, and thus justify its claims to be cutting edge and relevant.

This kind of insecure behaviour is nothing new for the NME. Its constant insistence that The Smiths are the greatest band of all-time is nothing more than a way for it to repeat the (untrue) story that it was responsible for The Smiths' break-up.
posted by jonnyploy at 3:57 PM on November 18, 2009


I suspect that the NME's primary reason for the The Strokes being at number one is self-aggrandisement.

With you there. Primal Scream at #3 is pretty weird, too. Not a bad album at all (I've got it somewhere) but not one I'd even consider for a Best of the Zeroes list. In terms of long term significance, they're a band of the EARLY 90s as far as I'm concerned, and a darned good one.
posted by philip-random at 4:08 PM on November 18, 2009


I call bullshit on this. I am by no means a huge Strokes fan and could, in fact, only name a handful of songs. But the first time I heard Modern Age, it totally cut through for me. And I knew my Velvets, knew my Television. In its unique moment in time, it was entirely fresh, entirely relevant, maybe not as overwhelmingly so as Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit a decade earlier (really just a rip-off of the Pixies, The Melvins, Husker Du and Mudhoney anyway), but in much the same way.

That is, it got me excited again about what you pull off with drums, bass, guitar, a few chords and a little bit of style.


Look at it this way: In 1954, some of the 'greats' of pop music included Eddie Fisher, Rosemary Clooney and the Chordettes. A quarter of a century later, bands like the Slits or Wire or Pere Ubu were making great records - stuff that was completely unimaginable in 1954, but is regarded as "classic" and the best of its era today. That's how much music progressed or changed or however you want to put it, in just 25 years.

The Strokes, however, were completely imaginable roughly a quarter century earlier. Their records would probably seem tame in comparison with plenty of records that were made in the late 70s to which they owe much of their sound. I can't see them as having done anything new or all that memorable. The advantages the Strokes had over these bands were plenty:

1) A relatively big recording budget, and recording advances that made big and powerful sounding records cheaper and easier to achieve.

2) A quarter century of the record-buying public's gradual (very gradual) acceptance of the artists that made the Strokes possible. The audience (a nebulous concept, but still relevant) was pretty primed to accept the Strokes in a way they weren't able to accept, say, Television or Richard Hell or the Velvets or the Subway Sect.

3) Avenues of promotion, touring and record distribution that were often non-existent or woefully underdeveloped a quarter century earlier.

4) Individual wealth and resources that allowed them to develop without the stress and anxiety that most of their predecessors suffered. That's why there are entire "lost" albums or sessions or batches of songs from Vic Godard and Richard Hell and the Velvets and most others!

It was their good luck. I can't disagree that the Strokes got you excited, and legitimately so. They're not a bad band, they're just . . . ultimately lackluster and unimaginative. But they were sort of the right band at the right time to make an impact. They had powerful production, though this frequently doesn't age well. These factors, however, doesn't make them good or (more important) lasting. And freshness is often ephemeral. Herman's Hermits once sounded fresh, alongside many other artists of their era. They no longer do, but people "discover" artists like the Zombies today . . . in a way that doesn't happen with Herman's Hermits.

I don't want to slam anyone for liking the Strokes - there's nothing wrong with that. It's the poll that's entirely bogus. Philip, I actually don't think you disagree with me as much as you would like to think. As you say, you know your Velvets, you know your Television. But you can "only name a handful of (Strokes) songs." If their debut truly were one of the decade's best - let alone the best - I don't think that would be the case.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 9:33 PM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


All I disagree with is your wholesale dismissal of the Strokes:

they simply aren't original in any way shape or form.

You laid it out as an absolute, so I felt compelled to take issue. No they didn't turn popular culture on its ear, but who did really in the past decade from the realm of pop music? Which isn't to diminish the quality of what I've heard. It's just that Pop itself hasn't MATTERED as much as it once did.

I guess Pop Will Eat Itself really were right.

As for the NME poll, it's bogus, and embarrassingly so for a magazine whose top albums of the 1990s are well worth noting. I smell deadwood and I'm a good 5000 miles away from London (as the arctic crow flies).
posted by philip-random at 1:09 AM on November 19, 2009


Wow. is this going to date me, but I still think of Primal Scream as a side project for the JAMC drummer (Gillespie).

Amazing they band has managed to remain so eternally cool over three decades. Must be all the drugs. I guess I should give EXTRMNTR a chance, eh especially as one member of the band was once a member of one of my fave bands of all time, Felt.

(Okay, whatever...get the fu*k off my lawn!!)
posted by Skygazer at 8:14 AM on November 19, 2009


The Strokes having the album of the decade, is the equivalent to the Monkees being named the band of the 60's.
posted by remo at 8:27 AM on November 19, 2009


The Strokes having the album of the decade, is the equivalent to the Monkees being named the band of the 60's.

Seriously? The average Monkees fan was nine years old. Believe me. I was there. The Strokes of the 60s would've been a band like Them, kickass (if derivative) early singles ... but no real staying power (not counting Van Morrison's ongoing career, of course, but serious Them fans always seem to HATE him).
posted by philip-random at 11:11 AM on November 19, 2009


So what have we learned? The double-aughts was a shit decade for tunes. For further elucidation, look no further.
posted by jonmc at 4:34 PM on November 19, 2009


Nah, the Zeroes were a great decade for tunes; just not for albums ... and umm, the NME have lost the fine edge.
posted by philip-random at 4:51 PM on November 19, 2009


They don't add anything to the game, so to speak.

Disagree. They bring a lot to the game. They do this type of music extremely well. Shakespeare's works were hugely derivative. He sucks!
posted by juiceCake at 6:35 AM on November 20, 2009


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