26 Best Bands of the 2000s That You Need to Know

best bands of the 2000s

The 20th century was an extremely pivotal time for modern music. In a single century, we saw the birth of jazz, blues, rock, hip-hop, RnB, Soul, punk, metal, and Motown, just to name a few! In the early 2000s, all of these 20th century genres blended together to form a unique sound that was characteristic to the era.

In this article, I will go over 26 of the best bands of the 2000s. These groups were a great start to the 21st century and paved the way for the musicians and bands we listen to today!

1. Linkin Park

Linkin Park was one of the best-selling bands of the 2000s, so it would be impossible to make this list without mentioning the alt-rock group. The band had a HUGE influence on 21st century rock music and brought a lot of new elements to the genre. Something unique that Linkin Park popularized was blending other genres with rock. They often incorporated electronic and hip-hop themes into their music, which assisted in the resurgence of rock music popularity in the early 2000s.

2. Foo Fighters

When Kurt Cobain passed away in 1994, drummer Dave Grohl started Foo Fighters as a solo project. After playing in Nirvana, the most influential grunge band of the early 90s, Grohl became extremely successful with the Foo Fighters, releasing 11 studio albums and winning 15 Grammy Awards.

While the Foo Fighters have been making music for 30 years and continue to tour even today, the 2000s were the years the rock band released most of their most successful albums.

3. The Strokes

Another extremely influential band from the 2000s, The Strokes, rekindled the raw, garage-rock sound of the 60s and 70s. The band’s debut album Is This It has an unfiltered and authentic sound that catapulted The Strokes to fame in 2001. Julian Casablancas’s distorted vocals and Nick Valensi’s creamy guitar parts give The Strokes a signature sound that simply cannot be matched. They are one of the most iconic bands of the 2000s and have influenced many.

4. Evanescence 

Likely the most famous band from Arkansas, Evanescence is easily one of the biggest rock bands to grace the stage at the turn of the 21st century. In 2003, Evanescence released their debut album Fallen, which was easily the band’s most successful release, containing songs like “Bring Me To Life” and “My Immortal.”

The band’s style can best be described as hard rock with goth and metal influences. Evanescence lyrics generally have deep meanings, and the instruments have an eerie, classical music feel.

5. Blink-182

Blink-182 has been one of the most successful pop punk bands for more than two decades now. But after they released Enema of the State in 1999, the band was on top of the world! They are one of the best-selling pop-punk bands of all time and had a massive impact on early 2000s rock and punk music.

Blink-182 helped to resurrect the punk genre and were part of a late 90s and early 2000s movement to push rock and punk to the top of the billboards.

6. Green Day

One of the most successful punk bands of the 90s, Green Day stayed relevant in the 2000s, shocking the world with their comeback concept album, American Idiot, in 2004. It would be difficult to name another punk band with as long and as influential of a career as Green Day. American Idiot is not only one of the greatest rock albums of the 2000s but also one of the best of all time, earning Green Day a place on any list of the best ‘00s bands.

7. Muse

Muse is the perfect blend of progressive rock with hits of dance-pop. With their electrifying progressive performances, Muse is easily one of my top choices for the best rock band of the 2000s. The band started out with a heavier, alternative-rock sound, but with the release of their 2007 album Black Holes and Revelations, Muse started incorporating more electronic and pop influences. This album brought them closer to the mainstream and was a huge success. In fact, Black Holes and Revelations sold more than 3 million copies and was the 24th best-selling album of 2006!

8. Arctic Monkeys

Formed out of the Northern English city of Sheffield, The Arctic Monkeys are an indie rock band that was incredibly successful in the 2000s. Inspired by The Strokes’ garage-rock revival sound, the Arctic Monkeys’ music is raw, with clean vocals, distorted guitar parts, and driving bass riffs. Their first two albums, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, and Favourite Worst Nightmare, were incredibly popular in the early 2000s and have inspired many indie rock bands in recent decades.

9. The White Stripes

Jack White is easily one of the most influential guitar players and musicians of the 21st century. White has been a part of many bands, but his most successful was The White Stripes, a garage-rock duo with his then-wife, Meg White. 

The White Stripes played stripped-down rock music and contributed heavily to the revival of raw, garage-rock music alongside other groups such as The Strokes, The Arctic Monkeys, and the Hives. 

10. The Killers

The Killers took the music world by storm in 2004 when they released their debut album, Hot Fuss. The band blended indie-rock, pop, and electronic music to create a unique new music style. The Killers were heavily influenced by other early 2000s bands, including The Strokes, whose debut album, Is This It, had a massive impact on lead singer Brandon Flowers’s songwriting.

The Killers went on to become one of the most successful rock bands from the 2000s, selling over 28 million albums and earning 7 Grammy Award nominations.

11. My Chemical Romance

Influenced by post-punk groups such as The Misfits, Black Flag, and The Smiths, My Chemical Romance brought their goth-rock hardcore style to the music scene in 2002. The band is one of the most influential rock bands of their time and has released some incredibly successful albums. By far, the best-selling My Chemical Romance album is The Black Parade, released in 2006, which went on to become one of the top albums of the year.

The band contributed to the spreading popularity of the emo and horror rock genres in the 2000s and 2010s. Many other bands, including Black Veil Brides, Panic! At the Disco, and Asking Alexandria, have been influenced by MCR.

12. Nickelback

While Nickelback’s music isn’t exactly my cup of tea, there is no question that the band deserves a place on this list. Based on album sales alone, the Canadian rock group is easily one of the most successful rock bands of the era. Nickelback has sold more than 50 million records with 6 ARIA platinum albums, 5 of which are double platinum or more.

Say what you want about the rock band, but they are widely successful and have a huge and loyal fanbase.

13. Coldplay

Another immensely popular band, Coldplay, has been making music since the late 90s and is one of the best-selling music groups of all time. The British rock band has sold more than 100 million albums throughout their 25-year career. Coldplay has heavily impacted modern pop music and ushered in a new, mellow rock style. While bands like The White Stripes and The Strokes were reviving 60s garage rock, Coldplay brought “soft rock” to the mainstream with light vocals and keyboard-centric instrumentals.

Coldplay has maintained the same lineup since 1997 and is a symbol of modern British pop-rock.

14. System of a Down

While Coldplay represents the epitome of soft rock in the 2000s, System of a Down is the other side of the spectrum. System of a Down had a small fan base in the Los Angeles heavy metal scene in the late 90s. But it wasn’t until the band’s second album, Toxicity, was released that they saw major success. This album has sold more than 12 million copies and helped catapult the band to mainstream popularity.

Fun fact: All members of System of a Down are Armenian-American and met at an Armenian high school in California!

15. Arcade Fire

Montreal-based indie rock band Arcade Fire is led by husband and wife duo Win Butler and Régine Chassagne. Arcade Fire is one of the most successful and influential indie rock bands of all time. Their debut album, Suburbs, paved the way for many new indie rock bands, including Florence + The Machine, Mumford and Sons, and Of Monsters and Men.

While Arcade Fire may not be the best-selling indie band of all time, their huge influence on the genre and unique sound is what landed them a spot on my list of top 2000s bands.

16. The Red Hot Chili Peppers

The Red Hot Chili Peppers have been around since the early 80s, but after releasing Californication in 1999, the California-based alternative rock band was on top of the world. RHCP’s music style is characteristically funky and psychedelic, with unique guitar parts by John Frusciante and world-class bass licks from Flea. I consider Flea to be one of the best bass players of all time.

In the 2000s, the band released several of its most successful albums, including By The Way and Stadium Arcadium. The band has been extremely successful throughout its four-decade career, with more than 120 million in total record sales.

17. Disturbed

Disturbed epitomizes the hard rock and heavy metal scene of the 2000s. This Chicago-based band formed in 1994 and rose to prominence at the beginning of the decade with their debut album, The Sickness

Something that makes Disturbed unique is their incorporation of melodic elements in otherwise brutal-sounding heavy metal music. Lead singer David Draiman has a distinctive guttural baritone voice that he often records using distortion effects.

18. Paramore

It would be impossible to complete this list without including Paramore, one of the most successful female-led rock bands of all time. The pop-punk band has had several popular album releases, including Riot!, the 2005 record that launched the band into the mainstream.

Hayley Williams’ belting vocals and angsty punk lyrics make Paramore the perfect encapsulation of 2000s pop punk.

19. Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab for Cutie became a defining band of the indie music scene in the 2000s. Known for their introspective and emotional lyrics and lo-fi soundscapes, the band had a huge effect on the rising popularity of the indie, emo, and folk genres in the 2000s.

There is no doubt that Death Cab for Cutie’s songwriting and music style has influenced countless bands and helped shape the sound of the decade.

20. Deftones

While Deftones started recording and touring in the 1990s in Sacramento, it wasn’t until the band released their 1997 album Around the Fur that they saw major recognition. 

This album was a bit more experimental and complex than their previous, more metal-centric compositions. 

In 2000, Deftones released White Pony, which included the single “Change (In the House of Flies)”. This is by far the band’s most popular hit. Deftones had a massive impact on modern heavy metal and alternative music and is credited with innovating the genre.

21. Incubus

Hailing from California, Incubus is a super successful rock band that saw a ton of success in the late 90s and early 2000s. It is difficult to pin the band down to a specific genre, but their music style can best be described as a blend of metal, funk, and psychedelic.

Incubus’s most popular songs are “Drive,” “Wish You Were Here,” and “Pardon Me.”   

22. Jimmy Eat World

Jimmy Eat World had a small but loyal fanbase in the mid 90s, but this all changed when the band released their fourth album Bleed American in 2001. This was Jimmy Eat World’s first (and only) platinum album and put them in the “big leagues” of early 2000s pop punk, alongside Blink-182 and Green Day.

“The Middle” is Jimmy Eat World’s most successful single, with nearly 1 billion Spotify streams! 

23. Audioslave

Audioslave was a supergroup rock bank that was active in the early 2000s. The band consisted of Chris Cornell, lead singer of Soundgarden, and three members of Rage Against the Machine: Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk. Audioslave style was essentially a blend of these two bands, though it definitely had its own distinct sound.

The band broke up after just six years, but in this short time, they sold more than 8 million records and released two platinum albums.

24. Queens of the Stone Age

Seattle-based hard rock band Queens of the Stone Age gained a lot of attention in 2002 with the release of Songs for the Deaf. This album is one of my absolute favorite rock records of all time and one that I can listen to easily from start to finish in a single sitting. While the band didn’t sell as many albums as most of the others on this list, Queens of the Stone Age is undoubtedly one of the most influential bands of the decade.

Fun fact: Dave Grohl recorded drums for Songs for the Deaf and even toured with Queens of the Stone Age for some time.

25. Radiohead

Radiohead is by no means confined to the 2000s. The band released some of its most successful albums in the 90s, but they did not fizzle out in the next decade.

Radiohead has an incredibly unique sound, using unusual guitar riffs, vocal melodies, and song structure. However, despite the band’s experimental nature, they have sold more than 30 million albums. In the 2000s, the English rock band released Kid A and In Rainbows, two of their most popular albums.

26. U2

Another band that has seen a lot of success in multiple decades is U2. The Irish rock band has been topping billboards since the 1980s, and the early 2000s was no exception. U2 is one of the best-selling bands of all time, with several platinum albums and more than 150 million in total record sales.

The rock quartet has a super unique and accessible sound. Guitarist The Edge’s playing skills and use of effects pedals shine, complimenting Bono’s belting vocals.

The 2000s were a great era in music

It’s pretty crazy to think that the 2000s were more than 20 years ago! And while this decade may not be as iconic as the 1960s or ‘70s, the bands from the 2000s had a major influence on the music we listen to today. In this list I have only mentioned a teeny tiny percentage of the best bands of the 2000s as there are obviously many, many more!

If you liked this post, check out my guide on the best Texas musicians or the best female guitar players.