Lyrics by Eli Duxson
Relive the glory days of edgy guitars and skinny jeans with these iconic riffs.
Indie rock has always been about being independent of the majors and sticking to your style while being interchangeable with alternative, punk, and college rock.
As the 21st century progressed, the music industry had changed with the rise of the internet. Record sales are down and the growing sphere of digital technology has allowed indie rock bands to achieve commercial success through promotion and greater reach than before with the narrow reach of radio airplay.
We take a look at some of the key exponents of this change during Justin Bieber’s decade of terror, war and discovery, as we provide some of the best indie rock guitar riffs of the 2000s.
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“One Day” – The Blows
New York indie titans The Strokes burst onto the scene with the reception of their 2001 debut album Is this thisand the standout single “Someday” played a major role in cementing the young band’s status as one of the greatest bands of the era.
Albert Hammond Jr.’s lush guitar intro is nearly drowned out by his counterpart Nick Valensi’s semiquaver pulses, before returning to the fore as Julian Casablancas’ indifferent drags shine through in the chorus.
All of the guitar parts throughout the song combine to make one of the band’s most inviting and nostalgic songs – even if it’s for a time you’ve never experienced.
“Nobody Knows” – Queens of the Stone Age
“It’s a song nobody knows,” Josh Homme told the crowd sarcastically. But I can assure you that when the staccato guitar riff accompanied by the kick and accented toms written by Dave Grohl, everyone knew what song it was.
The first single and second track from their second album songs for the deaf remains their most popular song to date and it’s easy to hear why. Whether it’s its accented verses or you manage to hold on until the bridge/solo, you’ll move a certain way.
‘Get Free’ – The Vines
One of Australia’s most notable contributions to the indie rock canon of the era, Sydney rockers The Vines produced their highest charting single from their debut album. Very advanced with the smash of less than two minutes ‘Get Free’.
The disc’s sixth track begins the clearest of the track listing, with its alarming guitars and frantic drumming splitting the track and driving the song. The guitar in the chorus drives the vocals and bounces off them in the verses in a unique, somewhat offbeat way, helping to complete the song’s unconventional structure.
‘Float On’ – Modest Mouse
‘Float On’ gave Modest Mouse its first dose of mainstream popularity, with the longtime indie act topping the US charts Billboard Modern Rock Tracks Chart and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 2005.
The third track from their fourth studio album Good news for those who love bad news was consciously more positive than their other tracks. Lead singer Isaac Brock said it was to counter the negative news cycle of the time, as his bright rhythm guitar and gleaming lead guitar make clear during the song.
“Get Me Out” – Franz Ferdinand
It’s hard to make an indie rock list without including “Take Me Out,” especially a list of particularly iconic guitar riffs. The third track from their self-titled debut album, the Scottish band hit the scene hard with it, and it became considered one of the best singles of the era as such.
The guitars begin in an almost suspenseful fashion as the bounce around the hi-hats, with a marching snare drum boiling as the track seems about to climax.
A minute later, we finally hear the lead guitar line that has become so synonymous with Britain’s take on 2000s indie, and from there the song just doesn’t look back. Always a jam.
‘Sir. Brightside’ – The Killers
The Killers’ seminal debut single is equally hard to omit from most lists due to its compelling commercial staying power, but it’s featured on this one for Dave Keuning’s lead guitar riff that carries the song and made it. instantly recognizable in most circles.
Harsh on the left side of the mix, the deceptively difficult arpeggio creates space and ebbs and flows throughout the song as an all-over motif, with its accent as the crash cymbals leave during the verses. proving to create an epic, soaring build to amp up the song’s explosive chorus. An epic exercise in clever arrangement and one hell of a hook.
“Helicopter” – Bloc Party
The English band first released “Helicopter” as a standalone single, but later included it in their iconic 2005 debut. Silent alarm – a disc that many consider to be one of the best of the time. It peaked at number 26 on the UK Singles Charts and has also been featured in video games like Guitar Hero and Fifa.
“Set the House Ablaze” by The Jam was the original track whose main riff would have been adapted, appearing little between the song’s chorus and verse. The fast tempo and aggressive, upbeat guitar strikes give it a peppy feel, with Kele Okereke and Russell Lissack’s double guitar interaction over a relentless rhythm section proving to be the most dynamic aspect of the song. song.
‘Here it goes again’ – OK Go
Perhaps best known for the viral music video for which he so rightly won a Grammy Award, Chicago-based OK Go released “Here It Goes Again” as the third single, being one of only two from their songs to be on the list. Billboardis hot 100.
The accented guitars working overtime alongside the drums are almost enough to make you want to have fun on the treadmill with the band, and it’s guaranteed to live in your head for the next two hours after hearing it. His irresistible hooks and pop power feel also earned him a spot on Dance Dance Revolution X.
‘Adolescent Fluorescent’ – Arctic Monkeys
One of many Arctic Monkeys songs that could have made it onto this list, “Fluorescent Adolescent” earned its place with its ska beat and guitar riffs that complement and even juxtapose the sentiment of the lyrics. It’s vibrant as Turner recounts the good old days unleashed around Sheffield, but fades as reality focuses on him before his optimism allows him to lift you up.
It was the fifth track from their second album favorite worst nightmare, and peaked at number five on the UK Singles Chart in 2007 – a true indie rock classic.
‘A-Punk’ – Vampire Weekend
The second release from their self-titled debut album remains the Columbia University indie band’s biggest hit with over 260 million streams on Spotify.
The dynamism of the lead guitar riff resolves and features only in the intro and verses, making its reappearance even more uplifting after the flute-dominant choruses. The subtle accent is also effective in creating that sunny feel.
‘No you didn’t, no you didn’t’ – The Courteneers
The Courteneers released “No You Didn’t, No You Don’t” as the seventh track from their debut studio album Saint Jude, which managed to reach number five on the UK Singles Chart.
NME describe the track as “a nostalgic, jovial Smithsian jangle-pop marvel that truly bridges the gap between rogue and cuddly. Therefore, it’s easily the best track on the album” — a perfect description of one of the most underrated songs the 2000s indie rock song was honored with.
Dive into more powerful riffs with our exploration of 70s Aussie rock deep cuts here.