There tended to be a bit of a lull for most of rock and roll at the dawn of the millennium. Since the influx of TRL had a handle on pretty much every youth at the time, it was hard to really reach for the harsher side of music when all you had was Blink 182, Britney Spears, and The Backstreet Boys. Though it may have taken its sweet time rising to prominence, we weren't fully prepared for the kind of music we got from the harsher side of rock.
Coming from the worlds of metal, garage rock, and just straight rock and roll, these were the albums that started to revitalize the genre for the rest of the scene, setting the stage for even more ambitious trends that would come down the pipeline later. That's not to say that they haven't left some bad habits in their wake either, with people like the Black Keys trying to soak up the blues rock for all it's worth until the sun burns out of the sky.
When you hit that sweet spot where you're breaking boundaries and making kickass tunes at the same time, that's not just being in the right place at the right place. That means you've finally reached the level of becoming a music legend.
10. Thirteenth Step - A Perfect Circle
The genius of Maynard James Keenan would have been enough for just one great rock band. Since Tool had basically cemented their legacy at the end of the '90s, it looked like Maynard was already set to be one of the greatest frontmen of the modern age. Once you find yourself with the right idea though, things can get a lot more interesting when you decide to branch out.
Being the second outing for A Perfect Circle, Thirteenth Step was proof enough that the first record wasn't a fluke, tackling the themes of addiction with a pretty morbid slant. This isn't just the kind of dependency of something like booze or drugs either. Going through songs like Weak and Powerless and Blue, the sense of helplessness in these lyrics have more to do with being totally dependent on any sort of vice.
As you go further and further into the album, it's almost like you're trying to understand what makes the human brain become so accustomed to going back to these addictions even though you know it will end up hurting you in the long run. Though other bands of the nu metal scene were delving into darker topics, this was a stark look at what real despair really looked like. See, even Tool's young brother had more than its fair share of tricks up their sleeve.