I swear, not a week goes by when I don’t see someone post something on social media about how there’s no good music these days. It’s like a rite of passage — once you hit a certain age the only music that matters anymore is what you listened to when you were young. We have short memories. Don’t you recall driving with your parents when you were young and hearing them complain about how today’s music isn’t as good as when they were young? Their parents probably said the same thing to them. They don’t make ’em like Glenn Miller anymore!
The thing is, if you think there’s no good music anymore you’re just not listening. Either that or you’re closed-minded. Yeah, I said it.
Yes, the artists you grew up with are always going to have a special place in your heart. Eighties alternative is the music of my youth and I still listen to it today. My queue is always filled with The Clash, The Style Council, and Tears For Fears. But I love music so I’m always on the lookout for new things. Yes, that includes old artists. I didn’t discover John Coltrane until my 40s and I just recently started listening to alt-country.
But that also means I make it a point to listen to today’s artists and in return I have found many wonderful bands that didn’t start making music until around the start of the 21st century. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting I like today’s “pop” music. Damn if I’m going to listen to Cardi B, Charlie Puth or The Chainsmokers. Bad music is bad music and most of what’s played on the radio today is trash — as was Top 40 pop back in my day.
No, you need to do a little digging to find today’s great music. For me, that means I listen to The Spectrum on SiriusXM or a cultivated playlist on Google Play Music like Feel Good Alternative or Coffee Shop Indie. I also read reviews and listen to cuts recommended at RollingStone.com and Paste Magazine. Technology has actually made it easier to find new music without having to shell out $12 for a full-length album only to be disappointed.
This kind of musical exploration has led me to some amazing music by wonderful artists — some of which have etched a place among my all-time favorites. Arcade Fire didn’t release its first album until 2003 and they are without question one of my favorite bands.
With that as background, and because I always like to share what I’m listening to, here are just some of the 21st-century artists I love, starting with my top 10 favorite “new” artists:
The Black Keys
Fitz & The Tantrums
Mumford & Sons
And here are a bunch of others I love:
Band of Horses
Cage the Elephant
The Whitest Boy Alive/Erland Oye (solo)
Father John Misty
First Aid Kit
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats
Of Monsters and Men
Scars on 45
The Temper Trap
Two Door Cinema Club
There’s something for everyone on the list above (except for country or hip-hop because I don’t like most country or hip-hop). And all of them either launched after Y2K or close. And if you don’t know some of them or haven’t had the chance to listen to some of them, just head over to Spotify or YouTube and give something new a try. You can’t argue with the cost.
Next time you think there’s no good music out there today, I encourage you to look and listen. Or send me a note and I’ll recommend something or make you a YouTube playlist!