I know I’m not alone when I say that we face a serious problem in the music world today. Music with true meaning and beauty has seemed to vanish as it is being taken over by corporate greed driven to manipulate an entire culture in order to gain power. In turn, this power is used to dictate what we listen to. Those listeners that are mired in the system have unintentionally lost their musical values and are subject to music that is no longer about music, but about money. Others who refuse to blindly take what they are given are normally left to reflect on the good old days when music was made to inspire, and shake their heads at the nonsense being created today. On the surface, our culture is left with an industry that has destroyed an art form. Well, in this article, The Music Observer intends to deliver a message of hope. To all those who are stuck with listening to the modern radio, there is a whole other world of greater musical enrichment that you are able to dive into. To all those who never listen to the radio and have given up on today’s generation, fear not, for our culture still has much to be proud of.
What started as a mere fascination turned into a four-month long rigorous research project. The result is a ranking of the 50 best musicians whose careers have begun since 2000. I do not intend this ranking to act like a definitive and holy list of who is better than who. Instead, this is simply an outlet to share what I have found to be today’s wonderful music with the rest of the world. I have been truly amazed throughout the whole process of creating this article. I would have never guessed at the number of times I would be completely blown away by music that I didn’t know existed today. In the midst of creating this, I realized that this was not just for enjoyment. Sharing our experiences like this is thoroughly important for the survival of quality music and for those who have yet to be fully committed to its power. This brings me to my belief in what the power of music really is. While I don’t have a straight answer to something as big as that, I will say that music lives in a realm bigger than humanity itself. To put it simply, music does not exist for you. No one is above the art of music, and using music in order to simply meet your needs is not experiencing music to its full potential. For example, if you enjoy some music because it makes you feel powerful, do not dismiss other music just because it doesn’t make you feel powerful. If you thoroughly disliked the use of a particular instrument in a song, do not ridicule other songs just because they also use that same instrument. If you only listen to music that calms you, don’t be afraid to open up and expose yourself to new emotions that music can conjure up. Allow yourself to become immersed in the entire world of music and you will be a happier person. Each musician on this list has a unique story to tell, and when we put these stories together it combines to develop what our true culture is and how we define a generation. Our culture belongs to us, not to a business. Be mindful of what music has to say to you; not the other way around. This philosophy is what allowed me to find the purest beauty in today’s music world.
To create this list, I evaluated the musicians loosely based on my three regular categories: melodic intrigue, harmonic creativity, and timbral effectiveness. I left out intangible influence because I was looking to base my ranking solely on musical elements. To be eligible, the musicians had to have started their professional careers on or after the year 2000. This will surely explain the absence of many great musicians who had successful careers in the 2000s (such as Eminem, Blink 182, Jay-Z, and The White Stripes) on this list. I did include those who may have gotten together or started in 1999, so long as their first major work was not completed and made available until 2000. You may notice that, while I did consider any musician in any musical genre, that some genres are overwhelmingly more present in this list than others. Part of me wishes that wasn’t the case, but then again I had to stay true to my judgements. My rationalization for this imbalance is that some genres over the past 15 years have simply attracted the smarter and more talented musician. The genres that encourage more freedom of expression without limitations, such as indie rock, have tended to produce better quality musicians than those stuck to a particular sound and the same crowd, such as country. Along with a testament of what makes them worthy of the list, I have also included three favorite songs written by each musician/band. Remember to keep an open mind, and hopefully you will discover something new about today’s music for the better.