Where to start? It’s fair to say that almost anything that’s been in the Top 40 in the past decade qualifies: Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Jonas Brothers, Limp Bizkit, Creed, Hoobastank, Katy Perry, Gwen Stefani, James Blunt, Kelis, 50 Cent, Tila Tequila, Amy Winehouse, Coldplay, Rat-a-tat, Chromeo, Jessica Simpson, Soulja Boy, Fall Out Boy, Sum 41, Blink 182, Kings of Leon, Avril Lavigne, Good Charlotte, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Pussycat Dolls, Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, Kelly Clarkson, Ashlee Simpson, Hannah Montana, Miley Cyrus, Lindsay Lohan, Hilary Duff, Timbaland, Shania Twain, Rascal Flatts… these “musicians” are the representative cohort of what is bleakly referred to as “The Worst Decade In Music“, with the Grand Poobahs of Suck themselves, Nickelback and their Nickelbands (except for these guys; they fucking rock) as valedictorians of Class of ’00.
To truly grasp the scope of Nickelback’s sucktasticness, here is a direct side-by-side comparison of two songs from two different albums, released two years apart (props to whomever originally created this mashup): How You Remind Me (2001) and Someday (2004). Same tempo, same chords, same chord progression, same breaks and even the same melody: Nickelback are without a doubt the Worst Band Ever. Chad, the infinite monkeys principle isn’t valid with only one monkey banging out the same thing repeatedly, forever: you’re doing it wrong.
For everyone who was looking for but couldn’t find the great music of the ’00’s, belly up to a buffet of the best music you never heard, but really should have been mowing down, all this time. Bon apetit!
Beast – Fingerprints (Live on Belle et Bum)
Beast (despite what you see in the video) is a two-piece transplanted from France to Montreal, making them (nominally) Can-Con. Interestingly, they opened the 2009 Juno Gala Awards dinner with “Mr. Hurricane”, the first single from their eponymous debut. The same Junos that awarded Nickelback Group of the Year and Album of the Year, as well as nominations to two other categories. Needless to say, as a result, the Junos have totally undermined any credibility they might have had as a legitimate musical awards body.
Beast. *rawr* Get hot.
Metric – Gold, Guns, Girls
Metric have been around for a while now (what? 12 years already?) which is long enough to prove to anybody their staying power as musical innovators (and having a babe like Emily Haines as your frontwoman doesn’t hurt you, either);I was converted last year when my buddy CBet made me wise. Thanks, Bro!
DragonForce – Through the Fire and Flames
Epic. Epic songs. Epic lyrics. Epic guitar solos. Epic hair. Everything about this band is epic. But then, when you first hear a name like DragonForce it immediately puts you in mind of a time when men wore swords like Levi 501’s, when wizards wore robes like Dumbledore’s and women wore bodices like… damn. Who’s hot and wears a lot of corsets these days?
Pete Philly & Perquisite – Mystery Repeats
Dutch hip-hop duo Pete Philly & Perquisite do something that you don’t see often; they have live musicians backing them, including Perquisite, who composes and produces the beats and also plays the cello. Definitely like no other hip-hop you’ve ever heard, which is a relief.
I don’ t know about you, but I think the “big-screen TVs, blunts, 40’s and bitches” genre of hip-hop that’s been so prevalent of late is a horse that’s been ridden down pretty much right up to the carcass. Can we move on, please?
Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Buster Voodoo [Live on Late Night with Craig Ferguseon]
These two started off as half of a thrash metal band going nowhere in Mexico City. They decided to make ago on their own and take their music in a new direction. What did they get? Flamenco style acoustic metal.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. Everything you hear is made by them on their guitars; no drums, no extra musicians. Who needs them?
Eagles of Death Metal – I Only Want You
Jeez… maybe he should get a girl. Whatever. Rock on, Josh.
Gogol Bordello – Wonderlust King [Live on Letterman]
You’ve heard of Gogol Bordello, right? Of course you haven’t; they’re The Biggest Band You’ve Never Heard Of. What’s not to love? European gypsy punk, complete with oompah polka basslines, frenetic guitar strumming, soul-searing violin playing, tiny, screaming asian girls carrying marching drums and cymbals, all led by half-mad, half-genius, handlebar-moustachioed Chernobyl-refugee frontman Eugene Hutz. Music doesn’t get any more entertaining than this.
The Black Keys – Just Got to Be
Forget the White Stripes, They Black Keys are the best two-piece you’ll ever see.
Brother Ali – Uncle Sam Goddam
Breaking all barriers of race, color, religion and creed, Brother Ali is an albino Muslim from Minnesota. You figure it out for yourself. Meanwhile, spin the track.
Muse – Citizen Erased [Live from Glastonbury]
Muse….oh, gosh, MUSE.
I love Muse. I mean, serious Mancrush. I can gush forever about Muse, they’re so good. But in order to spare you all from my famous ranting, I’ll keep it brief. I would settle in with a nice cuppa‘, were I you.
Ok. Here goes.
From their songcraft (which is impressive), to their musicianship (which is amazing), to their vision (which is astounding), Muse set the standard to which a modern rock band should aspire. Bombast. Grand, operatic themes. Over-the-top showmanship. Church organs and massed choirs. Towering guitar solos and riffs as implacable as a glacier. Drama to glut the masses. They implore you, beg you, issue stern warnings, make bold statements and make you want to shake your booty, nod your head, shout out loud and raise your fist.
Their influences are worn defiantly, like a chip on their shoulder, as if daring you to take your best shot. You’re as likely to hear something you could swear Radiohead, Queen, Pink Floyd, Rush, The Mars Volta or King Crimson played, right next to Chopin’s Nocturne in Eb Major. And boy, do they pull it off.
Muse sounds like everyone you’ve ever heard, but no one sounds anything like Muse. Simply put, Muse are the most exciting band in modern rock. You should definitely opt-in.