Top 10 Neon Indian Songs

The best tracks from Neon Indian’s chillwave period. Ranked.

Neon Indian is the name Alan Palomo uses to record music. Palomo, who is Mexican-born, is a genius of synth and an incredibly gifted songwriter.

In my judgment, Neon Indian’s first two albums — he’s released three full-lengths thus far — represent the highpoint of chillwave. Though Palomo disavows that label, I find it to be a useful descriptor of a style of music I think very highly of (Sorry Alan!).

Chillwave is dreamy, sample-heavy synthpop that draws upon a 1980s aesthetic and a summertime motif in order to infuse its sound with powerful nostalgic qualities.

But perhaps it’s true that identifying Neon Indian with a style of music active for only a couple of years (roughly, 2009–2011) unfairly imparts a kind of faddish quality to his work.

If that’s the case, I have no problem ditching the chillwave label. Whether chillwave is a genuine musical genre or not, it remains true that Neon Indian’s first two records are among the best pop offerings in the 21st century.

Psychic Chasms (2009) and Era Extraña (2011)

In the list that follows, I’ve picked the ten best songs from Neon Indian’s first two albums. Here goes.

10. “Mind, Drips”

9. “Arcade Blues”

8. “Psychic Chasms”

7. “Should Have Taken Acid With You”

6. “Local Joke”

5. “Polish Girl”

4. “Terminally Chill”

3. “Hex Girlfriend”

2. “Deadbeat Summer”

1 . “Halogen (I Could Be A Shadow)”