Reviewed! Green Day - '21st Century Breakdown'

Green Day
‘21st Century Breakdown’
Reprise Records

It has been five long years since the last time we have heard anything new from seminal punkers Green Day, well four if you want to count their offshoot band Foxboro Hot Tubs and their 2007 release, ‘Stop Drop and Roll,’ not since 2004’s brilliant ‘American Idiot’ release. Regardless of the longest layoff in the bands tenured history, ‘21st Century Breakdown’ surely delivers as perhaps the most anticipated release of 2009.

Up until this new record, the band hadn’t gone more than four years between releasing records, going so long between 2000’s ‘Warning’ and 2004’s ‘American Idiot.’ ‘21st Century Breakdown’ marks the band entering their, obviously, 21st year, as a band, as well as their eighth proper studio album.

‘21st Century Breakdown’ is ever the rock opera. As it picks up right where ‘American Idiot’ left off, it swings through sonic peaks and valleys, staying as energetic, dramatic and tragic as they come. The record is broken into three different acts, “Heroes and Cons,” “Charlatans and Saints,” and “Horseshoes and Handgrenades,” and follows a young couple Christian and Gloria through the century thus far.

Green Day have long been masters of three chord progression, and continue to flaunt that very fact on ‘21st Century Breakdown.’ Even though the trio has recently become know for rejuvenating the rock opera in mainstream music, they have not forgotten their punk rock roots. The bands flair for heavy hitting, raucous punk abounds on this disc, led as always into battle by venerable frontman Billie Joe Armstrong’s trademarked punk rock snarl. He is also out to show he has a quality set of pipes as well, as evident by the beginning stages of ‘Before the Lobotomy,’ as well as on the heartfelt, distant ballad ‘Last Night on Earth.’ That is one of the reasons why this disc is full of sure fire winners.

‘21st Century Breakdown’ is an album brimming with the same power chord attitude you have come to know and love from Green Day, but it’s also a record with a purpose. It has meaning. It is a record that says and stands for something. The record speaks to the embattled masses, covering a wide range of topics including politics, religion, media and basically any form of reality.

This record quickly enters into conversations regarding the bands best work, and while it’s arguably not the bands best to date, it surely is one of the better ones. When the band released ‘American Idiot’ five years ago, it reintroduced Green Day to a whole new crop of fans. ‘21st Century Breakdown’ will keep them coming for a long time.

Grade: B
Listen to: ‘Before the Lobotomy,’ ‘Know Your Enemy’