Top 5 Most Influential (on their genre) Artists 21st Century
5. The Flaming Lips. Whether full of light and color on ‘Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots’ and ‘The Soft Bulletin’ or dark and tormented with ‘The Terror’, The Flaming Lips were the band that made psychedelia look like an updated, still-potent musical force, and from which all modern psych sprang. Without them, there’d be no Tame Impala, Pond, Temples, Toy or Jagwar Ma.
4. Radiohead. Just as The Beatles came to embody the 60s, Thom Yorke is the artist who most clearly reflects our times. Nearly two decades ago he looked into the future and it weirded him out. ‘OK Computer’ and ‘Kid A’ laid the foundation for 21st-century music; one that cared not for reductive genre boxes but expected boundary-leaping experimentation from artists as standard.
3. Kanye West. As pop-culture catalysts go, no other 21st-century figure has had the impact Kanye has had since storming into view with ‘The College Dropout’ 10 years ago. From the sunny soul-sampling of early singles like ‘All Falls Down’ to the futurist rap supernova that was 2013’s ‘Yeezus’, his career’s been a lesson in pushing boundaries and setting the agenda.
2. The Strokes. The Strokes remain one of the major touchstones for modern indie. Were it not for them, there would be no Arctic Monkeys, no Franz Ferdinand, no Killers, no Libertines and no Cribs; and their ardent pace, Julian’s no-fi yowls and Albert Hammond’s high-end twangs can still be heard in Palma Violets, The Orwells, Parquet Courts, and Twin Peaks.
1. David Bowie. Of all the old guard, David Bowie is the guy who young musicians still namedrop with devoted regularity today. The sheer breadth and scope of his career – from the music-hall roots to his glam explosion, plastic soul period and krautrock experiments –has provided countless modern acts with their impetus to plug in and play.