'Seven Nation Army' (2003)
'Seven Nation Army' has one of the catchiest, most-recognized bass-sounding lines of the decade (played with a low-registered, seven-string guitar) that reminds us of the Zeppelin days. And with such opening fiery lyrics: "I'm gonna fight 'em off / A seven-nation army couldn't hold me back," it's no wonder Audioslave, the Flaming Lips, and Rihanna all jumped on the opportunity to cover this tune.
'Bring Me to Life' (2003)
A song about being open-minded, singer Amy Lee says she wrote this after a friend of a friend called her out on being unhappy: "Someone said something that made my heart race for a second and I realized that for months I'd been numb, just going through the motions of life." The song -- which plays off a great balance of Lee's wistful, pleading voice and Paul McCoy's hard rock vibe -- won a 2004 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.
Known as their break-out single, this top alternative song captures the love/hate in dysfunctional relationships. The song is blunt, with a catchy, simplistic (older Beck-sounding) guitar riff.
'The Middle' (2002)
If you've seen 'Orange County' or 'Life or Something Like It,' you've heard this song. The tune was written after the band was dropped from Capitol Records, preceding their 1999 released 'Clarity.' The positive response from fans encouraged the band to finance their next album 'Bleed American,' which features this song. Once completed, Jimmy Eat World signed to DreamWorks. The album became certified Platinum by the RIAA, selling more than 1 million copies in US. Sounds like their motto was right: "Just try your best / Try everything you can." "It just takes some time," but in the end "Everything, everything will be alright. (alright)."
'It's Been Awhile' (2001)
This is a ballad that, even almost a decade later, gives us goosebumps. Aaron Lewis has a way of making us understand exactly the pain he went through post-breakup: "And it's been awhile since i said I'm sorry / It's been awhile since I've seen the way the candles light your face."
'Fine Again' (2003)
This alternative song of the decade is one of their more melodic tunes, with great harmonies as well as lyrics -- which are pretty unspecified whether they are about getting over and addiction or just getting through a tragedy: "And I am aware now of how everything's gonna be fine one day / Too late, I'm in hell." Rumor has it that frontman Shaun Morgan has dedicated the song during concerts to Dave Williams of Drowning Pool and Dimebag Darell of Pantera, who both passed away (in '02 and '04, respectively).
'Nice to Know You' (2002)
From an album that includes 'Circles,' 'Are You In,' and 'Wish You Were Here?' it's hard to conclude which single is the best. But aside from the softer, less hard rock tunes, 'Nice to Know You' has a great balance between Incubus' hard and soft edge, especially in the chorus, which begins with the emphasized "I haven't felt the way I feel today / in so long it's hard for me to specify" and climaxes (alongside the guitar runs and heavy guitar) as Brandon Boyd belts "Goodbye! Nice to know you!" Check out a live performance of the song -- with all the moving parts (bass, guitar, drums, DJ) and the energy -- it will blow you away...
Frontman Wes Scantlin wrote this song about his son -- bringing out the difficulties separated parents have raising their kids and what they go through to see them. This top alternative song has one of the most clever three-chord tunes around, and is best recognized for its harmonic bass string intro and the chorus lyrics: "Can you take it all away? / Can you take it all away? / When you shoved it in my face / This pain you gave to me." Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst directed the music video, which features Scantlin's son Jordan.
'In the End' (2001)
You can't talk about the top alternative songs of the decade without mentioning Mike Shinoda (keyboardist/rhythm guitarist) and lead singer Chester Bennington's collaborations -- Shinoda rhythmic delivery is spot on with Benningston's powerful and emotional singing. 'In the End' is probably the duo's most recognized performance (as well as 'Runaway' and 'Crawling'), as they sing about a person who has lost faith in a relationship -- whether it be romantic or friendly: "What it meant to me / will eventually be a memory / of a time when I tried so hard / And got so far / But in the end It doesn't even matter."
'The Kill' (2006)
Lead singer Jared Leto says the song -- off 'A Beautiful Lie' -- is about "confronting your fear and confronting the truth about who you are." The music video (inspired by 'The Shining') depicts just that, showing all of the band members coming face-to-face with themselves. For all of you music theorists, our top alternative song of the decade is played in 6/8 time -- a rhythm found in most waltzes, which ballroom party attendees also dance to in the end of the video. 'The Kill' won Best Video of the Year and Best Rock Video at the MTV Australia Video Music Awards (AVMAs).