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Best Bands and Musical Artists of the Past 10 Years (1999-2009)

  • Sep 2, 2009

Looking over the past ten years of music there are a lot of great bands that have emerged. Some have been lucky enough to maintain their integrity while enjoying commercial success. Others have been less successful commercially but have built an underground following. All are great!

1
System of a Down
With their combination of Middle Eastern melodies, stop-start rhythm sections, and fiercely individual musical style, System of a Down proved themselves to be the new kings of the nu-metal genre and the most likely successors to Rage Against the Machine when it comes to politically fuelled rock music.

2
Death Cab for Cutie
Somewhere between the sounds of Simon & Garfunkel and The Pixies, Death Cab for Cutie's melancholic lyrics about life and their catchy pop tunes brought them worldwide success with their album Plans. Though their most recent album (Narrow Stairs) goes for a heavier, muddier sound, they are still grounded in the alternative-pop scene and their bittersweet songs maintain their style and charm.

3
The Dresden Dolls
With an eclectic mixture of cabaret, goth-pop, and punk, this truly unique duo comprising of pianist / vocalist Amanda Palmer and drummer / back-up vocalist Brian Viglione have carved out an unlikely niche for themselves. Their song content typically focuses on a loss of childhood innocence, sexual confusion, angst, and playfully flirtatious lyrics.

4
A Perfect Circle
Maynard James Keenan, frontman of Tool, also heads up this moody and intelligent progressive metal band that's been met with both praise and skepticism from critics. Ultimately, the band has lived in the shadows of Tool and other bands like nine inch nails, but the quality of their musicianship sets them apart from other popular metal bands.

5
Skindred
With a louder sound and more attitude than any other "reggae" group, Skindred has created a powerful sound that combines hardcore punk, metal, rap, reggae, and ska. With Earth-crushing vocals and terrifically crunchy guitars, Skindred may very well revolutionize rock as much as Bad Brains and System of a Down.
6
Matisyahu
Unexpected and completely welcome to this list is this Hasidic Jew's brand of rap and reggae. With lyrics ranging from the vaguely political to the profoundly spiritual, Matisyahu has done something remarkable in two genres that have become too commercial, too exploitive, and too predictable: he's given rap and reggae their hearts back.

7
Audioslave
Out of the ashes of the two best bands of the '90s, Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, comes Audioslave. Though they've been endlessly compared to their old bands, these guys have created a haunting, soulful sound that's unlike either Soundgarden or RAtM. Despite the fact that they only put out two albums before splitting up, Audioslave left their loyal fans with some amazing songs.

8
Yusuf Islam
Yusuf, the artist formerly known as Cat Stevens, has returned to popular music's arena with a beautiful sound that evolved out of 1960's folk, pop, and traditional Middle Eastern music, but has an aura of modernity to it as well. Vocally and lyrically more timeless than ever... even if the name is less memorable.
9
White Stripes
A Detroit oddity that blends country, folk, rock, alternative, and, even on occasion, punk to create a wholly unique sound of their own. The duo , dubbed as Jack and Meg White, have a minimalistic approach that is as difficult to define as it is to place in a single genre, but if you're a brave music listener and you're willing enough to seek them out, their music is also very rewarding.

10
Linkin Park
Blending together elements of modern metal, hip-hop, and electronica, Linkin Park looked to be the biggest rock group of the New Millennium after the release of their major label debut, Hybrid Theory. Though their most recent efforts have lacked both the heart and the edge of their first three albums (Hybrid Theory, Reanimation, and Meteora), they still manage to build their international fan base and are frequently on the top of the charts in the rock category.

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January 19, 2011
Great list, Sean. I'm a big fan of Death Cab for Cutie, A Perfect Circle, Linkin Park, and System of a Down. I also enjoy White Stripes. I've heard of over half of your list here. :)
January 19, 2011
I wouldn't have guessed you liked APC or SoaD.
January 20, 2011
Really? Why is that?
January 21, 2011
Just seems a bit contrary to some of your characteristics is all.
January 21, 2011
Which are...? I like all types of music genres. I listen to them for different reasons. I enjoy APC and SoaD when I'm running or exercising. :)
January 21, 2011
You seem more perky, optimistic, and then there's the fact that you're Catholic. System of a Down has more pantheistic spiritual view and they are quite pessimistic. A Perfect Circle is out and out against any religion (or at least Maynard James Keenan, the founder of the band is) and again, very cynical and dark.
January 21, 2011
I've been trying to be more perky and optimistic as of late based on some advice I received from a priest.

And just because I am Catholic does not mean I can't like things non-Catholic. For instance I believe in birth control, and I'm pro-choice. Contradictions all around me I guess. :-P
 
February 05, 2010
Come now, everyone knows music blows these days, can't wait till you get back to the 80's and 70's, and the 60's too now THERE is some good music
February 05, 2010
Yeah, that will be fun, but it will be hard trying to keep the list to a maximum of ten.
 
September 04, 2009
Agreed. A Perfect Circle is worthy of great praise but somehow gets overlooked or pushed to the side when one thinks of major industrial acts like NIN or of course Maynard's Tool.
September 08, 2009
Maynard's great pretty much regardless of who he's with. I wish that he'd stick with Tool though. That's one of the best bands out there.
September 08, 2009
Well, that's true. I actually LOVE them both myself. Lately, I've played more APC than Tool though. He's just one amazing man, that's all. Did you ever hear the duet he did with Tori?
September 08, 2009
Generally, I listen to more Tool (I'm all about the "Lateralus" album), but part of that is also I've had less exposure to APC since they haven't been around as long. As for this duet, you may have to send me a video or something via e-mail. Sounds awesome.
September 08, 2009
Yeah, I will try to send a video of that to you. It's incredible imho. Lateralus was a great album too! So far, i think my fav APC was Thirteenth Step although all three albums were awesome material.
 
September 02, 2009
I'm not a big music fan (it's just not one of my strong suits) but I am glad to know that someone else actually knows who the Dresden Dolls are.  I've heard of many of those other bands, but don't listen to them all.  I used to be a big fan of Linkin Park but haven't really listened to anything following their Meteora release.
September 02, 2009
Oh, yeah. I love The Dresden Dolls. I think cenobite7 and arichards are also fans. What kind of music do you usually listen to anyway?
September 02, 2009
I'll listen to just about anything... except country and death metal.  Most times I'm listening to Rock, Hip-Hop and R&B.  Those are probably what I end up listening to the most.  Maybe some Trance and Classical every now and then too.  I don't listen to nearly as much as I used to, though.
September 02, 2009
That's too bad. I couldn't get by a day in my life without music.
September 04, 2009
Dresden Dolls rock! I also fell in love with Amanda Palmer's solo album which is definitely a treat for fans!
 
September 02, 2009
I always liked Cat Stevens. It's a shame that he disavows his early work. I mean what's wrong with "Morning Has Broken" and "Peace train"? I caught his most recent incarnation on The Colbert Report.
September 02, 2009
I love his old stuff as well, but I think that judged as a separate musical entity, Yusuf is great. His album "An Other Cup" is terrific.
September 02, 2009
I've only heard the one song her performed on Colbert, which was okay but not enough to judge an entirely new body of work by.
September 02, 2009
Any of the other artists ring a bell or bang a gong (tee-hee)?
September 02, 2009
Well, you DID mention Simon and Garfunkel...
September 02, 2009
I meant on the list, not in the references. Some of them are pretty big (# 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10 all are on MTV). The others have been more low-profile but are worth checking out. At least it's an eclectic mix, so there might be something in there that'll interest you. I could've done all metal bands or all rap and then you probably would've been "Who?"
September 02, 2009
So did I. I watch MTV "all" the time. I'm still going "Who?"
September 04, 2009
You watch MTV all the time and you still have brain cells? Gee, maybe there is a God! And he watches the telly!
September 04, 2009
The printed word really doesn't convey sarcasm well, does it?
September 04, 2009
Not so much, unless you're Orwell or Swift.
September 04, 2009
The Yusuf Stevens album was awesome. I was playing that one actually the other nite as a matter of fact. Good stuff! I also gave copies away for the holidays several years back. Thumbs up!
September 04, 2009
Is he calling himself Yusuf Stevens now? Last time I looked it was Yusuf Islam. Maybe his views are softening a bit. Or he wants to be pulles off planes by Homeland Security less often.
September 08, 2009
As far as I know, he's still Yusuf Islam and I doubt that's likely to change. As for his views, they're always changing a little at a time. For the longest while, he wouldn't make music or even talk about his older stuff, lest he offend Allah or something. Don't get me wrong, I respect the right to practice whatever religion you choose, but to ignore part of who you are because of dogma seems self-destructive.
September 08, 2009
Especially when the songs in question are of such an in offensive nature. I could see him perhaps renouncing a song that was at odds with Islam, but "Peace Train"?
September 08, 2009
And I suppose "I Love My Dog" was deemed inappropriate since "dog" is commonly used as a derogatory term for an underling there. LOL!
September 08, 2009
You never know. =)
 
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