16. Green Day, 'American Idiot' (2004)
Pop-punk, in theory, was never meant to grow up, but with American Idiot, Green Day found a brilliant, political loophole. In direct response to George W. Bush's presidency, the trio crafted an immersive, urgent rock opera fueled by rage and love, and told from the perspective of a dejected young Jesus of Suburbia itching to leave his deadbeat town. "We did everything we could to piss people off," Billie Joe Armstrong told Rolling Stone in 2005. It was an ambitious, anti-pop-punk move for the band, to create sprawling nine-minute stadium-worthy songs filled with characters, plot development and a terrifying reflection of reality. But it worked: American Idiot was a big comeback moment for the former bratty upstarts. "I felt like I was too old to be angry anymore," Armstrong continued. "It's sexy to be an angry young man, but to be a bitter old bastard is another thing altogether." B.S.