9. 21st Century Breakdown - Green Day
From start to finish, the road to Green Day creating American Idiot was one of the greatest underdog stories rock had to offer. After their masters were stolen from their studio, the band hunkered down and created their second wind with a punk rock opera centered around teenagers trying to make their way through post 9/11 America. So when you have a scenario that airtight, sometimes it pays to try it all over again.
While that might seem callous when talking about something like 21st Century Breakdown, it certainly merits a spot beside its older brother by having a totally new sense of melody. Across the board, this is a far more mature sounding band than who we got to know on Dookie, taking influences from people like the Beatles on Last Night on Earth and even lifting a handful of melodies from classic rock staples for songs like 21 Guns.
You're still listening to a punk album at the end of the day though, and tracks like Horseshoes and Handgrenades manage to pick things and remind you of how aggro these guys were known to get back in the '90s. Even though people like to treat 21st Century Breakdown as a bit lower on the totem pole than American Idiot, it's definitely an underrated project from one of the biggest names in rock.