Rounding out the best bands of ’00s: Honorable Mentions

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 5:33pm

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To round out Daily Music’s week reveling in the bands of 2000 to 2010, a few writers talk about bands that deserve mention, too, even if they didn’t make the top 20.

Listen to the Honorable Mention playlist here

To see the complete list, click here.

Bright Eyes

Sometimes, melodrama can age like a fine wine. On first taste it may be bitter, even cringe-inducing in its overindulgence. By nature, the hyper-confessional creates rough edges through angsty warble, and in response, quick knee-jerks. But in the rearview, years aged, those immediate reactions tend to weather, the shock factor gone. For artists, this is can be a saving grace or a career collapse. The white man protest of Guns n’ Roses, for example, has gone mostly stale in hindsight, made bitter by lyricism now offensive and displeasing to most who aren’t straight white men. For others though, particularly “emo” bands of the ’90s and ’00s, the years seem to have aged them well. Wistful nostalgia smooths their taste wonderfully.

Such is the life-span of Bright Eyes, a band nothing if not overindulgent, hyper-confessional and melodramatic. Led by Conor Oberst, pioneer sad boy, the band was at once panned and exulted. To some, they were just self-involved and wallow-some. To others, there was a comfort in their indulgent sadness. Bright Eyes is that guilty teenage pleasure that you don’t really talk about, but clutch in the middle of the night. It’s your locked diary that you scribbled shitty poetry in and hid from your family underneath your bedside table.

But Bright Eyes is more bearable than your locked bedside diary. When you get older, you can look at Fevers and Mirrors and I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning without squirming over the infantilism of your own handwriting. Because Oberst’s words are yours, but they’re not.

Matt Gallatin

Broken Social Scene

On paper, Broken Social Scene is totally paradoxical: obscure but accessible, frantic but soothing, unintentional but purposeful. They make total sense and also absolutely no fucking sense. And that’s exactly what a pre-Animal Collective, post-Shins listening adolescent like myself needed when I found them in 2008. It was while watching Ryan Gosling’s debut film, "Half Nelson"; the final scene has Gosling, a teacher / crack addict, buying dope from one of his students. Some dark shit right there, made more powerful with BSS’s “Shampoo Suicide” over it.

As a — at least at one point — 19-person collective, the Toronto-based group began at the hands of Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning in 2001 and has since dipped as low as six members. But at the hands of those members a multitude of more obscure fan favorites from the '00’s have been born: Feist, Metric, Stars, to name a few. It was the release of the group’s 2002 album, You Forget It In People, that brought them to critical acclaim. The loose and sprawling nature of its tracks, the cacophony of different voices and sounds, paved the way for the indie-rock movement of the decade; there’d be no Arcade Fire, no Wolf Parade — both Canadian powerhouses — without BSS. The band continued recording, members coming and going, and released an equally successful self-titled album in 2005. Then there was touring, and more splitting off by its members, and a lesser-quality 2010 project, before they called it quits.

Yet half a decade later, here we are, still writing about them. Because they made the complex sound easy. Because they disregarded traditional rock rules and, by doing so, created a whole new set of rules. Because they were fucking cool. And they were complex and chaotic and nuanced. And they also just announced, after a 7-year hiatus, a new album set to release this year. So here’s the 2000’s and here’s to 2017.

Rachel Kerr

Green Day

Green Day is the best band to have ever existed — this is fact. In all their power chord induced glory, the band has proven to be an unstoppable force in punk rock since their teenage inception over thirty years ago.

Everyone knows American Idiot. It’s a staple in rock music; it’s a damn masterpiece of a rock opera; more importantly it is political, kickass and thoroughly perfect. 21st Century Breakdown is a criminally underrated album featuring some of the band’s strongest songwriting. Billie Joe Armstrong pretends like the trilogy of 2012 doesn’t exist, so we all should too (let’s face it, his word is law). Yet, their phenomenal efforts in the 2000s failed to net them appreciation for our list, requiring me to reach further back into their history of success.

Dookie, released in 1994, sent shockwaves through the music industry, and to date has sold over twenty-million copies. It quite literally, along with Nirvana and The Offspring, caused the breakthrough of punk rock from dirty house shows to actual venue stages. From witty adolescent lyricism to powerful social commentary on their latest efforts, Green Day married smart lyrics to ballad ready instrumentation that continues to be a winning recipe. It made an entire genre of music digestible by mainstream music consumers, and changed the course of music history.  For this reason, Green Day deserve better than this sad collection of words — the band that permanently altered the history of punk rock truly deserves the world.

Dominic Polsinelli

Coldplay

Let’s get one thing straight: We’re talking about 2000s-era Coldplay. So take a second now to purge your mind of any questionable pop-rock albums or Chainsmokers collaborations that have occurred in the past 7 years.

Coldplay was a force in the 2000s. Four multi-platinum albums, two of which topped the Billboard 200, and a dozen or so highly successful singles testify to their importance in the decade’s mainstream culture.

But behind the massive sales figures and popularity is an unassuming, introspective sound. They gained recognition for songs like “Yellow,” “Fix You” and “Clocks,” all of which garner the “slow song” label at high school dances. These songs weren't made for dancing or convertible cruising, but more for moodily staring out the window on a rainy day.

In short, Coldplay became famous by making ballads, which isn’t an easy feat. Ballads can't hide behind shiny production and a strong back beat. For a ballad to be good and memorable, it must be written exceptionally well.

Songwriting is where Coldplay excels. Their lyrics are specific, yet relatable. The melodies are familiar and unique. Frontman Chris Martin fluctuates from forceful to vulnerable all while perfectly enunciating every word; he ensures each line lands safely in the listener’s ears.

Even when the band drifts from the “slow song” — most notably with 2008 hit “Viva la Vida” — strong songwriting remains a core value. It’s what makes them one of the best of the 2000s.

Jessica Zeisloft 

Panic! at the Disco

“A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” was imperative to the ’00s emo movement. Though the band didn’t enter the scene until half-way through the decade, their debut album caught on fast. The theatricality with which Urie and his bandmates performed their narrative-driven work set them apart from the other brooding, young emo bands of the day. When Urie, with his broadway-ready voice, sang of adultery, murder and cabarets, you believed him. You were there, even if you were only a tween at the time. Panic took the general emo tropes — hardships, love, mental distress — and made them into something exotic yet tangible.

Every time I hear those tight, quick plucks that open “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” I am transported to my youth, sitting in the backseat of a car with my braces-clad friends, giddy that our favorite song was finally being played on the radio. The change in vocal pace in “Build God, Then We’ll Talk” still gets me. And I don’t think I’m alone in this; many of my fellow music (read: punk/emo) geeks site the record as a crucial stepping stone.

Upon its release, “Fever” seeped quickly into the mainstream. Though Panic!’s subsequent releases — “Pretty. Odd.” and “Live in Chicago” — took a more folk approach, the band maintained its cult following. Though they have not since reclaimed the following they held in the late ’00s, Panic will always have 2007. 

Carly Snider