One thing comes to mind when you think of bands from the first decade of the new millennium. Indie bands that started with ‘The’. But the decade offered more musical delights than just indie. Here are seven underrated rock albums that defined the noughties.
7. At the Drive-in – Relationship of Command (2000)
The noughties rock albums were partly defined by a healthy post-hardcore scene. One of the pioneers of the scene were At the Drive-in. The American quintet saw in the new millennium with their third album, Relationship of Command. Ironically, the band split twelve months after the release of this album. They were riding a wave of success and acclaim, but exhaustion caused them to call it quits. Although they have reformed in recent years, this album was one of the best. Their first two efforts may have defined that aggressive post-hardcore sound they are known for. But this release showed that they were more than a one-trick pony. It was also the album that influenced a slew of post-hardcore bands in their wake.
6. Taking Back Sunday – Where You Want to Be (2004)
Where You Want to Be was the second album from American rockers Taking Back Sunday. Formed in New York in 1999, they have released seven albums to date. Where You Want to Be was the band’s second release from 2004. Their debut two years earlier gained good reviews and created a buzz for the band. This effort brought the band into a more mainstream route, but without losing their edge. It was 2006’s major-label follow-up that propelled them into the stratosphere but forget that. Where You Want to Be is stuffed full of edgy yet melodic anthems that feature vocals from both heaven and hell. Standout tracks such as A Decade Under the Influence and The Union showcase that meeting of styles perfectly. This album defined the alt-rock-hardcore scene of the 2000s. It was also one of the best-selling independent releases of the year.
5. System of a Down – Steal This Album! (2002)
Often considered as a collection of B-sides that never made it on to Toxicity, Steal This Album! is a cracker. It is true that the songs were unfinished works from the Toxicity sessions, but they are musical gems. There’s no doubt that Toxicity transported System of a Down to dizzy heights. And that regular airplay on MTV helped hugely as Chop Suey became a massive hit. But Steal This Album! snuck in the back door a year later and features the band at their best.
There are still political themes running through the songs, as you would expect. But the brilliance of the songwriting really shines through. Innervision and I-E-A-I-E-I-O are beautifully bonkers. It’s like they took Toxicity and raised the crazy factor by a thousand. Yes, the former is more well-known and successful. But Steal This Album! showcases what System of a Down do best – make music that batters, inspires, confuses, but ultimately leaves a huge grin on your face. The album that defined the band.
4. Blink-182 – Blink-182 (2003)
This was the fifth album from the pop-punk titans. It was 1999’s Enema of the State and 2001’s Take Off Your Pants and Jacket that made Blink-182 one of the biggest pop-punk bands on the planet. MTV and radio had played the songs constantly for a few years and the albums influenced many an outfit in their wake. It was 2003’s self-titled effort that really saw the band evolve into mature songwriters. There are so many gems to pick, but Miss You and Always are obvious examples. Gone is the toilet humour, and it is the clever, experimental and mature songwriting. They still have that sharp melodic edge and superb vocal interplays that are inexplicably Blink. Give it another listen and it shows a band at the peak of their creativity.
3. The Hives – Tyrannosaurus Hives (2004)
Tyrannosaurus Hives was the third offering from Swedish garage rockers The Hives. Known for their smart stage suits and glistening hair, their brand of raucous rock hit the big time with 2000’s Veni Vidi Vicious. That album gave us Hate to Say I Told You So and received universal acclaim from critics. This follow-up from 2004 is an even better album in my opinion. It still has that bouncing scratchy sound that the band are known for, but with a constant flow of dance floor anthems. Walk Idiot Walk and A Little More for A Little You are sun-kissed rock gems. This is a noughties offering that rises above all the other indie rock bands albums from this decade. Quality, timeless songs that remind you of the good times.
2. Radiohead – Hail to the Thief (2003)
Radiohead is a band that often divides opinion. Hail to the Thief was the sixth offering from the Oxfordshire-based experimentalists. It was the late 90s that brought the band critical acclaim and success. Mostly due to the success of OK Computer. Hail to the Thief took the bands musical experimentation on to the next leave. Dabbling with orchestral sequences with synths it creates quite the aural experience. Lyrically, Thom Yorke is addressing the so-called war on terror with titles like A Wolf at the Door and We Suck Young Blood. There is a lot of electronic tinkering on this album and any more would probably send it into self-absorbed twaddle. But with this album, they’ve nailed it to perfection.
1. The Black Keys – Attack & Release (2008)
Hailing from Ohio in the US, The Black Keys have been on the scene since 2001. Attack & Release was the band’s fifth album and released in 2008. Interestingly, this was the first album they recorded in a professional studio with an outside producer. It’s certainly has a polish to it that makes it stand out. Not only that, but it also has some rather brilliant garage rock songs on it. I Got Mine in particular makes you want to pour a Jack Daniels. In a decade that was littered with sound-a-like indie bands, The Black Keys wound up the decade with something rather special. It’s an album that takes a few listens but when you get it, you really get it.
That’s our list of seven underrated rock albums of the noughties. Did we miss any? Which is your favourite? Let us know in the comments below.
Read about musicians who nearly died on stage HERE.
Nine Underrated Albums That Defined The 1980s
The 1980s. A decade that was musically dominated by synth-pop. The decade had so much more to offer, though. Here are seven underrated albums that defined the 1980s.
9. Nirvana – Bleach (1989)
It wasn’t the success of its monster follow-up Nevermind, but Bleach is Nirvana at its most raw. Although it came at the end of the decade, it wasn’t the start of grunge. The genre had been around for a couple of years, growing around Seattle and Washington. There were a few alt-rock bands around in the 80s, but Nirvana brought the decade to a close with a real bang. The opener ‘Blew’ sets the scene with its unpolished scratchiness. But ‘Negative Creep’ really shows the world what Nirvana are about. Its fusion of punk and sludge metal makes you want to jump into the nearest mosh pit. It may not be their best-known work, but it should be.
8. The Go-Betweens – 16 Lovers Lane (1988)
The Australian indie-rockers formed in the late seventies, but this album dropped in 1988. It was the band’s sixth studio album, and the last one to feature the original line-up. If you’re not familiar with the band then you’re in for a treat. Their unique brand of melody-laden indie is beautiful. This album isn’t perhaps their most well-known, but it’s their most commercially accessible. Rammed full of sun-kissed melancholy, it’s the perfect anecdote to 80s decadence. Great songs combined with intelligent lyrics make for a special listen.
7. Kate Bush – The Dreaming (1982)
By 1982, Kate Bush had already released three albums. Although this offering wasn’t as successful as her previous efforts, it was creatively superb. It also kicked off her more experimental side. Which would be the precursor to her 1985 album Hounds of Love. Tracks like Sat in Your Lap and the title track are brilliant pieces of music, but critics were unsure. This led to poor sales and a low chart position, but it should not be overlooked.
6. Faster Pussycat – Faster Pussycat (1987)
Glam Rock gets a bit of a bad rap sometimes. This is mostly because of the questionable fashion and over-the-top cheesy songs. But Faster Pussycat shouldn’t be overlooked when dipping in for a bit of sleaze. Motley Crue and Poison may have been more successful, but this debut is up there with the best. Cathouse, for example, is the ultimate anthem for driving down the sunset strip with your roof down. Don’t forget Babylon either. It’s a slice of rap-rock that’s up there with the best from the 80s.
5. Badlands – Badlands (1989)
Another band enters our chart with their self-titled debut. Badlands were formed in the mid-80s by former Ozzy guitarist Jake E Lee. It also featured ex-members of Black Sabbath. Despite their supergroup status, album sales didn’t match expectations. The band also disbanded after the untimely death of singer Ray Gillen in 1993. It’s a shame they don’t get more recognition. Lee’s guitar work is sparkling, and Gillen’s vocals are astounding. Every track on the album is a belter, and it winds up the decade with crisp-sounding anthems aplenty.
4. Girlschool – Demolition (1980)
Riding on the waves of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Girlschool arrived with the debut album Demolition in 1980. It only peaked at number 28 in the UK charts, but they certainly made a statement. Opening track Demolition Boys sets the scene. Its punchy riff and punk energy tell you what they are about. The band went on to have greater success in later years, but don’t underestimate this debut. A solid album that showcases a band that know what they want. And you’re not standing in their way.
3. Arthur Russell – World of Echo (1986)
Arthur Russell may not be a name that you recognise, but I strongly suggest you search this album out. The American cellist and composer did many collaborations over his career, but this was entirely his own composition. It may take a few listens to get, but the melding of genres is genius. Tracks like Being It and See Through are haunting and ethereal. It’s a definite departure from the commercial side of 80s music. But it fuses together so many elements from the decade that it deserves your ears.
2. The Blue Nile – A Walk Across the Rooftops (1984)
This debut release from Glaswegian pop-rock experimentalists came out in 1984. Notoriously secretive, they’ve only released four albums from this debut through to the mid-2000s. A Walk Across the Rooftops is quite a work of art. There are pop and synth elements, but also some rockier parts. There are obviously comparisons to David Bowie and various pop bands from the decade, but these guys are special. They have their own unique sound that is beautiful and all-encompassing. What is also surprising is that this album was recorded on an extremely tight budget. You’d never have known.
1. This Kind of Punishment – A Beard of Bees (1984)
New Zealand isn’t an obvious place that comes to mind when you’re thinking about bands. Especially not post-punk. The 80s were awash with post-punk, but nothing was as pleasing as this. The duo of Peter and Graeme Jefferies create a melting pot of gothic overtones with more upbeat guitar tracks. The result is a little confusing on first listen, but it doesn’t take long for the genius to come through. The Horrible Tango will stick in your head for days. And closer An Open Denial is full of ghostly tingles. This is post-punk for the thinking person.
That’s our list of nine underrated albums that defined the 1980s did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below.
Check out seven underrated rock albums that defined the 1990s HERE.
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