Simon Reynolds reviews a US compilation of UK indie from the 80s and 90s for Salon. He makes some good points, and neatly characterises what Brit fans wanted from their guitar-toting heroes at the time, in terms of lyrics at least: "a slightly heroicized version of the fan base's dreams and fears".
But Reynolds then goes on to argue that what a) unifies most of the music in the box and b) prevented its acceptance in the US, is its rejection of dance culture, rhythm, blackness. Inevitably, Morrissey's recent contretemps with the NME gets a mention.
I've never really understood this analysis of classic indie-pop. Sure, it prioritises texture and introspection over beats and feet. And Reynolds is bang on the money when he argues that the British tradition of world-class, black-influenced drummers seems to have come to an end, although he could have given a nod to Reni.
But why does a desire for melodic introspection automatically become a rejection of or even a reaction against dance music? Why does the fact that Morrissey doesn't want to sound like 50 Cent imply a separatist rejection of black culture, which in turn implies, however faintly, racist tendencies, while nobody questions the fact that 50 Cent doesn't want to sound like Morrissey? And isn't a mixture of jangly guitars and lyrics about loneliness permitted to exist as a positive statement in and of itself, to be lauded or denigrated on its own terms, on the basis of what it is, rather than what it isn't?
PS: And now Billy Bragg's weighing in. It's like a student disco from about 1986.