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Various Artists

This is Next

Indie's Biggest Hits, Volume 1

(Vice; US: 21 Aug 2007; UK: Available as import)

Now That's What I Call Indie!

The most intriguing aspect of This is Next, an indie-pop sampler from MTV2 and Vice Records, is how it says Volume 1 right on the cover, implying that more volumes are to come. Sure, compiling pop singles together in one easy package might work for the Now! That’s What I Call Music series, but the Mainstream and the Underground run on very different sets of rules. With the world of indie-dom, for example, MP3s are released for free on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, five of This is Next‘s fifteen tracks are linked below via official outlets—yes, you can download one-third of the album guilt-free. Yet, if you’re a big fan of any of these groups, then you probably already have these songs. The world of independent music, furthermore, has never been driven by singles: a classic album will sell better than a flash-in-the-pan wonder. You may hear Spoon’s “Underdog” on this compilation, but that song alone won’t add to their great legacy: the entirety of its parent album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, will forever go down as a classic example of minimalist pop-rock done with precision and perfection. The songs by M. Ward, Cold War Kids, and The Hold Steady are all great, but you only get a fraction of the whole story. Though lets face it: the world is better for every new pair of ears that gets turned on to Of Montreal and Ted Leo. The only real question is this: do you really need this album to begin with?


Evan Sawdey started contributing to PopMatters in late 2005, and has also had his work featured in publications such as SLUG Magazine, The Metro (U.K.), Soundvenue Magazine (Denmark), the Daily Dot, and multiple national newspapers. Evan has been a guest on RevotTV's "Revolt Live!" as well as WNYC's Soundcheck (an NPR affiliate), was the Executive Producer for the Good With Words: A Tribute to Benjamin Durdle album (available for free at, and wrote the liner notes for the 2011 re-release of Andre Cymone's hit 1985 album A.C. (Big Break Records), the 2012 re-release of 'Til Tuesday's 1985 debut Voices Carry (Hot Shot Records), and many others. He currently resides in Chicago, Illinois. You can follow him @SawdEye should you be so inclined.

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