Various Artists: This is Next

[30 September 2007]

By Evan Sawdey

PopMatters Interviews Editor

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?

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/various-artists-this-is-next/