This one is going to be a chore. It will also be fun, but very difficult to slide all of my favorite bands into the Top 10. Being a musician myself, I might feel pressure to throw in bands that would make me look "cool" or "cultured" or "not a sell-out" but I promise to be as honest as I can be. I'm going with the bands that give me the most utility (however I personally define utility.) For example, if I am hypothetically ashamed that I listen to Ace of Base all the time, I must be honest with how much that guilty pleasure would affect my overall enjoyment. If I'm still stoked off them, and they fall in the Top 10, then I promise to include them. Lucky for me, I never listen to "The Sign" or "All That She Wants" so I don't have to include them at this time. (It is a bit fishy that I can name those songs though, isn't it?)
The other rule is that if a band gets mentioned, then all the solo artists/other projects (or more probably the lead singer) are encompassed in that placement. So Death Cab For Cutie and the Postal Service could have joint placement because Ben Gibbard is the lead singer of both.
10. Nine Inch Nails - I started liking NIN in middle school, much to my Mother's chagrin. I couldn't help myself though. That music is powerful, dirty, beautiful, emotional, and complicated. Trent Reznor was a classically trained pianist and it shows in his work. To be honest, I LOVE the instrumental Ghosts I-IV album as well as the full-throttle angst-ridden earlier stuff. It's hard to pick my favorite albums, but let's say the highlights are: Pretty Hate Machine, The Downward Spiral, and The Fragile.
9. Nirvana - I owe a lot to Nirvana. I used their Nevermind Tab book to teach myself A LOT of guitar technique (espically Bar Chords). I remember crying the day Kurt Cobain died. I still wish the world could've seen what else he was capable of because I do think it would have been amazing. They fall lower on the list because their catalog is not as big as it could have been. While I don't listen to them all the time, an urge to listen to a lot of them always comes back around. I also love putting the stereo on the liner-notes suggested settings to listen to In Utero (+5 Treble, +2 Bass). It makes the drums pop! Highlights: Nevermind, In Utero, Unplugged In New York
8. Blur/Gorillaz - Damon Albarn is the man. The range is ridiculous. He went from being in a spunky Brit-Pop band (Blur), to making Hip-Hop and cartoon characters (The Gorillaz), and then back to a more rocking British band (The Good, The Bad, and the Queen.) There is not one single album I don't enjoy out of the bunch and the styles of each album vary vastly. I could probably go on for hours breaking down each album because they are so different, but instead I'll give the highlights: Blur (Self-titled), The Great Escape, 13, Gorillaz (Self-titled), Demon Days
7. Bright Eyes - Conor Oberst is weird guy. He's been writing songs since he was really young (I think he recorded his demo at age 13.) When I first listened to his work, I wasn't into it. I thought it sounded like "a whiner version of the Cure, and worse." And yet, the more I listened, the more I understood what he was doing. He doesn't have the best singing voice, or the most talented musicians, or the cleanest recordings, but that is not the point. He writes unbelievably smart and relavant lyrics with excellent melodies. Everything he does is, in some way, the messy work of a genius. Highlights: I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, Digital Ash In A Digital Urn, Lifted or the Story In the Soil
6. Oasis - I love Oasis. No matter what kind of a-holes the Gallagher brothers are, it doesn't matter. It doesn't affect my enjoyment of their music. They can rip off the Beatles all they want as far as I'm concerned- as long as the results continue to be excellent. The crazy thing is, that many of their B-Sides from the first three albums make a phenomenal album in their own right (these songs were mostly released on "The Masterplan.") Liam's drone is second to none, and Noel is excellent singer on his on (please release the Unplugged show where he filled in for an sulking Liam!) I heard an interview once where Liam was asked "If you weren't in Oasis, what would you do." He replied, "I'd be a fan of Oasis- the best band in the world." Highlights: (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, Definitely Maybe, The Masterplan, Dig Out Your Soul, Be Here Now
I'll finish the rest tomorrow... here are some honorable mentions that fell short:
Elliott Smith, The Streets, The National, Stone Temple Pilots, John Mayer, Dave Matthews Band (BARELY hanging in there), Weezer, Coldplay, Our Lady Peace, Matthew Good Band, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and the Killers