By the late 90s, women began to dominate the alternative music scene and changed the music industry forever with their representation, talent, and stage presence. Female-fronted bands showed what it took to be a woman in the 2000s alternative scene and helped pave the way for women in future generations. Here are the best alternative bands with female singers from the 2000s that are iconic.
Alternative Bands with Female Singers from the 2000s
Paramore is an alternative rock/pop band that was started in 2004 in Franklin, Tennessee. The founding members consisted of lead vocalist Hayley Williams, guitarist Taylor York, and drummer Zac Farro. Though the band’s first album, All We Known Is Falling, was a success, their big breakthrough came with the release of their 2007 album, Riot!
This record was a huge hit due to their singles, “Misery Business,” and “That’s What You Get.” For many fans, the appeal of Paramore is all due to Hayley Williams and her vocal abilities. Not only is Hayley’s singing very versatile, but Paramore’s music is also really catchy and great to dance along with.
My Favorite Paramore Song Is: Misery Business from the album Riot! (2007). I like “Misery Business” the most because it fully encapsulated what the music scene was like in the late 2000s. “Misery Business” was more of a pop punk/emo song but that is what made the song stand out. The song also has a catchy beat and was a huge hit in a very male-dominated genre.
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2. Avril Lavigne
Many people may not know this, but Avril Lavigne is actually a Canadian singer who saw tremendous commercial success in both America and Canada. Her best-selling debut album, Let Go¸ was released in 2002 and features songs like “Sk8er Boi” and “Complicated.”
Both of these two songs from the album earned her the title “Pop Punk Queen” and solidified her skate punk look and allowed her to pave the way for other female artists in the punk genre of the early 2000s. Avril Lavigne is also known for her vocal talents, including her range of capabilities that she has.
My Favorite Avril Lavigne Song Is: Girlfriend from the album The Best Damn Thing (2007). “Girlfriend” might just be one of the best Avril Lavigne songs (at least in my opinion). It was the lead single from Avril’s The Best Damn Thing album. I love the punk rock sound of this song and the guitars. The song is about a skater boy who has a crush on a girl that doesn’t care for him; it isn’t until after he becomes famous that she wants to be with him.
Flyleaf is an alternative metal band that was founded in 2002 in Belton, Texas. The band consists of lead vocalist Lacey Sturm, guitarists Jared Hartmann and Sameer Bhattacharya, and James Culpepper. In 2012, Lacey Sturm left the group and was replaced by Kristen May, who also left the group in 2016. What made Flyleaf so unique was each band member had different influences that they incorporated into their style.
Many people consider Flyleaf to be a Christian band, but the band insists that they are just Christians who play in a rock band, with their religious views being felt in their music. In an interview with Atlantic City Weekly, Lacy was asked about being in a Christian rock band and said, “I mean we’re not playing for Christians.
We’re just playing honestly and that’s going to come out.” Religion aside, they are a great band that makes some awesome music. When talking about the emo phase of the late 2000s, you can’t ignore the big impact that Flyleaf had on the early music for that genre.
My Favorite Flyleaf Song Is: All Around Me from their self-titled debut album Flyleaf (2005). This song is perfect from the slow intro that picks up and then drops back off when the vocals start. “All Around Me” is the best representation of who Flyleaf actually is and in this song, you can see their influences from bands like Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, and Incubus.
The vocals for the lyrics “I’m alive, I’m alive” are not only perfect but the lyrics help me to remember that our time here is finite and to make the most out of what unknown amount we have left.
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4. In This Moment
In This Moment is one of my favorite alternative metal and gothic metal bands to date. The band was formed by singer Maria Brink and guitarist Chris Howorth in 2005 in Los Angeles. They later added drummer Jeff Fabb, guitarist Blake Bunzel and bassist Josh Newell (replaced in 2005 by Jesse Landry). With the release of their 2007 debut album, Beautiful Tragedy, the band gained a huge following and performed on several tours including Ozzfest 2007 and 2008.
Maria Brink sat down with Louder and spoke on the hardest part of being the frontwoman of a famous band, “No matter who you are, you can’t let anything hold you back, so even if there is a stigma saying it’s harder, do what you do and you’ll make it happen.” In This Moment beautifully blends metal and rock and is very versatile with their musical creativity.
My Favorite In This Moment Song Is: Adrenalize from the album Blood (2012). It was hard for me to choose a favorite song because I absolutely loved the whole Blood album. However, the hard-driven hit, “Adrenalize” stuck out to me the most.
The song features a chorus that has a sensual rhythm style and Maria’s voice is extremely powerful. As with the classic In This Moment style, “Adrenalize” features huge heavy hitting guitar riffs that sound nothing like the song previous.
5. Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are an alternative indie rock band that formed in 2000 in New York City. The band includes pianist and vocalist Karen O, keyboardist and guitarist Nick Zinner, and drummer Brian Chase. The band struck it big when their 2003 album, Fever to Tell, received amazing reviews and sold more than 750,000 copies worldwide.
One of the biggest aesthetics of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is their performance style and sound that blends their big-hearted vulnerability with their energetic punk vibes. The band can be tearjerkers at times but deep down they are as indie-rock as it gets. The band is known for Karen O’s vocals, and her bluesy, screaming, and spirited voice.
My Favorite Yeah Yeah Yeahs Song Is: Maps from the album Fever to Tell (2003). The meaning of the song is a statement of passion for someone. The lyrics, “wait, they don’t love you like I love you,” really hit differently when you look at it from the perspective that the band wrote it. I like the slowness of the song that picks up with the drumming and guitar. Karen O’s emotion in this song is also very heart-tugging and gives you an insight as to what she was feeling.
6. The Veronicas
The Veronicas are an alternative pop/ electropop group from Brisbane Australia. The group was formed in 2004 by identical twins Jessica and Lisa Origliasso and also includes Jungle George, Sherman, and Vik Foxx. The group’s 2005 album, The Secret Life Of…, was a huge hit that went four times platinum and resulted in the group releasing five singles.
My Favorite Veronicas Song Is: Untouched from the album Hook Me Up (2007). This song never fails to bring back the good memories I have from the first time hearing it 14 years ago. The lyrics for “Untouched” are very simplistic but the atmosphere of the song really pulls it together and makes it great.
I love the emo/punk feel that they incorporated into both the music video and the instrumentals. For many people, The Veronicas are one of the best alternative bands with female singers from the 2000s.
7. Hey Monday
Hey Monday was another alternative rock and pop punk band that was formed in 2008 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The band showcased Cassadee Pope, Mike Gentile, Elliot James, Michael Moriarty, and Alex Lipshaw. The breakthrough for Hey Monday was when Pete Wentz heard one of their demos and got them a joint deal with Decaydance and Columbia Records.
In 2008 they released their debut album, Hold On Tight, and began touring and headlining shows in Europe. The band only lasted until 2011 when they broke up when Cassadee left to try her solo career. Hey Monday’s music is often compared to that of Paramore and they are known for their pop/rock style.
My Favorite Hey Monday Song Is: Homecoming from the album Hold On Tight (2008). If you were ever wondering what the emo culture of 2008 was all about, “Homecoming” would be the best way to help explain it. At first, I found it strange how her voice sounded so high-pitched on the song, but now I love it. Her vocals are what make this song unique and really stand out.
8. The Pretty Reckless
The Pretty Reckless is an alternative rock band that was formed in 2009 in New York City. Taylor Momsen is lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Ben Phillips is lead guitar and backup vocals, Mark Damon is bass, and Jamie Perkins is on drums.
The band has had seven No. 1 singles and despite this, Taylor Momsen has said it took other bands a while to fully accept them. Taylor’s voice is relatively low with a pinch of huskiness and she has a self-deprecating laugh that hits just as powerfully. The Pretty Reckless is still making music and doing tours.
My Favorite The Pretty Reckless Song Is: Make Me Wanna Die from the album Light Me Up (2010). “Make Me Wanna Die” was the first song I heard from The Pretty Reckless and it made me fall in love with them. From the videography to their music, the band really packs a punch and goes all in. I love how the song has an old-school rock meets modern rock feel to it and the power of Taylor’s voice.
Nightwish is a symphonic metal and alternative metal band that was formed in 1996 in Kitee. The band was put together by keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, drummer Jukka Nevalainen, bassist Sami Vanska, and former lead singer Tarja Turunen.
The band had a breakthrough in the United States with their 2004 album, Once. Nightwish is best known for combining folk and symphonic instruments with female vocals. The band’s lyrics are similar to poetry and have a magnitude of different themes like mythology, fantasy, and personal struggles.
My Favorite Nightwish Song Is: Wish I Had An Angel from the album Once (2004). The first time I heard this song was in the film Alone In The Dark and I loved it. I think what makes “I Wish I Had An Angel” so good is that it combines metal and techno groove in an extremely satisfying way. I especially love how fast, dark, and slightly aggressive the song is.
10. Arch Enemy
Arch Enemy is a Swedish alternative melodic death metal band that was formed in Halmstad in 1995. The band was founded by guitarist Michael Amott and Johan Liiva and later introduced Angela Gossow, Daniel Erlandsson, Sharlee D’Angelo, Alissa White-Gluz, and Jeff Loomis. In 2001, Johan Liiva let Angela Gossow step up as the lead singer and Arch Enemy’s career went uphill.
Arch Enemy already had a monstrous sound, but with Angela now on lead vocals, the band added multiple layers of charisma to her vocals. The band earned the respect of many metal veterans with the release of their 2003 Anthems Of Rebellion album.
My Favorite Arch Enemy Song Is: The Eagle Flies Alone from the album Will to Power (2017). The energy that this song sends out is absolutely crazy. For anyone who is a fan of heavy metal, “The Eagle Flies Alone” will not disappoint on the vocals, drum, and especially guitar. I think it’s crazy how Angela can get her voice to get so deep and at the same time still perform.
11. Icon For Hire
Icon For Hire is an alternative rock and rap/rock band from Decatur, Illinois that was formed in 2007. The Icon For Hire bandmates are singer Ariel Bloomer, lead guitarist Shawn Jump, Joshua Davis, and Adam Kronshagen. Many people assume that they are a Christian band since they are signed to the Christian record label, Tooth & Nail.
However, they are not categorized as a Christian band and they are trying to distance themselves from that industry. Icon For Hire has been musically compared to other female-fronted bands like Paramore, Fireflight, and Flyleaf.
My Favorite Icon For Hire Song Is: Make A Move from the album Scripted (2011). I love how the song intertwines a hard rock song with splices of pop. I love how the message behind this song is that horrible things are happening every day and instead of doing nothing, we should all acknowledge it.
In an interview with The Indie Christian Music Scene about the message behind “Make A Move,” Ariel said, “This song came from my personal struggle with how we as Americans spend our time, money, creativity, and all that.”
Sleater-Kinney is an alternative rock and indie rock band from Olympia, Washington that was started in 1994. The current bandmates are Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein on vocals and guitar, and Janet Weiss on drums. Sleater-Kinney was originally a part of the riot grrrl and indie rock scene and is known for their liberal and feminist views.
One of the main things that made this band so big is that they were unique. They were an all-women band dominating a scene that was previously only held by men. The band released their seventh album, The Woods, in 2005 and was critically praised before announcing their breakup in 2006. As of 2014, the band has reunited and still making music.
My Favorite Sleater-Kinney Song Is: Jumpers from the album The Woods (2005). Corin absolutely rocks in “Jumpers” and is easily the best in the song. I feel “Jumpers” is a track that showcases exactly how talented this band is and how each band member works together so flawlessly. This song has very meaningful lyrics and I love the energy the song gives out.
13. Within Temptation
Within Temptation is a Dutch alternative metal and symphonic metal band that was founded in Waddinxveen, Netherlands in 1996. The band was founded by vocalist Sharon den Adel and guitarist Robert Westerholt. They later added Jeroen van Veen, Ruud Jolie, Martijn Spierenburg, Mike Coolen, and Stefan Helleblad.
In 2001, the bad became known to most people with their single “Ice Queen” from their album Mother Earth. For many fans of symphonic metal, Within Temptation is the band that started it all for them. They are still present today and making music, with their last album, Resist, being released in 2019.
My Favorite Within Temptation Song Is: Paradise (What About Us?) from the album Hydra (2014). The Tarja and Sharon collab on this song is still memorable today. For many fans, this song is one of the best symphonic metal songs in history and was written by the two queens of metal music. I love how perfectly the music melts together and can listen to it for hours.
14. The Coathangers
The Coathangers are an all-female alternative punk rock band that formed in 2006 in Atlanta, Georgia. The band features singer/guitarist Julia Kugel-Montoya, bassist Meredith Franco, and drummer/singer Stephanie Luke. The band gained traction for their controversial name based on their pro-choice views and have made a point to speak out on issues that impact women.
Substance abuse issues are a common theme that you can find in their lyrics and they can also deliver blunt messages. The band is still active today with their The Devil You Know album being released in 2019.
My Favorite The Coathangers Song Is: Watch Your Back from the album Nosebleed Weekend (2016). I love how this song is so addictive and it doesn’t get old. Julia’s phenomenal on the guitar and the song features great vocal interplay. I love how the drum and bass lines are simple but it works in a way that it doesn’t overcomplicate things so you can focus on the music and the message.
Metric is an alternative indie rock and new wave band that was started in 1998 in Toronto, Ontario. The band members consist of lead vocalist Emily Haines, guitarist James Shaw, bassist Joshua Winstead, and drummer Joules Scott-Key. The band’s second album, Live It Out, was released in late 2005 and is what led to their growing success.
Metric has been praised for their ability to write music that is not targeted towards nostalgia. The band continues to evolve their music and sounds that change with every record they make. Not only do they write great music but Metric also does covers for artists like Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Tom Waites, and more.
My Favorite Metric Song Is: Now Or Never Now from the album Art of Doubt (2018). This song is the perfect song for anyone who is haunted by past failures and living in a state of regret. I love how inspiring this song is to start over and motivates you to not be afraid of getting hurt again. Personally, this is one of the most personal songs that I have heard by Metric.
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