2002. Wilco releases Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Many things have been said about how perfect this album is, and none of these things exaggerate. Perfect songwriting, lyrics, guitars, and pure energy. It is just rad.
2003. Mars Volta releases their debut album De-Loused in the Comatorium. With its chaotic jazzy-rock madness, this album fuses hardcore and prog rock in insanely fun new ways. And its commercial success proved that prog is not just for guitar geeks anymore
2004. Arcade Fire releases their debut album, Funeral. Intense, dramatic, powerful, and loved by just about everyone, this album inspired countless imitators. Every musician aspires to create albums that are this good.
2005. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah self-releases their self-titled debut. They become one of the first bands to achieve huge success not through record deals and marketing, but through blogs and the internet. It also helped that they wrote dang good songs.
2006. Man Man releases their breakthrough album, Six Demon Bag, and begin to tour the world extensively with their wild and riotous live shows. With absurd levels of energy, tons of crazy instruments, and super catchy songs, they become one of the best live acts ever.
Now watch them knock stuff over for musical purposes.
2007. Radiohead releases In Rainbows as a digital download for the price of whatever you feel like paying. With odd time signatures, riffy guitars, and some sweet soothing falsettos, they make a good case that that number should be greater than zero.
I mean, just watching Thom Yorke dance is worth at least a few bucks.
2008. Vampire Weekend asks everyone about their thoughts on Oxford Commas. They also write a bunch of fantastic songs and stick them on a record. A little punky, a little baroque, a little African, and lots awesome.
And for the record, oxford commas eliminate ambiguity and I care about them deeply.
2009. Grizzly Bear releases a sweet collection of songs in an album called Veckatimest. Then their heads explode. With wonderfully crafted compositions of thoughtful melodies, and powerful harmonies, this record kicks you in the face, but very tenderly and lovingly.
Then, these songs popped up all over TV, and everyone in bands got jealous.
2010. Girl Talk releases All Day as a free download. The legitimacy of the mashup as a true form of songwriting is proven by Gregg Gillis. He is the master of transforming the familiar into new creations of ridiculously fun insanity.
And even after the novelty wears off, Ludacris rapping over Black Sabbath is still badass.