This Non-Quantifiable Arbitrary Ranking Of Most Influential Bands Will Get Your Goat

Get ready to be unreasonably outraged over a thing that’s not even really that much of a thing to begin with! Everyone’s favourite wretched hub of scum and villainy NME has compiled what they claim to be a list of the 100 “Most Influential Artists in Music Today” – upon which the word “today” is leant on with all the weight they can muster.

How they compiled and analysed the data seems a bit of a mystery/total crapshoot; instances of mentions in NME over the past two years were compiled, and then mentions of bands that subsequently influenced them were sought out online. The rough list was then put on rigorous trial by a group music journalists and arranged numerically from 1-100.
Though, it should be said, their explanation for the reasoning behind a list of TODAY’S most influential artists is rather sound, and contains the following cracking sentence when attempting to explain why Diplo made the list but The Beatles didn’t: “These are acts whose influence is written in stone, the very bedrock of the form, but who aren’t necessarily directly informing the music being made today any more than Chaucer is influencing Buzzfeed.
NME throwing literary shade at Buzzfeed – like the snake who laughs as it eats itself – aside, here’s the top 20 for your own perusal.
1. Radiohead
2. David Bowie
3. Kanye West
4. The White Stripes
5. The Strokes
6. The Flaming Lips
7. The Gun Club
8. Kate Bush
9. Nick Cave
10. The xx
11. The Smiths
12. The Breeders
13. Joy Division
14. The Clash
15. Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers
16. The Velvet Underground
17. Blur
18. Aaliyah
19. Neutral Milk Hotel
20. Prince

A few takeaway thoughts:
– I give it maybe a day, max, before Kanye West finds out he was only number 3 and goes on a rant about how Radiohead and David Bowie, whilst he might be real happy for them and will let them finish, ain’t got shit on him and that Kanye is the greatest in the world.
– We’re all apparently finally paying a dear, dear price for that insufferable Britpop/garage/slacker revival nonsense in the early 00s.
Damon Albarn is definitely going to print a copy of this list out and hang it, framed, next to his extremely well used Gallagher Brothers dartboard.
– I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but there’s something wonderfully perfect about the fact that Joy Division came in at number 13.
– Call me old and out of touch, but Aaliyah apparently had a lot more influence that I would have thought.
The Breeders! Oh, my mighty heart. It swells! Well done, kids! Good call. GREAT call, even.
– I know it’s not true at all, but I really, really hope Noel Fielding had at least a little bit to do with Kate Bush‘s high ranking.
Nick Cave at 9! ‘Straya!
– I’m having a real hard time wrapping my head around the idea that the almighty Prince can simply be placed on a list among mere mortals.
You can find the full list of 100 influential acts here and here. Feel free to pick it completely apart at your leisure.
Photo: Mark Metcalfe via Getty Images.