I’m so sick of elitist, pop-culture fascists

I’ve been a subscriber to Entertainment Weekly off and on since college. But you know how I know I’m getting old? The magazine’s starting to really piss me off. It seems like every week there’s an article or a review that makes me think, “Who’s writing this? 20-year-olds? They don’t know what they’re talking about!” Oh and, uh, get off my lawn! 🙂

But the final straw for me is this little “special bonus edition” tucked inside a recent issue. Of course, since I was a journalist, I know that “special bonus edition” is code for “advertising made us do this against our will.” So I cut them a little slack because they probably had to work overtime to do the damn thing and didn’t get paid overtime for doing the damn thing. (Or am I the only one who’s ever worked for greedy, money-machine, corporate overlords?) But special inserts aren’t what makes me mad (now that I don’t have to write them). Elitist I’m-cooler-than-you rhetoric does.

The special insert was The Indie Rock 25. (Just the list, without blurbs, is below.) A top 25 list based on the best band (no solo acts), from the past 25 years. One for each year. Only indie labels, no majors.

This sounds pretty good and right up my alley. What could be bad about this? For one, the EW writers completely ignore punk rock! If there is one type of music that is completely independent and DIY, it is punk. Hellcat Records, Fat Wreck Chords, Asian Man Records, Chunksaah Records, etc. All they do is promote small bands!! Not even bands that later broke hugely like Nirvana or Green Day (whose first albums were indie) made it on the list. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great bands on this list and I like many of the bands on the list, but where’s the punk? Punk is the spirit of indie! (And no, Fugazi doesn’t count.)

[Update]: I had to go to an appointment after posting this and the whole way over in my car I was still sort of pissed about this. What about the fact that this list is totally male-centric? (I love The Pixies and Sonic Youth, but that’s not enough for me.) Where are the awesome female bands like Bikini Kill, The Distillers, The Gossip, Le Tigre, The Noisettes, The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs? Come on! No Karen O?! And even though I know this list is about “bands,” I just can’t leave this without putting Liz Phair’s Exit to Guyville on my own personal list.

This whole EW list just seems like another example of a bunch of dudes sitting around a table and talking about the bands that they are “supposed” to think are awesome. The thing is, I always read about how awesome bands like Radiohead and Interpol are but, with few exceptions, I don’t know anyone who actually listens to that crap. Yeah, I said it. I don’t like Radiohead, The Shins, Pavement or any other whiny, dirty-haired-white-boy-angst band. What’s wrong with wanting to rock out? What’s wrong with wanting to have fun? What’s wrong with songs about a cat with two heads?

And finally, I’ve got to comment on the fact that this list starts with 2008. Seriously? We’re already crowning the best indie band/album of 2008 in March? Douchebags!

As far as I’m concerned, EW can suck it. They’re pop-culture fascists.

— E

EW’s Top 25 Indie Rock Bands/Albums (one for each year):

2008: Radiohead, In Rainbows

2007: Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

2006: The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America

2005: Bright Eyes, I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning

2004: Arcade Fire, Funeral

2003: The White Stripes, Elephant

2002: Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights

2001: The Shins, Oh, Inverted World

2000: Yo La Tenga, And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out

1999: Sleater-Kinney, The Hot Rock

1998: Neutral Milk Hotel, In the Aeroplane Over The Sea

1997: Modest Mouse, Lonesome Crowded West

1996: Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister

1995: Archers of Loaf, Vee Vee

1994: Guided by Voices, Bee Thousand

1993: Built to Spill, Ultimate Alternative Wavers

1992: Pavement, Slanted and Enchanted

1991: My Bloody Valentine, Loveless

1990: Fugazi, Repeater

1989: The Pixies, Doolittle

1988: Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation

1987: Dinosaur Jr., You’re Living All Over Me

1986: REM, Lifes Rich Pageant

1985: The Smiths, Meat is Murder

1984: The Replacements, Let It Be

5 thoughts on “I’m so sick of elitist, pop-culture fascists

  1. I hate this list. Lists like this always make me feel like a supernerd – and not in the cool, indy, horn-framed glasses sort of way. No. Like a nerd a la, SNL’s old sketch The Nerds, with Gilda Radner and Bill Murray (minus the funny).

  2. Agreed. These lists always suck. And I say that having had to do them back in my journo days.

    Look, everybody has different tastes with music so you’re not going to please everyone. I admit that. But sometimes I think these lists are just a way for a bunch of cooler-than-thou people to get together and blow each other.

  3. Well, in all fairness a) This WAS in EW, not some reputable pub that would actually know anything punk if it bit it in the ass (as a true punk band would) and b) Sigh, I AM an Interpol, Radiohead, Modest Mouse, Smiths, Fugazi-listening dude. But also a Suicidal Tendencies, Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Bad Religion-listening dude. So I can go either way, black frame glasses on or off.

    And yeah, aside from Sleater-Kinney and Sonic Youth, there is a noticeable lack of females. Though Morrissey KINDA counts. 😉

  4. Thank you Pzilla for going where I wouldn’t regarding Morissey. 🙂

    And I feel like I should say that it’s not like I don’t like the people who listen to Radiohead, et al. I think there’s a big difference between not liking a band and writing off everyone who listens to them. It’s just that I don’t find as many people who love them as it seems music writers love them.

    And just to be fair, I like plenty of stuff that other people don’t. I love Tori Amos and Cyndi Lauper, for instance. I love Motown, some pop music (Kanye West, Justin Timerberlake), jazz and Elvis Presley. So there’s lots of stuff I like that somebody somewhere could deem uncool. Hell, even being into punk rock is considered uncool by a lot of folks.

    I just think this EW list is really pretentious and lame.

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