The Great Music Debate

Our local alternative radio station is doing their annual listener voted on 94 of the top alternative artists of all times.  Each day, they announce another artist, and another debate errupts between Garanzo and me.

Here is the list so far… comments are bold, Garbanzo’s are in italics.  Follow along if you can.

51. Elliot Smith
52. Arcade Fire – Seriously?  Was there a blow job for everyone who voted for Arcade Fire? What? You are dissing a Canadian band?? Aren’t you the guy who believes all good things come from Canada?
53. The B52s – a pleasant surprise actually. While not traditionally thought of as alternative, they did mark a distinct shift in music in the late 80s.  Fantastic choice.
54. Duran Duran – Alternative to what???  Barry Manilow????  I love Duran Duran, but they should not be on this list. But I figured since you have the Simon Lebon tattoo, you’d be happy about it.
55. Incubus
56. Social Distortion
57. Jack Johnson – really?? Alternative?? Not bad music, but a bit perplexed as to how he showed up on this list.
58. Blink 182 – No.  Not this high.  Uh-uh.
59. Johnny Cash – Another interesting one on the list – not one I would have thought of, but not a bad one either. Awesome call.
60. Morrisey – only number 60? That’s surprising to me.
61. Peter Gabriel – Again, he’s a bit low in this list.
62. The Offspring
63. The Cars
64. Everclear – Can I tell you how much this local Portland band annoys me? While it is fun listening to their lyrics and hearing references to Portland, all of their songs sound the same. And, you can literally flip between stations and hear them on everyone of them. This sack of shit does not belong on this list.  at all.  They are only here because of the Portland connection.  I’m a little unclear about how you feel about Everclear.  Do you like them or dislike them? Let me be clearer.  Everclear is the musical equivalent of mayonaise.  No matter how you dress it up or what you add to it, it is still bland and tastes the same.  Just like Everclear songs.
65. Oasis – Fuck me running. Are you serious? Poor, poor Garbanzo, not everyone can be like your beloved Oingo Boingo. The world would be a better place if they were.  God help us!
66. Jane’s Addiction – Another one that seems a bit low on this list.
67. Bjork
68. Bad Religion
69. Vampire Weekend – One album, while good, does not make them the “best of all time”I think the Vampire Weekend album is one of the best ones to come out all year.  But it is way too early to call them one of the best of all time.  DEFINITELY too early to put them ahead of The Velvet Underground!
70. The Velvet Underground – Way too low on this list Wow.  Only 70?????  Did a bunch of 18 year olds vote on this?
71. Counting Crows – Too low on this list.  In fact, I’m a bit annoyed by where they showed up. They were part of a huge shift in music in the early 90s.  Disappoints me.
72. Echo and The Bunnymen – Good call.
73. Interpol – To early to tell
74. Crowded House – Is there an entire part of the Crowded House catalogue that was more powerful and influential than The Pretenders, The Sex Pistols, Sonic Youth,  and Oingo Boingo?  I think not.  Yeah, it’s an odd choice.
75. The Replacements
76. The Postal Service
77. Queens of the Stoneage – Really???? I’m less surprised about this showing up and more suprised that another artist this station doesn’t play showed up on the list.  And, you forget their Pearl Jam connection.  
78. The Cranberries – Ummmmm.  early 90’s college music does not get placed ahead of the Sex Pistols! I do agree they are above some people they shouldn’t be, but they did mark a contrast to  the tide during the whole grunge wave out of Seattle. So did Boys II Men. Okay Mr. “The Backstreet Boys Aren’t That Bad”.  Well, they are no “Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch”Can you feel the vibration? Just to be clear…it is Garbonzo that likes Marky Mark, not me. I’m okay with that.
79. The Raconteurs – My problem with The Raconteurs is that it is still way too early to tell.  They are a good band, and Jack White seems to be popping up everywhere, but it is still to early to judge their real impact. I can agree with that.
80. Sonic Youth – Yes.
81. The Strokes – Okay.
82. Billy Idol – It’s interesting to me that he even showed up on this list – especially since this station doesn’t label him as alternative, and therefore doesn’t play him. How the hell did Billy Idol end up on this list?  I sense a bit of ballot stuffing here.  That being said, his last album was genius. Yeah, you only think it’s genius because I forced you to listen to it. Forced?  No.  What I do to you with Neil Diamond is forced.  Sweet Caroline!!!!! Bom bom bom! Mental note: delete Neil Diamond off his computer next time I’m “fixing it”.
83. The Pretenders – Too low. 
84. Live – Lighning may crash (see, I can at least name one Live song) but that does not make them one of the best alternative bands of all time.  It makes them a band from the late 90’s.
85. Sting – Too low. I personally can’t stand the guy as a songwriter.  I think he is a total hack. WTF? How did I marry you? Oh, wait, you think Oingo Boingo is genius…I get it now.  You are crazy. The music is good.  The lyrics are formulaic and shallow.  All Sting/Police songs are the same.  Yeah, cause all of the music you listen to has lyrics that are original and deep. Exactly. Oingo Boingo’s Weird Science was definitely deep.
86. Third Eye Blind – WHAT???????  Okay.  This list has oficially lost all credibility.
87. Ben Fold Five – This is far too high for Ben Folds.  Number 94, maybe. On a good day.
88. Sex Pistols – Way too low!! This is like having The Ramones show up down here.
89. Stone Roses – Really?  Again.  Name me a Stone Roses song. Yes, because if Garbanzo hasn’t heard of them, it must mean they are nobody important.  These guys were part of the Madchester alternative rock movement in the UK in the late 80s.  Geesh… You had to look that up on Wikipedia. I didn’t know who they were, so instead of dismissing them out of hand, I looked them up.  Dismissing out of hand is the internet way. It’s called “reseach” Mr Teacher.
90. Blondie – Way too low!
91. Fatboy Slim – Wow! He mixes others music, and he’s alternative.  Totally disagree with Emmy.  Better Living Through Chemistry is a watershed album that ushered in a completely new form of music.  He does more than remix music. He actually creates music from other people’s tracks.  It is an art form. This was a god call. Yeah, whatever. Artist.  Besides, he has the Christopher Walken angle working for him (check out the Weapon of Choice video) Yeah, he’s an artist who creates his work by ripping up other artists’ paintings.  Like a collage, a very AWESOME collage. He’s a hack.
92. The Cult – I love The Cult.  I would not put them on the top 94 (or even the top 100) list of all time.
93. Oingo Boingo – Danny freaking Elfman people!  The man is awesome!  Those Oingo Boingo songs were far ahead of their time! Who? Pick your jaw up off the floor, Garbanzo, yes, I asked who. That is wrong on too many levels to count.
94. Keane WTF????  Seriously?  Can anyone name me one Keane song??? Google them.

I expect to see Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Sound Garden, Violent Femmes, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Garbage, Heart, The Ramones, Nine Inch Nails, Beck, The Decemberists, Death Cab for Cutie, Coldplay, Fiona Apple, Foo Fighters, The Killers, The Smiths, and U2.  Oh, and I’m sure Green “All our songs sound alike” Day will make an appearance.

Garbanzo expects to see The Clash, The Beatles, The Beastie Boys, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Depeche Mode, The Dead Milk Men, Pink Floyd, Rage Against the Machine, Alice in Chains, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Bob Marley, and the cynic in him believes the Stone Temple Pilots will show up.

What should be on this list from your perspective? Who shouldn’t be on this list? And, feel free to comment and let Garbanzo know he’s crazy.

And, yes, these are how discussions go in our house.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. This is an interesting list. The only reason I know of Jack Johnson is that he did the Curious George movie soundtrack.

    It will be interesting to hear the rest of the list.

  2. Just me... says:

    Duran Duran?

  3. Far too many WTFs on the list. Define Alternative, please. Alternative to what? Yeah, where the fuck was AIC, STP, Pearl Jam? Definitely a questionable list.


  4. Yeah, the alternative label pisses me off too . And I know these lost exist simply to annoy me. But still.

    Johnny Cash is the man but he’s definitely country. Rock hipsters don’t get to claim him just cause he did those awesome American recordings.

    Oingo Boingo is the shizznit.

    Stone Roses were awesome. Too bad they couldn’t keep it together.

    Everclear is bullshit. It suspect it’s the sane reason I can’t turn on my radio without hearing Sublime or RHCP (who haven’t made a new song in 15 years goddammit!)

    Sting? Alternative? Fuck! My grandma listened to him on her easy-listening station.

    And Duran Duran were from England and used synths. Duh.

    I expect more of your list than garbanzos. And I’ll bet the top 5 are Nirvana, RHCP, U2 (though I wouldn’t call them alt neither), And two other pieces of over-marketed crap (it’s too early to be this agitated :-))

  5. Secretia says:

    Thanks for making the list.

  6. Coldplay is only for sweet soft making out or making babies!

  7. More. Cause that’s how I roll.

    If these bands don’t end up on the list, I reject it utterly
    1) REM
    2) They Might Be Giants
    3) The Cure (I don’t actually like them all that much but still)

    these bands deserve to be on it but might not be
    4) Weezer
    5) White Stripes (I’m not a huge fan but if you have the raconteurs)
    6) The Sisters of Mercy
    7) Siouxsie and the Banshees
    8) Joy Division/New Order
    9) Ministry
    10) Concrete Blond (in the bottom 50 for sure but way better than some of the bands already listed)
    11) Bauhaus/love and rockets
    12) Tori Amos (meh, but she makes chcks cry)

    probably will make the list just to make me vomit a little in my mouth
    12) Linkin Park

    and seriously if EMF doesn’t make it it will be….wait for it…unbelievable.! Ha! Ha! Ha! Okay time fir coffee.

  8. RavenQuince says:

    These had better be in the top 50:
    David Bowie
    Iggy Popp/The Stooges
    Lou Reed
    Siouxsie and the Banshees
    The Specials
    The Clash
    Sisters of Mercy
    Magazine/Brian Eno
    The Stranglers
    Killing Joke
    Joy Division
    (Sex Pistols should have been in the top 50)

    With due respect –

    Heart?! They were about as mainstream as you could get. Absolutely nothing Alt about them.

    The Beatles?! Really? More popular than Jesus, right? How exactly does that make them Alt?

    That’s not to that either of these bands didn’t make significant contributions to music, but that doesn’t mean they were alternative in the least.

    Thanks for the list – looking forward to the next one.

  9. Emmy says:

    Just to clarify one thing – we defined alternative as bands that fundamentally changed the direction of music when they came onto the scene. They are considered, at one time, an alternative to what was considered the norm in music at the time.

    If you accept that definition, you can also accept that The Beatles and others. The label “alternative” is a fairly new one and, as music evolves, will continue to encompass and toss out genres of music.

    For example, one could make an argument that Nirvana and Pearl Jam lost the “alternative” title the moment Seattle grunge went mainstream.

    Discuss amongst yourself!
    Oh, and when more of the list is revealed, I will post it. 🙂

  10. garbonzo says:

    To clarify….we did not make the list. Our local alternative station 94.7 KNRK made this lest. We are just commenting on it.

    I think Emmy did a great job of explaining how we define alternative music and it’s status a s a moving target through the ages. For the purists out there, rock n’ roll was, itself, an alternative music form. However it has evolved and consumed the popular form of the day.

    So this list is supposed to cover alternative rock.

    Emmy and I disagree about Heart. I see her point that Heart was one of (if not THE) the first female hard rock groups. They had mainstream success and will forever be associated with their ballads as opposed to some of their harder stuff. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I have always had Heart played on the radio, so they don’t stick out as much for me.

    I am impressed with some of the suggestions people have made. Iggy Pop/Stooges? Brilliant. Joy Division? Oh yeah. The Chili Peppers? Definitely. Sublime? Don’t know. The death of the lead singer and subsequent demise of the band makes me question their long-term impact. However, if Vampire Weekend can make the list….

  11. NY Diva says:

    Your back and forth comments cracked me up this morning. 🙂

  12. rage says:

    There were a lot of groups not on that list that I would have expected to see.

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