This is what rock heroes sound like. Song after song Green Day throw themselves into 21st Century Breakdown like a band that wants to and knows they mean something. The portrait they paint may be bleak, but it is a rich world of characters filled with love, menaced by betrayal, and fighting for hope to carry on. American Idiot gave us an idea this kind of document was on its way. It is sweet fulfillment to see it arrive.
The Aftermath of an 8-Year National Nightmare
While American Idiot was the howl of shock and pain at what America was having to live through in the middle of this decade, 21st Century Breakdown is the full exploration of who we are, where we've been, and the resilience to still dream. Split into three acts, "Heroes and Cons," "Charlatans and Saints," and "Horseshoes and Handgrenades," 21st Century Breakdown carefully examines all of the horrors our national nightmare of the last eight years has given birth to and nurtured before our eyes. In the midst of it all are a couple, Gloria and Christian, who are the everyman and everywoman at the core of this tour through our tortured national soul.
The Maturing of the Punk Opera
There was really no such thing as a punk opera until Green Day invented it on American Idiot. However, that album presented the new art form as a kicking, screaming infant. The band were tossing their idea out into the musical landscape in a daring act to see if it was something that would stick. As we all hailed American Idiot as one of the most audacious musical efforts of the decade, Green Day went back to the studio to present their new musical creation in full flower. 21st Century Breakdown is the punk opera with coherent, sympathetic characters, a world of dangers they face, and an ending that points toward the possibility of future redemption. Whether any other bands take up the challenge, 21st Century Breakdown proves that Green Day's idea was a great one.
Top Tracks on '21st Century Breakdown'
- "Know Your Enemy"
- "Restless Heart Syndrome"
- "The Static Age"
- "21 Guns"
Green Day Are a Musical Treasure
As good as it was, few would have expected that the band who created the slacker epic Dookie would turn out to be the musical treasure we now hear on 21st Century Breakdown. When they headed to the studio for American Idiot Green Day decided they wanted to head further into the depths of musical art and come out with a meaningful effort to share. The full fruition of that work is here on 21st Century Breakdown as they leave us with "See the Light's" words, "I don't want to lose my sight. I just want to see the light. I need to know what's worth the fight."
Released May 2009 by Reprise Records