For Fans Of
Ah Green Day, one of the earliest loves of my life. From the age of twelve I was infatuated with everything this band did, and fourteen years down the track I’m still as excited as ever to hear what this veteran trio will come up with next. I’m saddened to report that early reviews (and when I say reviews, I mean kids talking shit on the internet) have suggested that 21st Century Breakdown is a less than stellar effort from the Bay Area Boys, but fuck the haters because I (more than) enjoyed this record from start to finish!
Those hoping for another Dookie or Insomniac may be disappointed, as Green Day have further expanded upon the ideas they explored on their last opus (American Idiot, but considering the album sold 10 million copies you already knew that) and delivered another conceptual masterpiece. No doubt you’ve already heard the band’s first single “Know Your Enemy”, a track that sees the band at their catchy best without straying too far from their tried and tested formula, however to fully appreciate what 21st Century Breakdown has to offer, you need to listen to all eighteen tracks. Yep, all of them!
Within its five-minute running time, the disc’s title track covers a variety of different tempos and moods. From the gentle introductory passage through to the pop-friendly chorus, every style and sound explored within this song is done so in a flawless manner, with the majestic sounding outro recalling being delivered with the same level of passion and gusto that Queen became renowned for.
While the members of Green Day have been reluctant to refer to 21st Century Breakdown as a conceptual release, the analysis of a post-George Bush America that occurs throughout the bulk of the album’s tracks says otherwise. Telling the tale of a couple – Christian and Gloria – living in what can only be described as a country that is a shattered version of what it once was, Billie Joe’s insightful lyrics combined with the group’s dynamic musicianship and arrangements have resulted in the creation of a masterpiece, one that rivals, if not betters, American Idiot.
With nearly seventy-minutes of music on offer it’d be futile for me to try and deconstruct each track, as you’re far better off investigating this one for yourselves. For my money though, you can’t go past the aforementioned tunes, as well as “Before The Lobotomy”, “Murder City” and the sprawling “21 Guns”.
It seems that many of Green Day’s detractor’s chose to focus on the “is it or isn’t it punk” argument, rather than acknowledging the ambitious musical and lyrical content that’s been put forth by this incredibly talented band. Set aside your notion of what Billie Joe, Mike and Tre SHOULD be playing and just enjoy the jams that they ARE committing to tape, because quite simply, 21st Century Breakdown will go down as one of our generation’s classic albums.
Act 1 – Heroes and Cons
1. “21st Century Breakdown”
2. “Know Your Enemy”
3. “Viva La Gloria”
4. “Before the Lobotomy”
5. “Christian’s Inferno”
6. “Last Night on Earth”
Act 2 – Charlatans and Saints
7. “March of the Dogs”
8. “East Jesus Nowhere”
10. “Last of the American Girls”
11. “Viva La Gloria”
12. “Restless Heart Syndrome”
Act 3 – Horseshoes and Handgrenades
13. “Horseshoes and Handgrenades”
14. “Drama Queen”
15. “Static Age”
16. “21 Guns”
17. “American Eulogy”
18. “See the Light”