The Ten Most Important Artists Of The Last Decade (Full List)

This is technically a repost, but for those interested it’s all in one spot.

1.) The White Stripes

2.) Kanye West

3.) Jay-Z

4.) Britney Spears

5.) Danger Mouse

6.) The Strokes

7.) Radiohead

8.) Lil Wayne

9.) Green Day

10.) Death Cab For Cutie

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33 Comments

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33 responses to “The Ten Most Important Artists Of The Last Decade (Full List)

  1. What is, or should I say what was, “important” about Britney Spears?

  2. Ok So I get some of the bands on this list but The Strokes, Britney Spears and Lil Wayne not sure I get their importance, what are your reason beyond striking up a discussion?

    • I actually started writing it as a sort of challenge to myself to see if I could do it – and make the list somewhat credible. I was kind of thinking all across the board. I personally find Britney annoying, but there’s a whole new crop of (equally annoying) young pop stars (Katy Perry, Rihanna, etc) who grew up on Britney. Sure that music is just fluff, but I do find it noteworthy that’s she’s been around for 12 years at this point (she’s an old maid in the pop world) and is still out there getting hits. The fact that she still has an audience is interesting.

      As far as Lil Wayne….I do think he kind of hip-hop rap to a whole other level with Tha Carter III. It’s wild stuff…but he’s on every fucking track that it kind of dilutes the good stuff he’s put out.

  3. and congrats on getting the wordpress frontpage

  4. you guys are whack. the white stripes is the only band you got right on this list.

  5. I think framing what is ‘important’ for the decade might bring the credibility you speak of. I don’t necessarily agree with the list but it is interesting.

  6. Green Day? Oh dear. DJ Shadow maybe? The biggest selling dance act of all time and producers of the greatest breakbeat album ever – The Prodigy?

  7. What about Arctic Monkeys?? and… Britney, really?? I think you mix genre without sense. In my opinion is imposible to make a 10 list without take care on that kind of things: you CAN’T (and MUSTN’T) compare TWS with Jay-Z, Jay-Z with Britney, The Strokes with Lil Wayne… It’s like I compare Kubrick with pizza, it doesn’t make sense!! Yes, of course, a list is a list and I can agree or not, but I think you can’t compare the importance of a band without take care of this and it doesn’t depend on my personal opinion about your list.

  8. I heard of that girl, initials BS (how appropriate) but none of the others except radiohead. No decade has or will ever surpass the 60’s starting with Beatles of course.

  9. sonicleese

    This is a good working list…. I think you attempt to take into consideration the original breeding pool for many different sub cultures of music that have morphed into what have become the new standards….

    Now, I’m decidedly more of the indie persuasion and I do have my personal favorites, but I would suggest a closer look at Pink and Ludcris and Moby

    And then also perhaps don’t forget Arcade Fire and The Shins…. TVOTR and Wolf Parade……

    Thanks for sharing and for making the list for all of us to talk about!!

  10. I like your reasoning for the White Stripes and Death Cab for Cutie. This list makes me really excited for the ten most important artists of the next decade! So nerdy. -abi

    And curious – if you had to list a few honorary mentions, who would they be? (Isn’t that the trick to narrowing a top 10 list, the ability to go over the limit with honorary mentions? :))

    • Thanks for writing. I did have a whole list and I kept changing them. As far as “honorary mentions”…I had TV on the Radio, The Roots, Ryan Adams, Ben Harper…to name a few. Maybe I’ll do a post of the honorable mentions, but due to various reasons this list took me forever to do when I usually post pretty quickly on something like this. So by the time I got to the White Stripes I kind of wanted to be done. I’m sure the artists that I mentioned above in the reply will get their dues though.

  11. The lack of Eminem on this list and the placement of Kanye at #2 makes it far from credible. If your argument is that Kanye is a good producer, then Dr. Dre should be on here as well, because Dre is top notch producing. He’s so ahead of his time with every song that he lays down beats for. No beef with Jay being on there, Hov deserves that much respect.

    Props to you for not putting Gaga or any of that other mainstream crap on the list though, because the mainstream tends to stray from being anything more than tasteless. It’s just the same rehashed uncreative crap that gets old after one or two listens, yet everyone listens to because it’s undeniably catchy or the cool thing to do. Great effort nonetheless.

    PS- If Radiohead is on here, Muse should too.

    • Thanks for the reply. Eminem probably should have been on the list. I like Dre’s solo efforts and he’s a great producer for sure. I don’t know that much about what stuff he’s produced in the past decade though or if he’s just been laying low trying to put out Detox. I just tend to think his biggest impact was in the early 90s.

  12. Oh, and Eddie Vedder should be here too. The man is a musical genius, as is Dave Grohl. The lack of a solo album from Grohl may void the possibilty of his making this list, but Vedder put one out for the movie Into the Wild, and it was a pretty spectacular solo effort.

    • I love Eddie Vedder…Into the Wild was a great soundtrack. As great as he is….his impact in the 90s. That being said, he’s written some beautiful songs (solo and for PJ). Very under-rated as a lyricist. “Light Years” has got to be one of the best songs I’ve ever heard about the death of a close friend. As for Foo Fighters…at one point I did think about putting them on there…they’re somehow managed to become huge as a straight-up rock band which is an oddity in the last decade. I’ve heard good things about the new album but haven’t gotten it yet.

  13. Veronica

    This list is flawed. There’s no Muse in it.

  14. I don’t know about Death Cab For Cutie…if you needed an indie rock artist that encapsulated that particular brand of music’s thrust into the mainstream, I think the Arcade Fire have had a much bigger impact than Death Cab. Yeah, both bands got a huge spike in popularity in a short period of time, but Arcade Fire arguably did more (if winning the Album of the Year Grammy is any indication of accomplishment), and they did it without signing to a major label. I’d argue, then, that Arcade Fire’s impact goes beyond indie rock and stands as an example of how much the status quo of record industry has changed in this past decade.

  15. The Sea & Cake, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, oh wait, you are talking commercial music aren’t you? I can’t get behind Britney or Lil Wayne. Damian Marley, yes.

  16. Pingback: We the Consumers « offthefrontporch

  17. joshterzino

    I won’t judge your list, it’s too subjective a thing to really say anyway…Important to who and for what reasons, all that. My only problem would be that Britney Spears and Radiohead belong in the previous decade’s list. If you’re saying Britney inspired Katy Perry, Rihanna etc., you could just as easily say Madonna.

    • You make a goo point about Madonna influencing them…but Britney’s about 5 years older than the Katy Perry, etc so I think they would have been more likely to see her videos on MTV growing up.

  18. I can imagine that Jack Johnson would definitely be worth considering with commercially speaking… in 2001, the surfer-turned folk musician set the international stage for acoustic style melodies, soft rock, and has collaborated with other credible artists such as Ben Harper, Donovan Frankenreiter, and even Damian Marley. Recently his record label Brushfire Records has introduced some pretty talented new musicians to the industry.

    • I never really even considered Jack Johnson. I suppose he’s just too relaxed and chill for me. I’ll have to give him more of a listen.

    • joshterzino

      Dave Matthews, I would imagine, is a much-bigger influence on the laid-back singer/songwriter crowd than Johnson. It kills me to say that, because I really loathe Matthews, and there is a soft spot in my heart for Jack Johnson (even though he’s made basically the same album four times in a row). When it comes to influence over a wide number of people, though, Matthews is way ahead.

  19. thegeekswereright

    I can see a lot of what you might have been going for with this list, and I appreciate that you tried highlighting artists that you don’t necessarily like in favor of fairness and credibility (career-wise for each). But Radiohead #7? Nuh uh. And I love me some Kanye (especially his most recent), but there are better choices when it comes to hip-hop, examples: Tupac, Biggie, and even Eminem. I’d also argue The Postal Service is tied with Death Cab. And I love Death Cab.

    • If the list was from the 90s I would agree with you about Tupac (not so much Biggie…I find him over-rated). But since both of them were deceased for the last decade, posthumous albums don’t count. As far as Eminem…I suppose you could make the argument, but his pop culture references tend to do him a great dis-service and date him. Otherwise he probably should be on the list…but until “Recovery” it seemed that he liked to make pop-culture jokes and offend people (though some of it is great) that doesn’t really stand the test of time.

      As for the Postal Service, I really must be missing something. Lots of people have mentioned them. I listened to it once or twice a few years back and wasn’t really interested. I’ll have to give them another listen.

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