Many people love to discuss which era of music was the best. For example someone might say that the 70’s was the best time in music while another would disagree and vouch for the 80’s. I believe that no single era of music was better then another, but I do think that the 90’s produced more bands that are still active and relevant in today’s music scene. I will be sifting through the numerous acts that were formed in the 90’s and who are still touring and releasing records to this very day. Here are my top ten!
Imagine a stage shrouded in darkness right before an explosion of sound and fire erupts in your face. German industrial metal band Rammstein have successfully garnered a cult following since 1994 on an international level. Despite the fact that the majority of their songs are in German, the band smashes through the language barrier with brutal instrumentation and a ridiculous amount of pyro. Hell they even have a song titled “Feuer frei!”, which translates to “Fire At Will”. Known primarily for their live performances, Rammstein is a force to be reckoned with in any setting.
English alternative rock band Placebo has been in the game since the early 90’s and have slowly climbed to the top. Utilizing a unique marketing ploy of androgynous imagery and musical content, the band sports an air of mystery. Backed by intricate instrumental play and dark lyrical content, Placebo in a sense is like a more modern version of The Cure. While they achieved a large amount of attention early in their career, the band disappeared from the public eye several years ago. Currently touring their excellent 2013 album, Loud Like Love, Placebo has begun their resurgence into the music industry.
8. Modest Mouse
There are few bands who are as universally liked as indie rock band Modest Mouse. Formed in 1993 the band has developed a reputation for seamlessly mixing older material with more recent work that, in turn, make crowd-pleasing sets. The guttural shouts and roars of lead singer/guitarist Isaac Brock, along with a formidable array of instrumentation, has shot MM to the top of everyone’s concert bucket list. The band has helped pave the way for aspiring indie rock bands around the world and will continue to be a role model in the loosest sense of the word. Unconventional, is a good word to describe the risk taking band from Washington.
Quite possibly one of the most successful and critically acclaimed alternative/pop-punk bands still around, Weezer has gathered a massive fan base. Selling millions of records around the world, their first two albums self-titled, Weezer (also known as The Blue Album) and Pinkerton have achieved cult status and are considered two of the best albums to come out of the 90’s. With a new album called Everything Will Be Alright In The End, just released and quite possibly there best piece of work in some time. While they have not been the most talked about band in recent years, with consistent touring and a plethora of hits the nerd rock pioneers are bringing their catchy style of play to the masses.
Funk is reason to dance enough, but what happens if you fuse it together with Jazz, R&B, Soul, Rock, Disco and Dance music? The answer you will find comes in the form of the British experimental funk and acid jazz band, Jamiroquai. It is true that the band has not released an album since 2010, but lead frontman and the heart of the band Jay Kay, has confirmed that they are currently working on a new album for 2015. Despite their lack of new material, Jamiroquai remains one of the most eclectic multi-genre acts from the 90’s. Having sold more than 40 million albums worldwide along with winning a Grammy, the band is still going strong off of their crazy live shows that turn any venue into one massive dance party. The electronic jazz/funk band is set to retake its throne as one of the elite modern day electronic funk rock acts in the genre.
5. Queens Of The Stone Age
California rock band Queens Of The Stone Age have been at the forefront of hard hitting heavy rock music since their formation in 1996. Focusing primarily on heavy guitar riffs that can shake you to your core, the band is a devastating powerhouse live and on record. Coming from the same vein of music as bands like the Screaming Trees and Soundgarden, QOTSA has crafted their own version of desert rock. Implementing crashing drums and catchy guitar riffs, the band has become one of the most respected live acts in the industry. Hitting the stage with rockstar like bravado and enough muscle infused songs to keep the crowd going long into the night, QOTSA is a perfect example of a band that sticks to its roots.
4. The National
Just barely making it into the top 10 list, The National was formed in 1999. Like many of the selected bands, The National made a name for itself during the 2000’s. Moody yet at the same time epic beyond belief, the New York outfit lives by the saying “slow and steady wins the race”. While their albums have all been critically praised, the band has taken the long road to success and after almost a decade they have finally achieved international mainstream status. Their often slow tempo songs are known for their tendency to build into a crescendo of sound. Intelligent lyrics and emotional wordplay have shot the band into the spotlight. One of the finest indie rock bands to come out of New York, The National’s only direction is up.
The kings of UK stadium rock, Muse is a monstrous force on stage that has managed to become an international dynamo. The English three piece was formed in 1994 and has since conquered every major venue and festival in the world. Known for their over the top bombastic displays that include genre bending space rock, lasers, steam jets and…. dubstep (this really happened)??? With tracks like “Knights Of Cydonia”, “Starlight” and “Madness” the British outfit has the technical ability and firepower to decimate crowds all over the world. If there was ever the time to put a band on your “must see live” bucket list, then Muse should easily be in your top 5. With a new album set to be released next year, the band is gearing up for another world tour that will once again put them at the top of the hill.
2. Pearl Jam
Cue the epic entrance music because one of the hardest working rock bands in the industry is still kicking. Pearl Jam have been entertaining crowds with their grungy hard rock since 1990 and with time they have become one of the most sought after live bands in the world. The Seattle rock band has ten full albums worth of exhilarating and at times, moving tracks. PJ does not seem to know the meaning of slowing down or growing old. Lead vocalist Eddie Vedder is a whirlwind on stage, running and jumping like a man half his age. It is because of this special kind of charisma that PJ has continuously been recognized as one of the few hard rock bands from the 90’s that can still put on a mind-bending live show. Grab your flannel and ripped jeans because PJ is not going anywhere, anytime soon.
1. Foo Fighters
One of the greatest modern-day rock bands in the world and easily one of the most beloved. The Foo Fighters are one of the most popular bands around and continue to make chart-topping rock music year after year. With seven albums under their belt and another, titled Sonic Highways, coming out this year, the band is gearing up to lay waste to venues around the world. A Foo Fighters show is not merely a good time, but more of a marathon of anthemic stadium rock that has the volume turned up full blast. Your adrenaline will be pumping as soon as the band hits the stage and you will be surprised by how many of the lyrics you actually know. With 2015 looming, the Foo’s are getting ready for what very well could be their year by playing several one-off shows. I mean, c’mon, they are freaking awesome because of Dave Grohl alone (AKA the nicest man in the music industry). The band embodies the spirit of rock at its purest form and will hopefully continue their already impressive legacy for years to come.