Ever since I first heard this album, I have been searching for words that can even describe it. At this time, I am still searching.
This album is simply incredible and makes me believe that Green Day really will be around for decades to come. Part of me does not want them to become a band like the Rolling Stones that tour and tour until they can't tour anymore, but part of me does. And with this album, all of me now believes that they will be that kind of band. What is the reasoning behind my belief? The fact that fifteen years after coming out of the shadows and into the limelight as a trio of snot-nosed brats from California's bay area as their album Dookie exploded onto the Billboard charts resurrecting Punk Rock, they have done stepped back into the limelight once again. This time they've done it with a concept album so large, that had it not been made in the digital era of today, it may have sold Thirty-Million plus copies and the name Green Day would have become legend like that of Michael Jackson, The Eagles, or even The Beatles.
The album is broken into three parts and tells the story of a couple named Christian and Gloria. The story is a little tough to decipher, but it's not at all impossible. The album starts with "Song of the Century" and later serves as the beginning of "American Eulogy", then the actual story starts. The story starts out with the title track and the beginning of the fall of America. The rest of the story is about the angst, anxiety and overall uncertainty of the modern world up until the end of the album where the storyline ends with actual fall and the ultimate creation of a new nation, a nation without political or bureaucratic ties, a nation of mass hysteria (namely, anarchy).
The album is similar to American Idiot and Warning and at times sounds like a hybrid of the two. The musical styling and talent only shown once prior, on the album Warning, is on display once again and while the lyrics are a completely new type of writings, their style is similar to that of American Idiot. There are several trace sounds of their other albums throughout their career on this album as well as the two b-sides that have been released with the "Know Your Enemy" single. There are also parts of the album that sound like The Network and The Foxboro Hot Tubs.
While the lyrics are not nearly as perfect as albums past, they are still incredibly strong and thought provoking. It is a little easier to understand the story in 21st Century Breakdown than it is in American Idiot, but many of the words that are used are highly political and the average person would need a dictionary or to go to law school to understand them. There are several strong lyrical songs on this album, but there are a couple of songs that are lyrically weak. The few songs that are weak will remain unnamed but my reasoning is simple, they are highly repetitive.
Musically speaking, this is Green Day's most ambitious album to date. There are quite a number of songs that stray from their simplistic three-chord wonder that they have masterfully perfected. There are still quite a few songs on 21st Century Breakdown that use this method. Musically speaking, a couple of the songs are repetitive just as they were lyrically, but the songs are few and far between, and the amazing songs more than make up for these ones. The only reason I believe these songs even exist is because they're extremely catchy and will garner more radio play and sell more albums to the masses. This may scream sellout to some, but it's a necessity in today's modern era, the era many refer to as the digital era. It is the era where people steal albums, or buy an album and burn it for every friend they have, an era where if you simply like one song, you buy that one, and no others.
Emotionally, this album is like a tidal wave. It starts out with very little movement then rapidly turns into massive movement. It remains at a constant high for quite some time, then, comes crashing down all at once. It slowly and steadily recedes back into the abyss in which it came and just like that, it's all over. Much like a tidal wave, it leaves a path of destruction that can hardly be described. Only, the destruction of 21st Century Breakdown is what you think about the future, and what you think of America. It will not make you think bad about America, but rather, think twice. It will put into light the events of the world today and the fact that is HIGHLY possible what is going on in America today will eventually lead to a path of self-destruction.
I am not a conspiracy-theorist, and I do not believe that Billie Joe is either. I think he just believes that the world today is incredibly screwed up and that America has too many problems to overcome as easily as many believe it is. That's the extent to the political views of this album. It's not an album bashing former President George W. Bush, it's not an album bashing America and it's not an album bashing Republicans. The album also isn't there to scare anybody, it's here to make people think, to make people change their lives and their dirty habits.
This album is a very worthy and very complete Rock Opera. Go out and buy it, yes, I said buy it, don't run out and download it, don't burn it from a copy that a friend rightfully purchased. You will be highly pleased with the results of Billie Joe, Mike Dirnt, Tre Cool, Jason Freese, Butch Vig and the rest of the team's hard work. This album is loud, explosive and 100% complete. The use of their standard instruments plus several other classical and non-traditional instruments is just plain, beautiful. Their instrumentation as a whole and the grittiness of their recording brings me back to a simpler time where perfection wasn't in their vocabulary, but rather, hard work and dedication was. This is a throwback album, a current album, and an album for the future all wrapped up into one hour long, eighteen song MASTERPIECE.
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The Punk trio's long-awaited eighth studio album was released on May 15, 2009. The album is their first studio album since 2004's two-time Grammy Award-winning Punk Rock opera American Idiot, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard chart, generated five hit singles, and went on to sell more than 12 million copies worldwide. 21st Century Breakdown is divided into three acts: "Heroes and Cons," "Charlatans and Saints," and "Horseshoes and Handgrenades." It follows a young couple, Christian and Gloria, through the mess and promise of the century so far.
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: A. Mass Hysteria/B. Modern World
18. See the Light