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It's hard to believe this was recorded in 2009, it remains fresh, relevant, and worryingly politically prescient. After American Idiot, what's a punk rock band to do? Write another rock opera of course, but more polished than the last, and split into three acts on the track list. They did what they do best - a mixture of long and short songs with varying beats, tones, and tempo, but added strings, a piano, and a vision of a love story set in the fires of a dystopian near-future.
So, here we have Christian and Gloria trying to get by while the world burns rather dramatically around them. It gets pretty rough with all the riots, vigilantes, fundamentalists, and guns. As I've mentioned, this being Green Day, there's a hefty measure of criticism for politicians and pointless wars ('Do you know what's worth fighting for, when it's not worth dying for?')
The repeating of lyrical and instrumental motifs between different songs really helps to tie the whole thing together - keeping the album as something that really needs to be experienced in its entirety, not just a song here and a song there. There are plenty of songs that are memorable individually though, not least 21 Guns and Last of the American Girls.
The music and vocals are perfectly measured for effect throughout - angry when they need to be, sad when they need to be, etc. Billy Joe Armstrong's mellow vocals really impact when placed parallel to the more 'shouty' tracks.
A quick word on the album art - I'm always glad to see some good album art and this works really well, and ties the album in with the music videos for some of the singles.
21st Century Breakdown is a beautiful, sometimes heart-wrenching album that is undeservingly underplayed and underappreciated simply because of the success of its predecessor.
Everyone knows that Green Day is one of the great rock bands of the world. They always seem to find a way to reinvent themselves, to give something new to their fans, and to please even themselves with their new material. Never have they shown that more than with their newest album, 21st Century Breakdown. They leave behind their days of grunge rock and calmly transition into a powerful new sound found in songs like the title track "21st Century Breakdown" and "Know Your Enemy". They have the same attitude where they feel they can do whatever they want. That is likely why they have been able to keep as well as gain so many fans as the years have gone by. If you're a real Green Day fan, you'll certainly buy this record. Many may say that Green Day has "sold out", but I beg to disagree. The years and fashion may change, but Green Day's attitude has not. If anything, they've become more carefree because they have half the world listening to them. As a true fan of Green Day, I am honestly excited of where this band is headed in the next few years. The possibilities are endless, and it's just the beginning of the 21st century.
Hard to believe that American Punk rockers Green Day have been stimulating our senses for over 23 years now. The still youthful and energetic threesome has gone from Basket Cases to a more laudable refined and ambitious approach to their music. Ever versant, enigmatic front man Billie Joe Armstrong has lead the angst fuelled rockers from mediocrity to super stardom, developing there sound and approach to music in the process. Drummer Tré Cool, and bass guitarist Mike Dirnt make up the three amigos, a threesome that have been together from the get go.
Billie Joe Armstrong - guitar, piano, lead vocals
Tré Cool - drums, percussion
Mike Dirnt - bass guitar, backing vocals
Jason Freese - piano
Tom Kitt - string arrangements
Patrick Warren - string conducting
Green Day's breakthrough came in 1994 with the album 'Dookie' such a success it eventually sold over 10 million copies in the US alone. Their popularity brought punk rock back to the mainstream masses and established themselves as front-runners in the music business. Further success was around the corner, four albums later 2004 gave us 'American Idiot' which hit the headlines running. The monumental success of American Idiot put Green Day back into mainstream headlights once more, after a brief trek into the wilderness of East Bay, California. Their 2004 album debuted at number one on the Billboard charts, a first for Green Day. In 2005 they were awarded a Grammy for best rock album and won seven awards, from eight nominations at the MTV music awards. Where American Idiot and their latest album 21st Century Breakdown differ is the style of the album, both themed around a particular concept, often controversial and perhaps Anti-American, which split critical loyalties. American Idiot became known as a punk-rock opera following a journey of the fictitious Jesus of Suburbia. May 2009 brought us Green Day's eighth studio album 21ST CENTURY BREAKDOWN ...
ALBUM - 21ST CENTURY BREAKDOWN'
Rock opera styled '21st Century Breakdown' is divided into three acts, "Heroes and Cons", "Charlatans and Saints", and "Horseshoes and Hand grenades and lasting almost 70 minutes in running time. Following in it's predecessor American Idiot's footsteps its styled around a particular concept. The theme is based around two lovers, Christian and Gloria, and their battle against government and authority in this day and age. The concept is not always clear but the message of religion, war, spilled blood, media and anger at society is most apparent. The story is evoked through these two young lovers eyes, but you also get the impression it's loosely based on Billie Joe's own experiences and anger at society and politically motivated state of the world we/he lives in.
Commercially to date 21st Century Breakdown is Green Day's most successful album, topping album charts all over the world, including the US and UK markets, and regaining the coveted Best Rock alum at the Grammy's 2010.
Critical acclaim was largely favourable Rolling Stone's David Fricke called 21st Century Breakdown "a compound bomb of classic-rock ecstasy, no-mercy punk assault and pop-song wiles; it's like The Clash's London Calling, The Who's Quadrophenia and Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade all compressed into 18 songs". It's doubters classing it as "griping vaguely against 'authority'" and that "too many buzz words obscure incisive meaning".
1 SONG OF THE CENTURY (0.57)
Singing acapella, with an anti-war message, some bizarre lyrics...
ACT I: HEROES AND CONS
We're introduced to Christian, a welfare working class child, that the system has failed, his apathy for the Nixon regime is evident. This is in sense Billy Joe raised as a youth in on hard times. Born in the era of humility / We are the desperate in the decline / Raised by the bastards. BREAKDOWN (5.09) Awesome theatrical bashed piano Intro, that's lingering and simple, rising the atmosphere steadily, to be joined by rolling drums that slowly gather momentum, until violently a crescendo of sound as the riffs kick in adjacent to Billie Joe's blaring tones. The quiet to loud dynamics add ever verb, to this rock infused opener, until we veer of to a calming slowed down finish. Ever so catchy opener, with plenty of mainstream appeal, a great way to get us kicking off!
Self-explanatory title, expressing the desire for revolution, KNOW YOUR ENEMY (3.11) Overthrow the effigy / The vast majority / We're burning down the foreman of control Thumping simple drum line, overshadowing the backing guitar riffs, as we explode into sound again, slightly repetitive lyrically, it's upbeat, fast and of a violent nature, you fear the passion, energy and anger in his pounding tones. Quiet, slow dynamics working again here in parts, simple but effective slightly pop punk based giving measure to the mainstream masses once more, finishes to a sudden halt!
We are introduced to girlfriend Gloria, fallen through the tracks, on hard times and disillusioned VIVA LA GLORIA (3.31) Don't lose you faith to your lost naiveté / Weather the storm and don't look back on last November / When your banners were burning down Delicate twinkling of the Piano, a ballad-esque intro, joined with subtle tones and backing violins, it's heartfelt and emotive until after a minute, crash, crash, crash of the symbols, drums are pounding, Billie Joe's tones are bursting and feverish to the pounding accompaniment of some awesome throbbing guitar rock, the track drives forward from here, the chorus line is notable engaging as his voice goes up an octave. Seems to be the theme of the album thus far, soft gentle intro's that build, and build to you can build no more.
Dreaming of better times and tales of dissatisfaction BEFORE THE LOBOTOMY (4.37) Laughter, there's no more laughter / Songs of yesterday now live in the underground Gorgeous melodramatic ballad intro with yearning tones, which peels into a crescendo of noise, booming beastly riffs quite overpowering in fact until Billie Joe inter plays with it, mixed up punk and classic rock is a little heavy on the heart, it's okay but nothing definitive or ground breaking, simple rolling drums and bass but I'm feeling slightly dissatisfied after an emotional enterprising intro. The heartfelt singing returns to take the track out, but it's still to the disgruntled over fever some rock.
Apathy in this represents the worlds destruction, and the need for change, CHRISTIAN'S INFERNO (3.07) I'm the atom bomb /I'm the chosen one / Toxin your reservoir / and then return man to ape High-octane, thrashing start, industrious and aggressive, this stampede of sound it dark and relentless. Sounds like early Green Day, but lacks any drive for me, not at all distinctive, yeah fair enough it's catchy and hardcore punky rock fans would be satisfied with this, but the mix and music seems limited, one to miss. '
LAST NIGHT ON EARTH (3.57) My beating heart belongs to you / I walked for miles til I found you / I'm here to honour you Evocative piano laden intro, that's soothing and emotional. Tempo's and rhythm are smooth and consistent throughout, this power ballad has been likened to ELO a 70s type ballad, but I actually think it's very Beatles like in it's sound, and simplicity. Rolling drums and restricted passive bass accompany dreamy Lennon sounding vocals, which really engages and carries the song forward. Perfectly finishes of act one, a definite highlight!
ACT II: CHARLATANS AND SAINTS
Charlatans and Saints we follow Christian and Gloria through tragic scenes, Christian's Inferno and Last Night on Earth, and the Iraqi War In Peacemaker. Tackling the emptiness and hypocrisy of Christianity and Religion everywhere and the effects it has on war and suicide, EAST JESUS NOWHERE (4.35) _Of blasphemy and genocide / The sirens of decay / Will infiltrate the faith fanatics_ Very similar sounding to earlier hit 'Welcome to Paradise' Kicks in with a spiky guitar riff that strives to something spectacular angular and raw, almost like hearing a motorbike misfiring over and over, layered guitars, changeups and rolling drums, the structure of sound is clever, but ultimately it's the angular edge riff that gives it an extra kick, and memorable.
Referring to war, Iraq, Gaza, jihad and stand off of Molotov cocktails PEACEMAKER (3.24) This Beretta of the night / This fire and the desire / Shots ringing out on a holy parasite Opens up to a folk, punk feel it's reticent of The Levellers in it's catchy melodic almost Irish Jig feel, simple rolling drums are met with a mandolin sounding guitar, it's fast theme gives the impression of a chase, as the rhythm is relentless and fixated. An unusual addition to the album, as it's unlike any other sound, works for me.
Keeping with the theme LAST OF THE AMERICAN GIRLS (3.51) She will come in first for the end of western civilization / She's and endless war, she's a hero for the lost cause / Like a hurricane in the heart of devastation is about Gloria, however it's written about Billie Joe's wife Adrienne, who he claims is steadfast in her beliefs and assertively defends them. Simple easy bass line kicks us of, steady and controlling to calming tones from Billie Joe, sudden beat on the drum kicks us forward as the sound levels rise, but the beats stay controlled, we speed up slightly as the chorus is matched with harmonies unlike the Beach Boys. It's methodical, but not at all inspiring, album filler.
Punk / Alternative rock MURDER CITY (2.54) I'm wide awake after the riot / This demonstration of our anguish / This empty laughter has no reason is heavy, desperate and repetitive! Hardcore Green Day sound, violent and raucous with plenty of sound changeups! Simple fast rolling drum intro, until the violent riffs kick into action, matched by the tempered violent tones of desperation from Billie Joe, it's relentless speed and passion is obvious, a real stadium moving track! Screeching from the bottom of his stomach adds impetus to this vicious attack on the government. Gives the album a lift with some much needed energy.
Spanish flavoured Piano intro that sounds like a mandolin flickering wildly ¿VIVA LA GLORIA? (Little Girl) (3.48) The traces of blood always follow you home like the mascara tears from your getaway / You're walking with blisters and running with shears, So unholy / Sister of grace! saunters along, all dramatic and operatic like. Another folk theme styled charmer, comedic in value, a real assault of drama, reticent of 'Levellers', or 'The Decemberists' this Piano led assault charge is most charming, a funky little number with plenty of appeal, that really mixes Act II up nicely.
Once more we open with gentle piano chords, to a yearning Billie Joe, it's quiet and heartfelt, a controlling drum line and back seated riff, accompany the engaging sound. Stripped back ballad, RESTLESS HEART SYNDROME (4.21) I've got a really bad disease / It's got me begging on my hands and knees is one of my favourites, it's endearing that works fantastically as an acoustic sound, the song has moments that endanger the song of becoming too loud and dramatic, but stays truthful to the theme throughout.
ACT III: HORSESHOES AND HANDGRENADES
Horseshoes and Handgrenades is about self destruction, in the chaos they are living in, the bad times of Static Age and American Eulogy living in mass panic and hysteria, but beaten and bruised they come out the other side in see the light bent on revenge. HORSESHOES AND HANDGRENADES (3.14) Demolition, self-destruction / What to annihilate, the age-old contradiction Marching stomp intro as the banging fever some beat on the drums build, to an echoing riff, many changeups with the use of synthesizers. It's punk rock feel, that reaches it peak at the chorus, with some near screeching tones, the simple riffs are pretty enthusiastic, but the overall sound lacks inspiration or anything memorable.
THE STATIC AGE (4.17) Cater to the class and the paranoid, music / to my nervous system / Advertising love and religion, murder on the airwaves / Slogans on the brink of corruption Banging drums kick in, quite feverish, with an echoing guitar chord, it's lively a good mix up and arrangement. Chorus sees more changeups as the riffs take over from the prominent drums. It's not the best sound, lacking in any inspiration, quite boring in all fairness.
21 GUNS (5.21) Do you know what's worth fighting for? / When it's not worth dying for? / Does it take your breath away and you feel yourself suffocating? Eerie Synthesized intro to a gentle acoustic like approach, before interacting with slow strumming giving this an evocative start to this power ballad, a power changeup but it's still heartfelt and quite stunning, the chorus is a little disappointing as the tracks changes face, a lot of riff repetition coupled with triple guitars, good effort, but feel let down by the urge for the tried and testing surge towards the end.
AMERICAN EULOGY (A. "Mass Hysteria" / B. "Modern World") (4.26) The class war is hanging on a wire because the martyr is a compulsive liar / When he said "it's just a bunch of niggers throwing gas into the...." Part A: Mass Hysteria, is punk rock, fast thrashing repetitive riffs with many changeups, triple guitars with plenty of energy, catchy chorus line. It's certainly a toe taper, or head banger...before we break into Part B: Modern World, the shift is slight, slowed down a little to repetitive chorus lines, feels folksy based but overlapped with thrashed guitar, it mixes okay, and actually in parts sounds quite positive, which is a rarity.
SEE THE LIGHT (4.36) But it's gone forever, but never too late / Where the ever after is in the hands of fate Booming rolling drums, echoed by some thrashed mono chord guitars, the riffs are engaging if not repetitive, but it's a lively near happy sound, triumphant like in it's staccato styled strums, gives you a feeling the story is at it's end and they are coming through the dark times. Excellent ending, as it gives you a feeling of closure of sorts.
21st Century Breakdown is an album focusing on the negativity in the world we live in, Green Day seem to share delight in screaming their ideals to the listener, preaching to us about the horrific state the world is in, in part maybe true, but their dark, bleak unequivocal outlook is blunt and ugly, and rather than aspiring to find solutions, and to look at the positives, they seem to revel in displeasure, maybe that's too harsh, perhaps it's down to the genre of music they represent, who knows, but often the message they portray is misguided and hard to understand, but your able to guise the gist.
Predecessor American Idiot was an attack on the former American government, and maybe understandably so, but where do the loyalties of 21st Century Breakdown lie, well I guess it's in the title. Seventeen tracks of anger are dispatched, apathy about the state of the wreckage we live in, religion and war been the two main protagonists.
Are the lyrics believable, can you relate to them? Well I suppose the musical audience targeted can, the youth of society at present have a bleak outlook, and not much positive notions around the world as we know it. I believe Green Day's message is to be taken seriously, and it's a musician's way of protest, but it could also be looked at as a form of inspiration, and something to aspire to, to improve the situation we strive to better. Is it eloquent in approach, not really it's crass and muddy, perhaps they should stick to what they do best, the music.
The sound is distinctively Green Day, pretty similar to American Idiot, in fact some of the songs are similar to early albums such as 'Dookie', so has their sound enhanced and matured? Well I guess a little, we have moved on from pop punk, to a alternative punk / punk rock sound, but we are still feeling the riff rock repetition, and larger than life chords and whizzing treble guitars.. However we are introduced to stately pianos, orchestra's, vocal harmonies, and synthesized effects as change ups.
Musically you could compare 21st century breakdown to Meatloaf operatic efforts, the creativity has to be lauded but does it work? Can a political rock opera work? Well I'm not entirely sure, as a theme I don't think it does, I find it hard to carry the message throughout the album, but in terms of individual music songs, then it passes with flying colours, there are so many highlights such as 'Restless Heart Syndrome', 'Last night on Earth' but equally a few blander tracks such as 'Christian's Inferno'.
Overall I'm in favour it's flashy, electric, with energetic riffs and changeups, the arrangements at times overshadow the songs, but the use of an Orchestra and especially the piano, really moves this up a level in terms of development. The whizzing triple guitars are a personal highlight. The theme to most songs are generally the same, a slow meaningful start that builds, and builds, before slowing for the finale, a theme I like and one that suits Green Day's sound.
Overall I'm impressed, and I think it could appeal to many cultures, there is enough mainstream sounds to increase the audience, but equally enough for die hard, post punk, rock fans. It's an educational trip, a journey worth taking, As an album it matches American Idiot stride for stride, maybe a little more cultured, but there is not much to separate them. As individual tracks, do they stand alone? Well I'm not so sure, nothing really groundbreaking or memorable, but they sure do kick a punch! If you like American Idiot, then you will not be disappointed. I recommend a listen!
Amazon price £4.99 ( Some explicit lyrics )
I'm writing this review as a fan of the more Mainstream "heavier" Green Day as opposed to those from those who like the older stuff.
Having listened to a lot of Green Day, I thought American Idiot was really something different. It was a brilliant rock opera with a plot concerning the life of Jesus of Suburbia and his life in the streets. When I heard 21st Century Breakdown was on its way, I had thought there would be something similar. And I wasn't disappointed.
21st Century Breakdown is quite similar to AI in that it tells a story (although not quite as obvious as AI), of Christian and Gloria. It falters a bit in comparison too with its textbook 3-minute long songs, which are fine in itself, that is to say.
21CB mixes in contemporary Green Day sounds, taken seemingly straight out of the same mind of American Idiot (and bringing me back to 2005, when I was an angsty teenager. Well, without all the angst), while mixing in the style of their previous albums. The song Viva La Gloria, one of my favourites on the album begins slowly and touchingly with wonderful piano playing by band headman Billy Joe Armstrong for a minute or so before crashing and becoming an anthem for those lost in a very American Idiot way.
In fact, the word "anthem" seems to work very well when it comes to the songs on the album. The two singles Know Your Enemy and 21 Guns have both very rhythmical and repetitive chords, staying in your head much longer after having heard them.
All in all, if you liked American Idiot you'll like this album (if not as much), and if you haven't heard anything by Green Day, you'll enjoy it as a pretty unique album with catchy songs and pounding beats.
I have to start by saying I adore Green Day. They have been the soundtrack to mamny important aspects of my life for the last 16 years.
After the huge success of American Idiot, there was always going to bbe a lot of pressure on them for this album. On hearing the first single released "Know your enemy" I was a bit concerned, its repetative and not their best, though it has grown on me.
I bought the album anyway and was pleasantly surprised. The album is similar to American Idiot in that all the songs are linked and tell a story, in this case we follow the lives of Christian and the 'American Girl' Gloria. Its arranged into three acts ""Heroes and Cons", "Charlatans and Saints" and "Horseshoes and Handgrenades".
The best songs are probably "Viva la Gloria/Little Girl" and "Peacemaker".
At times they remind me of the Ramones, especially in 'Modern World', and there are also many sly little references to older Green Day songs.
Full track listing:
Song Of The Century
21st Century Breakdown
Know Your Enemy
Viva La Gloria!
Before The Lobotomy
Last Night On Earth
East Jesus Nowhere
Last Of The American Girls
Viva La Gloria? [Little Girl]
Restless Heart Syndrome
Horseshoes And Handgrenades
The Static Age
American Eulogy: Mass Hysteria/Modern World
See The Light
After the fairly calamitous "American Idiot", Green Day had lost a fair amount of favour with me, and while I don't like the term "selling out", it felt as though their artistic integrity had gone down the pan, and eponymous single in particular I found rather irritating, and of course it betrays the sacred rule of "don't insult your audience". 21st Century Breakdown isn't really much better: a generic pop-rock album with a few moments of fizzle, but mostly it is quite bland.
Much like their last album, this is a rock-opera of sorts, divided into three portions, yet in trying to be more stratified it has also become more generic and rote. The first act is admittedly quite energetic and probably features the best songs, but the problem is that, at almost 70 minutes long, this is an album far too long to keep the band going at full-pelt, and so their effect is numbing long before the end rolls around.
What can I praise? Well, the eponynmous track is quite fun, and benefits from being early in the list while you haven't yet become bored of the album. However, there are also a few duds, probably the chief of which is 21 Guns, a song that defines the word "overplayed" with its extensive radio coverage, as well as featuring in the film Transformers 2. It's yet another mild and half-baked effort for Green Day to be political, and frankly, that isn't what I want because they don't have the nuance, wit or intellect to do it well in a way that meshes with the music.
I suppose more recent Green Day converts might settle for it, but as a long-time fan it shows that perhaps the band have become stagnant and are suffering a creative surfeit.
The proper follow on (disregarding the bands output as an alter ego) to American Idiot, Greenday quite succesfully attempt to consolidate their position at the head table of Rock Music with this, their latest effort - 21st Century Breakdown. With this album Greenday once again present a themed rock opera, mainly detailing the collapse as they it of America through the eyes of Christian, a fictional character who pops up throughout the album.
The songs themselves are similar to those of American Idiot, veering between bombast and reflection, sometimes in the same song. There are quite a few more ballads on this album that don't always hit the mark. The production is crisp and very commercial, which will probably further alienate the cult following of greendays earlier years when they released Kerplunk etc. You get the feeling though that these days, Greenday has moved on from their beginnings and have set their sights on becoming the biggest band in the world.
I would say there are not as many catchy songs as on some of their other albums, and Billie Joe's vocals sometimes get slightly lost in the mix but these are slight grumbles in what is a quality 21st Century Album.
After the raging success of "American Idiot" there was always going to be a lot of expectation in terms of the next Green Day album.
With 18 tracks and a running time of just over 69 minutes you certainly get value for money. I also like the idea of splitting the album into three "acts".
The album opens with the very short but punchy "Song Of The Century" before we move into Act I - "Heroes And Cons" and the title track itself. At just over 5 minutes it is pretty much what we've come to expect from GD.
Next up is "Know Your Enemy". The first single from the album. Although it failed to make the UK Top 20 it is another good quality thunderous track.
"Viva La Gloria" has a mellow opening which lasts about a minute before we return to the usual pop/punk style we are familiar with.
"Before The Lobotomy" follows a similar format but reminds me a little more of the type of track that appeared on the previous album.
"Christian's Inferno" is more poppy and perhaps a bit more radio friendly.
"Last Night On Earth" has a Beatles-esque feel to it. It is more mellow and is the kind of track they might play at a live show after performing a few of their more thrashy numbers.
Into Act II - "Charlatans And Saints" and the first song in this section is "East Jesus Nowhere". I like this one and think it would make a good single. Easily identifiable as a GD song it wouldn't have been out of place on "Dookie".
"Peacemaker" is another enjoyable poppy number with a hint of Irishness about it due to the introduction of some fiddling in the background.
"Last Of The American Girls" is a typical piece of Americana. It is pleasant enough with the usual political undertones in the lyrics.
"Murder City" is a more punky and thrashier track reflecting the lyrics once more.
"Viva La Gloria (Little Girl)" uses the piano to give a Vaudeville feel to the opening of what is yet another good song.
"Restless Heart Syndrome" contains more piano for what is as close to a ballad as you will get with GD until just before the 3 minute mark where the song explodes somewhat.
Act III - "Horseshoes And Handgrenades" opens with the rousing track of the same name. The "American Idiot" style riffs go hand in hand with the angry lyrics and swearing to make this the best track on the album in my opinion, this is GD at their best.
"The Static Age" is again uptempo but a little less angry although still with some swearing.
"21 Guns" was the second single from the album and although it was a relative commercial failure, peaking at number 36 in the UK Singles Chart, it is up there with "H&H" as one of the best tracks here. If you've not heard this before and liked "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" or "When September Ends" I think you'll like this one.
"American Eulogy" starts with a partial reprise of "Song Of The Century" before bursting into part one of the song called "Mass Hysteria". This is quite punky and evolves into the angry part two called "Modern World" before regressing to "Mass Hysteria" again at the end. I think this idea works well. I think the band do as well having split songs into multiple sections on the previous album.
The final track is "See The Light". Album closers are often weak and seen as an afterthought or filler but this is not bad and stands up ok against the other tracks.
This is a good album. Not quite as good as "American Idiot" but then again how many groups would have been capable of matching what was achieved with that album.
If you like this album then I would recommend you go back and purchase some of the back catalogue if you haven't already done so.
You may also like Blink 182, Sum 41 or Offspring if you like this kind of music and want to experiment more - alternatively if you have cable or satellite TV tune into the "Scuzz" music channel for more ideas.
Green Days new album has been long awaited by not just fans but the entire world. After the success of their 2004 album "American Idiot", Green Day have had a tough time creating a equally brilliant follow up, and this album does not dissapoint! Like American Idiot, this album is a mini rock opera following the story of the two characters Christian and Gloria. Each song has its own unique sound, whilst still being maximum Green Day (also taking inspiration from their side projects Foxboro Hot Tubs and The Network). Billie Joe armstrong has improved his vocals adding interesting shouts and techniques, whilst Mikes bass playing has some excellant riffs aswell as him adding some of his vocals. Tre Cools drumming is spot on and also better than previous albums. Look out for the songs 21 Guns, Viva la Gloria and East Jesus Nowhere to be hit singles in the coming months!.
Green Day have now been together for over 20 years, and in each album have brought a new sound, this album is no different but is still maximum Green Day as we know and love them!
It's hard to believe that it's been five years since American Idiot dominated the airwaves with single after single of pop-punk genius: it was impossible to avoid. Now Billie Joe Armstrong and his band (and make no mistake, it is his band) are back with a new record, and a huge amount of expectation.
Firstly, the good news: 21st Century Breakdown is an excellent record. As ever, Armstrong has come up with various examples of his astonishing ability to turn power chords into huge, affecting anthems: the album's title track carries over the ambition of Jesus of Suburbia into a hook filled chorus that encompasses everything that the Green Day in 2009 seem to stand for.
While most of the tracks can be classed as excellent songs, other highlights include 'Peacemaker', a semi-acoustic number that marries the swagger of Nimrod with the narrative of a terrorist, the epic sounding cry in the dark of 'Murder City', and the album closer 'See The Light'. Once again, Armstrong has shown himself to be a master songwriter, seemingly able to churn out hook after hook without catching a breath.
The only downside to the record is that, because of his immense talents, it seems even more of a shame when he provides a filler track: and there are a few of them on 21st Century Breakdown. 'Restless Heart Syndrome', a ballad that plods along at a slow pace, but without the charm of previous Armstrong compositions like 'Macy's Day Parade', does nothing for the album.
Similarly, 'Last Night on Earth' only seems to stop the momentum built by the first six tracks on the record. Armstrong is a master at writing a stadium size ballad (as 'Wake me up...' and 'Good Riddance' prove), but he needs to exercise restraint on including them. The record would be far superior if '21 Guns' - an excellent track, and a deserving candidate for a single - was the sole ballad.
Overall though, Green Day's songwriter has come up with another excellent collection of songs: but then, that's what his millions of fans have come to expect.
21st Century Breakdown is Green Day's 11th album and was released this year (2009), if you are a fan of the alternative/punk rock band who is also famous for songs such as American Idiot and Basket Case, you will probably be pleased with this album, as it is quite similar though still new and different when compared to their other albums.
You can buy 21st Century Breakdown in most good music stores for around £10 to £15 though if you searched online, also if you have a free Spotify account you can listen to it online for free.
The track listing for 21st Century Breakdown is as follows:
1.) Song Of The Century
2.) 21st Century Breakdown
3.) Know Your Enemy
4.) Viva La Gloria
5.) Before The Lobotomy
6.) Christian's Inferno
7.) Last Night On Earth
8.) East Jesus Nowhere
10.) Last Of The American Girls
11.) Murder City
12.) Viva La Gloria (Little Girl)
13.) Restless Heart Syndrome
14.) Horseshoes and Handgrenades
15.) The Static Age
16.) 21 Guns
17.) American Eulogy
18.) See The Light
As you can see there is a lot of tracks for your money on this album and suprisingly there arent any that are annoying or that I dislike, this is quite rare for me to find on an album and I have been constantly listening to it for the last few days and seem to like it more and more the more I hear it.
Know Your Enemy
This song was the first to be released as a single off this album, it is a song about knowing your enemy and is a very punky genre like song which is similar to me to American Idiot which was a very popular Greenday in 2004.
Last Of The American Girls
This is a quite upbeat song about an uncoroporative girl in society who is the last of the american girls, its another very punky feeling song, like many others on the album and is one of my favourites off the album.
This is my favourite song from Greenday to date, its such an upbeat and quirky song about how the world really isnt a very peaceful place and sort of mocks the world for how we act and how we believe that the way to gain peace is to create war. Its a great song and typical of your punk general Greenday song though abit more fun and sarcastic than their other songs on the album.
If you are a Greenday or punk genre music fan you will probably enjoy this album as much as I did, its my favourite of their albums so far and deserves 5 stars without a doubt, worth every penny spent.
***Also posted on ciao.uk under name lorrainek90***
21st CENTURY BREAKDOWN
Years ago when I was a lot younger than I now find myself, I discovered a band that made me excited made me feel music could be fun, id never really enjoyed music till this point.
That band was obviously Green Day, with their punky take on pop music I was hooked like musical heroin.
Well over the years this band grew up, as did I.
First album on the turn to the 90's,"1039 smoothed out slappy hours" was simple yet very effective punk pop which made me jump around like a loon.
They followed this with a punky master class taking hints from all the greats but blending in their own soft sloppy pop, and guess what, it really worked, following the success of this album Green Day were signed to a major label a big no-no to many fans but to me it meant more money to make great music.
They followed this with the awesome Dookie a bestseller wherever you went, topped the charts in various nations.
After this a lot of people thought they had disappeared though they released a few albums which never really hit the upper echelons of the charts.
Then came 2003's American Idiot, an album that took ideas from all over the spectrum, bit of rock opera check! Bit of punk check!
Almost too perfect it gained many album of the year awards etc!!
So this brings us up to date?!?
We start with singer Billie Joe basically singing acapello, this soon leads into a rock opera number, starting with just a couple of chords on the guitar soon joined by crashing drums and a big bass sound.
Billie Joe Armstrong sounds epic here, opening with a powerful, yet very tuneful display, halfway through the tune changes and we hear a different Green Day, more like an oi punk band, kind of angry sounding!
This is good, Green day are really mixing their influences and styles to suit everyone.
We soon enter ballad land and remember this is just one song, think Queen's Bohemian rhapsody that can be done by a punk band!!!!!
They quickly follow this with radio hit know your enemy, which is far from the best song on the album, but does inject5 a lot of energy, I can imagine jumping around like a loon, though im too old to do that lol!
Viva la Gloria is a beautiful ballad over violins etc, until the punky rock side joins the mess of music, and it joins in a gorgeous way almost snogging the violin players and don't ask what its doing with the cellists!
We have a few tracks like this nice, well played and recorded but not really worth reviewing they are all good but in the same way as the previous song.
The next track is catchy but Billie Joe insists on over using the megaphone effect, which is a big shame as chorus is catchy as swine flu.
Almost the best song on the album is the upon you "Last night on earth" is a beautiful ballad along the lines of when September ends and good riddance though tonnes better.
BJ shows he can really sing on this song.
What you find around this point is that the album may be slightly too long, some of the songs feel a bit like fillers, though fillers on an album like this would go nicely on most albums as main tracks.
Fast forward a few tracks and we have the real stand out song, I normally like rocky upbeat stuff, but the down beat non rocky 121 guns wins for me hands down, you have beautiful lyrics, vocals and music its almost perfect, not many songs would stand up to it!!
This Album is going to get a 4 outta 5 mainly cos it was slightly too long a couple of tracks could have been trimmed but a very nice effort
Fanks for reading ive been kyle coare, take care.
To all of the Green Day haters out there - and there seem to be a fair few - please, please give this album a listen at the very least. That being said, those of you who heard and subsequently disliked American Idiot probably won't like 21st Century Breakdown. As far as I'm concerned, however, the Oakland punk trio have created yet another work of art.
Split into 3 sections (or acts), "Heroes and Cons", "Charlatans and Saints" and "Horseshoes and Handgrenades". Half autobiography, half sermon and half battle cry (yes, this is one and a half albums), Armstrong has produced some of his most emotive and lyrically fantastic songs yet. For me Before The Lobotomy, iViva La Gloria!, American Eulogy, 21 Guns and of course the title track are the highlights, but there really is something for everyone (except maybe those who are only fans of old school Green Day, hence my warning at the beginning).
All-in-all, a classic from a punk rock band that have matured with age, a rare feat nowadays. 10/10.
Green Day are a band which at the moment, it is popular to hate, and this album will give more ammunition to those haters to throw at anyone willing to hear it...I happen to disagree.
Yet more of a maturity from American Idiot, they're a changed band but that doesn't mean it's any worse, if they were stiull singing songs about drugs and what not they wouldn't be so special and 35 year olds singing about it would be a bit old by now.
The album I think is brilliant, the opening is a introduction to the album which is great, a 1 minute interlude towards a great album, split into 3 sections, the 2nd of which is by far the best.
Eeast Jesus Nowhere is the best song to come out of the album along with Little Girl and Peacemaker, ballads such as See The Light and 21 Guns end the album with an optimistic tone.
Unfortunatly there are a few poor songs on the album (not bad for an album of 18), Horseshoes and Handgrenades is a rip off of the Hives and I can't take it seriously as a Green Day song, Know Your Enemy is poor, as is Christians Inferno.
I happen to love green day, old and new, and this album certainly deserves good stature within their discography, it has a hint of Warning about it...which happens to be one of my favourite Green Day albums.
Greenday is a long selling band with a number of good songs that only need a few chords and snappy lyrics to make thier songs amazing. With just a few more melodies and chords they have managed thier best album yet.
They have managed to pull it off again keeping a similar story telling feel like American Idiot. Green day have managed to bring the punk rock/pop songs that first brought them suscess to a new modern sound that still is unique to them.
21st Century Breakdown has a number of fast punk pop tracks as it does slow songs with almost perfect melodies. This album is also good for people who are just getting into the style of punk pop/rock music as it offers a more softer and mature sound but still delivers the "umph" of what the music is about.
In my opinion if one album will suprise you this summer then it would definatly be it.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Song Of The Century
2 21st Century Breakdown
3 Know Your Enemy
4 Viva La Gloria
5 Before The Lobotomy
6 Christian's Inferno
7 Last Night On Earth
8 East Jesus Nowhere
10 Last Of The American Girls
11 Murder City
12 Viva La Gloria (Little Girl)
13 Restless Heart Syndrome
14 Horseshoes And Handgrenades
15 Static Age, The
16 21 Guns
17 American Eulogy
18 See The Light