Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #60 Beirut
The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 artist of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
Beirut exoticized indie rock. There isn't any way around it. While the music Zach Condon meticulously crafts isn't exactly new, there is something to be said for delivering old music to a new audience. At the time when Beirut broke into the scene – his first widespread releases came in 2006 – there were basically only two types of indie rock. There was soft and weepy if you went the acoustic route, and there was comfortably edgy if you went the electric route. Most of what gained traction on the slippery streets of Hypetown differed from the rest in very minor ways – an unusual voice, particularly obscure delivery, and so on. But all of it was tossed over arrangements that, for the most part, sounded so damn standard.
So it was delightful to get acquainted with Condon's exquisite, flourishing take on things. Yeah, all that travelling to Europe rubbed off on him, and much of Beirut's output is a riff on gypsy music from a slightly different angle. But it was new to us – it introduced us to a particular type of music we didn't know enjoyed. It's a simple case of filling a void in a particular culture, but damned if he didn't do it well. Gulag Orkestar landed in the middle of our top 100 albums of the decade, and his two other offerings – follow-up The Flying Club Cup and debut EP Lon Gisland could have easily found their way on. With such consistent output, we expect Beirut to breathe fresh life into the indie rock scene for years to come.
Check back tomorrow for the next artist! To see the full list of the Top 100 Artists of the Decade, click here.