Top 100 Indie Songs of All Time

by oz on February 14, 2007

After a challenge from a reader (thanks Tacos) and few weeks of deliberation, we have finally arrived at our top 100 indie songs of all time. We ranked in chronological order because ranking best to worst would have involved a group of people hurting one another.

To the best of our knowledge, all the songs below were originally released on an indie label. We tried to limit each artist to one song for variety. Obviously certain bellwether bands had two songs included because we just couldn’t decide.

There are some songs you expect to see and some you don’t. Most people haven’t heard of Golden Bear, but we can’t stop listening to it. Hopefully in a 10 years it won’t seem as out of place on the same list as Pavement.

We had input from many people and would like to offer thanks to Moish, Drinking Buddy, Nick, Pete, Kevin, Doctor A and Jim for their suggestions. I’m sure we still missed several great tracks and will hear about it shortly.

1. Live Wire – Motley Crue – Too Fast For Love – Leathur Records – 1981
2. Lake of Fire – Meat Puppets – Meat Puppets II – SST – 1983
3. Sitting Still – REM – Murmur – I.R.S. Records – 1983
4. Spirit Walker – The Cult – Dreamtime – Beggars Banquet – 1984
5. I Will Dare – The Replacements – Let It Be – Restless Records – 1984
6. Corona – The Minutemen – Double Nickles On The Dime – SST – 1984
7. I Apologize – Husker Du – New Day Rising – SST – 1985
8. Just Like Honey – The Jesus and Mary Chain – Pyschocandy – Blanco y Negro – 1985
9. Monkey Gone To Heaven – Pixies – Doolittle – 4ad – 1988
10. Touch Me I’m Sick – Mudhoney – Superfuzz Bigmuff Plus Early Singles – Sub Pop – 1988
11. All Your Lies – Soundgarden – Ultramega OK – SST – 1988
12. Teenage Riot – Sonic Youth – Daydream Nation – SST – 1988
13. Freak Scene – Dinsosaur Jr. – Bug – SST – 1988
14. Express Yourself – N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton – Rutless Records – 1988
15. I Wanna Be Adored – The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses – Silvertone – 1989
16. About A Girl – Nirvana – Bleach – SubPop – 1989
17. Where Is My Mind – Pixies – SurferRosa – 4ad – 1989
18. Waiting Room – Fugazi – 13 Songs – Dischord – 1989
19. Whiskey Bottle – Uncle Tupelo – No Depression – Rockville Records – 1990
20. Did I Tell You – Yo La Tengo – Fakebook – Bar None – 1990
21. Slack Motherfucker – Superchunk – Superchunk – Merge Records – 1990
22. Everything Flows – Teenage Fanclub – A Catholic Education – Matador – 1990
23. Mouth Breather – The Jesus Lizard – Goat – Touch and Go – 1991
24. Summer Babe (Winter Version) – Pavement – Slanted & Enchanted – Matador Records – 1992
25. Sodajerk – Buffalo Tom – Big Red Letter Day – Beggars Banquet – 1993
26. I Am A Scientist – Guided By Voices – Bee Thousand – Scat Records – 1994
27. Skull – Sebadoah – Bakesale – Sub Pop – 1994
28. Cut Your Hair – Pavement – Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain – Matador Records -1994
29. I’ll Be Coming Around – The Bottle Rockets – The Brooklyn Side – East Side Digital – 1994
30. Drank Like A River – Whiskeytown – Faithless Street – Mood Food – 1995
31. Have You Forgotten – Red House Painters – Songs for a Blue Guitar – Supreme Recordings – 1996
32. The Distance – Cake – Fashion Nugget – Capricorn Records – 1996
33. Chan Chan – Buena Vista Social Club – Buena Vista Social Club – Nonesuch Records – 1997
34. Victoria – Old 97’s – Wreck Your Life – Bloodshot Records – 1997
35. Me and The Major – Belle And Sebastian – If You’re Feeling Sinister – Matador – 1997
36. Between The Bars – Elliott Smith – Either/Or – Kill Rock Stars – 1997
37. Holland 1945 – Neutral Milk Hotel – In The Aeroplane Over The Sea – Merge Records – 1998
38. Score From Augusta – Beulah – When Your Heartstrings Break – Sugar Free Records -1999
39. Ohio – Damien Jurado – Rehearsals For Departure – Sub Pop – 1999
40. To Be Young – Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker – Bloodshot Records – 2000
41. Later Days – The Mother Hips – Later Days – Mother Hips Records – 2000
42. You’re No Rock n’ Roll Fun – Sleater-Kinney – All Hands On The Bad One – Kill Rock Stars – 2000
43. Lines in the Suit – Spoon – Girls Can Tell – Merge – 2000
44. Lowdown – My Morning Jacket – At Dawn – Darla Records – 2001
45. New Slang – The Shins – Oh Inverted World – SubPop – 2001
46. Blacking Out The Friction – Death Cab For Cutie – The Photo Album – Barsuk Records – 2001
47. Let There Be Rock – Drive-By Truckers – Southern Rock Opera – New West Records – 2001
48. Castanets – Alejandro Escovedo – A Man Under The Influence – Blooshot Records – 2001
49. Feed Kill Chain – Jay Farrar – Sebastopol – Artemis – 2001
50. Yardwork In November – The Actual Tigers – Gravelled & Green – Nettwerk – 2001
51. Jesus, etc. – Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot – Nonesuch Records – 2002
52. Fell In Love With A Girl – The White Stripes – White Blood Cells – V2 – 2002
53. Talk To Me Dance With Me – Hot Hot Heat – Make Up The Breakdown – Sub Pop – 2002
54. Start The Party – The Dirtbombs – Dangerous Magical Noise – In The Red Records – 2003
55. Outfit – Drive-By Truckers – Decoration Day – New West Records – 2003
56. Quattro (World Drifts In) – Calexico – Feast of Wire – Quarterstick Records – 2003
57. Stupid – The Long Winters – When I Pretend To Fall – Barsuk Records – 2003
58. Set You Free – The Black Keys – Thickfreakness – Fat Possum – 2003
59. Flashes & Cables – Centro-Matic – Love You Just The Same – Misra – 2003
60. Ha Ha – Mates of State – Team Boo – Polyvinyl Records – 2003
61. Free – Cat Power – You Are Free – Matador – 2003
62. Save It For A Rainy Day – The Jayhawks – Rainy Day Music – Lost Highway – 2003
63. Counting Down The Hours – Ted Leo & The Pharmacists – Shake the Streets – Lookout – 2004
64. Me & Jiggs – Josh Ritter – The Golden Age of Radio – Signature Sounds – 2004
65. Neighborhood #3 – Arcade Fire – Funeral – Merge – 2004
66. How Junior Got His Head Pin Out – Mofro – Blackwater – Swampland – 2004
67. Evil – Interpol – Antics – Matador Records – 2004
68. Each Coming Night – Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days – Sub Pop – 2004
69. Nights Like These – Lucero – Tennessee – Madjack Records – 2004
70. Runnin – Heartless Bastards – Stairs and Elevators – Fat Possum – 2004
71. 99 Problems – DJ Danger Mouse – The Grey Album – Shaolin Records – 2004
72. We Are Nowhere And Its Now – Bright Eyes – I’m Wide Awake Its Morning- Saddle Creek – 2005
73. Druganaut – Black Mountain – Druganaut – Jagjaguwar- 2005
74. He Lays In The Reins – Calexico/Iron & Wine – In The Reins – Overcoat Recordings – 2005
75. The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! – 2005
76. The Engine Driver – The Decemberists – Picaresque – Kill Rock Stars – 2005
77. Stevie Nix – The Hold Steady – Separation Sunday – French Kiss Records – 2005
78. The Dark Don’t Hide It – Magnolia Electric Co. – Secretly Canadian – 2005
79. Halloween – matt pond PA – Several Arrows Later – Polyvinyl – 2005
80. Secret Meeting – The National – Alligator – Beggars Banquet – 2005
81. The Bleeding Heart Show – New Pornogrpahers – Twin Cinema – Matador – 2005
82. For Real – Okkervil River – Black Sheep Boy – Jagjaguwar – 2005
83. Lion’s Teeth – The Mountain Goats – The Sunset Tree – 2005
84. Come On! Feel The Illinoise! – Sufjan Stevens – Come on Feel the Illinoise – Asthmatic Kitty – 2005
85. Hell is Chrome – Wilco – A Ghost Is Born – Nonesuch Records – 2005
86. The Denial Twist – The White Stripes – Get Behind Me Satan – V2 – 2005
87. Love In Fear – The Constantines – Tournament of Hearts – Sub Pop – 2005
88. Helicopter – Bloc Party – Silent Alarm – Vice Recordings – 2005
89. Cherry Cola – Eagles of Death Metal – Death By Sexy – Downtown – 2006
90. Hold On, Hold On – Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings The Flood – Anti, Inc. -2006
91. Wolf Like Me – TV On The Radio – Return To Cookie Mountain – Touch and Go – 2006
92. Returning To The Fold – The Thermals – The Body, The Blood, The Machine – Sub Pop – 2006
93. In and Out of Love – Trainwreck Riders – Lonely Road Revival – Alive Records – 2006
94. Roscoe – Midlake – The Trials of Van Occupanther – Bella Union – 2006
95. Chinese Translation – M. Ward – Post-War – Merge – 2006
96. Ten Thousand Orchestras – Golden Bear – Golden Bear – C-Side Records – 2006
97. The Funeral – Band Of Horses – Everything All The Time-SubPop – 2006
98. Cursed Sleep – Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Drag City – 2006
99. Anthem For The Already Defeated – Rock Plaza Central – Are We Not Horses – Yep Roc – 2007
100. Mistreating Queen – Radio Moscow – Radio Moscow – Alive Records – 2007

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