10. Tunisia: In addition to providing you with an amazing name for your next baby, Tunisia makes the best pastries in the world. This is the land that gave Rome a run for its money, made Star Wars possible, and whose first lady’s nephews stole two mega-yachts from a French Marina.
9. Mongolia: Mongolians do things their own way They milk yaks, live in Yurts, and the men wrestle shirtless in undies and cropped jackets. After the end of Communism, a lot of the population couldn’t remember what their last names were before Communism, so they just used Genghis Khan’s last name. I mean, who’s cooler than Genghis Khan?
8. Cuba: Traveling to Cuba doesn’t involve getting in a time machine, but it might as well because the entire country looks like 1961. Who needs trade with the U.S. when you have dance moves like the despelote (all-over-the-place), tembleque (shake-shudder) and the subasta de la cintura (waist auction)?
7. Maldives: Their capital, Malé packs 103,000 people into 3.5 square miles, they have an island just for garbage, and their only export is recycling (their import is everything). In a few decades, their entire country will have to relocate to another country. THE MALDIVES ARE RIDICULOUS.
6. Sweden: With an attractiveness quota nearly as high as Brazil, but none of the crime, Sweden has its shit figured out. Why shouldn’t furniture and clothing be affordable and stylish? Why shouldn’t a royal family be extremely hot, and pop music be of a superb quality? In Sweden, these are trick questions.
5. Vietnam: Easily the most badass country in Asia, if not the world. The Vietnamese defeated France and the U.S. just so they could adopt Communism, then ditch it when it got boring. Their favorite hobbies now include texting while riding motorcycles, and making noodles and vegetables a part of every meal. Amazing.
4. Brazil: Boasting the coolest flag in the world, as well as the hottest people, Brazil is the melting pot that the U.S. wishes it could be. Their unique combination of cultures gave us footvolley (soccer + volleyball), capoeira (martial arts + dancing) and the Tapinha (Macarena + booty slapping)
3. Ethiopia: Ethiopia defied European colonialism, explaining that they already had their own alphabet, system of time and brand of wolf, and they didn’t need white people fucking it up. This is the country that invented coffee, and when Anthony Bourdain visited them, put salt in it just for giggles.
2.France: Unlike what many Americans believe, the French aren’t rude. They are actually very hospitable and live in a country that is impossibly amazing. Comic books literally fall from the sky as you lose weight eating some of the best pastries you’ve ever tasted.
1. South Korea: Give S. Korea a little wiggle room, and they will invent the most logical alphabet on the planet and discover a way to choreograph a 13-member boy band. They animate nearly all of the U.S’ cartoon shows, their BBQ is always fresh, and all of their pop groups include at least one rapper. Japan who?
- Semi Precious Weapons: Old school rock and guitar solos are back, and backing Lady Gaga. When the front man wears high heels and claims it takes longer to put on his face than dress himself, you know they’re bound for super stardom.
- Alphabeat: First there was Abba, then Ace of Base, then Aqua. Alphabeat perfects the Scandinavian pop legacy by reminding us what was fun about the 80’s (first album) and now the 90’s (second album).
- Electric Six: When the men are mustached and the penises are glowing, you know it’s good music. When they’re rhyming Taco Bell with gates of hell, you know it’s genius.
- Troll Town: Our friend’s music project. It’s like going on a magical adventure with only your synthesizer and drum machine to protect you against evil dragons.
- Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head: They’re the cool party band you and your friends wish you had the motivation to start and the pixie sticks to maintain.
- Sammy: Purchased on cover value alone, Sammy is a combination of 90’s esoterica and a smart impulse buy in a mammoth Minnesotan music store.
- The Pipettes: Their first album was 38.9 minutes of 60’s era girl group gold, and now they’ve returned minus two members, plus one sister. The result? More Phil Spector inspired, post-Women’s Lib pop brilliance.
- The Ike Riley Assassination: A more lighthearted Bob Dylan for generation Y, because even in the age of the internet we still love drunken storytelling.
- Brown Eyed Girls: Most Korean acts only have one good song in them, but BEG buck the trend with their smart voices, and the best rapper their nation has to offer.
- The Drums: They’re a bit like if a 60’s band time traveled from their beach party to an 80’s prom. Or, you know, the other way around.