The latest addition to the Green Day catalog, 21st Century Breakdown hits stores May 15. Much like the band’s previous release, American Idiot, 21st Century lays a heavy emphasis on national politics, but is thankfully less depressing than its predecessor. 21st Century Breakdown comes at you with a softer interlude, “Song of The Century” and then explodes with the title track, which is followed immediately by the band’s first single, “Know Your Enemy.” Epic tunes like, “Before The Labotomy”–where Billy Joe and comrades dream of “another place and time”–and “East Jesus Nowhere”–a big middle finger to organized religion–seem to follow the same blueprint as American Idiot anthems like “Jesus of Suburbia” and “Holiday/Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”
As was the case with American Idiot, 21st Century Breakdown is built upon a foundation of thoughtful lyrics, that don’t always leave behind a clear meaning. Tracks like “Peacemaker” and “Murder City” make strong points, but leave room for listener interpretation. Nonetheless, the record’s lyrical webs are responsible for the majority of its substance, and the heavy, pulsating guitars Green Day has become known for fill in any gaps.
Also, like American Idiot’s St. Jimmy, 21st Century is packed with references to a character named Christian, who I can only assume is another nod to organized religion. Besides the song, “Christian’s Inferno,” the name comes up in the lyrics of several other tracks, an emphasis many listeners might miss.
Standouts on 21st Century Breakdown include, “Last of American Girls,” “Viva la Gloria (Little Girl),” and “American Eulogy (Mass Hysteria/Modern World).” All 18 tracks fit together seamlessly, and serve as the perfect follow-up to 2004’s Idiot. Although Green Day hasn’t made any real musical strides this time around, 21st Century is packed with enough clever hooks and punchy lyrics as possible, and is sure to garner as much success as all their previously releases combined.
Do not miss the release of 21st Century Breakdown May 15th, courtesy of Reprise Records. And if you pre-order the record on iTunes you’ll get two bonus tracks ontop of tracks 19 and 20, which are only available on iTunes.