Best Indie Rock Albums

EW Picks the Best 25 Indie Rock Albums — Do You Agree?



Ah, top 25 lists. I know some people hate to list music in this way because it's so hard (I know this first hand) to compare albums and favorite songs much less pick favorites. A wise first step for any list maker is to narrow the field by genre, which is what EW recently did to choose the best indie albums from each year, from 1984 up until the present.

They also gave themselves some rules for which albums are eligible, including defining "independent" as "the bands had to have been signed to an independent label for the given album" (so, Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirt doesn't count because that album was released on Geffen Records) and they have to be bands, not individual artists, which is why you won't see Elliott Smith or Sufjan Stevens in there.

Here are the picks for the past five years:

  • 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
  • I have a nit to pick with their 2006 choice and probably would have chosen Band of Horses, Everything All the Time for the best of that year. What do you think? Anyone missing? To see the rest of the list, read more.

    • 2003: The White Stripes, Elephant
    • 2002: Interpol, Turn on the Bright Lights
    • 2001: The Shins, Oh, Inverted World
    • 2000: Yo La Tengo, 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: Dinosour Jr., You're Living All Over Me
    • 1986: R.E.M., Life's Rich Pageant
    • 1985: The Smiths, Meat Is Murder
    • 1984: The Replacements, Let It Be

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