More Important than U2This is a repost of a comment on my brothers blog where he dared anyone to list 12 more important bands than U2. I thought at first it was a dare to limit your list to 12, but apparently he thought you couldn't come up with 12. I came up with 22 off the top of my head. And I took it serious so I didn't include Paris Hilton or anything like that on the list. And he said Bob Dylan was not to be included because he is too near divine. Anyway, here's my comment.
I can list 4 gabillion bands more important than U2 right now. In fact, I can only think of one band less important than U2 and that is Copeland. But here is an honest list of 12 bands that are not only better but doing things that matter in music as opposed to riding the exercise bike of U2 paint-by-numbers music writing. And, to be fair, I will limit myself to very few alt. folk acts, focusing on the rock and roll that U2 supposedly dominates. (also why you see no Kanye or Outkast on this list, though both are clearly more important than U2) You’re welcome. And these are in no particular order.
1. Yo La Tengo: They have been doing rock and roll forever too, only they learned how to write different types of songs, create musical complexity, and not believe they were the greatest thing ever. Their new CD coming out soon is more important than the last 4 released by U2.
2. White Stripes: Jack White is to rock and roll what Ty from Extreme Home Makeover is to homes.
3. Devendra Banhart and his friends: now you may say “but jake, this guy is alt. folk, not rock and roll” but you are wrong. DB and his friends (i.e. Andy Cabic’s band Vetiver) are reworking rock from the folk end of things, similar to Dylan’s impact on rock and roll, and are writing compelling songs and putting on amazing concerts all over the world.
4. Broken Social Scene: Can you say supergroup? While their first effort was good, they regrouped, got even more super, and released a self-titled album the way any good rock and roll group would. They rock AND write music that makes you think, imagine that!
5. The National: While they may have come around too late in life to make an eternal impact on the rock and roll scene, these guys put out an album (Alligator) that any U2 fan would love and would probably think was awesome and they are nobodies!
6. Arctic Monkeys: I don’t even really like these guys, but they are the hottest brit act coming to the shores of the USA and they just won the Mercury Prize for best album from English or Irish artists, so eat that U2!
7. Arcade Fire and friends: Again, I’m not even crazy about them (though I did enjoy Arcade Fire for a few months of winter dreariness and for this I am forever thankfull) but any fool can realize that what they are doing for music is more important and creative than the last 10 years of U2. AND they were on the cover of Time. AND U2 likes them as much as your little sister.
8. Belle & Sebastian: Sometimes you have to go back in time to be progressive and interesting. These guys are making the retro thing work and using it to find new roads for rock and roll
9. THE NEW PORNOGROPHERS: Maybe the greatest Rock and Roll band going today? A super super group who are always making hits and may someday take over the world.
10. MODEST MOUSE: If I were ranking these, they would be in the top 3 for sure. They are the new Radiohead in that they have taken their “indie rock” and made it main stream. AND JOHNNY FREAKING MARR IS NOW IN THE BAND!! Has this gone unoticed by everyone? Perhaps I should explain, briefly, that Johnny Marr was the musical mind behind The Smiths and if I need to explain further you need to buy some new CDs starting with The Queen Is Dead.
11. Animal Collective: If you think U2 is the most important thing in the world you will probably hate Animal Collective. But they are the psyche-rock leaders of the 21st century. And you may think they are awesome even if you don’t do acid. Check out Feels if you want something different, a lot of people have decided to like them who I never would have expected to. BUT even if you don’t like them, they are more important than U2.
12. THE FLAMING LIPS: This just proves that I am not ranking these 12 more important rock bands than U2. These guys have U2 cornered in every way except maybe friendships with African diplomats. Everyone says that U2 live is one of the greatest experiences you could ever have. I ask you: do they have people in animal suits, confetti, giant balloons, etc.? People say that they were inovative in their recordings, but I ask you: have they ever released a CD that required you to play four different CDs simultaneously on four different CD players? And everyone says that Bono is the greatest front man in rock, but again, I ask you: does he ever smear fake blood on himself to add to the dramatics of the song, or has he ever filmed a Christmas movie in his backyard, or even once made an accoustic guitar into a sound effects machine? I DON’T THINK SO!
Here’s 10 more that I would include: Sufjan, Iron & Wine, Band of Horses, Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, Bruce Springsteen, Akron/Family, Howe Gelb, The Rolling Stones (still), Bright Eyes, Sleater-Kinney, Wilco.