EW.com's Greatest Indie Anthems of All Time

Loser_lOkay, PopWatchers, listen up. This week the NME let the proverbial cat out of the proverbial bag by posting the 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever, as voted by their readers.

Well, it got us thinking. No, scratch that — it got us pissed. Oasis ahead of Nirvana? Two Libertines songs in the Top 10??  35 (or so) out of the Top 50 songs are by UK bands??? No hip-hop??? Repeat: Oasis AT NUMBER ONE, AHEAD OF NIRVANA. What are those loony limeys thinking?

It also raises the question: What exactly is an "indie anthem"? I don’t know about you, but when I think indie anthem, I think of fans standing in an arena-like setting, holding lighters aloft in a show of solidarity, while a band sans major corporate ties plays their Big Hit onstage. Y’know, the song that moves you to tears, or anger, or bliss. Or, few dozen fans in a cramped, dingy basement — it doesn’t really matter, does it? It could even be an anti-anthem (note Beck’s "Loser," which got the most votes in our office). In the end, it’s about the indie "aesthetic," not necessarily the people behind the marketing of the music. So if that band happens to be Radiohead, even though they are signed to a major (Capitol), so be it. Because they’re not afraid to sock it to the man. And I love them. So sue me.

So that’s what indie rock means to me. But I’m just one very fallible soul over here. So I did an extremely scientific, rigorously empirical poll of my co-workers and determined EW.com’s 50 Greatest Indie Anthems Ever, in no order whatsoever except for Beck (pictured), since I don’t have the time to enough to rank ‘em all, thank you very much!

This is where we need you, PopWatchers. It’s time for some corrective action. We know our list is biased and incomplete and full of holes and gaffes and what-were-they-thinking!‘s. Speaking for myself, I can’t believe no one here chose the Verve’s "Bittersweet Symphony," but I’ve already changed edited the list enough. So now we need you to tell us what we’ve missed (or where we were spot-on). And the top ten picks (or so) will make it into a very special photo gallery all their own.

OK, PopWatchers? Ready, set… go!!!

Beck, "Loser"
Neutral Milk Hotel, "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea"
Pavement, "Cut Your Hair"
White Stripes, "Fell in Love with a Girl"
Velvet Underground, "All Tomorrow’s Parties"
Common, "I Used to Love H.E.R."
Liz Phair, "F–k and Run"
Gang Starr, "Mass Appeal"
Matthew Sweet, "Divine Intervention"
R.E.M., "It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"
Hole, "Violet"
Soundgarden, "Black Hole Sun,"
My Bloody Valentine, "Soon"
Reflection Eternal, "Fortified Live"
Mudhoney, "Touch Me I’m Sick"

addCredit(“Beck: Jay Blakesberg / Retna”)

They Might Be Giants, "Birdhouse in Your Soul"
Joy Division, "Love Will Tear us Apart"
X, "Los Angeles"
Public Enemy, "Don’t Believe the Hype"
Guided By Voices, "As We Go Up We Go Down"
Le Tigre, "Deceptacon"
Fugazi, "Waiting Room"
NWA, F–k tha Police"
Black Flag, "Rise Above"
Primal Scream, "Come Together"
PJ Harvey, "Sheela-Na-Gig"
Arcade Fire, "Rebellion (Lies)"
The Cure, "10:15 Saturday Night"
Patti Smith, "Gloria"
Black Star, "Respiration"
Antony & the Johnsons, "Hope There’s Someone"
Modest Mouse, "Float On"
The Breeders, "Cannonball"
Spoon, "I Turn My Camera On"
Radiohead, "Karma Police"
Sonic Youth, "Teenage Riot"
Built to Spill, "The Plan"
Interpol, "PDA"
Roky Erikson, "You Don’t Love Me Yet"
Magnetic Fields, "Papa Was a Rodeo"
New Pornographers, "The Bleeding Heart Show"
Yo La Tengo, "Autumn Sweater"
Talking Heads, "Burning Down the House"
Pixies, "Monkey Gone to Heaven"
Pretenders, "Message of Love"
Violent Femmes, "Blister in the Sun"
The Clash, "London Calling"
Blur, "Song 2 "
The La’s, "There She Goes"
Teenage Fanclub, "Star Sign"


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Comments (92 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3 7
  • Kit-Sung

    “No hip-hop”??? Since when is hip-hop Indie?

  • Tonya

    Pulp, “Common People”
    Coldplay, “Yellow”
    Oasis, “Wonderwall”

  • HatchetFace

    Pulp – “Common People” (If only because it’s the most iconic, but their entire repetoire is amazing.)
    Ditto on Magnetic Fields “Papa was a rodeo” and Le Tigre “Deceptacon”.
    If we’re talking New Pornographers, it has to be “The laws have changed”, and “Wave of Mutiliation” is the more anthemic Pixies.
    Ted Leo – “Where have all the rude boys gone?”

    • TdotTim

      Pulp is a definite MUST for me…but it’s 100% Disco 2000 if we’re calling anthems. More than half the songs I see listed (while they might be great songs) aren’t the least bit “anthemic” in my mind.
      I would totally agree with Superchunk – Slack Motherfu**er

  • Mille

    Hip Hop is indie – Rhymesayers and Def Jux are as indie as indie gets. “Backpack Rap” is another term people use.

  • E.B. Berman

    “Since when is hip hop indie?” Since before it went mainstream. Since before you heard of it. Since always.

  • Eric

    Matthew Good Band “Strange Days”
    Our Lady Peace “Starseed”
    Pearl Jam “Jeremy”
    K-Os “Heaven Only Knows”

  • Scott P

    A second vote for Ted Leo’s “Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone”
    Ryan Adams – “Come Pick Me Up”
    Bright Eyes – “I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning”
    Also, as much as I love them, Radiohead, PJ Harvey and the White Stripes do not belong on an indie rock list…

  • Kathleen

    Faux pas, EW! Where is the Jeff Buckley? ;-) I’d have to add his cover of “Hallelujah” in there somewhere. But all in all, you’ve just helped me make the coolest mix tape EVER.
    (Yes. I still call them mix tapes. I’m old.)

  • Brandon

    What? No Sloan? What about “False Alarm,” or “Losing California,” or even “Fading Into Obscurity”?

  • nico

    The Wrens, “Hopeless”
    Weezer, “The Good Life”
    Smashing Pumpkins, “1979”

  • Stephanie

    Hello???? Ben Folds Five (what they were when this was written) : “Brick”

  • E

    Brick is the worst song I’ve ever heard.

  • E

    Brick is the worst song I’ve ever heard.

  • cay

    I definitely think you missed L7’s Pretend We’re Dead

  • Jerome

    Been Caught Stealing – Janes Addiction

Page: 1 2 3 7
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