The 40 best musical acts in America

The list of the 40 best American acts currently touring or releasing new music may be very alt-rockist for some tastes (Sufjan Stevens at No. 1?), but that’s what you get when you ask a panel of music bloggers to compile it. Obviously, there’s not much hip-hop or R&B, a blind spot that the list compilers acknowledge. Aside from that, though, who could you argue for who’s been left off? Madonna, maybe, but does she count as American anymore? What was Beck’s Guero, chopped liver? Are Rilo Kiley so hip they’re unhip?

Help me out, sharp-eared PopWatchers.


Comments (21 total) Add your comment
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  • Coolfer

    Yeah, Guero was pretty close to chopped liver. Like many others I know, I listened to it once and never went back.
    Madonna? That’s funny. She might be one of the top 40 egos in the country. Top 40 paparazzi favorites. Top 40 artists that are past their prime. Top 40 people EW wants on its cover. Don’t confuse celebrity with quality.

  • Tim

    Beck is amazing and even if Guero was awful (which it sure ain’t) he would still merit inclusion. Otherwise I think the list is a resounding success.
    PS: Rilo Kiley stopped being hip before list season LAST year.

  • Tim

    Oh just realised R. Kelly he was snubbed. Please note I am not being ironic.

  • Joseph Caranante

    Mariah Carey. She will never be hip; she’s just the best.

  • The Doctor

    Looked at the list…and I was less than impressed by some of the selections.

  • Howard

    Still have to put Springsteen on the list, and I have to add Fountains of Wayne. After two years, I still find new things to love about “Welcome Interstate Managers”, and “Out-of-State Plates” is a great collection of rareties from these guys.

  • Lloyd

    what about the White Stripes? Best show I’ve seen in the last five years.

  • Information Leafblower

    In The Margins

    I have quite the weekend coming up: Tonight: Echo & the Bunnymen @ the Black Cat Saturday: bluestate @ the Black Cat Backstage (where we vow to play Kelly Clarkson, Gwen Stefani and Hillary Duff, indie hipsters be damned) Sunday:…

  • kosmo vinyl

    I have no problems with the list, it is what it is and for some its a great place to read about and listen to bands they maybe not otherwise be familiar with. Personally I would rather compile a list of artists that deserve wider recognition. The Sugarplastic’s releases these year have already topped my years best of list. Yet, I doubt more than 1000 people have ever heard of them.

  • jess

    Glad to see kelly clarkson’s on the list. I saw her live in New York and she blew me away.

  • djm

    I can’t see the list (my company just installed new spy ware that somehow lets me come here, but prohibits most other sites damn them). If they need R&B or hip hop artisits I’ll throw out nominations for Fantasia, Missy Elliott and Mary J. Blige.

  • Bh

    Michael jackson should b there

  • Jason

    Thankfully Hip Hop was left off. When is America going to wake up and realize that Hip Hop has been a in creative black hole for the past ten years (sans Missy and Outkast.) Once beats were more important than what was actually being said, it was over. Just because you can work a sampler or ProTools doesn’t make you a musician.

  • MissDona

    Sleater-Kinney? Please. Watch them open for Pearl Jam (as I have, several times) and you tell me who’s the better act.

  • Flick

    Nine Inch Nails and Modest Mouse were the two best shows I saw this summer. It’s great to see a list that gets some of the smaller bands out, but it’s impressive to see a 40-year-old Trent Reznor still showing off his genius.

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