Often times while listening to Top 40 Radio, it’s common to hear people complain that “music just isn’t the same as it used to be.” While some people feel that current music, made mostly with computers and electronics, “isn’t real music,” others feel that music of 2014 lacks any true meaning. While there may be some listeners who disagree, I feel that music released in the late ‘90s and early 2000’s greatly stands out from the music of the last twenty years.

Don’t get me wrong. There is some really incredible music being made by emerging artists today. Musicians such as Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Taylor Swift, and Imagine Dragons have all proved to be incredible at their art. While there are certain aspects to today’s music that I certainly love, I think that music made in the previous fifteen years has been far more influential for future artists.

Let’s start with the late ‘90s. By 1995, some of the best rock songs of our generation had been released. Without the pressure to release attention-getting, racy songs that today’s artists are pressured to create, artists and bands of these years were able to create music with real meaning and originality.  Songwriters of this era not only created universal songs that are still relevant today, but also affected the music for all future generations. With the rising popularity of bands such as No Doubt, Blink 182 and Green Day, 1995 was the year of punk rock and ska. Without these three bands, some of today’s most popular music, such as Paramore and Fall Out Boy, would not exist.


In my opinion, punk rock bands dominated the music industry in the late ‘90s and paved the way for future artists. As for the top five songs of this era, here are my picks (in no particular order):

  1. Spiderwebs – No Doubt

  2. What’s My Age Again? – Blink 182

  3. WonderwallOasis

  4. Brain Stew – Green Day

  5. Bittersweet SymphonyThe Verve

While songs released in the late ‘90s were certainly a monumental peak for music of the late 20th century, music released in 2000-2008 is, arguably, some of the best and most underrated music of all time. During this time period, Top 40 Radio was still centered on punk rock, but also began to feature more indie and even “emo” styles. The music of these years not only affected the music industry for years after, but also changed the style and pop culture of all those living at that time. Below is a list of some of my top ten songs of 2000-2008.


  1. Dance, Dance – Fall Out BoyImage

  2.  Misery Business – Paramore

  3. I Write Sins Not TragediesPanic! At the Disco

  4. Somebody Told MeThe Killers

  5. American Idiot – Green Day

  6. Ocean AvenueYellowcard

  7. The MiddleJimmy Eat World

  8. Just A Girl – No Doubt

  9. The Best of You – The Foo Fighters

  10. Complicated – Avril Lavigne

Now, I may have gotten a little carried away talking about the punk rock bands of this era, but all genres featured some incredible releases. For those interested in older songs of all genres, VH1 compiled a great list of the top 100 songs of the 2000’s and it’s definitely worth the read. Obviously the mentioned artists are some of my favorites, but who are yours? What do you consider to be the best music of the 1990’s/ early 2000’s?



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