10. Green Day – American Idiot
The 3 wayward “punks” that became a Broadway Show, that’s what you can call Green Day. Despite their unorthodox approach, Green Day, is now one of the most appreciated bands within their musical genre, and not only, scoring high as one of the best, post 90’s, punk-rock bands.
Even though they came to be in 1986 by the hands of Billie Joe Armstrong (lead-vocalist/guitarist) and Mike Dirnt (backing vocals/bass), later including drummer Tre Cool, success came within their grasp in 1994, when their Woodstock performance lead to pig-style mud fight.
Their early years saw them perform on the stage of punk-rock club DIY in Berkley California and getting a record deal with and independent label, Lookout! Records. Their early fans felt betrayed when the band signed off with another, well-known, label few years later.
Their third album, “Dookie”, also referred to as the one who brought them success, ended up to be a sell-out and scored over 10 million records being sold in the U.S. alone, while a grand total of 20 million copies world-wide were recorded.
They won a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Performance and they got lifted among the well-established artists of the genre, Sublime, The Offspring and Rancid, helping to popularize punk-rock in the U.S. mainstream once more.
The next albums that came after “Dookie”, “Insomniac” (1995), “Nirmond” (1997) and “Warning” (2000) didn’t get the overall attention of “Dookie”, drawing back on their popularity. Despite this, they snatched double platinum discs and a golden disc for these albums. Their major hit and re-bounce album was “American Idiot”.
After 10 years without a smashing success the band saw themselves going away from the standard of the three chord California punk-rock and emerged in a new form, totally reshaped. The rock opera approach to the album was the success bearer for the band, as both audience and critics weighed in on it to be a surprisingly in-depth record and was regarded as a “one-album wonder”.
They gained a huge load of fans from among teenagers, who were too young to ever know of “Dookie”. The critics were astonished by their performance and, of course, Green Day got a Grammy for Best Rock Performance with “American Idiot”.
9. U2 – All that you can’t leave behind (2000)
U2 is an Irish rock band that originated in Dublin. It was put together in 1976 and is comprised of Bono (lead-vocals/guitar), The Edge (backing-vocal/guitar/keyboard), Adam Clayton (bass) and Larry Mullen Jr. (drums). The music they went out with in their early years drew its roots from post-punk, but eventually went out and to also seek influences from different styles of pop music.
Their debut album, “Boy”, was put out in collaboration with Island Records. The middle 80’s saw the band as a top, international, performer. 1987 was the year that saw “The Joshua Tree” being released, which lead to the band’s image being upgraded from that of “heroes” to “superstars”.
The 90’s however were not so kind to the band. Having dwelled in more experimental combinations with techno, dance and electronic-influenced music, made them widely misunderstood and criticized by fans and critics alike. Their reinvention was viewed as an adventurous one, with more damage than success being attributed to the image of the band.
The comeback was marked by the album “All that you can’t leave behind”. It was considered a stunning refresh to the image of the band and brought many acclamations from all over the world. Having producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois back with the reins in their hands, U2 came back to their original sound, although remarkably upgraded, with more attention being put on reintroducing the heavy guitar, bass and drum sound.
“Rolling Stone” referred to the album as being U2’s “third masterpiece”, alongside “The Joshua Tree” and “Achtung Baby”. The album debuted at the top spot in 22 countries and the success single, “Beautiful Day”, received three Grammies.
8. Dr. Dre – 2001
Dr. Dre, real name – Andre Romelle Young, is the founder and owner of Aftermath Entertainment and co-founder of Death Row Records. He was among the founding members of gangster rap group, the N.W.A, alongside Ice Cube and Easy-E, group which saw their rise in the mainstream of music.
He worked alongside many artists and helped produce numerous records with Snoop Dogg, Eminem, 50 Cent, Nate Dogg etc. His debut solo album, “The Chronic” (1992), was released under the seal of Death Row Records, and was one of the best sold U.S. albums of 1993 and Dre won a Grammy award for the single “Let Me Ride”.
In 1996 he released another single, “Been there, done that”, in 1996 that was embraced by the public. With the coming of the late 90’s most of the public assumed that Dr. Dre was going to keep being a producer without releasing his own music.
After his success with launching Eminem’s career, Dre went about and released his second album, “2001”, on November 16, 1999. The album was a bomb, dropping hard on both critics and audience, and represented one of the turning points in mainstream rap music at the time.
The production of the album was handled primarily by Dr. Dre, Mel-Man and Lord Finesse, with featured contributions from guests such as: Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Xzibit, Nate Dogg and Eminem. The album started of nr. 2 in the U.S. “Billboard 200”, with total sales of 516.00 copies in just the first week. It gave three singles that achieved great chart success, while also selling a grand total of 7.664.000 copies in the U.S alone, last counted in 2013.
7. Metallica – Death Magnetic (2008)
Metallica… just saying the name kind of says it all. They took shape in Los Angeles, California, back in 1981, when James Hatfield (lead-vocal/guitar) gave heed to an add in a local newspaper, posted by future drummer, Lars Urlich. The current line-up consists of James Hatfield, Lars Urlich, lead-guitarist Kirk Hammett and the bassist Robert Trujillo.
Former members of the band are Dave Mustaine, Ron McGovney, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsteed. They are considered to be one of founding bands of thrash metal, included in “the big four” alongside Anthrax, Megadeth and Slayer. Their major success albums are regarded to be the ones that originated in the period of 1983 – 1993: “Kill ‘Em All” (1983), “Ride the Lighting” (1984), “Master of Puppets” (1986), “…And justice for All” (1988), “Metallica” (1991).
After the 2000’s the time was not kind to the band, as their newer albums did not hit the mark imposed by their earlier successes. The scenarios was clear; Metallica was in desperate need of an album to get their image on the right track once more.
Returning to the Roots
And here we go… “Death Magnetic”! Even if the album was given some criticism towards its excessive sound compression, the songs themselves relit the flare of interest into Metallica, given the fact that they managed to get down to the trash metal roots once more, making the fans forget about their earlier fails.
The album marks is one of kind let’s say, given the fact that the band teamed up with Rick Rubin to produce it, being also the first album since 1988 that was not produced by Bob Rock. “Death Magnetic” is also the band’s first album that introduces the new bassist, Robert Trujillo.