Perhaps Green Day's finest non-completely-punk album, American Idiot is beyond worth listening to. The album opens with what you would expect from Green Day, a fast paced pop-punk song that is easy to sing along to. What's next is something you wouldn't expect from Green Day, the nine minute long, multi part, epic, Jesus of Suburbia. This is where the album stops becoming a fun pop-punk album, and starts becoming a concept album. But American Idiot isn't just a concept album, it is the concept album of the decade. The album tells the story of St. Jimmy and the Jesus of Suburbia, among others. The album has epics, ballads, and not too much of anything. A perfectly balanced piece of art, American Idiot should be heard by anyone with ears ready for a musical story worth chewing on.
My Chemical Romance may be the most misinterpreted bands of the decade. Most people think MCR writes songs aimed exclusively for goth kids who smoke cigarettes and wear too much makeup. Now don't get me wrong, there are plenty of cigarette-mouthed goth kids who listen to MCR, vampires are a prominent theme in early albums. But there is an underlying magic to MCR's music, specifically, on The Black Parade. The album, like American Idiot, is a concept album. It is a about a hospital patient who reflects on his life. It starts with a slow, but short song cleverly titled, "The End." which leads into a high energy tune called "Dead!". The album moves on, and provides creepy songs about life and death. It is deeper than it appears to be, and takes a few listens to fully understand. If you want to hear something with dark poetic lyrics that bring smiles and tears, this one is for you.
Haven't heard of Streetlight Manifesto? Well, you have now. For those who don't know of Tomas Kalnoky's explosive ska punk ensemble, you're missing out on the finest ska of the decade. Streetlight Manifesto's music has lyrics thought provoking enough to melt the brains of the average music listener. And its not just the lyrics that shine, the men of Streetlight know how to play instruments, and they know how to play them well. To put it simply, nothing sounds quite like Streetlight. On perhaps their best album (though it could be debated) they live up to all of the things just mentioned. Somewhere in the Between starts with "We Will Fall Together", a song that should be edited into the blu ray version "Reservoir Dogs". It, like most of the other songs on the album, is fast, catchy, and smart. Other great tracks include the thought provoking "Would you be Impressed?" and heart pace raiser, "Watch it Crash".
An album acclaimed by critics and fans, Gallows' sophomore album is beyond worth listening to. The album is everything a punk album should be, angry, aggressive, and different. In recent times, punk rock has gotten soft. As NOFX put it in the opening track on The War on Errorism, "When did punk rock become so tame, these f*cking bands all the same". Gallows is NOT tame, and does NOT sound the same. It takes guts to open a punk album with the soft sounds of a riverbank to violin. But the album proves itself worthy enough to escape the scene of punk rock, which many claim is dead. Key tracks off the record include "London is the Reason", a song that puts it simply with the repeated lyric, "We hate you, we hate this city", and "Black Eyes", a song that will convince you that Frank Carter (lead vocals) will come looking for you with black eyes. The future looks promising for Gallows.
Korn's music has sprawled across three decades. They pioneered nu metal, and were unique enough to survive the 90's. Their seventh album, "See You on the Other Side" did well on the charts and went platinum. And for good reason, the album probably their best of the last ten years. It opens with Twisted Transistor, which was also a succesful single. It is easy to sing along to, but is still weird and Kornish. Second is "Politics", a song with a message that can be slam danced to (yes, slam dance, they're from the 90's so I can still say that). Other great songs include "Coming Undone" on "Liar".
The Red Hot Chili Peppers make the time you had to wait for their albums worth it. Groundbreaking in terms of lyrics, singing, instrumental ability, and just about everything else, they simply cannot be matched. In 2006 they gave the world "Stadium Arcadium", a double album that went well beyond double platinum. The band revisited their funky roots for this one, which were not seen as strongly in their previous record "By the Way". The first album opens with "Dani California", which is debatably one of the catchiest songs of all time. The albums also includes notorious songs "Snow (Hey Oh)", "Hump de Bump", and "Tell me Baby".
Anything by Gogol Bordello is beyond worth listening to. According to the "Mission" section of their website, they combined gypsy, cabaret, and punk music. Turns out, those things sound great together. "Gypsy Punks" provides songs about politics and revolution among other things. Excellent songs include "60 Revolutions", a fast paced, energetic song that could not be captured in one language, and "Start Wearing Purple" a hypnotic song to sing along to. Overall, the album sticks out as one of most unique of the past ten years while still sounding wonderful.
The past ten years (2001-2011) have been interesting musically. As industrial and grunge music lost popularity, boy bands and pop-punk took over. Bands like Blink 182 and My Chemical Romance became household names. This list will feature albums based around rock music that have made discussion-worthy music.