Have you ever met an asshole who seems to know about every artist that influenced the artists you like? Maybe you’ve been cornered by him at a party where he tries to explain the merits of Trout Mask Replica. Maybe you’ve dated him for 6 to 8 brutal months while constantly apologizing to friends and family for his behavior, appearance, and political opinions. Yet, despite his many shortcomings and general Ted Bundy vibe, you still need those recs. You. Need. Those. God. Damn. Recs.

Well, here it is. The straight dope, at a safe distance, without all the in-person baggage.

Directly from one of those guys…

1. Lene Lovich “Lucky Number” – 1978

Influenced: Gwen Stafani

Gwen Stefani took her whole “Love Angel Music Baby” shtick from Lovich. Lovich is the innovator here. But then again, Gwen Stefani is hot and Lene Lovich is not.

2. Laurie Anderson “From the Air”  – 1982

Influenced: Lady Gaga

Gaga before Gaga. This is the premier influence on 2000s pop production, particularly the Kanye-Bon Iver layered vocal thing.

“Drop It Like It’s Hot” is another rip-off from this album.

*See also “O Superman” on Big Science.

3. Forum, “Белая ночь” – 1985

Influenced: Mac De Marco

Ariel Pink was the firestarter for Mac De Marco and the 2010s indie rock bands. The over chorused guitar tone Mac exploited and blew up into the 2010s started here with Ariel. 

Ariel did it well, and of course all the bands he influenced sucked because they were listening to him and not his influences. Like if you were trying to sound like the Rolling Stones and you’d never heard the blues. Fuck these people.

4. Altered Images, Beckoning Strings – 1981

Influenced: The Pixies.

“Into the White” directly, but obviously the whole sound. 

*See also: Datblygu “Casserole Effeillaid” as a huge Pixies influence.

All-girl Spanish indie rock band Hinds also ripped off Altered Images (See Real Toys on “Happy Birthday”).

5. Boney M “Ma Baker” – 1977

Influenced: Everything on the radio

Lady Gaga and every modern dance-oriented pop track stem from this. The famous refrain in Poker Face “Ma ma ma ma” is directly quoted from this song. (Also, Baker…Poker, coincidence?). You could replace any song on pop radio with any Boney M song and everyone would be fine with it.