6. The Strokes, 'Is This It'
People have been writing obituaries for rock & roll for the last 60 years, but by 2001 it seemed like it might finally be dead for real. It was the height of the teen pop movement, and the popular rock bands were Staind, Limp Bizkit, Crazy Town, Creed and Korn. Two years earlier, Woodstock '99 devolved into a fiery orgy of pointless, shirtless white male rage. Things were grim, and five uber-privileged New York hipsters hardly seemed like the guys to turn things around.
Truth be told, they really didn't. The Strokes' debut album Is This It was never a monster seller in America and crap rock bands kept on chugging along, but that doesn't mean Is This It didn't leave a huge mark. "Last Nite" has become the "American Girl" for a new generation, and countless kids dug out their parents' Velvet Underground and Ramones records after getting into the Strokes. Had they kept their shit together, the Strokes had a chance to truly take over the world. Drugs, ego and infighting robbed them of momentum at a crucial time, but Is This It will always stand as one of the most important albums of the 21st century.