22. Green Day, 'American Idiot'
The Nineties' most irrepressible punk brats grew up with a bang. They also proved they could take on the kind of gargantuan old-school concept album that nobody else seemed to have the guts to try. Not only did they pull it off, they made one of the era's lasting albums, raging against political complacency of mid-decade America with a Who-size sense of grandeur. From the nine-minute epic "Jesus of Suburbia" to the punk nugget "Extraordinary Girl/Letterbomb," they zeroed in on the rock audience's political outcasts and misfits as Billie Joe Armstrong snarled, "Welcome to a new kind of tension/All across the alien nation."
• Rolling Stone's Original 2004 Review