The Finest Alternative Rock Artists of Recent (and not-so recent) Years

Image of a Sterophonics Album

The Problem With Music

The problem with music (and indeed entertainment in general) is that every single note that comprises every single bar of every single line in every single song you can think of has a worth that is based entirely on opinion. While bands like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones are generally considered to be the musical heavyweights of their time, many others would disagree, and some of them not even because they have no taste in music: they simply just don’t enjoy the songs of these particular bands. I have the same problem with the Arctic Monkeys. I know that these men are technically very skilled and that their live performances are tight and as spot-on as a live performance can be, but I just cannot bring myself to want to listen to more than 5 seconds of any of their songs. I’ve thrown my concern with the opinions of others out the window for the time being therefore in order to create a small list of what are generally considered to be the greatest alternative-style rock artists of recent (and not-so-recent) years, with a few current bands thrown in as well. And if you’ve got a problem with any of them or happen to disagree, you’ll struggle to find anyone around here that will either care or listen to the drivel that you have to say. Try not to lose sleep over it, though I’m sure that many of you will.

Linkin Park

Many sceptics of the alternative or nu-metal genre often rely on a criticism of Crawling, one of Linkin Park’s earlier singles, to get their point across. Those that don’t like the genre will slate the frequent and harsh shouting vocals, but those that appreciate innovation and even revolution in music will know that their album Hybrid Theory was quite literally one of the greatest debut albums of any band in any genre ever. Hell, Linkin Park can be said to have created the sub-genre of Nu-Metal, or at very least made it popular. Hybrid Theory is still a fantastic album, even by today’s very, very low standards; it’s just a shame that the band went downhill from there, coming up with extremely wishy-washy music ever since.


It goes without saying that Nirvana must make an appearance in any list of best artists of pretty much any time period after 1990. Massively influential, hugely popular, and often underrated by many, Nirvana shot to fame with the album Nevermind, though many forget the band’s earlier Bleach album and the follow to Nevermind, In Utero, which contain brilliant songs like Dumb and Heart-Shaped Box. The sullen sound of Nirvana mirrored in advance the tragic circumstances surrounding Cobain’s death, but said legacy has only intensified the fans’ love for the music.

Green Day

Though some see early Green Day as being essentially radio-friendly punk-style music, Green Day have had an illustrious career spanning over 20 years. Many don’t remember further back than American Idiot, but Insomnia, Dookie, and Kerpluk were all albums that signified Green Day’s earlier sound that soon became diluted, as mainstream success tends to do with a band’s music. Still, the songs remain well-written and with some merit, even post-American Idiot.


This is a band whose technical ability combines perfectly with song-writing talent to produce a sound that is unmistakably “Muse” in nature and that could not possibly be anyone else. Origin of Symmetry was a fantastic album that catapulted the band into the sphere of recognition, and they have continued to innovate ever since. Matt Bellamy’s classically-trained piano skills are evident in many of the songs, and the frequent use of synths as well as the bassist’s inventive use of modulators gives the band a completely unique sound. It’s talent all-round for this band, a fact that nobody can deny.

Foo Fighters

The Foo Fighters hold a special place in many people’s hearts because the quality of the song-writing simply does not waiver. Foo Fighters remain consistent in their refusal to pander to what is commercial, though their songs just so happen to be wonderful on the ears and largely “acceptable” for radio without even being written for that purpose. Everlong is a track from the album The Colour and the Shape that many favour from their earlier days, but One By One had a few bangers as well as later albums continuing the Foos’ brilliance over the years.

The Killers

Not since the Stereophonics’ You Gotta Go There to Come Back has a band changed their sound in such a significant way between albums as the Killers did. Hot Fuss was the debut that cemented The Killers’ fame and success, laying down tracks that are home on the dance floor such as Mr. Brightside, Somebody Told Me, and Smile Like You Mean It. Sam’s Town had a sound that was noticeably more mature and removed from the comparatively under-produced Hot Fuss, including tracks like When You Were Young and Read My Mind. To this day they are releasing catchy songs and singer Brandon Flowers has such a unique voice that one cannot mistake this band for anyone else when hearing them on the radio.