As the Kings of Leon begin work on their first album of the next decade, bassist Jared Followill checked in with Rolling Stone to share his thoughts on his favorite albums of and songs of the past 10 years. From driving around Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, stoned and listening to Wilco to learning how to play bass by listening to the Strokes, here are some of his top musical moments of the 2000s (check out our lists of the 100 Best Albums and 100 Best Songs, plus our Readers' Picks, too):
The Strokes - Is This It
"To me, that is the best album of the 2000s. It was one of the main reasons that I wanted to get into a band, and probably one of the main reasons that most every band who started their band in the 2000s wanted to get into one. It was one of the first cool records in a really long time. The Strokes were just so fresh, so completely different. They were like the perfect band. The title track was one of the first basslines I learned when I started to play the bass. It was unbelievable. I was just 15 at the time."
The White Stripes - White Blood Cells
"That was around the same time and had kind of the same feeling as the Strokes. We were just forming our band, starting to write songs and finding our own identity. We had so many older influences, that to have a band come out just as we were making our band, who seemed to have so many similar influences and had similar music to what we were trying to make just kind of gave us the confidence to do it. The Strokes, the White Stripes and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: all three of those records really pushed us to continue. The White Stripes have a lot less melody than the Strokes, but they had this mean sound, and Jack's guitar playing was just unbelievable. There's no bass, but that made them unique and set them apart. He uses a lot of pedals that make it have that deeper sound. That's kind of the way I like my bass to sound. Really distorted and almost fuzzed out enough to where it could be, like, a low-end guitar."
Arcade Fire - Funeral
"I actually remember the day we got that. We were playing a show at Webster Hall in New York. We got the record, and I had heard so much hype about it. You know when you hear stuff, and you don't want to like it. And also when you're in a band and you hear a bunch of hype about another band, you get a little bit nervous because it makes you feel a little bit self-conscious about your own band. So, I was feeling that and I turned it on and I was kinda like, 'Yeah.' And I kept listening to it, and the second song came on, and the third, and the fourth — and I was like, 'Yeah, there's no way to not like it.' It was jut a really well-written record and they the songs went together, and it was unique, and groundbreaking.
"We opened up for U2 on an American tour, and U2 would play 'Wake Up' right before they chopped the lights and came out. It sounded perfect in that arena. And there's not many bands who could pull that off."
Radiohead - In Rainbows
"I was almost reluctant to put anything too recent, just because anytime something is fresh in your memory it seems amazing. And other stuff you can wear out for four or five years and then you stop loving it as much. But I just had to put it in there. That record was absolutely genius from the lyrics to the music. Just everything about it was just kind of spot-on and it was their best record that they put out in a little while. And just all of the sounds that they had, it was just a really beautiful record. Radiohead are definitely fighting for a spot in the top 10 bands of all time."
Wilco - "Reservations"
"That was one of our favorite records collectively. When we did our second record and the four of us lived together in a house in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee. We would just get stoned and ride up to the grocery store and while we were riding that record was probably in the car for six months and it was a big influence on our second and third record. But that song particularly is beautiful and it kinda means something to all of the band. I can just remember being in Caleb's truck and listening to that song, it being freezing cold outside and freezing in the truck for the first few minutes before the heater got warmed up and it just meant something to all of us."
My Morning Jacket - "Bermuda Highway"
"That's another one from the same exact era. While we were writing the bulk of our first record we were looking for a booking agent and there was this booking agent we were going to sign with and then another booking agency sent us over a bundle of CDs and that was one of them, we listened to it and we were like, 'Fuck, man.' It just blew all of our minds. So we ended up signing with the booking agency that sent us over those CDs. That to me, is the perfect record. Every single song on the entire record, it stole my heart completely. 'Bermuda Highway' in particular, it's just one of the most heart-wrenching songs. The lyrics on there, 'Don't let your silly dreams, fall in between the crack of the bed and the wall.' It's just unbelievable."
Ryan Adams - "Come Pick Me Up"
"Man, I don't know anybody who doesn't like that song. That song is crazaaay. It's a heartbreaking song and it fit right in on that record but it's just desperate and sad and honest and lonely and everything that I like to hear in a song. He definitely has written some incredible songs."