Linkin Park performance in Spain in 2017

Linkin Park performance in Spain in 2017 (Photo by Christian Bertrand on Shutterstock)

The feeling of nostalgia is in the air, my friends, and like Phil Collins, we can feel it coming, which can only mean one thing. We are throwing it back to the 2000s. Get ready to dust off your iPods and slide into your skinny jeans because we are about to relive the era of overswept side bangs, low-rise pants, and punk-influenced rock music. From Linkin Park to Green Day and everything in between, today we are talking about the best rock bands of the 2000s. These bands not only dominated the airwaves but also became the soundtrack to our angsty teenage years. The raw emotions and rebellious lyrics resonated with a generation searching for an outlet. The 2000s rock scene was a diverse and vibrant era, with bands pushing the boundaries of the genre with their unique blend of pop-punk and emo influences. So, get ready to crank up the volume and immerse yourself in the nostalgia of a time when rock music ruled the world as we dive headfirst into the unforgettable groups that defined this iconic decade.

Ever wonder why people are so nostalgic, though? Especially when it comes to music. A recent survey may shed some light on the answer. The survey, commissioned by Greatest Hits Radio, released the top 50 songs it says are most likely to put you in a good mood. Researchers add that 58 percent of adults say the songs that made them the happiest were the ones released in their youth. Furthermore, it turns out that of the respondents surveyed, 85 percent connected their happiest year for music with their “best days and life experiences.” 

Oldies but goodies are getting new life thanks to social media when it comes to the younger generations, however. Almost half of music fans in the U.S. have recently discovered a song that was released over a decade ago thanks to apps like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. This recent survey of 2,000 U.S. adults shows that about one in four attributes the discovery of a classic hit to a viral trend on social media. Nearly 70 percent of Gen Z states they have recently discovered an iconic song from over a decade ago for the first time. Overall, more than two-thirds are rediscovering classics from their past. 

If you’re feeling nostalgic like many Americans are, then you are in the right place. We at StudyFinds love reminding you of gems from the past. As always, we have researched across multiple expert sources to bring you the ranking of the top seven best rock bands of the 2000s. Don’t agree with our picks? No worries, we would love to hear your favorites in the comments down below. Now, onto the list.

man playing guitar under stage light struss
Foo Fighters (Photo by Diego Mora Barrantes on Unsplash)

The List: Best Rock Bands Of The 2000s, According to Experts

1. Linkin Park

The first band up on our list is Linkin Park. A highly influential alternative rock band formed in California. “Every rock music aficionado has a fond memory of listening to a Linkin Park song. The band formed in 1996 and debuted their first album’ Hybrid Theory’ in 2000. Since then, the band has become a symbol of the era,” says The Things.

“With their groundbreaking debut album’ Hybrid Theory,’ Linkin Park became one of the most influential 2000s rock bands. Their unique fusion of alternative rock, nu-metal, and rap catapulted them to international stardom and inspired countless musicians,” says Music Gateway.

“Formed in 1996, the band rose to fame with their debut album, which was certified Diamond by the RIAA. The album spawned several hit singles, including ‘In the End,’ ‘Crawling,’ and ‘One Step Closer.’ Your emo phase back in high school wouldn’t have been complete without listening to Linkin Park. The band continued their success in the following years with albums like ‘Meteora,’ ‘Minutes to Midnight,’ and ‘A Thousand Suns,'” states Musician Wave.

2. The White Stripes

The second spot on our ranking is dedicated to The White Stripes. A duo responsible for one of the most influential anthems of the decade. “As pioneers of the garage rock revival, The White Stripes brought raw, minimalist rock back into the mainstream. Their distinctive sound and style earned them a massive following and paved the way for other garage rock bands,” describes Music Gateway.

“The duo of Meg and Jack White released a suite of iconic albums across the decade. Blending a lo-fi garage rock sound with a blues-rock vibe, The White Stripes’ 2001 ‘White Blood Cells’ and 2003 ‘Elephant’ propelled them to the top of the rock genre. The divorced couple masqueraded as brother and sister to make sure people focused on the music, not their past romance. Whatever they did worked! Today, the classic ‘Seven Nation Army’ remains a stepping stone for all aspiring rock musicians,” raves Music Grotto.

“The White Stripes were also one of the most popular bands of the early 2000s, thanks to their unique blend of garage rock and blues. The duo released their self-titled debut album in 1999, but it was their 2001 album ‘White Blood Cells’ that really put them on the map. The album was a critical and commercial success, and it included the hit singles’ Little Room’ and ‘I Can’t Wait.’ The White Stripes continued to release great music throughout the decade, including their acclaimed album ‘Icky Thump’ in 2007,” adds Musician Wave.

3. Red Hot Chili Peppers

Number three on our ranking goes to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. “Known for their fusion of funk, punk, and psychedelic rock with a heavy emphasis on bass and guitar-driven rhythms. The band’s original lineup consisted of lead vocalist Anthony Kiedis, guitarist Hillel Slovak, bassist Flea, and drummer Jack Irons. Over the years, the band has undergone several lineup changes, with the current lineup consisting of Kiedis, Flea, drummer Chad Smith, and guitarist John Frusciante,” notes Singers Room.

Red Hot Chili Peppers' lead signer, Anthony Kiedis performing in 2023
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ lead signer, Anthony Kiedis performing in 2023 (Photo by Adam McCullough on Shutterstock)

“While the Los Angeles alt-rock band got together in the early 1980s and reached commercial success with 1991’s ‘Blood Sugar Sex Magik,’ the Red Hot Chili Peppers reached their mainstream pinnacle in the 2000s. Their 1999 album ‘Californication’ made them a household name, and 2006’s ‘Stadium Arcadium’ was one of the decade’s most defining releases, reaching the top of the Billboard charts. This cemented Anthony Kiedis and Flea as household names and made them one of the best 2000s bands, certainly,” comments Music Grotto.

“The gold standard when it comes to critically acclaimed commercial bands, RHCP pioneered a sound so arresting and fresh that they’ve captivated the public imagination since their early days. Their songs are soulful and candid, and they blend heartfelt lyrics with offbeat rap verses. Their unorthodox instrumentals are heavy on funk, garage, skate, and psychedelic,” reports Midder Music.

4. Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters take the number four spot on today’s list, and for good reason: they aren’t only one of the best bands of the 2000s but of the 21st century. “Following the death of Kurt Cobain, Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl dropped his sticks to assemble one of the most prolific rock bands of all time. Although the Foo Fighters have been giving us amazing songs for many decades, they really came into their own during the 2000s. That’s when the band proved to be a steady rock hit machine, cranking out hard-edged, punchy singles that have dominated both mainstream and alternative radio stations. Revered by both fans and their industry peers, the Foo Fighters have won the Grammy for Best Rock Album a mind-blowing five times as of 2022,” writes Watch Mojo.

“The band’s self-titled debut album was released in the 90s and was met with positive reviews. They made a comeback in the 2000s with their fourth album, ‘One by One.’ The album’s first single ‘All My Life’ became a huge hit, peaking at number 5 on the U.K. Charts. The band has since released several more albums and continues to tour around the world,” explains Musician Wave.

“While the Foo Fighters churned out hit after hit during the late 90s, such as ‘Learn To Fly,’ ‘Monkey Wrench,’ and the decade-defining ‘Everlong,’ the real legacy of the Foo Fighters lies within their presence in the rock scene during the 2000s. As trends came and went, the Foo Fighters stayed consistent, putting out the same stellar alternative rock music fans had come to expect. Are they innovative? Not really. Are they the most experimental band out there? Certainly not. However, in a decade saturated with generic and bland mainstream rock music, the Foo Fighters remained a shining light,” states Beat.

5. Evanescence

Next up is a Grammy-winning rock band known for their powerful and haunting sound; that’s right, it’s Evanescence. “Evanescence is an American rock band formed in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1995. The band’s music is a mix of gothic rock, alternative metal, and symphonic rock, with a focus on haunting vocals and lush orchestral arrangements. The band’s lineup has changed over the years, but currently consists of vocalist Amy Lee, guitarist Troy McLawhorn, bassist Tim McCord, drummer Will Hunt, and guitarist and backing vocalist Jen Majura,” describes Singers Room.

“Formed by Amy Lee and Ben Moody, Evanescence is the epitome of goth. From playing in local coffee shops for next to no money, the two founding members led the group of five through the 2000s with two #1 hit albums. A good chunk of their fame came from their hit singles ‘Bring Me to Life’ and ‘My Immortal’ from their 2003 album ‘Fallen,’ which sold 17 million copies globally,” reports Hello Music Theory.

“The 2000s were a challenging time for female-led rock groups, but Evanescence bucked that trend with their iconic 2003 album ‘Fallen.’ Led by Amy Lee, the gothic metal outfit had massive hits driven by popular music videos. While the band has continued, in various configurations, to make new music and tour, ‘Fallen’ remains one of the most successful and recognized metal performances of the decade,” writes Music Grotto.

6. The Killers

The Killers take the number six spot on the list. Cranking out hits left and right, it was an obvious choice to add them to this ranking. “The Killers came in hot with their 2005 album ‘Hot Fuss.’ It is not an exaggeration to call this one of the defining albums for millennials and Gen X’ers and to call The Killers one of the most popular rock bands of the 2000s. Brandon Flowers, Dave Keuning, Mark Stoermer, and Ronnie Vannucci Jr changed the shape of what rock meant for the 21st century. They were gently flamboyant and self-assured, and they knew how to craft poetic, cryptic lyrics that packed a creative punch,” says Midder Music.

“With their 2004 ‘Hot Fuss,’ the Las Vegas indie-rock quartet, led by Brandon Flowers, was catapulted into super-stardom. The album was nominated for the Grammys Best Rock Album category, and singles like ‘Mr. Brightside’ and ‘Somebody Told Me’ became radio staples. The band continued to release albums across the decade and, with their catchy anthems, remains one of the most influential bands of the decade,” states Music Grotto.

“American band, the Killers, has a unique sound, often blending pop rock with nu-metal, punk, and alt. Their breakout album was a commercial and critical success, selling over seven million records. It peaked at #7 on the Billboard 200 and #1 in the U.K. Another hit the group had in the 2000s was 2008’s ‘Human.’ Killers had a short hiatus in 2010 and came back the following year. Since then, they’ve continued touring and dropping charting albums,” comments Hello Music Theory.

7. Green Day 

Last but certainly nowhere close to being the least is “Green Day.” They were a band so influential they had a Broadway show crafted after them. “One of the sturdiest, most resilient and prolific bands of our time, formed in 1987, was heavily overshadowed upon their breakthrough in 1994 by the grunge-dominated scene led by acts such as Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Hailed as one of the biggest American punk revivalist bands as they embodied the traditional approach towards the genre. With a natural hostility towards pop music and employing scraps through ’50s, rockabilly, ’60s garage, and ’90s skate music with three-chord progressions that deliver an invigorating head rush. Green Day finally managed to leave an untarnished mark after a decade of attempts,” explains Guitar Lobby.

“Green Day were skate punks from California with a fresh, unrepentant sound and a passion for cheeky lyrics and unexpected narratives. They turned up the hard rock factor and moved away from their skate-punk roots post-2000. But this was their golden age when it came to commercial success, and they became a staple 2000s rock band,” adds Midder Music.

“The dawn of Green Day first cracked in 1994, when their major-label debut ‘Dookie’ elevated them onto the world stage. But it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that the East Bay, California band truly came to form. With their politically-charged concept album ‘American Idiot,’ Green Day took things to the grandest level possible, exploring a captivating operatic punk-rock sound. It was an international success, topping multiple charts worldwide and earning them the Grammy for Best Rock Album. With ‘American Idiot’ and its follow-up’ 21st Century Breakdown,’ Green Day influenced everything from the emo-punk riffs of Fall Out Boy to Lady Gaga’s electro-pop sound,” concludes Watch Mojo.

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About Jilly Hite

Janelle is a freelance writer from New York. Her writing focuses on parenting, tech, business, interior design, education, and telling people’s inspiring stories. Janelle has written for Mustela and Newton Baby and has bylines in Pregnant Chicken, Syracuse Woman Magazine, the Baldwinsville Messenger, and Family Times Magazine. She holds a master’s degree in literacy from the State University of New York at Oswego.

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  1. Plato v2.0 says:

    Don’t know who any of them are. Makes no difference it’s all garbage now and has been since about 1980. A bunch of no talent hacks is what’s on this page!

    1. Mick says:

      What rock do you live under that you’ve never heard of the foo fighters or greenday? Or are you just under 20/over 70? Oh well. This list sucks anyway. The bands they name are more the end of an era rather than inspiration for the future.

  2. Mike says:

    Goo Goo dolls OWNED the 90’s-2010 perhaps only matched by Fleetwood Mac.

  3. Doug says:

    No mention of Radiohead, Blur, U2 ressurgence or any other more important bands. Article Is a joke.

  4. Fed says:

    The Red Hot and Green Day are from the 90’s. Korn should be on the list and love them or Hate them Nickleback should be on it. I know what you’re thinking but they kept rock on the map for awhile.

  5. Loraine says:

    They got it right when they put Linkin Park as #1. There will never be another talent even close to Chester Bennington. RIP, Legend.

  6. 2D says:

    where is gorillaz?