My Top Five Bands Of The Decade

It’s not just the end of another year. 2009 also marks the end of another decade of great music. Thus with another ten years gone, “best of” lists that recall everything that was great about the past decade are being published. Most magazines, websites and blogs have done…..except for me. Why am I not partaking in creating such a list? Well while I have no issue listing my favorite albums of a certain year (click here to see my favs of 2009), I find myself struggling to compile such a list for this past decade. I feel as if it is too daunting of a task to scan through an entire ten years of music. To simply put it, THERE IS JUST TOO MANY TO NAME! I also didn’t want to write up a list that will leave people puzzled and enraged like Rolling Stone’s most recent countdown (check out their top songs and albums lists if you want to become as frustrated as I was). Thus, I decided to instead write a piece on five bands that had the biggest impact on me personally within the past decade. These are bands that for one reason or another had an impact on how I viewed music as well as with life.

Since I am sharing my top five with you, I propose that you do the same as well. Instead of arguing over my personal choices, take a moment to highlight your own favorites. In the comment section, reveal which bands had the biggest impact on you personally during the past decade and why. This way we can celebrate the past decade rather than debate over it.

So without further ado, here are the five bands (in no particular order) that had the biggest impact on me during the 2000’s decade:

System Of A Down: If there is one band that I could say has inspired me the most as a guitarist and music fan, then System Of A Down is that band. Hell, if there is one guitarist whose style I’ve stolen from the most, it would be Daron Malakian. His aggressive yet experimental style of playing seemed even more powerful behind Serj Tankian’s violent yet beautiful voice and bassist Shavo Odajian and drummer John Dolmayan’s powerful rhythm section. With their blend of melodic and hardcore metal with Armenian roots, System Of A Down sounded like no other metal band. Though at first they were mixed in with the nu-metal genre, their sophomore album Toxicity put them ahead of every band. However, it was their album Mesmerize that stands as my personal favorite, taking the aggression of the first two albums and molding it with a new melodic groove. I could go on for days about my love for the group and how much I wish they would return from their hiatus. However I end with this: it was System Of A Down that changed how I view and perform metal.

Avenged Sevenfold: Many metal heads sadly trash Avenged Sevenfold instead of praising them. However, their fusion of pure metal and So-Cal punk in my mind deserve nothing less than an honorable mention (if I had my way, they’d receive more). Along with System Of A Down’s Mesmerize, Avenged Sevenfold’s City Of Evil helped me discover my own style as a song writer and guitarist. The two albums made me zone in on creating memorable and catchy songs rather than trying to be flashy. Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengence’s twin guitar attack, M. Shadows’ vocal strength, and bassist Johny Christ and drummer The Rev’s tight timing made the band an unstoppable force. They create music that possesses the confidence once seen in past metal greats while also drenched with their own unique style. Go ahead and dis them as cocky rockstars or even sell outs. But while some bands try to act like big deals, Avenged Sevenfold has the talent, charisma and songs to back their larger than life presence. They prove that a metal band can still create great music while trying to conquer the world.  

(Note: after this piece was originally written, drummer The Rev past away. Click here to read my thoughts on this tragic passing of an amazing musician taken too soon.)

Green Day: You can criticize them for being “sell-outs” (which I don’t mind) or for changing their sound (which I actually enjoy). But one thing you cannot argue is this: Green Day made it acceptable for rock music to be larger than life, both musically and in live performance. This decade saw Billie Joe Armstrong stepping forward to become one of our generations leading rock legends, possessing a powerful presence both in the music and onstage (something many of today’s stars lack). You also cannot argue that American Idiot was the biggest rock record of the decade. Its political message and stadium rock sound left a huge imprint on the entire country. However, the rock opera wasn’t just a bunch a angry songs against President Bush. American Idiot voiced the anger and frustration of the decade’s youth. Green Day gave comfort to a generation who felt dragged into an unwanted war while also felt unwanted by society. Sure, the band’s new popularity also attracted a younger and preppier audience who never experienced true struggle. However, this cannot deny the impact Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool had during a time of angst, fear and struggle. Green Day went from 90’s pop punk to prolific rock stars all the while making a difference in peoples’ lives. That’s an accomplishment some bands never come close to experiencing.

Foo Fighters: To simply put it, thank god for Dave Grohl! With releases like One By One, In Your Honor, and my personal favorite Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace, the Foo Fighters created rock music with the same passion once possessed by the likes of Bruce Springsteen while injecting their own voice and sound. Like Green Day, Foo Fighters proved that it’s ok to perform larger than life by bringing back the stadium rock show. During this decade, Grohl has proven himself as one of our generation’s most prolific song writers and performers. I must admit though, Foo Fighters hold a little more of a personal attachment to me. While my parents have helped me get into classics like The Beatles and The Doors, and I’ve turned them on to a few things as well (I got my mom hooked on System Of A Down. WIN!), the Foo Fighters were the first band that we discovered together. I had heard of them before, but it was their 2003 Grammy performance that made us all step back and say “Wow, these guys are the real deal!” We’ve been die hard fans of them since (my mom still blasts their acoustic version of “Everlong” off of Skin And Bones whenever she gets the chance). It is this personal attachment in addition to their enormous talent and great music that has made them an important part of the past decade for me.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: While it may have been released in 1999, Californication is still one of the most important records of the past decade for me personally. I still vividly picture me and my mom listening to the song “Otherside” (on an e.p. cassette tape, before getting the full album) nonstop during the entire car ride from Cherry Hill, NJ to Princeton, NJ during the summer of 2000. During a time of transition to a new school and when I was coming to terms with my learning disabilities, the music spoke to me as a sign of hope. When things seemed down, the Red Hot Chili Peppers were there to pick my spirits back up. The band continued to create powerful music during the decade with albums like By The Way and the commercial but still great Stadium Arcadium. One listen to John Frusciante’s guitar playing and backing vocals will instantly fill your soul with unbelievable joy. It is this reason why I was devastated to hear of Frusciante’s departure of the band just recently. Though his presence will indeed be missed, Flea, Anthony Kiedis and Chad Smith will hopefully continue to keep the music as powerful and emotional as before. The Red Hot Chili Peppers have remained an important part of so many people’s lives for the past three decades. However, it was this past decade when the band first entered into my heart.

Now that you know which five bands meant the most to me during this past decade, tell me which bands did it for you in the comment section!


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