In many ways, the ‘00s was a great time for rock ‘n’ roll. Arguably guitar music’s last stand, there were terrific new bands like Arctic Monkeys popping up, veterans like Radiohead hitting a rich run of form, a brief but glorious New York scene bringing us The Strokes et al, and many more amazing bands to be found deeper on the indie scene.
In many other ways, though, it was pretty lousy. Every decade has its trends, but with the internet allowing ideas to be shared quicker than ever, a fresh new movement could become played out quicker than ever. A&Rs were desperate to find the next Monkeys or Strokes, and the proliferation of landfill indie releases was a dark time for music.
Meanwhile some of the biggest bands of yesteryear tried to keep on rocking when, by all rights, they should have either found a better approach or packed up their gear.
These albums aren’t the worst the decade had to offer, and may even boast some redemptive qualities, but to compare the press clippings of the day with a fresh eared re-evaluation reveals a significant gulf. Have they aged badly, or were they no good to begin with? Either way, these are the decade’s most overhyped rock releases.
10. Green Day - American Idiot
It’s worth saying Green Day should be commended for trying something so far out of their comfort zone, and for large parts making it work. The band known for anthems about masturbation and marijuana decided to write a punk rock opera, and to an extent, they succeeded.
They embraced the opera too much, though, and in neglecting the punk rock side of things strayed too far from the sound they actually do well. The title track is fine but ultimately forgettable. Sections of the song suites - particularly "Jesus of Suburbia", are very good, sharp bursts of energy that weave together well.
But many of the singles were dirges; “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” is an unlovable, miserable number, “Wake Me Up When September Ends” too sappy for words, and “Holiday” just a bit boring. No one expected them to stay teenagers forever, but they didn’t need to get so serious so quick.
The album spawned a Broadway show and inspired the mature direction of the band - for a bit, before they reverted to punchy, fun songs in recent releases. It was huge news at the time, but surely no self respecting Green Day fan reaches for this one nowadays.