Wednesday, 28 June 2017

My Favourite Albums That I've Never Reviewed (Part 1)

My Favourite Albums That I've Never Reviewed (Part 1)
Just over a year ago, I wrote a five part series of blogs, sending much praise most high to my favourite albums from each decade (starting from the 60s and ending with the 00s), much love, thank you God for this music, Amen. It was an idea I had for a while and I was stoked with the execution, not because I thought they were great bits of writing or anything (well, they were, but) but because the motive behind them was actually a sneaky one, a hidden ploy to try and shove my music taste into other people's faces, granting me an easy collection of urls to throw at my friends when they asked me what I wanted for my birthday or Xmas. I WANT VINYL. I WANT THESE VINYLS SPECIFICALLY. BUY ME THESE FUCKING SPECIFIC VINYLS YOU ASS BALL.

The months have passed as they do, some friendly folk bought me some friendly vinyls, I bought a load more myself, and at the time I type these very words, I own 30 out of the initial stated 50, which isn’t bad for a year of collecting when you’re an alcoholic. But as I approached the finish line, I didn’t feel the sense of achievement one might expect. No, instead I felt miserable, because I am a dramatic masochist and I crave pain. I desire the perpetual chase towards an impossible dream. I need the suffering when nothing is attainable and then I ultimately die unsatisfied, mid-complaint. Which is exactly the purpose of this blog. To top-up the list of vinyls I am requesting for my collection, and therefore impossibly increasing the volume of money needed to do so, piling on the stress.

So let’s get to it then, but before we do, please keep in mind that these aren’t necessarily my favourite albums I’ve never reviewed (despite the title), but rather just the first ones that came to my mind. Hence the “part 1” bit. I'll probably write one every year because I really enjoy writing album reviews. If I had to write nothing but album reviews for the rest of my life, I’d be about 20% happy.

Oh, and finally, if you do feel like buying me vinyl, then may Lorde bless you! Allow me to help by directing you towards all the articles featuring albums I’ve reviewed. Buy me any one of these please thanks!

The Top 10 Albums Of The 60s
The Top 10 Albums Of The 70s
The Top 10 Albums Of The 80s
The Top 10 Albums Of The 90s
The Top 10 Albums Of The 00s
The Top 50 Greatest Albums Ever (even if a bit outdated)
Worst to Best: David Bowie
Worst to Best: Sonic Youth
Worst to Best: Nick Cave
As well as a Top 50 from every year this decade: 2010, 2011 (short stories ugh), 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.

My Favourite Albums That I've Never Reviewed (Part 1): 10. Jethro Tull - Aqualung

10. Jethro Tull - Aqualung (1971)

Progressive Rock

The biggest debate between fans and the band, was whether or not Aqualung could be considered a concept album. Scholars argued that the folky effort attacked organised religion as a whole, attempting to make a distinction between the doctrine of the Church and God himself. Jethro Tull, on the other hand, said this was rubbish and it all meant nothing. Regardless, it is us, the buyers, who deserve to label Aqualung whatever we like, because it was we who lifted this record as the group’s crowning achievement, forever unchallenged as their most famous thing, still to this very day. The old school hard rock solos and medieval type of whimsical fantasy flavour coupled with the sprightly trademark flute meanderings (the main aspect you will always remember this sound by) was initially ignored by critics, and yet now, thanks to us, this release is universally agreed upon as one bonafide classic from the entire progressive rock genre, and you are so welcome, Jethro. For me personally, however, I think progressive rock is shit, an overrated style ruined by how seriously it takes itself, but I cannot deny that the presence of all good records should trump even the content, and in that regard, Aqualung’s presence has the aura of legends.

Selected Accolades:
Peaked at #4 on the UK Album Chart
Seven million copies reported sold worldwide
#43 on Prog’s list of The 100 Greatest Prog Albums of All Time
#7 on Q’s list of the 40 Cosmic Rock Albums
#22 on The Village Voice’s list of the 1971 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll
#30 Classic Rock’s list of the 100 Greatest Rock Albums of All Time

My Favourite Albums That I've Never Reviewed (Part 1): 09. Nick Drake - Pink Moon

09. Nick Drake - Pink Moon (1972)

Contemporary Folk

After his last two albums flopped miserably, Nick Drake was in a bad way. He was suffering from major depression disorder, refusing to take any medication and smoking far too much weed, all of which crippled the man, rendering him incapable of writing or recording during his darkest bouts of torment. Thankfully, he persevered as best he could, and came out the other side with Pink Moon, an album so painfully soft and bare that it exposed his deteriorating mental state on one immensely intimate stage, considered his greatest work by almost everyone since. The accomplished acoustic guitarwork and hushed vocals move in solitude without any additional glazing, lonely but finding peace within the quiet of being alone, running for only 28 minutes because that’s all the effort he could gather, yet still troubling a sweet yearning inside of me, wishing to sit with the singer, hold him, lie to him that everything was going to be ok, and then ultimately die with him. Because, regrettably, that’s exactly what happened. It took three decades for this album to be recognised as the treasure it deserved to be, but upon initial release, no one cared, and shortly after, Nick committed suicide with an overdose of prescribed antidepressants, stubbing his career out short, and leaving this as his final statement.

Selected Accolades:
#320 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
#48 on Melody Maker’s list of the All Time Top 100 Albums

My Favourite Albums That I've Never Reviewed (Part 1): 08. Metallica - Metallica Black

08. Metallica - Metallica [The Black Album] (1991)

Heavy Metal

With three members going through a divorce, the continuous mixing and remixing, and a price tag that exceeded £1 million, these turbulent recording sessions produced something nobody could have ever expected: the most important metal album of the 90s, bridging the gap between the heavy punches and slick commercial appeal, featuring nothing but instant classics and absolutely zero filler. Naturally, the purists were appalled by this sedated and uncomplicated delivery, disgusted that the thrash had been sheened out of their precious leaders, but there was very little they could do but watch Metallica as they skillfully dodged every predictable trademark within the style they’d helped to popularise, right to the top of the charts, unperturbed by the fans who’d loudly turned their backs on them, swearing the worst sin the scene could articulate: they sold out!. Such a dirty term was not unwarranted either, as the sly trade of their dedicated fanbase for a much more lucrative one was a very calculated strategy, leading to so much radio attention that a large majority of this record has been severely overplayed, to the point that listening to it now can feel as jaded as an ancient sunburn. But do you remember your first time?? Goddamn. Regardless, even if you don't, you cannot argue that The Black Album is a metal phenomenon of the most royal statures, Metallica suddenly finding themselves as household superstars, wobbling on top of a monstrous podium, and then swiftly falling off shortly afterwards, never to return up there again.

Selected Accolades:
Debuted at #1 in 10 countries and spent four consecutive weeks at the top of the Billboard 200
One of the ten longest Billboard charting discs of all time (363 weeks in total by February 2016)
At sixteen million copies sold in the US alone (the first album in the SoundScan era to do so), it’s one of the best-selling albums ever, worldwide
Won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance
#16 on Melody Maker’s list of the Best Albums of 1991
#8 on The Village Voice's annual Pazz & Jop critics poll for Best Album of 1991
#52 on Spin’s list of the 90 Greatest Albums of the 90s
#252 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time

My Favourite Albums That I've Never Reviewed (Part 1): 07. Madonna -Ray of Light

07. Madonna - Ray of Light (1998)

Downtempo Pop

Remember 90s pop? It sucked! The airwaves were infested by boy bands and bubblegum princesses, selling sex and platform sneakers to underage children via easy-stick beats and repetitive lyrics—a practice Madonna herself had helped nourish, granted. But that’s what makes Ray of Light all the more special. Rather than follow the safe path she’d previously sprinkled her sugar upon, Madonna discovered a spiritual atmosphere to escape with, an inner peace which was set free by her fascination with Kabbalah, Hinduism, Buddhism, and the daily practice of Hatha Yoga. She then partook in vocal lessons, hired the right people, and set about birthing a record that combined eastern aromas with ambient technos and trip hoppy drum patterns, bending any cohesive genre without becoming a messy hybrid, forever maintaining an electronica dance pop core, refusing to spoil the lengthy party. And the result was no short of ethereal, her most mature offering still to this day, one rich package which was feathery without daintiness and subtle in its sexiness—clear from all the ‘Madonna sexiness’ we had come to expect, anyway. And it hasn’t dated in the slightest. If someone ever claims to hate Madonna, this is the record you use to prove them wrong. Honestly, it was the main inspiration for this very article.

Selected Accolades:
Won four Grammy Awards from six nominations
Peaked at #1 in 18 countries
The biggest first week sales by a female artist at the time
Sold more than 16 million copies worldwide
#367 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
#241 on NME’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
#17 on Q magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Albums Ever
#10 on VH1’s poll of the 100 Best Albums of All Time

My Favourite Albums That I've Never Reviewed (Part 1): 06. Elliott Smith - Either / Or

06. Elliott Smith - Either/Or (1997)

Indie Folk

If there ever was a poster child for tortured artistic depression that managed to hang onto some level of obscure integrity, you don’t get a story as sad and as beautiful as that of Elliott Smith. And while any one of his six studio albums are worthy of developing an obsession over, it’s Either/Or that is often lauded as his masterpiece, as well as the offering which thrust Smith much deeper into the popular spotlight (owed massively in part to these songs playing a predominant role in the film Good Will Hunting). Such praise makes even more sense when you’re dying, as this is the album equivalent of heartbreak, the sound of a beaten drug addict, absent in the introspection of his own self loathing, yet breezed over in such a fragile typical indie fashion that you end up listening to it very cautiously as to not crack it down any further. Ignore the position, as this is probably my overall favourite record on this list, and while his last days are still up for debate, the idea that Elliott ultimately stabbed his own heart to death only makes these words all the more poignant.

Selected Accolades:
#20 in the Pazz & Jop poll of the Best Albums of 1997
#36 on Blender’s list of the 100 Greatest Indie Rock Albums Ever
#59 on Pitchfork Media’s list of the 100 Greatest Albums of the 1990s
#149 on NME’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time

My Favourite Albums That I've Never Reviewed (Part 1): 05. Converge - Jane Doe

05. Converge - Jane Doe (2001)

Math Metalcore

Y’know, sometimes I sit in the morning, just eating my cereal, and I wonder: what would it take to create an absolute landmark of the mathy metalcore genre? And then I remember, Converge did that! Probably accidentally, but still, they totally did it! How they achieved this, however, is a little less obvious, but I have a theory. It goes that they stuck to the proposed definition by charging full fucking force forward (it would be difficult to go any harder, really), armed with the tried-and-tested aggressively technical time structures blasting all over the show, an onslaught which guaranteed satisfaction from even the fussiest veterans of the fashion. But anyone can do that! No, what rather set Jane Doe miles higher, was the emotional depth to its themes, a rare album which focuses on the anger one feels after a breakup, and how these reflections of love abruptly spoil and sharply shatter into tormented screams of passionate hatred towards that one single individual. Such a timeless story, one we we all relate to, and the perfect soundtrack to smash your ex's possessions up with, while permanently scarring the whole genre’s storyline, simply in the right place at the right time. Oh my gosh, I do know those feelings well though. We all do.

Selected Accolades:
#1 on Terrorizer’s list of the Best Albums of 2001
#21 on Kerrang!’s list of the 50 Albums You Need to Hear Before You Die
#10 on Loudwire’s list of the Top 11 Metal Albums of the 2000s
#1 on Decibel’s list of the Top 100 Greatest Metal Albums of the Decade
#15 on Rock Sound’s list of the 101 Modern Classics: The Final Instalment!
#5 on LA Weekly’s list of the Top 20 Hardcore Albums in History
#5 on MetalSucks’ list of the Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century... So Far
#1 on Noisecreep’s list of the Best Albums of the 2000s
#1 on Sputnikmusic’s list of the Top 100 Albums of the Decade

My Favourite Albums That I've Never Reviewed (Part 1): 04. Curtis Mayfield - Superfly

04. Curtis Mayfield - Superfly (1972)

Chicago Soul Funk

Initially conceived as a soundtrack to the 1972 blaxploitation crime drama film Super Fly, Curtis Mayfield’s third studio album has since outgrown its movie counterpart substantially, not only in terms of reputation, but also unbelievably in terms of financial gross, functioning as probably the only reason someone would even watch the film in the first place anymore. Personally, I’ve never seen said movie, but the depth of funky soul on offer within the music itself is so vivid that I definitely saw something back there. The songs tell stories about drugs and poverty in the smoothest of suave and the sexiest of badass tones that I’ve got my own visual interpretation going on, and from what I’ve read, my version is better. Needless to say, the album was an immediate hit, tearing open the access point to the whole genre and authorising even the most soulless of homeboys easy entry, free funk for all. I mean, it was such a defining 70s record with so much mass appeal that you’ll probably feel like you’ve heard these tunes before, even if you haven’t, because it’s pretty much agreed upon as the most important and influential funk album ever made. And everything was different afterwards.

Selected Accolades:
#69 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
#63 on VH1’s list of the Greatest Albums of All Time

My Favourite Albums That I've Never Reviewed (Part 1): 03. Lou Reed - Transformer

03. Lou Reed - Transformer (1972)

Glam Pop Rock

It isn’t really fair to do this, but fukkit: Transformer could very well be a Bowie record—and one of his better records at that. David's fingers behind the production desk shine through so strongly that one could almost confuse these compositions as the Starman’s own children, if only it wasn’t for Lou Reed's subpar (but perfectly suited) vocal delivery and much more daring themes suggested here. The homosexuality, the drug (ab)use, and the bitter humour were far more outright when you handed Lou the mic, apathetically imperfect and unafraid of danger, gueing together the man’s most purposefully accessible work, as well as some of the most memorable and relevant songs written in the whole of the 70s. As a result, Lou went from that freaky Velvet Underground cult hero to a proper superstar, finally catching up to the ranks of his friends, and that’s actually what makes this album so intensely special. It’s imagining the scene at the time: Reed and Bowie and Iggy and Nico and Warhol all taking drugs together and talking about art as if they were in the middle of something so important and significant—because they were. And I wanna be there. More than here. More than anywhere else in the world.

Selected Accolades:
#194 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
#55 on NME’s list of the Greatest Albums of All Time
#44 on HMV/Channel 4/The Guardian/Classic FM’s poll of the Music of the Millennium

My Favourite Albums That I've Never Reviewed (Part 1): 02. Patti Smith - Horses

02. Patti Smith - Horses (1975)

Art Punk

Somewhat embarrassed by this, but it admittedly took me a few years to properly understand the power of Horses. The vocals were a bit too coarse for my virgin ears, not appreciating that Patti knew exactly how to work with everything she had. Her lyrics appeared too proudly overly-poetic to me, misunderstanding that she was a preacher, not trying to be clever but taking a stand, never in anger, but in a liberated defiance that answered to no one. Even the music seemed too cluttered yet uncomplicated back then, as I somehow missed the live quality behind it, as if Patti was inventing art punk in my own bedroom. Thankfully, I had enough insight to persevere based on its reputation alone, and one day BANG its importance gushed in, and never stopped gushing in, each listen exhibiting something new and perpetually growing all over me like a talking moss. Needless to say, I understand now. It’s a genuine legendary classic. A punk game changer which predates the Ramones, Sex Pistols and The Clash’s debuts. And it's potentially the single greatest influence on female fronted rock bands in history. So please don’t tell anyone I didn’t get it at first, I’d be so ashamed.

Selected Accolades:
Peaking at #47 on the Billboard 200 despite very little airplay
#3 in NME’s list of the Best Albums of 1975
#2 in Pazz & Jop's poll of the Best Albums of 1975
#10 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time
#44 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time
Preserved by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry in 2009
Both REM’s Michael Stipe and Courtney Love stated that this album was the reason they became musicians

My Favourite Albums That I've Never Reviewed (Part 1): 01. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)

01. Wu-Tang Clan - Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)

East Coast Hardcore Hip Hop

Nobody likes the Wu-Tang Clan more than the Wu-Tang Clan, and I can’t say I really blame them. The trick was that they came across like a gang made up from individuals who balanced each other out, independent personalities with their own identifiable deliveries, but lifting one another up by meeting dangerous freestyle chemistries in the middle of their geeky obsessions. And 36 Chambers was the almighty seed, the basic source which grew into the Wu-Trunk, sprouting off countless solo album branches, each infested with bees, yet none holding a sword to this debut. The dirty piano loops and trademark kung fu samples were loosely tied together with all the humourous gangster interludes and violent druggy themes we now expect from the genre, but never doing so excessively, just an arrogant mess, purely urban and abandoned with slop around the edges. And even they had no idea what they’d done. They had created a phenomenon, a main contender for the most timelessly influential hip hop record ever made, scribbling all over history and leading the way for some of the biggest names in the game today. Rappers are still desperately trying to make albums like this but they just can’t do it, you know.

Selected Accolades:
Peaking at #41 on the US Billboard 200 chart
Sold over 2 million copies in the United States
#36 on Pitchfork Media’s list of the Top 100 Favorite Records of the 1990s
#29 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Best Albums of the 90s
#82 on NME’s list of the Top 100 Albums of All Time

Read This Next Maybe

The Top 10 Albums Of The 60s
The Top 10 Albums Of The 60s

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Worst to Best: Quentin Tarantino

Worst to Best: Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino has always felt like the most tasteless of all directors to label as your favourite. It seemed like the moment he simultaneously fell upon everyone’s radar in my high school at the exact same time, there was not a youth with enough education to dare call anyone better, and still to this day, he seems like the laziest go-to choice for the casual movie viewers' title of 'greatest director in the world'. I lose respect for anyone who says this, even in our old age.

However, I must stay true to my tastebuds, and sheepishly surrender that, yes, indeed, Mr Tarantino may very well be the greatest director to appear in the scene in the last two decades. And I know why this is. It’s because he cheats! Everything Tarantino has ever done was shamelessly stolen without even trying to hide it, his entire filmography working like a mashed amalgamation of pop culture goodness, rebranded as his own with the original label still visible beneath; a copy cat without any reservations, essentially flexing his film knowledge out in the sun, like a rapid succession of pretentious winks for anyone else who had been paying as close attention as he has—which isn’t anyone. And it is exactly this theft that makes him so captivating. It’s his absolute adoration for the film medium itself, a love which runs deeper and more obvious than any other director that could possibly come to mind, no matter how far back you look. His very glee inside of the artform glows with each and every piece he’s presented us with, which may just be the most exciting and beautiful movie thing I’ve ever witnessed.

Ok, so now that I’ve exposed his exclusive technique of plagiarising for his own gain, let’s step back and admit that this is not a completely fair assessment in the bigger picture. All forgery aside, the true magic of Tarantino’s massacre is that he has got to be the most fearless director the mainstream has ever accepted into their circle of trust. He runs knives-first into the most needless depths of violence whilst shouting the n-word like it was an offhand conjunction; such a loud display that even he can’t hear the queues of offended people left behind, begging him to stop. How he’s managed to maintain this level of momentum without the masses boycotting his career is no secret: it is achieved by haphazardly balancing the most politically incorrect of scenes with the fairest portrayal of those who need a fair portrayal. Yes, he’ll write about a black man getting torn apart by dogs for racial motives all the while being called a 'nigger' by everyone in proximity. Yes, we’ll see various examples of a woman getting the blood beaten out of her eyeballs by multiple fists from larger men. But no one can deny that his lead characters are proud representatives of the people he appears to unjustly discriminate against on the surface level, and whether of an African descent or of the female genetics, these are often the heroes of his stories without shying away from treating them like shit and tackling these historic issues without any dread of a backlash, regardless of what Spike Lee may tell you. And that takes balls. Big fat hairy balls, that's what Quentin's got.

But none of this would matter in the context of the medium if he didn't make damn good movies. And he makes damn good movies. They are thorough, with their peculiar storylines delivered in a snazzy punchy style, with a careful focus on the backing soundtrack and loads of close-ups of feet, whilst refusing to shed the ambience of humour no matter how dire the circumstance. Oh, and his dialogue? It’s better than anybody’s, truly. All of which conspires together to make any attempt at a 'Worst to Best' list of Tarantino's work so insulting (albeit a rather easy and predictable effort to order) because, no matter whether discussing his greatest work or his most disappointing, every single one of his films reek of genius. All of them, it’s always genius. And I’ve seen each of them, many, many times.

So let’s get to it then, but before we do, please note that this list only considered full-length works which the man has written and directed himself. This means I did not even look at such films as My Best Friend's Birthday (it’s a short), Four Rooms (he was only responsible for one of four segments), Sin City (guest director), True Romance, Natural Born Killers, From Dusk till Dawn (he wrote those, but did not direct them) etc etc. If that’s ok, light me up a Red Apple, and let’s get rambling. Or even if this is not ok, Jesus Christ, Joe, fucking forget about it. It's beneath me. I'm Mr Pink. Let's move on.

Worst to Best: Quentin Tarantino: 09. Grindhouse: Death Proof

09. Grindhouse: Death Proof (2007)

Watch the Trailer
“To me, it’s all about my filmography, and I want to go out with a terrific filmography. Death Proof has got to be the worst movie I ever make. And for a left-handed movie, that wasn’t so bad, all right? So if that’s the worst I ever get, I’m good. But I do think one of those out-of-touch, old, limp, flaccid-dick movies costs you three good movies as far as your rating is concerned.”

Death Proof may be everyone's local ‘worst Tarantino ever made omg’, but whatever this flick lacks in execution, it weighs out with the man's inescapable love of film, more or less. Teaming up with Robert Rodriguez, the idea was to recreate a double grindhouse exploitation feature just like they did in the old days: two films back-to-back, one being Rodriguez’s waaay over the top Planet Terror, and the other, this: a tale of a stuntman who uses his death proof car to murder young ladies by crashing into shit, which is just lovely. Inspired by slasher films and muscle car movies from the 70s, the low-budget damaged tape vibe was stylistically impressive, but not even close to as impressive as the energetic high speed motor chases which employed absolutely no CGI whatsoever, meaning that (the Kill Bill stuntwoman) Zoë Bell's first on-screen role was an incredibly dangerous one, and verifying that even at his lowest, Quentin still knew no half measures. That said, all the overloaded fun value in the world could not escape the reality that this was pure junk food, a mindless formula consisting of fast cars, hot girls, and violent action thrown together to support one relatively flimsy plot, wholly lacking the depth that convinced Tarantino's followers to give up their pocket money in the first place. Fans of the genre may love it, but even the biggest fans of the director (me!) will more than likely be left with a craving. It's still awesome though!

Recurring contributors: Michael Bacall; Zoë Bell; Omar Doom; Helen Kim; Jonathan Loughran; James Parks; Michael Parks; Tina Rodriguez; Eli Roth; Kurt Russell

Worst to Best: Quentin Tarantino: 08. Jackie Brown

08. Jackie Brown (1997)

Watch the Trailer
“Jackie Brown is better the second time. And I think it’s even better the third. And the fourth time… maybe even the first time we see it we go, ‘Why are we doing all this hanging out? Why can’t we get to more of the plot?’ But now the second time you see it, and the third time you see it, you’re not thinking about the plot anymore. You’re waiting for the hangout scenes”

A crime thriller homage to 1970’s blaxploitation films, Jackie Brown was adapted from Elmore Leonard's 1992 novel Rum Punch, meaning this was the only film Tarantino has adapted from a previous work, which could be where the problem started. Telling the story of (you guessed it) Jackie Brown, here we have a middle aged air hostess who finds herself in the middle of a large money smuggling conflict, performed elegantly by 1970’s action film heroin Pam Grier, whose Golden Globe nominated role reportedly revitalised her career—a fact which does not surprise me whatsoever. But while Grier may have been the glue between the already impressively well chosen cast, general consensus is that this Tarantino contribution was lacking a certain something. Perhaps it was that, as his third film, the relaxed pacing, lengthy running time, and moderate storyline couldn’t compete with his previous two masterpieces' flashy fashion and rabid violence; a simpler submission far too grown-up for his standard bloodthirsty fans, who struggled to murder their neighbours to its down-to-earth narrative and lack of any comic book teenage appeal. But what you need to know before passing judgement is that these factors were all very calculated and intentional, which places Brown as still one fully commendable project, criminally underrated even as one of his worst, and requiring multiple views to fully appreciate, no matter what this low position tells you. Don't listen to me.

Recurring contributors: Michael Bowen; Sid Haig; Samuel L. Jackson; Venessia Valentino

Worst to Best: Quentin Tarantino: 07. Kill Bill: Volume 1

07. Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003)

Watch the Trailer
"Let's pretend we're little kids and we're making a Super 8 movie in our back yard, and you don't have all this shit. How would you achieve this effect? Ingenuity is important here!"

The fact that Uma Thurman helped Quentin Tarantino conceive the martial arts film Kill Bill during Pulp Fiction’s production becomes acutely obvious very quickly, as this film is undeniably The Uma Show. Her character, a nameless bride, wakes up to find her unborn baby is gone, and she seeks vengeance on the team of assassins she was once a part of. And you better believe she does just that, with so much bloody cartoon violence and such an immensely excessive death toll left in her footsteps, that there was no real need for any backstory here in the first place. Rather, this silly bit of cinema hyperspeeds along the surface, supported solely by flaunting fight scenes and sharp eye-candy, featuring characters void of any depth, who cling onto so many cultural nods that Quentin’s love for film is worn more proudly on his semen-encrusted director’s cap here, than probably anywhere else. However, any soul or intelligence deficiencies are expertly distracted by its overpowering entertainment value, swords swinging and guts spraying so abundantly that you can almost hear Tarantino laughing joyfully behind the camera, like the sick sadistic fuck we know he is. Granted, this film may only be half of the whole story, but once it reaches the credits, it doesn't feel like an incomplete piece of work whatsoever, and while it wasn’t every fan’s favourite cup of revenge, $180 million box office (his highest up to that point) doesn't lie really.

Recurring contributors: Zoë Bell; Michael Bowen; Laura Cayouette; Julie Dreyfus; Sid Haig; Samuel L. Jackson; Helen Kim; Jonathan Loughran; Michael Madsen; James Parks; Michael Parks; Stevo Polyi; Shana Stein; Bo Svenson; Uma Thurman; Venessia Valentino

Worst to Best: Quentin Tarantino: 06. Kill Bill: Volume 2

06. Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004)

Watch the Trailer
"What if a kid goes to school after seeing Kill Bill and starts slicing up other kids? You know, I'll take that chance!"

The Bride may have continued on her sweet little vengeful mission here, but the two Kill Bill parts were almost incomparable. Gone was the gore and the rushed action of the original, now replaced by personal developments, lengthy dialogue, and a carefully relaxed pacing which lay down with a significantly decreased body count (92 less, to be exact). Such an encouragement of heart over heart attacks was not as immediately appealing as the previous slaughter commotion, and initial fans struggled to stomach the anticlimax, failing to appreciate how the additional substance justified the first part’s absurd assault, ultimately leaving the second volume as the far more important of the two. It gave the first bloody mess a purpose and a better context, which I guess is what happens when you split one film in half, but whatever, that doesn't matter. What does matter, however, is that many used the Kill Bill chapters as landmark examples of where Tarantino was supposedly spiralling, the public doubting whether he had any good films left in him whatsoever. Thankfully, hindsight has proved them all deadly wrong. Instead, time has passed and other great (great!) films were produced, and now we can all appreciate this affair as yet another fantastic and worthy Tarantino work, because he always had the talent to make any movie he wanted. He just wanted to make these movies.

Recurring contributors: Zoë Bell; Michael Bowen; Laura Cayouette; Julie Dreyfus; Sid Haig; Samuel L. Jackson; Helen Kim; Jonathan Loughran; Michael Madsen; James Parks; Michael Parks; Stevo Polyi; Shana Stein; Bo Svenson; Uma Thurman; Venessia Valentino

Worst to Best: Quentin Tarantino: 05. The Hateful Eight

05. The Hateful Eight (2015)

Watch the Trailer
“Twice per season, those shows [Bonanza, The Virginian and The High Chaparral] would have an episode where a bunch of outlaws would take the lead characters hostage [...] I don't like that storyline in a modern context, but I love it in a Western, where you would pass halfway through the show to find out if they were good or bad guys, and they all had a past that was revealed. I thought, 'What if I did a movie starring nothing but those characters? No heroes, no Michael Landons. Just a bunch of nefarious guys in a room, all telling backstories that may or may not be true. Trap those guys together in a room with a blizzard outside, give them guns, and see what happens.”

Of all the entries from the Tarantino cannon, The Hateful Eight had unquestionably the most turbulent history. Personally, I was somewhat disappointed that this mystery film was yet another Western, initially envisioned as a Django Unchained sequel, indicating that our special Quentin had found his passion and it didn’t coincide with mine. Even more damaging, was when the script leaked almost two years before the release date, enraging the man so passionately that he nearly shelved the whole idea—imagine! It’s a goddamn blessing, then, that neither of these concerns were warranted, as this movie turned out to be the man’s most thought out piece of work since Pulp Fiction, as well as furthering the impressive continuation of his second wind. Telling the backstories of various heinous characters who are trapped in a cabin due to a snowstorm, it reveals its intent at a heavy pacing by using all the signature Tarantino carnage and dialogue you demanded, really forcing the viewer into the claustrophobic room whilst achieving so much stress with so little accessories, communicating like a stage play over any usual film techniques. Which is to summarise, that there wasn’t all that much to work with here, and in that way, demonstrated that Tarantino was still challenging himself above challenging any of us, which is invaluable. And then... there’s Jennifer Jason Leigh. My God.

Recurring contributors: Zoë Bell; Bruce Dern; Walton Goggins; Dana Gourrier; Lee Horsley; Samuel L. Jackson; Keith Jefferson; Michael Madsen; Belinda Owino; James Parks; Tim Roth; Kurt Russell; Craig Stark

Worst to Best: Quentin Tarantino: 04. Django Unchained

04. Django Unchained (2012)

Watch the Trailer
"What happened during slavery times is a thousand times worse than [what] I show. So if I were to show it a thousand times worse, to me, that wouldn't be exploitative, that would just be how it is. If you can't take it, you can't take it.”

Surprisingly, for such a latter day film, none came with the same potent controversy as Django Unchained did. Telling the tale of a freed slave attempting to rescue his wife, this extravagant Spaghetti Western tackled the dark side of black history without giving a fuck in the way only Tarantino would dare. It was called an exploitative, politically incorrect, inaccurate and tasteless portrayal of slavery, crudely balancing the revolting shock of the era with a cheesy playfulness, without approaching the harsh topic with caution or to even turn around and apologise for what he has done. However, it was this lack of restraint that made Django Unchained potentially his most entertaining (and funniest!) flick, delivering on everything his past talents had promised (the cartoon violence, the chatty narrative, the rich development, etc) with the most immaculate of immaculate casting to back him up, as long as you ignore the director’s worst cameo yet. Take Jamie Foxx’s main character, for example, as the greatest hero in Quentin’s factory (in my opinion), whilst Leonardo DiCaprio gives a career defining performance, and round it off with Samuel L. Jackson's uniquely treacherous character, a risky individual for an actor who usually just plays himself. That said, none of these outstanding acts managed to out-stand Christoph Waltz, who stole the whole fucking film as his own, which I guess is just what he does. Sadly, these pretty faces may not have been enough to carry such a tiring length to the very end, and most agree that the picture did beg for a small edit, but as a whole, this ride was so fresh and wild that it was here and only here that Tarantino’s genius was solidified as something beyond any reasonable fluke. Because, by this point, he's made far too many treasures for his skills to be anything but God-given. Bang!

Recurring contributors: Michael Bacall; Zoë Bell; Michael Bowen; Laura Cayouette; Bruce Dern; Walton Goggins; Dana Gourrier; Lee Horsley; Samuel L. Jackson; Keith Jefferson; Belinda Owino; James Parks; Michael Parks; Craig Stark; David Steen; Shana Stein; Christoph Waltz

Worst to Best: Quentin Tarantino: 03. Inglourious Basterds

03. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Watch the Trailer
"I'm going to find a place that actually resembles, in one way or another, the Spanish locales they had in Spaghetti Westerns – a no man's land. With U.S. soldiers and French peasants and the French resistance and German occupation troops, it was kind of a no man's land. That will really be my Spaghetti Western but with World War II iconography. But the thing is, I won't be period specific about the movie. I'm not just gonna play a lot of Édith Piaf and Andrews Sisters. I can have rap, and I can do whatever I want. It's about filling in the viscera."

When it came to the intentionally misspelled Inglourious Basterds, even Tarantino knew he was onto a winner. The American-German war film (unlike any other war film) took it upon itself to rewrite the past however it saw fit, guaranteed to piss historians right off with its inaccurate tale of vengeful Jews and their violent plans against Nazi leaders—which was just the type of irresponsible idea that Quentin would be very precious about. So much so, that he spent over a decade writing it, a feat that alone verified his adoration for cinema, especially when ‘love of cinema’ was an essential part of the whole plot. And his dedication paid off, as this was the director’s undeniable comeback film, finally a real movie after such a strew of self indulgent wobbles, setting the stage for the greats that followed soon after (even if none of them were quite as good as this). It may have been a silly plot if you stepped back and thought about it, but he never gave you the chance to step back or think, rather cutting into your forehead with a devilishly devious story which did not rely on artiness or excessive violence to express itself, ultimately standing up there with the very best of his best, and a complete masterpiece in my respectful opinion. Hell, Christoph Waltz even won an Oscar for his part, because, goddamn, he made this film what it was, as much as this film made him who he is right now today.

Recurring contributors: Michael Bacall; Zoë Bell; Omar Doom; Julie Dreyfus; Samuel L. Jackson; Harvey Keitel; Tina Rodriguez; Eli Roth; Bo Svenson; Christoph Waltz

Worst to Best: Quentin Tarantino: 02. Reservoir Dogs

02. Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Watch the Trailer
“Reservoir Dogs is a small film, and part of its charm was that it was a small film. I'd probably make it for $3 million now so I'd have more breathing room.“

I was far too young when I watched Reservoir Dogs for the first time. I can still remember it all too well: little Jared, witnessing the aftermath of a jewellery heist gone wrong, criminals speculating that they had a cop in their crew, stitching together the nonlinear plot with pop culture references and extravagant profanity, the story exclusively herded by the criminal’s individual personalities, entirely dependent on their natural dialogue and quick wit to make this show work, because there wasn’t enough money for anything else. And this fucked me up. The reason for my youthful troubles wasn't so much the grisly violence, as Dogs' bloodshed was quite tame in comparison to the exaggerated disturbances that came later in the man's career, but rather, it was the delivery and consequence of said violence that made everything all that more unnerving. So ruthless. So ugly. So sadistically sick that even horror film pioneer Wes Craven walked out of its initial screening due the savage nastiness, and that’s about as complimentary as you can get. Meanwhile, the rest of us called it a cult classic, the greatest independent film of all time, and even the greatest debut of all time, none of which I can disagree with. Fuck me if I can think of anything more worthy of those crowns, can you?

Recurring contributors: Steve Buscemi; Linda Kaye; Harvey Keitel; Michael Madsen; Stevo Polyi; Tim Roth; David Steen; Rich Turner

Worst to Best: Quentin Tarantino: 01. Pulp Fiction

01. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Watch the Trailer
"I got the idea of doing something that novelists get a chance to do but filmmakers don't: telling three separate stories, having characters float in and out with different weights depending on the story [... the idea] was basically to take like the oldest chestnuts that you've ever seen when it comes to crime stories—the oldest stories in the book.... You know, 'Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace's Wife'—the oldest story about ‘the guy's gotta go out with the big man's wife and don't touch her.’ You know, you've seen the story a zillion times [...] I'm using old forms of storytelling and then purposely having them run awry [...] Part of the trick is to take these movie characters, these genre characters and these genre situations and actually apply them to some of real life's rules and see how they unravel."

Ok, so here we go. With several disjointed violent crime tales interconnecting everything all out of order, Pulp Fiction is at least four films rather than one. It was reportedly 'too demented' for Columbia TriStar, and instead became the first fully-funded film Miramax ever put out. It demanded the attention and concentration of multiple viewings to fully appreciate the dark wit and sharp sleaziness of this director, one who had gained full confidence without losing his B-movie edge inside of an overindulgent-prostate, like pretty much everything else that came out of him afterwards. You can actually watch this movie as many times as you like, I’ve seen it a million times and want to watch it right now. Its pop culture references and countless homages were twisted so far from their original mothers that they became unrecognisable, whilst every (every!) scene from the film became easily parodied cinema classics themselves. It single-handedly revitalised Travolta’s career. It was the first 'indie' film to surpass $100 million. It was nominated for seven Oscars. It was an influential masterpiece, essentially a phenomenon, and the best film Tarantino ever made. One of the best films ever made? Perhaps the best film ever made.

Recurring contributors: Steve Buscemi; Samuel L. Jackson; Linda Kaye; Harvey Keitel; Tim Roth; Uma Thurman; Rich Turner; Venessia Valentino

Read This Next Maybe

Worst To Best: Stanley Kubrick
Worst To Best: Stanley Kubrick

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now

one for each hour of the day!

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now


Rule #1: Some bands are basically glorified solo outfits.
The bands on this list are group efforts. This means any musical collection that has a definite 'face' member will not be included. Said line-up must also have two or more original members throughout their career.
This rule excludes bands such as: Nick Cave and the Bad Seed; Sun Kil Moon; Tame Impala; Iron Maiden; Queens Of The Stone Age; Brian Jonestown Massacre; Guns n Roses; Cradle of Filth; The Cure; Of Montreal (which is a shame, because they were one of the main influences for this article); The Drones (also a massive shame); Nine Inch Nails, Xiu Xiu; Marilyn Manson; The Residents (??); Pile; GWAR; Ulver; Opeth; Bon Iver; Devin Townsend; Alcest; Cymbals Eat Guitars; LCD Soundsystem; Behemoth; and Napalm Death (who have no original members, lol).
Note: If this rule upsets you, do not fear, because I once wrote an article similar to this one called The 30 Greatest Music Legends Of Our Time. Maybe you'll find what you're looking for there.

Rule #2: Any breakups or hiatuses are no good.
Obviously any band that has broken up does not apply, because they are not in the world right now. This criteria also applies to bands that have had an extended break in their career or with a gap between records longer than 10 years.
This rule excludes bands such as: Portishead; My Bloody Valentine; Swans; The Pixies; Dillinger Escape Plan (pretty much); Blur; Megadeath; Godspeed You! Black Emperor; Killing Joke; Fleetwood Mac; Sonic Youth; At the Drive-In; Black Sabbath; The Stooges; Sleater-Kinney; Faith No More; Fugazi; Tool; Septicflesh; and The Rolling Stones.

Rule #3: New bands have a lot of room to fuck it up.
To ensure some level of security, bands with less than four albums were not considered.
This rule excludes bands such as: Vampire Weekend; The Hotelier; La Dispute; Ice Age; Ghost; Glassjaw; Everything Everything; Ought; MGMT; alt-J; Deafheaven; Wardruna; and Japandroids.

Rule #4: The word "band" has a definition.
Call me old fashioned, but if you don't play instruments, you are not a band.
This rule excludes groups such as: Death Grips; Wu-Tang Clan; Daft Punk; The Roots (even if they almost apply in recent years); and OutKast.

Rule #5: This is not a personal list, and critical consistency is key.
To help us distinguish which careers are good enough for some general concurrence, no bands with a Metacritic score of 66 or less were allowed in. I'm sorry, but it was the best solution I could come up with.
This rule excludes groups such as: Metallica; Korn; Kiss; Placebo; Aerosmith; Bloodhound Gang; and Blondie.

Rule #6: Ok, so this is kind of a personal list after all.
At the end of the day, I made this list, and so I have to be happy above anyone else. Which means there are certain massive bands that really should be here, except I don't actually like them that much (even if I do still like them somewhat maybe).
This rule excludes groups such as: U2; AC/DC; Green Day; Foo Fighters; The Strokes; System of a Down; Linkin Park; Arctic Monkeys; Cloud Nothings; Deerhunter; and Muse.

Rule #7: I can't write an endless list here, I'm busy.
Finally, there were bands I really really love and who obeyed my guidelines perfectly and deserved to be here, but were left out for one reason or another. 24 is a nice number. I couldn't please everyone.
This rule painfully excludes groups such as: Deerhoof; OK Go; and Rolo Tomassi. UPDATE: I also overlooked some. For example, Rancid. I'm sorry.

If this is ok with you, it's ok with me, sort of.

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 24. The Flaming Lips

24. The Flaming Lips

Active Since 1983
17 Studio Albums
74% Metacritic Average

I have an awkward relationship with The Flaming Lips. On the (bigger) hand, I adore their lush psychedelic spaciness, as their cupid's arrow laced with LCD introduces the perfect love affair between electro doodlings and indie organics, well deserving of their three Grammy Awards and the dedicated cult following attached to their balloons for decades now. This mass approval comes up particularly strong when discussing 1999’s The Soft Bulletin (an album Pitchfork called the third best of the 90s with a rare perfect 10/10 score) and 2002’s Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (my personal favourite, which was Rolling Stone's 27th and Uncut's 11th best albums of the the noughties). But then, my other hand taps me on the shoulder and reminds me that The Lips have probably taken far too many drugs as time has gone on, and their art has suffered as a result, often falling a bit far over the 'weird line' for me, please allow me to explain. Exhibit A and B would be their absolute rape of classic albums by covering The Dark Side of the Moon and Sgt Pepper, both of which were such a complete mess that they even made me rethink my love for a lot of this band's other pretentious projects. Like 1997's Zaireeka, a record consisting of four separate CDs intended to be played simultaneously on four different stereos to produce a one album experience. Or like 2011's Gummy Song Skull, a gummy shaped skull with a gummy shaped brain hidden inside of it with a USB of music hidden inside of that. Or like 2012's vinyl version of The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends, which was pressed with many of the contributor's blood in between the grooves. Which I guess is pretty cool, after all. Perhaps the truth for my uncertainty is for more personal reasons, if I'm honest. For you see, I am currently blocked from commenting on any of The Flaming Lips' Facebook posts, due to my persistent compulsion to remind them of their 2011 song called Is David Bowie Dying?, a track which became extra tasteless when the man actually did die. Oh well, it doesn't matter, I spend too much time on Facebook, and either way, they’re a pretty heavyweight swing to smack things off here, so we’re starting off well, I thought.

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 23. elbow

23. elbow

Active Since 1997
7 Studio Albums
79% Metacritic Average

You know, interestingly enough, it was rock band Elbow’s very recently wonderful 2017 release, Little Fictions, which convinced me of their dependable genius, and I can only blame myself for such negligence. Admittedly, I’ve been very behind when it comes to this outfit, having only first come into contact with them via 2011’s Mercury Prize nominated record Build a Rocket Boys!, which made an instant fan out of me, just add water, stir twice, call me in the morning. Only after this fact I ventured deeper into their back catalogue, surprised to discover 2008's The Seldom Seen Kid, their oft go-to 'greatest work', called the 17th (by NME) and the 8th (by Q) best album of that year, as well as winning the Mercury Prize back then, which was like pouring cement around their bodies and making permanent statues of their presence within my mind. Oh, ok, I get it now! That's why each of their seven studio albums have hit the UK top 15! That's why seven of their singles hit the UK top 40! That's why they won the 2009 Brit Award for Best British Group! That's why they were chosen to write the BBC’s 2012 Summer Olympics theme tune! Because they are a great band! One of the greatest! In the world! Right now!

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 22. Depeche Mode

22. Depeche Mode

Active Since 1980
14 Studio Albums
68% Metacritic Average

You've probably heard of Depeche Mode, right? One of the 50 bands that changed the world, so says Q Magazine? The 98th Greatest Artists of All Time, so says VH1? The 2nd Greatest Artists of electronic music, so says Electronic Music Realm? The band who made Violator? The 342nd Greatest Album of all time, and 57th Best Album of the 90s, so says Rolling Stone? That group with five Grammy nominations and over 100 million records sold worldwide? One of the only 11 UK acts to have an album (Songs of Faith and Devotion) hit #1 in the UK and the US at the same time? 50 songs in the UK Singles Chart? 13 top 10 albums in the UK chart? You know? Depeche Mode?

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 21. Wilco

21. Wilco

Active Since 1994
10 Studio Albums
81% Metacritic Average

Like most hipster music, Pitchfork knew of alternative rock band Wilco before you did. They called 1996’s Being There the 88th best of the decade, and 1999’s Summerteeth the 31st, foreshadowing the moment when the rest of the world woke up and went 'shit!'. Said collective 'shit!' came with 2001’s monumental Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, which has an interesting backstory too, if you have a minute. Basically, their label Reprise Records rejected the release and then dropped Wilco in the same breath, so untroubled with their decision that they even allowed the act to keep the rights of the album for free. Nonesuch Records snapped them up shortly after, released the record, and before anyone knew what happened, they had a modern day classic on their hands. It was called the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd best album of the decade by Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and Paste respectively, while Q readers rated it the 100th best album ever. Such a massive fuckup on Reprise's part prompted critics to use this very story as a key example to prove how ignorant the current music industry is, whilst Wilco themselves just laughed all the way into the critical acclaimed treasure chest. Granted, they never quite lived up to the Yankee hype afterwards, but they came pretty close with 2004’s A Ghost is Born which won two Grammys, and 2007’s Sky Blue Sky which was nominated for one, while Billboard, Paste, Uncut, and The A.V. Club all dubbed it in the top 10 of that year (Rolling Stone going one step further and calling it the 97th best album of the whole decade). Their subsequent releases have never been too far off various publications’ win lists, and that is why they have been called 'one of America's most consistently interesting bands' and 'America's foremost rock impressionists' by Rolling Stone, eventually earning them the reputation as the 'American Radiohead' by others. And Radiohead are huge!

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 20. Melt-Banana

20. Melt-Banana

Active Since 1992
9 Studio Albums
80% Metacritic Average

If you’ve never heard of Melt-Banana, don't worry, because there is an understandable reason for this. Said reason is because the male/female Japanese duo make quite the abrasive type of music, rushing down an experimental pop-electronic racetrack with their feet flat on the grindcore pedal, Ichirou Agata imitating sirens and laser effects by using his guitar alone whilst Yasuko Onuki blasts her high pitched Engrish raps at great speeds, freaking your heart into palpitations without any regards to health and safety. Just take their 1994 25-track album Speak Squeak Creak, for example, which ends with an untitled song made up from all the other 24 tracks played simultaneously, and then you may begin to understand how such an underground act caught the attention of one equally weird Mike Patton, the God of versatility himself. After their Jim O'Rourke recorded/Steve Albini produced Scratch or Stitch album in 1995, Master Patton took them out on tour with his band Mr. Bungle, a move which may have resulted in much confusion and hostility from the crowds, but did wonders for their career, now considered one of the most vital punk outfits Japan has ever offered. They were even asked to record a song for Cartoon Network's Perfect Hair Forever, which is like, the best cartoon ever made!

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 19. Future Islands

19. Future Islands

Active Since 2006
5 Studio Albums
78% Metacritic Average

Like any good synthpop band (or any good band in general, really), a lot of weight from Future Islands’ accomplishments ride on top of the vocalist’s ability to stand out from the herd, and very few artists on this list can boast such a recognisable tone as that of Samuel T. Herring. His baritone depths with occasional growls and barks rough up the new wave indietronica melodics like a melancholic nail to splinter this genre's trademark glossy instrumentation, which is why the trend radars have been going mad for these guys during the last decade. 2011’s On the Water peaking at #12 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart aside, it was mainly their (excellently deceptively titled) Singles album which blew the big holes into the end-of-year critic’s lists. To name a few, it was called one of the best records of 2014 by Pitchfork (22), Amazon (16), Gigwise (12), BBC Radio 6 Music (11), NME (11), The Telegraph (10), Q Magazine (9), SPIN (7), and Time Out New York (4), all the while hitting #11 and #10 on the US Top Alternative Albums and Top Rock Albums respectively. Verdict is still open on The Far Field which came out earlier this month, but initial reaction has been: it’s also great! What a relief!

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 18. Pearl Jam

18. Pearl Jam

Active Since 1990
10 Studio Albums
75% Metacritic Average

Pearl Jam may have been one of the essential four messengers of the 90s Seattle grunge movement, but they are the only ones who have never gone on hiatus or have had a lead singer die on them. Due to this commitment, over time, they have outsold all of their contemporaries (except Nirvana, of course) with a colossal 60 million copies worldwide, and were voted the greatest American rock band of all time by a USA Today reader poll. Their 1991 fancy debut album Ten caused the greatest amount of noise, taking its sweet time to be appreciated, but eventually hitting #2 on the Billboard 200 chart over a year after its inital release, now 13 times platinum, the 15th greatest guitar album ever (according to Guitar World), either the 42nd or the 20th best album of all time (depending who you speak to, Q Magazine or Rolling Stone Germany), and the greatest debut of all time (according to Rolling Stone readers). But the fact that they’ve released nine generally respected albums since that point isn’t what makes the Jam so interesting, but rather their non-traditional approach to promotion, refusing to make proper music videos, rejecting all interview requests, and once even boycotting Ticketmaster, compelling Rolling Stone Magazine to report that the band have 'spent much of the past decade deliberately tearing apart their own fame.' It’s no wonder, then, that they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame earlier this month, on their very first year of eligibility, because they are a very special gift for all of us to enjoy and cherish.

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 17. mewithoutYou

17. mewithoutYou

Active Since 2000
6 Studio Albums
82% Metacritic Average

Considering every entry within this article, none are as hard to defend as mewithoutYou. This is because I included them for one reason and one reason only: I like them a lot. It's purely personal, me myself alone, adoring this band as something way up there with the best of them, due to their offbeat album concepts (like 2006’s Brother, Sister's attempt at tying symbolism to animals, or 2009’s It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright focusing on the spiritual love of God, or 2012’s Ten Stories relaying the incident of some traveling circus train crash) all of which are delivered by one of the most recognisable voices in the rock scene, thanks to Aaron Weiss’ dynamic spoken word/mumble/shouty range. Such love for the underrated outfit may not come with the sales or prizes to put any weight behind my punch, because these things don't exist, but let me assure you that everything is fine and well in my head and I will sleep even better tonight just by letting them take a seat here. Maybe this is just me doing my part? Maybe one day someone will reference me for a change? 'mewithoutYou are the 15th greatest band in the world right now, according to the Juice Nothing blog', wouldn't that be neat? I agree!

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 16. NOFX

16. NOFX

Active Since 1983
13 Studio Albums
71% Metacritic Average

NOFX are the embodiment of punk rock self-sufficiency and integrity. Having sold over 8 million records worldwide, they are one of the most successful independent bands of all time, with their 1994 record Punk in Drublic in particular standing as one the greatest (6th, according to Kerrang!) and most essential (4th, according to Rock Sound) pop punk albums ever made. Additional props must always be blessed towards bassist and lead vocalist Fat Mike, as his wisdom extends beyond his already impressive lyrical content (which covers such an important range of topics such as social inequalities, drug abuse, and sexual deviancy) and goes onto his foundation and ownership of one of the largest independent labels in North America, Fat Wreck Chords, who have boasted punk rock royalty to the likes of Rancid, Lagwagon, Leftöver Crack, Anti-Flag, Nerf Herder, Rise Against, Propagandhi, and Sick of It All in their time. He is also the bassist for supergroup cover band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, the once temporary bassist for Against Me!, and organised that whole Rock Against Bush campaign, a project which unified like-minded musicians against George W. Bush’s policies. But even if none of this impresses you (???), or even if this sounds like an exclusive Fat Mike dick-suck, simply read the band’s autobiography NOFX: The Hepatitis Bathtub and Other Stories, which not only proves the group's debaucherous punk ethics, but also came with a free bath towel (depending on which edition you manage to get hold of).

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 15. Manic Street Preachers

15. Manic Street Preachers

Active Since 1986
12 Studio Albums
76% Metacritic Average

There is a fair amount of criticism working against the Manics for ultimately being one frustratingly inconsistent outfit, and this is a fair judgement. However, I am an optimist, and where some see dips, I see rises, considering the band to have an almost impossible amount of comeback records, routinely rising from the dead without any indication of retiring just yet, whilst even their worst records are not that bad. I mean, 10 million albums sold, 11 NME Awards, 8 Q Awards, 4 BRIT awards, and reaching the UK #1 three times doesn't lie, a decent collection of wins that stem largely from a solid 90s run of championed releases, which includes: 1994’s masterpiece The Holy Bible (called Q’s 18th, Melody Maker’s 15th, Kerrang!’s 10th, and a BBC Newsnight’s NUMBER ONE greatest album in the world, as well as NME’s Darkest Album Ever Made); 1996’s Everything Must Go (NME/Kerrang!’s #2 and Melody Maker/Vox #1 album of the year, as well as Q’s 11th of all time); and 1998’s This is My Truth (NME’s 24th and Kerrang!’s 14th of the year). They spent the following few albums hiccupping a bit, but then nine years later, they rediscovered themselves with Send Away the Tigers (Q’s 16th of 2007), then Journal for Plagued Lovers (Mojo’s 20th, NME’s 14th, The Guardian’s 11th, Q’s 5th, and Drowned in Sound’s 4th of 2009), and then, finally, Futurology (Mojo’s 20th, XFM’s 11th, and Q’s 4th of 2014) all of which adds up to a monster assemblage of records over three decades, a feat most bands would sell their rhythm guitarist for. Which may or may not be what happened, actually, as member Richey Edwards' 1995 disappearance is still a major part of their folklore, without a doubt one of the most fascinating anorexic drug-addicted self-harming presumably-dead heroes from the 27 club of recent times. His story is worth the read alone.

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 14. Gojira

14. Gojira

Active Since 1996
6 Studio Albums
77% Metacritic Average

Gojira have been climbing the success ladder rather rapidly in recent years. It appears that per each release, theses French dudes shove their progressive metal into our faces, working only to lift the group further up as one of the most impressive new-ish bands that this genre is providing. Their fourth album, 2008’s The Way of All Flesh, was already causing some fuss with PopMatters and Metal Hammer calling it the 8th and 5th greatest of the year respectively, but when my favourite Gojira release, L'Enfant Sauvage, came out in 2012, there was no denying that they were the real deal, with The A.V. Club, Entertainment Weekly, Loudwire, and PopMatters all happily honouring the record in that year’s top 10. This momentum has shown no intentions of dawdling either, as even last year’s much calmer Magma album elbowed its way straight to the top as the greatest metal album 2016 had to offer, according to the likes of WhatCulture, Ghost Cult Magazine, and the mighty Metal Hammer once again. Even the suits at the Grammys noticed, nominating said record for the Best Rock Album, but they lost to Cage the Elephant—which is fine. Way more acceptable than losing to Blink-182 or Panic! At the Disco anyway, which could have happened.

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 13. Slayer

13. Slayer

Active Since 1981
12 Studio Albums
75% Metacritic Average

Credited as one of the largest influential metal groups of all time, Slayer are probably the most impressive cog in the 'big four' thrash metal band machine, partially because they never went soft (Metallica *cough*), but primarily because of 1986’s insanely violent album Reign in Blood, an instant classic which Kerrang! called the 27th greatest heavy metal record of all time (as well as the heaviest album of all), Metal Hammer called the best metal album of the last 20 years, and critic Chad Bowar argued as potentially the best thrash album ever recorded—a statement I am wholeheartedly willing to sell my soul for (terms and conditions apply). But their five Grammy nominations, two Grammy wins, and 4.9 million albums sold worldwide are nothing compared to their controversial subject matter; an onslaught of topics featuring necrophilia, genocide, Satanism, Nazism, and terrorism, all of which have caused album delays, album bans, lawsuits, and general upset from the whole of our precious society. Perfect! They were even once accused as a predominant catalyst for the rape and murder of 15 year old girl Elyse Pahle, a crime from the hands of Jacob Delashmutt, Joseph Fiorella, and Royce Casey, who claimed they received detailed instructions from the Slayer songs Postmortem and Dead Skin Mask to carry out the deed. The band actually got sued due to these killers' confessions, but they ultimately won the case because, thankfully, the judge in charge noted the stupidity of blaming musicians for the acts of blatantly mentally troubled individuals, and everything was peaceful in the community once again. Thank God and enter to the realm of Satan!

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 12. Spoon

12. Spoon

Active Since 1993
9 Studio Albums
83% Metacritic Average

What I’d like to talk about when it comes to experimental indie art rock band Spoon, is Metacritic itself, a website which aggregates critical reviews into a nice overall score per an outfit’s album, ensuring we get a lovely round average figure without all the noise of individual opinion confusing the issue between. Unfortunately, this group’s 1998 release A Series of Sneaks predated said site's practice, which is a shame, because when several publications called it one of the best albums of the 90s (Pitchfork at 54, and Treble at 9), you know it would have scored high. But no matter, let's move on, and our story truly begins with 2001’s Girls Can Tell, Pitchfork’s 96th favourite album of the 2000s, with the total Metacritic score of 85. Now look over here, at 2002’s Kill the Moonlight, Rolling Stone’s 51st, Pitchfork’s 19th, and Rhapsody’s 5th greatest album of the decade, with the total Metacritic score of 88. Next up, we have 2005’s Gimme Fiction, Rhapsody’s 19th best album of the decade, with the total Metacritic score of 84, followed by 2007’s Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Rolling Stone’s 10th, Tiny Mix Tapes’ 9th, and Pitchfork’s 7th best album of the year, as well as Q’s 66th and Pitchforks 35th best album of the decade, with a total Metacritic score of 84. Rolling Stone’s 22nd and Exclaim!'s 9th best album of 2010, Transference, got a Metacritic 80, whilst 2014’s They Want My Soul, (The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop 9th best album of the year), hit a Metacritic of 81. Which is why I held my breath when Hot Thoughts was released last month, shooing away my threatening panic attacks which suggested that the album might wreck this entries' entire point with a subpar release, except, of course, this is Spoon, and they did it again with an 82 Metacritic score this time, thankfully fastening my overall gist nice and firm. Basically, if you don't get where I'm going here, allow me to break it down for you: any Metascore above 80 is known as being Universally Acclaimed, the best of the best, and in all my years I have never seen a group on that site with such a clear run of consistency over so many releases, truly the kings of this kudos, higher than anyone else you may find in this article, super rad and ultra nice. But wait! Here’s the real kicker: they still aren’t even that famous! How is this possible! Is it your fault? Maybe it's your fault! You better go listen to Spoon right now, buddy.

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 11. TV on the Radio

11. TV on the Radio

Active Since 2001
5 Studio Albums
83% Metacritic Average

Despite 2006’s Return to Cookie Mountain standing as easily my favourite TVOTR record ever (as well as Spin’s album of that year) it was this American indie band’s third album Dear Science which really captured critics tastebuds, being labelled 2008’s Album of the Year by Rolling Stone, Guardian, Spin, A.V. Club, MTV, and Entertainment Weekly, as well as a Pitchfork Media’s readers poll. Pretty solid worship right there! Unforutnately, as things tend to do, the accolades have dwindled slightly per every following (still great!) release since that time, but the multi-talented members (who each play more than one instrumental role, by the way) extend well beyond their own work, members having collaborated with the likes of such heavyweight artists as David Bowie, Mike Patton, NiN, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Scarlett Johansson, Foals, Bat for Lashes, Oh Land, Kelis, Santigold, Liars, and MF DOOM (owed massively in part to guitarist Dave Sitek’s impressive list of studio work). Sadly, and I'd hate to end on a downer note, but the TVOTR brotherhood has only ever had one member change, being that of Gerard Smith who died in 2011 from lung cancer. They admirably chose to never replace him, keeping their bloodline as pure as it ever was despite injury. Actually, wait, let's end on a happy note after all, did I ever tell you about the time I went backstage after one of their shows and met some of them? Because I did!

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 10. Red Hot Chili Peppers

10. Red Hot Chili Peppers

Active Since 1983
11 Studio Albums
68% Metacritic Average

Oh, believe me, I feel the resistant roll of many eyeballs at the very mentions of this outdated mainstream hypersexed waffly funky-junk jam American rock band, but the facts boom louder than any of our unified opinions, and we cannot hide from their 80 million records sold worldwide, or their six out of sixteen nominated Grammy wins, or their 2012 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, or their 'most successful group in alternative rock radio history' status, with more number-one singles (13), more cumulative weeks at number one (85), and more top-ten songs (25) on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart than anyone EVER. And while their lesser-than (read: generally hated) releases are well documented, they have still survived through severe drug addictions and excessively high member losses (even once due to a heroin-related overdose death) without any dip in persistence, continuing to reign as one exceptionally active musical entity, their joyous success bouncing upon the highest magnitude of rockstar royalty, already of a legendary historical importance, preaching love and friendship driven by a telepathic connection between some of the most naturally gifted members available on our Earth. Oh, and remember when John Frusciante was in the band? Jeeeeesus Chriiiiiisttt.

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 09. Meshuggah

09. Meshuggah

Active Since 1987
8 Studio Albums
81% Metacritic Average

Swedishy experimantelly thrashy jazzy progressivey deathy metal band, Meshuggah, are fucking insane. With such complex time signatures, hyper-speed tempos, and coarse vocal savagery, they have been called one of the ten most important hard rock and heavy metal bands by Rolling Stone, as well as the most important metal band right now by Alternative Press. But while they basically invented Djent, making them one of the most significantly copied acts in the underground, any mainstream appeal has mostly eluded them, which might be unfair, but at least keeps the elitists happy. That said, their attention is flourishing, with 1995’s Destroy Erase Improve rated the 42nd Greatest Prog Rock Album of All Time according to Rolling Stone, and 2012’s excellent Koloss debuting at #17 in the United States charts. 2016’s The Violent Sleep Of Reason did even better, with PopMatters and Rolling Stone calling it the 2nd best metal album of the year, and Revolver calling it the 4th best album overall, but none of this impresses me much. What impresses me, is a paragraph like this one, shamelessly copied and pasted directly from Wikipedia:
“In polymeters typically used by Meshuggah, the guitars might play in odd meters such as 5/16 or 17/16, while drums play in 4/4. One particular example of [drummer] Haake's use of polymeter is 4/4 against 23/16 bimeter, in which he keeps the hi-hat and ride cymbal in 4/4 time but uses the snare and double bass drums in 23/16 time. On Rational Gaze (from Nothing), Haake plays simple 4/4 time, hitting the snare on each third beat, for 16 bars. At the same time, the guitars and bass are playing same quarter notes, albeit in a different time signature; eventually both sides meet up again at the 64th beat.”
Yip, that’ll do it!

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 08. Sigur Rós

08. Sigur Rós

Active Since 1994
7 Studio Albums
78% Metacritic Average

The majority of the public's Sigur Rós love falls upon their 1999 sophomore album Ágætis byrjun, which was called the 27th most Cosmic Rock Album by Q and Mojo, and one of the best albums of the whole 2000s according to Rolling Stone and Pitchfork (29 and 8 respectively). But, as we all know, it takes more than just one exceptional record to solidify a career as something supernatural, and thankfully these Icelandic heroes have maintained an aura of ethereal coherence from inception to present-day, with a sound so unique that it exclusively follows their own self-penned text(ured)book, unlike anything else on the market, consuming me until I get visions of snow angels who are falling in love with the air which surrounds the burden of human emotions. I mean, the guys sing in their own made up language, for fucksake! They called it Vonlenska (translation: Hopelandic, bless!) and it's so beautiful that I jump out of the window without ever hitting the ground. Maybe you'll disagree with all of this, but personally, I consider them to be in a category so special that no other artist has even found that box yet.

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 07. Animal Collective

07. Animal Collective

Active Since 2003
10 Studio Albums (Together)
77% Metacritic Average

With their experimental pop jammings and druggy Beach Boys love, the lo-fi messiness that is Animal Collective has recruited quite a cult (and mainstream) following over the last decade, but no album has quite captured audience adoration like 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. It was the Album of the Year according to Pitchfork, Clash, Spin Magazine, and Entertainment Weekly, as well as Pitchfork’s 14th best album of the decade, which is all very nice and impressive, especially once you discover that I myself called it the 5th best album of the 00s too. However, it is truly the members' solo work which has proven their individual genius, with Avey Tare releasing a few decent offerings over his time, while Deakin provided my 43rd personal favourite album of 2016. However, none of them can compare to Panda Bear and his 2007 release Person Pitch, which was called the Album of the Year by Pitchfork and Tiny Mix Tapes, eventually hailed as the 7th best of the year from review aggregate website Acclaimed Music, as well as the 349th best album of all time from the same place. All of which adds up to one of the most exciting bands on the planet, no arguments accept, all enemies drowned in multicoloured mud, having a quick spazz out, then dying in bliss.

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 06. Converge

06. Converge

Active Since 1990
8 Studio Albums
82% Metacritic Average

Converge are one the very first metalcore bands on the planet, and are frequently lauded as the greatest, which is fucking right. Make no mistake, each one of their albums will fuck you up in one way or another, but there are a select few that truly fight the test of Satan above the others. The first one that comes full swing into everyone's mind, is their fourth effort, 2001’s Jane Doe, as its vicious influence has only seems to grow over time, having been called Sputnikmusic's and Decibel’s very best, MetalSucks’ 5th best, Loudwire’s 10th best album of that decade, and eventually honoured with an induction into the Rock Sound's Hall of Fame as 'a gamechanger in the entire realm of heavy music'. Once again, fucking right. However, they didn't stop there, several of their following albums coming dangerously close to such honours, in particular 2009’s Axe To Fall (hailed as one of the best of the year by Stereogum [#1]; Rock Sound [#2]; Decibel [#2]; and Revolver [#4]) and 2011’s All The Love We Leave Behind (hailed as one of the best of the year by Decibel [#1] and Pitchfork [#2]; as well as Metacritic announcing it to be the 5th best reviewed album of the whole year). And if nothing else, it's perfect music to punch your loved ones to, if you're into that sort of thing, fucking right indeed, fuck.

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 05. Arcade Fire

05. Arcade Fire

Active Since 2001
4 Studio Albums
86% Metacritic Average

In most ways, the indie power that is Arcade Fire stands fairly undefeated so far, in that 'modern day band with a perfect run' type of fashion, consistently hypothesised as the latest in the bloodstream of Beatles/Radiohead/Whatever royalty—and when you observe their four-album catalogue, it checks out. Just look: 2004’s Funeral, Grammy nominated for Best Alternative Album, named as one of the best albums of the decade (NME’s 7th, Rolling Stone’s 6th, Pitchfork's and Consequence of Sound’s 2nd) as well as Rolling Stone’s 151st and NME’s 13th BEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME. 2007’s Neon Bible, debuted on the Billboard 200 at #2, called the 4th best album of the year by Rolling Stone/NME, the 2nd best by Blender/Billboard/Spin, and the very best by Q/The Onion A.V. Club. 2010’s The Suburbs, debuted at #1 on the Irish, UK, US Billboard, and Canadian album chart, won the Album of the Year Grammy, and was called the 4th best album of the year by MTV/Rolling Stone, 3rd by Spin, 2nd by Billboard/NME/Stereogum/Time, and #1 by BBC 6/Clash/Exclaim!/Q. 2013’s Reflektor, on the other hand, was well wanky in my opinion, but people still lifted it up as the 10th (Stereogum/Pitchfork), 7th (NME/Consequence of Sound), and 5th (Rolling Stone) best album of the year, so not a fail by any stretch of any band's achievements. The thing for me personally, though, is that their pretentious self-loving does stroke me backwards a bit, but I can't falter their overall importance, which is so undeniable that it’s almost blasphemous that they aren’t at the top of this list. Oops! My own taste got in the way, sorry guys! You’re great, really! Hello?

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 04. Mastodon

04. Mastodon

Active Since 2000
7 Studio Albums
77% Metacritic Average

The sludgy stoner alternative metal band known as Mastodon have never released a crap studio album (read: ignore the live ones, for the love of God). Rather, if you stack each one of their highly conceptual records on top of one another, you may find you've accidentally built a stone wall monster, supported by each member who not only all play their instruments with an inventive flair, but also all share the vocal duties, ensuring no two songs sound identical yet all of them fighting courageously to balance an arty imagination with a vicious attack, penetrating deep into the depths of their heaviest core and your soft pathetic unberlly. We could try separate the individual recorded entities, and remind readers that Revolver, Kerrang!, and Terrorizer called Leviathan the #1 album of 2004, while MetalSucks crowned it the best metal album of the 21st century... twice. Perhaps you’re interested in Total Guitar magazine and Metal Hammer dubbing Blood Mountain as 2006’s album of the year, or how Crack the Skye was considered 2009's greatest (according to Rock Sound and Metal Hammer, as well as coming in as Time’s third). But whatever you're looking for, the critics will tell you it's here, mad props all around from the likes of from Allmusic ('[Mastodon are] one of the preeminent metal acts of the early 21st century'), BBC ('[Mastodon] are the most ambitious, most fearless, most fun heavy metal band to have breached the mainstream'), Alternative Press ('Mastodon are one of the all-time great hard-rock groups'), and Rolling Stone ('[Mastodon] have become the most important new band in metal'). Hell, even non-metalheads swear by it, so if you're scared, don't worry too much, you may have a chance still.

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 03. The National

03. The National

Active Since 1999
6 Studio Albums
83% Metacritic Average

Let's talk about how four of indie rock band The National's albums were included on NME's list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Alligator was the second best album of 2005, according to Uncut and Planet Sound (and 40th according to Pitchfork). 2007’s Boxer was the album of the year according to Paste (and 17th according to Pitchfork). High Violet debuted at #3 on the US Billboard 200, won the Q award for the best album of the year, was called the 4th greatest album of 2010 by Time, and the 7th by Exclaim! (and 28th according to Pitchfork). 2013’s Trouble Will Find Me debuted at #3, and was called the 8th best by Rolling Stone and the 12th best by Paste of the year (and 43rd according to Pitchfork), which was less than what came before, but still, wtf, have you heard how incredible that album is? However, these are just good numbers, and while good numbers are good, there is an element to The National which goes way deeper for me, deeper than almost everything on offer here, bleaking out my emotional fundamentals and welcoming me into a safe zone where I can be emo within the comfort of miserable company. It's embarrassing to admit out loud, but I can't deny these personal reasons, and because of that, I had to place them in the top three of my own list. I just had to. It's a good number. And good numbers are good.

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 02. Deftones

02. Deftones

Active Since 1988
8 Studio Albums
77% Metacritic Average

Sometimes we shouldn’t measure success by whether a band has won a Grammy (they have), or by how many albums they’ve sold (10 million), but rather by their overall influence on the genre surrounding them. Alternative metal band Deftones were once one of the original nü-metal forerunners, helping shape the early incarnations of the style with their first two albums, and then jumping overboard just before the ship sank, perhaps the only true survivors of the style to tell the tale. Said jump was done in 2000 with their third offering White Pony, and that record changed the game and my entire musical education by constructing an atmospheric bridge away from metal and revealing to me that there were other places to go. Luckily, I was not alone, as Alternative Press called it the 2nd most influential album of the year, and Consequence of Sound said it 'helped usher the popularity of complex structure meets MTV audience'. However, that is not to say the pony stopped galloping here, as this band have from-the-bottom-of-my-heart swear-to-your-God never released a bad album (2010’s Diamond Eyes called the rock album of the year by the iTunes Store, and 2012’s Koi No Yokan called the album of the year by Revolver, for example) as undoubtedly one of the most consistent bands of our time, evidently unable to set a hoof wrong in their three decade career even if they wanted to (although I doubt they do, who would?). But what I owe to Deftones above all of this, is their unusual selections of cover songs, these interpretations single handedly introducing me to (or at least getting me into) such incredible outfits as The Smiths, Duran Duran, Cocteau Twins, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and even the Cardigans. Wait, so you mean Deftones helped me escape the metal trap and acquainted me with The Fucking Smiths?? That's just about as important as you can get! Just about...

The 24 Greatest Bands In The World Right Now: 01. Radiohead

01. Radiohead

Active Since 1985
9 Studio Albums
79% Metacritic Average

Ugh! So typical! Such a tasteless topper! So painfully obvious! Be that as it may, the arguments in favour of 'rock' (to put it lightly) band Radiohead ranking as our greatest heroes right now are so dense that it’s impossible to list them all in any reasonable timeframe. So, instead, here are some of the highlights: 1995’s The Bends was called the second best album of all time according to Virgin (behind only The Beatles’ Revolver) and Q agreed (except they put it only behind the band's own OK Computer, lol). Speaking of 1997’s OK Computer, that little record was called the best album of the whole 90s by Paste and Pitchfork, as well as winning the Best Alternative Music Album Grammy for that year. 2000’s (initially slated) Kid A was dubbed the best album of the decade by Rolling Stone, The Times and Pitchfork, as well as me. 2007’s In Rainbows fucked the whole music industry with its 'pay what you want' model, which already made it a legendary release without being called the best album of the year by Billboard, Mojo, Popmatters, and NME, as well as one of the decade’s best by NME (#10) and Newsweek (#5). But what makes these accolades more impressive, is that these heroes show no signs of slowing down, even as recent as last year's A Moon Shaped Pool, which Exclaim!, Slant, and The Sunday Times called the very best thing out in 2016. Take all of this with their 30 million copies sold worldwide, and it would have been a larger statement to not place them at the top of this list. Instead, I had to be honest, and I surrendered them right here, as the best band in the world right now, already a huge factor of musical history no matter which part of your meal you eat first, and I'm willing to stab you for it.