‘Happy Indie Music’ – Reuben and my last fm vs. My own self-image: pt.1

When asked to describe my music taste today, part of a rather tangential conversation about not very much of anything, Reuben said he thought I was into ‘happy indie music’. That threw me a bit, I’ve always thought of myself as a miserable bugger and that the vast majority of the stuff I listen to was less than cheerful. Moody even. So I’ve decided to do a little self-evaluation and inflict it upon you lot. I’m going to go through the top fifty acts on my last fm and decide whether they’re ‘happy’, ‘downbeat’, or ‘indeterminate’.

Aside from the whole ‘Am I actually a little ray of sunshine?’ angle, it’s a good way to plug all the music I’ve been into in the last three or so years, so that’s a nice bonus. And, of course, this is less than scientific and you should feel free to jump in the comments and suggest changes in category choices.


50.  Strand of Oaks

Beautiful downbeat folk. Sentiment is always sweet but he’s not a cheerful dude. His first album was about his house burning down…

Downbeat – 1


49.  James

These guys would be higher up the list if I’d been using last fm longer, used to be pretty much my favourite band. Big, uplifting indie.

Happy – 1


48.  Damien Jurado

Another less-than-happy folkie.

Downbeat – 2


47.  The Beatles

Yeah, ok.

Happy – 2


46.  Jay-Z

He’s too confident to be miserable, even if I think the verse on ‘Monster’ where it sounds like he’s fucking furious is the best thing he’s ever done. But it’s hardly bouncy grinning music either.

Indeterminate – 1


45. Idlewild

Bit of both; ‘American English’ is a bit of a downer, ‘Readers and Writers’ is a giant grin in song form.

Indeterminate – 2


44. Amateur Transplants

Evil doctors as musical comedy. Important word being comedy, I guess.

Happy – 3


43. Lil’ Wayne

Wayne’s way too crazy to be sad. And if someone bummed him out he’d probably just eat them.

Happy – 4


42. Iron and Wine

Miserable folkie no.3…

Downbeat – 3


41. The Thermals

Fiery punk-pop. (No pun intended). They get angry as hell but they aren’t down about it.

Indeterminate – 3


40. Fugazi

Again, fiery would be a good way of putting it.

Indeterminate – 4


39. Neutral Milk Hotel

Too loopy to tie to any one emotion.

Indeterminate – 5


38. Sun Kil Moon

Miserable folkie no.4…

Downbeat – 4


37. Mclusky

Completely fucking insane and loving every minute.

Indeterminate – 6


36. *cough* Lifehouse *cough*

We were all thirteen once. *hopes no-one remembers this list only goes back as far as late 2007. And that a lot of the plays were for one of the newer albums. It kinda sucked, though.*

Actually, I’ll happily defend their first three albums, they’re genuinely great nuanced radio-rock. And a little down…

Downbeat – 5


35. The Fine Print

These guys never actually released anything, all the tracks I have I stole from various websites. Their lead singer went on to be the guy that writes Penny Arcade, which is how I found out about them. Had a few really great songs. Not exactly the kings of cheer though.

Downbeat – 6


34. The Replacements

‘Look me in the eyes and tell me that I’m satisfied…’

Downbeat – 7


33. Gucci Mane

Another rapper who’s really too crazy not to be enjoying himself.

Happy – 5


32. The Mountain Goats and John Vanderslice

180 plays for one 7 track E.P…

It’s a really great E.P., and it’s called Moon Colony Bloodbath so…

Downbeat – 8


31. Dinosaur Jr.

J Mascis could probably use a hug.

Downbeat – 9


30. The Libertines

Drunk nutters throwing themselves around the stage. Gloomy at times but usually enjoying themselves.

Indeterminate – 7


29. Califone

Their last album was called ‘All My Friends Are Funeral Singers’…

Downbeat – 10


28. Death Cab for Cutie

The word sad-sack was invented for Ben Gibbard. True story.

Downbeat – 11


27. Brand New

Proud owners of the longest song title in my entire iTunes; ‘Good To Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Have To Do Is Die’.

Downbeat – 12


26. Bright Eyes

Early Bright Eyes…

Downbeat – 13


Tally so far:-

Happy – 5

Downbeat – 13

Indeterminate – 7

To be continued

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