Like U2, like Coldplay, Green Day is now in the business of making Event Records. After reaching career heights with 2004's punk-rock opera American Idiot, their ambitions are, if anything, even loftier on another concept album. With its social commentary and recurring characters and musical themes, the new disc feels like American Idiot 2.0. Multi-part songs like the anthemic title track—on which frontman Billie Joe Armstrong sings, "I think I'm losing what's left of my mind/ To the 20th century deadline"—are epic in and of themselves. Looking to the classics—from the Beatles and the Beach Boys to The Who and Elton John—the trio set out to make an album that will still be played in the 22nd century. They just may have succeeded.
DOWNLOAD THIS: "21 Guns," a Beatles-on-steroids ballad