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21st Century Breakdown

Green Day

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Album Review

American Idiot was a rarity of the 21st century: a bona fide four-quadrant hit, earning critical and commercial respect, roping in new fans young and old alike. It was so big it turned Green Day into something it had never been before — respected, serious rockers, something they were never considered during their first flight of success with Dookie. Back then, they were clearly (and proudly) slacker rebels with a natural gift for a pop hook, but American Idiot was a big album with big ideas, a political rock opera in an era devoid of both protest rock and wild ambition, so its success was a surprise. It also ratcheted up high expectations for its successor, and Green Day consciously plays toward those expectations on 2009's 21st Century Breakdown, another political rock opera that isn't an explicit sequel but could easily be mistaken for one, especially as its narrative follows a young couple through the wilderness of modern urban America. Heady stuff, but like the best rock operas, the concept doesn't get in the way of the music, which is a bit of an accomplishment because 21st Century Breakdown leaves behind the punchy '60s Who fascination for Queen and '70s Who, giving this more than its share of pomp and circumstance. Then again, puffed-up protest is kind of the point of 21st Century Breakdown: it's meant to be taken seriously, so it's not entirely surprising that Green Day fall into many of the same pompous tarpits as their heroes, ratcheting up the stately pianos, vocal harmonies, repeated musical motifs, doubled and tripled guitars, and synthesized effects that substitute for strings, then adding some orchestras for good measure. It would all sound cluttered, even turgid, if it weren't for Green Day's unerring knack for writing muscular pop and natural inclination to run clean and lean, letting only one song run over five minutes and never letting the arrangements overshadow the song. Although Green Day's other natural gift, that for impish irreverent humor, is missed — they left it all behind on their 2008 garage rock side project Foxboro Hot Tubs — the band manages to have 21st Century Breakdown work on a grand scale without losing either their punk or pop roots, which makes the album not only a sequel to American Idiot, but its equal.

Customer Reviews

Worth the money

American Idiot was Green Day's Biggest success, apart from Dookie but it has taken a while for their follow-up album to be released. This is actually the first album I've purchased using iTunes although I have purchased songs before. Undoubtedly, this album's best songs are towards the beginning of the album such as the title track, Know Your Enemy and !Viva La Gloria! (how do you type in upside-down exclamation marks?) 21 Guns is a good song as well. The album starts off really well them dips in quality slightly in the middle before finishing off strongly. But don't get me wrong, you are paying for 18 good tracks (that's if you include the 1-minute long Song Of The Century as well however). This adds up to $1 a track which is far better value than buying individual songs at $1.69 or at the raised price of $2.19. This is another concept album and is similar to American Idiot in theme but this is not a copy of American Idiot however. The songs are slightly more experimental (that's not to say American Idiot's songs weren't) and the lyrics are cleaner and the general tone is not as angry as American Idiot. Having said that, American Idiot probably has five songs that are better than this album's best song (that's not saying these songs suck, but American Idiot is one of my favourite albums of all time and does have great songs). That is why it's four stars and not five, all of the songs are good, but none of them are exceptional (like American Idiot's songs: American Idiot, Jesus Of Suburbia or Boulevard Of Broken Dreams and Wake Me Up When September Ends). All in all buy the album. Don't bother about the deluxe version which give you two extra songs for $3 extra. It is not American Idiot, but this is still a great album and arguably the best album to date in 2009.

Green Day does it again!!!!

Loved the album!!!! Awesome!!!!! Best songs are Know your enemy, East Jesus Nowhere and Horseshoes and handgrenades!!! Love the work!!!!

Awesome Comeback

After 5 years of waiting, it finally over, This album rocks! Green Day have out done themselves, I bought the CD the day it came out and haven't stop listening to it. Great Songs (So Far) are: Horseshoes and Handgrenades, Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl), Know Your enemy and the entire album is good, well worth any price, trust if you like Green Day you love this. The only thing is that is a little different to traditional Green Day, but It great!


Formed: 1988 in Berkeley, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Out of all the post-Nirvana alternative bands to break into the pop mainstream, Green Day were second only to Pearl Jam in terms of influence. At their core, Green Day were simply punk revivalists who recharged the energy of speedy, catchy three-chord punk-pop songs. Though their music wasn't particularly innovative, they brought the sound of late-'70s punk to a new, younger generation with Dookie, their 1994 major-label debut. Dookie sold over ten million copies, paving the way for a string of multi-platinum...
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