In many ways, the 2000s were a great time for rock ‘n’ roll. Arguably the last stand in guitar music, there were great new bands like Arctic Monkeys springing up, veterans like Radiohead hitting rich form, a brief but glorious New York scene bringing us The Strokes et al, and many more amazing bands to find deeper in the indie scene.
In many other ways, however, it was pretty ugly. Every decade has its trends, but with the internet making it possible to share ideas faster than ever, a new movement could be playing out faster than ever. A&R were desperate to find the next Monkeys or Strokes, and the proliferation of indie releases from the dumps was a dark time for music.
Meanwhile, some of the biggest bands of yesteryear tried to keep rocking when, obviously, they should have either found a better approach or put away their gear.
These albums aren’t the worst the decade has to offer, and may even boast some redeeming qualities, but comparing the press clippings of the day with a fresh-eared reappraisal reveals a significant chasm. Did they age badly, or were they not good at the start? Either way, these are the most overhyped rock releases of the decade.
It’s worth saying that Green Day should be commended for trying something so far out of their comfort zone and for the great parts that made it work. The band known for their anthems about masturbation and marijuana decided to write a punk rock opera, and to some extent they succeeded.
They’ve embraced opera too much, though, and by neglecting the punk rock side of things, they’ve strayed too far from the sound they do well. The title track is beautiful but ultimately forgettable. Sections of the song suites – especially “Jesus of Suburbia”, are very good clean bursts of energy that intertwine well.
But many of the singles were dirges; “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” is an unkind and 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 fast.
The album spawned a show on Broadway and inspired the group’s mature leadership – for a while, before they returned to hard-hitting, fun songs in recent releases. It was huge news at the time, but surely no self-respecting Green Day fan reaches this one these days.