The Best Bands of the 21st Century

Story posted April 23, 2023 in

One Direction

It’s obvious that boy bands take the cake when it comes to the most famous and influential bands of all time. The boy bands that have made history range from The Beatles to The Jackson 5. For the recent generation, the boy band that made the most impact was One Direction.

One Direction has been the best since 2010, creating five hit albums and selling out four world tours. This boy band is so monumental because they were five normal boys following their passion for music.

The British/Irish boys that make up this band are: Louis Tomlinson (31), Zayn Malik (30), Liam Payne (29), Niall Horan (29), Harry Styles (29). These boys were not expecting One Direction to form when their careers started. Each boy individually auditioned for the X-Factor in 2010 between the ages of 16-18, and Simon Cowell brilliantly put the five boys into a boy band.

Throughout the singing competition show, the five boys made “video diaries” and grew their fanbase tremendously. Although they got third in the competition, they left the show with a huge following.

After their first hit single “What Makes You Beautiful” was released, the boy band became famous. They went on to produce five albums, with Louis Tomlinson and Liam Payne writing a majority of the songs.

Each individual member now pursues a successful solo career since the band's hiatus in August 2015. This shows that One Direction is truly the best band and best boy band. The five boys were able to become musical sensations at 16-18 years old, and still pursue the career in 2023. – Grace Bowman

Big Time Rush

Big Time Rush is one of the greatest bands to ever bless the world’s ears.

Part of what makes them so iconic is their origin story. They started out on the hit Nickelodeon show, “Big Time Rush” and from there their popularity skyrocketed.

They took some years off but since the pandemic have reentered the scene and have released several singles and have already completed a tour.

They are touring again this summer and are rumored to be releasing a whole album before this tour.

What really makes this band so great is the way fans have been able to grow up with them, and how they are allowing fans to relive their childhood. – Savannah Swartz

The Strokes

Throughout the years, rock bands have created some of the most iconic songs and most prominent stars.

But The Stokes has had one of the rock game's most impactful yet subtle careers.

The New York-based indie-rock band is by no means underground. They are cited as one of the leading bands in the indie-rock revival that occurred during the early 2000s.

The Strokes have had a long career releasing six albums from 2001 to 2020. The garage-rock/post-punk sound that the band has helps their songs sound timeless regardless of when it was released.

A lesser band wouldn’t have released as good an album seven years after their last. But “The New Abnormal” is one of the best albums that has been released in recent memory.

The Strokes' legacy has been established since their first album, “Is This It,” and it’s been cited as one of the greatest alternative albums of all time. This band is one of the best to make music, and the rock/alternative genre should hope that they continue to put out records. – Sophia D’Ovidio


Grace Bowman is a second-year majoring in biology. To contact her, email gab5585@psu.edu.

Savannah Swartz is a second-year communications major. To contact her, email sms9072@psu.edu.

Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email sgd5184@psu.edu.