Posted in music on March 21, 2008

Entrtainment WeeklyEntrtainment Weekly

Why do we (Entertainment Weekly) love indie rock? Because it shuns everything that is prefab, safe, typical. It's about freedom, expression, passion -- no rules, man! But in order to narrow down hundreds of hours of incredible musical output from the last two and a half decades, we had to apply some...well, rules:....
Continued below...

1. Only one album may represent each year (hence the inclusion, in some cases, of too-hard-to-dismiss runners-up, and a number of difficult compromises we had to make). 2. All the bands had to have been signed to an independent label for the given album (ergo, the absence of Nirvana and the Flaming Lips, whose true genius didn't manifest itself until they graduated to the big leagues, but the inclusion of My Bloody Valentine and the Pixies, who originally signed to small labels in the U.K.). 3. The term ''band'' must be taken literally (thus eliminating otherwise unimpeachable artists like Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, and Cat Power). Even still, there was many an internal battle over the final choices here at EW headquarters, and resentments that will surely fester long after this issue has run its course. But isn't that the beauty of it all -- the fact that we had such a wealth to choose from? Our picks, and those unpicked, will no doubt spark debate with you as well; in fact, we hope it does. Because that, friends, is rock & roll.
According to EW...
1984: The Replacements, Let It Be
1985: The Smiths, Meat Is Murder
1986: R.E.M., Life's Rich Pageant
1987: Dinosaur Jr., You're Living All Over Me
1988: Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
1989: The Pixies, Doolittle
1990: Fugazi, Repeater
1991: My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
1992: Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted
1993: Built To Spill, Ultimate Alternative Wavers
1994: Guided By Voices, Bee Thousand
1995: Archers Of Loaf, Vee Vee
1996: Belle And Sebastian, If You're Feeling Sinister
1997: Modest Mouse, The Lonesome Crowded West
1998: Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
1999: Sleater-Kinney, The Hot Rock
2000: Yo La Tengo, And then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out
2001: The Shins, Oh, Inverted World
2002: Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights
2003: The White Stripes, Elephant
2004: Arcade Fire, Funeral
2005: Bright Eyes, I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning
2006: The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America
2007: Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
2008: Radiohead, In Rainbows

(from EW via Idolator)
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Comments (54)

Is there anything that EW can't do?!?! {dreamy sigh}

Posted by Smitten for Smitty | March 21, 2008 9:38 AM

well this post's comments should be fun.

Posted by craig! | March 21, 2008 9:40 AM

I sense an internet list kerfuffle coming on, and EW is right in the middle of the action!!

Posted by schlep | March 21, 2008 9:44 AM

Wasn't IN RAINBOWS 2007?

Posted by Nick | March 21, 2008 9:46 AM

at least they got a few right. they are very, very right about the lonesome crowded west.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 9:49 AM

1,2,3 Repeater!

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:00 AM

Honestly, if you knew nothing about indie rock, which I'm sure very few EW readers do, you could do a lot worse than start with this list. A lot of safe choices, but I suppose that's the point.

Although Meat is Murder is the worst Smiths album.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:03 AM

i'm just bewildered they can already claim an album is the definitive of the year. it's fucking march.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:06 AM

apart from 2005 - on, I agree with this list.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:06 AM

um MEAT IS MURDER IS NOT THE WORST SMITHS record - try again anon 10:03.

Everyone knows people say that because it has How Soon Is Now on there, but that record is much more than that.

Everyone knows Rank or the debut (although great) is the weakest Smiths output.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:08 AM

bottom line.....late 80's - early 90's will NEVER be topped by all of these blogtastic flash-in-the-panners.

Pixies > Yeasayer

Fugazi > Dan Deacon

Pavement > Vampire Weekend

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:08 AM

just because pitchfork says the hold steady are good doesn't mean they are!!!

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:15 AM

i wouldnt consider rank an album

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:18 AM

love sleater kinney but 'the hot rock' is some of their weakest stuff. doesn't belong on there.

Posted by Jon | March 21, 2008 10:30 AM

In response to anon 10:09, "How Soon is Now" was only added to the U.S. version of Meat is Murder because Sire thought it would be The Smiths' breakthrough single here. Nevertheless, I love it as well as the debut. Oh and Anon 10:18, Rank is an album, albeit a live one.

Posted by Matt Berlyant | March 21, 2008 10:30 AM

"apart from 2005 - on, I agree with this list."

I agree, good list. I doesn't take any chances, it it a list of choices that few can argue about.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:30 AM

Whoever said Fugazi is better than Dan Deacon is CRAZY!

Have you ever seen DD live?

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:40 AM

how can you even make a pick for 2008 when the year isn't over yet.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:44 AM

No Steely Dan?

Posted by greg | March 21, 2008 10:44 AM

you might want to retract that comment, anon 10:40.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:46 AM

Hot Rock is easily the BEST Sleater-Kinney album. What are you talking about??

Posted by Dylan | March 21, 2008 10:47 AM

"Whoever said Fugazi is better than Dan Deacon is CRAZY! Have you ever seen DD live?"

Now THAT'S what I call good sarcasm (I hope).

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:47 AM

Michael Stripe suck my plipe

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 10:51 AM

AAHHHH the hold steady blows

Posted by liz | March 21, 2008 11:00 AM

After reading these comments, I have a couple of my own.

1. Pavement > than all current bands.
2. The Hold Steady is just terrible.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 11:01 AM

Seriously? Spoon as the best for 2007? Did that album make ANYONE's top spot?

Posted by Cory | March 21, 2008 11:12 AM

Dan Deacon shoulda had 2007

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 11:16 AM

penis!

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 11:20 AM

poop

Posted by penis!? | March 21, 2008 11:27 AM

What time does Daft Punk make a spot on an EW list?

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 11:29 AM

Not a bad list...1985 has to be New Day Rising, though.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 11:32 AM

1984: The Replacements, Let It Be
1985: The Smiths, Meat Is Murder
1986: R.E.M., Life's Rich Pageant
1987: Dinosaur Jr., You're Living All Over Me
1988: Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation
1989: The Pixies, Doolittle
1990: Fugazi, Repeater
1991: My Bloody Valentine, Loveless
1992: Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted

Perfect. Rest is sheyate.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 11:33 AM

that list is pretty solid, save for Hold Steady.

Posted by tommay | March 21, 2008 11:39 AM

1985 - Tom Waits "Rain Dogs"

1996 - Nick Cave "Murder Ballads"

1997 - Spiritualized "Ladies and gentlmen..." anyone????

2005 - Laakso "My Gods" is easily the best of that year, with My Morning Jacket "Z" coming in a close second.

i'm quite surprised neither misters cave nor waits got a mention.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 11:43 AM

the hold steady rooolz, ya dooshes!

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 11:43 AM

Man, were 2005 & 2006 that bad of years for records ?

In Rainbows should really be 2007 & declaring a record of the year in March is asinine...

Posted by RT | March 21, 2008 11:56 AM

1984: The Minutemen, Double Nickels On The Dime

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 12:13 PM

Yeah Yeah Yeahs in 2003, better than White Stripes. I will argue this to the grave if necessary.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 12:21 PM

YLT's "I'm not Afraid of You and I Will Beat Your Ass" really deserved the honors for 2006. Am I wrong???

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 12:45 PM

Its not a good list by any means, but its much better than i expected

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 12:53 PM

"Whoever said Fugazi is better than Dan Deacon is CRAZY!

Have you ever seen DD live?
"

I'd rather see Dan Deacon locked in a closet for the rest of his annoying life.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 12:54 PM

If Dan Deacon puts on such a crazy, hectic, energetic, bonkers performance then why is he more out of shape than my dad?

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 12:56 PM

I stopped paying attention in '99. Who are The Shins?

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 1:02 PM

Entertainment Weekly can suck my ass.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 1:04 PM

Anon 11:43-

Rain Dogs was released on Island, so it doesn't qualify.

Posted by Jon | March 21, 2008 1:52 PM

Tom Waits wouldn't count anyways according to their rules:

"3. The term ''band'' must be taken literally"

Not sure if that rules out Nick Cafe, though. Was Murder Ballads released with The Bad Seeds?

Posted by Jeremy | March 21, 2008 2:00 PM

hot damn dixie chicks boners all around!

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 2:01 PM

"If Dan Deacon puts on such a crazy, hectic, energetic, bonkers performance then why is he more out of shape than my dad?"

You, sir or madame, have earned the Zinger of the Day Award. Congrats.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 2:17 PM

leave michael stipe alone, or i'll kick your ass.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 2:35 PM

Michael Stipe is a wanker.

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 3:23 PM

Dude, the Shins will change your life.

Or something. I heard that in a movie once.

I've never heard them either....

Posted by Anonymous | March 21, 2008 5:15 PM

The Hot Rock is Sleater's best!

Fugazi is incendiary live and Repeater is awesome.

Solid list. BeeThousand and Slanted are special works.

Vee Vee is an unheralded gem, at least until now.

Posted by Anonymous | March 22, 2008 6:04 PM

What, no backlash for Interpol's "TOTBL"?!?! You people are losing your cynicism!

Posted by Anonymous | March 22, 2008 7:19 PM

Its actually a pretty decent list. I know it's "indie" to bash EW for attempting such a list, but it's a pretty good attempt. That they included Archers of Loaf and GBV is pretty deep. And come on with the "2008's not even over yet..." comments. Jesus Christ couldn't come down and put out a better record than "In Rainbows" (even with Nigel Godrich producing) and everyone knows it. Happy Easter.

Posted by sonny | March 24, 2008 12:09 AM

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