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Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years



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  #1  
Old February 15th, 2010, 12:24 pm
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Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years

Imagine: an alien from another planet has just arrived on earth, not having heard any of our music before. She has been told that she has to take an exam in Popular Music of the 1990s and 2000s (all genres, including rock, club etc as well as mainstream pop) in two days' time and her life depends upon her passing. She knows that she doesn't have much time and can only listen to a limited amount of stuff to prepare for the exam and has turned to you for advice on which were the most seminal acts.

What would you suggest?

NB She's not interested in your personal favourites, but the ones that are most likely to come up on the exam i.e. either (a) the most popular bands/artists (b) the most influential ones (c) the most critically acclaimed ones or (d) the most unique ones. And remember, she hasn't got time to listen to 50+ bands, so keep it fairly brief.


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Old February 15th, 2010, 3:39 pm
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Re: Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years

Hmmm it's hard to try and think of just a few bands for this. I can't really comment on country, rnb, rap or some other genres, but of the genres I think I know a bit about, these are my picks for albums I consider both good examples of the genre plus have influenced other musicians in one way or another (in a positive way (albums in italics are the one I'd pick if there could only be one)):

ETA: Because I can't read and made my list albums from before the 90s, here's an updated version (pretty much same bands, different albums).

Classic rock and metal: I guess this one doesn't really count anymore or can someone think of a classic rock/metal group from the past 20 years? I guess AC/DC are still active so I'd put down Black Ice (even though their earlier stuff was a bigger influence IMO). Also Dehumanizer by Black Sabbath.

Alternative rock: Kid A by Radiohead, Jane's Addiction (self titled).

Industrial: Broken by Nine Inch Nails, Bites by Skinny Puppy.

Nu-metal (I use the term loosely): Lateralus by Tool, Holy Wood by Marilyn Manson.

Pop: From the past 20 years I'm not sure if any pop music has really shaped the genre but acts like the Spice Girls I suppose had a reasonable impact. Peachtree Road by Elton John is one I might put down but not as an influence. I suppose if you go with more recent bubblegum pop you've got the likes of Britney Spears, Pink, JLO but the thought of them influencing music makes me cringe.


It's really hard trying to narrow things down, especially as there isn't just "rock" but rather different kinds of rock music. Anyway, those are my thoughts for the moment (but then it is 2am<< ETA I think this is responsible for my inaccurate answer beforehand). I'd be interested to see what others think, especially for classic rock.


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Last edited by Hysteria; February 15th, 2010 at 6:11 pm. Reason: My inability to follow simple instructions
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Old February 15th, 2010, 4:02 pm
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Re: Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years

Well, for 90's and 00's, I don;t know as I would recommend Led Zep, Black Sabbath, and Abba, but then, music does not just spring from nothing. The fact is, it is hard to develop an appreciation for what new bands are doing without the context of what came before.

That said, you'd want Beyonce' Knowles, John Mayer, Marilyn Manson, Shania Twain, Dave Matthews Band, RunDMC, Spice Girls, and Weird Al Yankovic.


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Old February 15th, 2010, 6:02 pm
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Re: Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years

Doh! I completely forgot it was for the 90s and 00s. Wow there goes a lot of my list (will go back and edit). Not sure about Beyonce though, do you mean she's been an influence or she's a good example of a genre?


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Old February 15th, 2010, 6:08 pm
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Re: Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years

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Originally Posted by Hysteria View Post
Doh! I completely forgot it was for the 90s and 00s. Wow there goes most of my list (will go back and edit). Not sure about Beyonce though, do you mean she's been an influence or she's a good example of a genre?
Influence usually shows considerably after a work has been 'out there.' I was going for representations of various popular styles. I included Weird Al because he covers so many styles, and is the premier humor-musician of the past couple of decades.


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Old February 15th, 2010, 10:53 pm
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Re: Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years

Good suggestions, guys - keep them coming.

I stopped listening to mainstream network radio in about 1990, so I'm probably totally unqualified to give suggestions (that's one of the main reasons I started this thread - to help me play catch-up!), but the ones who leap to mind (simply because even in my isolation bubble I haven't been able to escape people going on about them) are:

Popular/Famous Acts: Pulp, Blur, Oasis, Eminem, Franz Ferdinand, Coldplay, Arctic Monkeys, Snow Patrol, Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Lady Gaga

Influential/Critically Acclaimed: Massive Attack, Portishead, Radiohead, The Prodigy, Elbow

This seems very Britishcentric though (not to mention very white, blokey guitar band-centric!).


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Old February 18th, 2010, 1:59 pm
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Re: Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years

I haven't listened to mainstream radio in a few years either so the only exposure I have to popular music (ie. pop, rap, rnb etc) is on TV and through word of mouth. I figure if they're big enough for people to bother telling me about, they must be pretty big

I'd agree with Eminem. I guess him and maybe 50Cent would be good examples of rap?


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Old March 19th, 2010, 6:44 am
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Re: Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years

I don't know about 50 Cent for representing rap. Tupac? Yes, definitely.

For rock, Nirvana would be a good one. They introduced grunge into the mainstream and established Seattle as its musical capitol.


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Old March 19th, 2010, 6:52 am
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Re: Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years

50 Cent was just a guess, rap really isn't my thing

Yeah Nirvana would be up there for the grunge movement. I guess Guns N Roses (even though they started more than 20 years ago) would be important for classic rock.


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Old March 30th, 2011, 9:55 pm
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Re: Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years

My speciality is electronic music so I will stick to nominating acts from that genre.

My first nomination would be The Prodigy. They were around when the rave scene first took off in Britain in the early 90s, and their sound has steadily evolved with the times. They are one of a few electronic artists who have genuine cross-over appeal. I have a number of friends who don't like electronic music except for The Prodigy. They are also absolutely amazing live.

My second nomination would be Daft Punk. Their music really encapsulates the club scene, especially their first two albums. Their debut, Homework, is quite hard, quite dirty, and very dancey. Their second album, Discovery, is their best though. It has some sublime electronic pop music such as One More Time and Too Long. Again, they are also incredible live by all accounts.


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Old March 31st, 2011, 6:03 am
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Re: Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years

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My second nomination would be Daft Punk. Their music really encapsulates the club scene, especially their first two albums. Their debut, Homework, is quite hard, quite dirty, and very dancey. Their second album, Discovery, is their best though. It has some sublime electronic pop music such as One More Time and Too Long. Again, they are also incredible live by all accounts.
How could I forget Daft Punk? They'd definitely be up there.

Some other bands I've thought of for metal (or heavy rock, whatever you want to call it), Metallica, Van Halen, Iron Maiden.

Also, can't really go past Radiohead for alternative rock. They're pretty obvious influences for some other pretty huge bands these days (plus they're awesome )


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Old April 5th, 2011, 10:11 am
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Re: Seminal Bands/Artists of the Last 20 Years

In terms of more recent stuff, because you guys have covered a lot of the main 90's stuff, I'd say Christina Aguilera is probably pretty important in terms of pop, and if I had to choose one album it would be Stripped, as well as Rihanna's Good Girl Gone Bad. They were wildly popular and examples of the pure pop/hip-hop pop split we got this past decade. Though you might even want to throw Taylor Swift in there for good measure with her country stylings.

I'd also say Kanye West and M.I.A. lady rap/alternative hip hop! They're both popular AND acclaimed AND good representations of the kind of music that's been around recently.

In terms of rock, I think that The Killer's Hot Fuzz is essential for any 00's discussion. Though I do admit, picking and choosing the rock music of the past two decades would be tricky. The first that come to mind are Radiohead and Oasis, already mentioned, and if push came to shove, I would probs forfeit the Killers for them.


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