Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown

January 01, 1970



2000’s Warning, all signs pointed to
Green Day being capable of doing something great, but nobody expected the
masterpiece that was 2004’s American
, on which the band pulled off the heretofore impossible: They made a
rock opera that was more populist than pretentious, and more popular than
anything they’d done since their breakthrough, Dookie.  And if the fact that
they were singing about politics and heartbreak rather than poop and jerking
off meant they’d somehow sold out, then punk be damned.


if American Idiot showed a band who
had it in ‘em to be the next Clash, 21st Century Breakdown sets its sights on the Who and the Beatles, with even
broader sonic ambitions than its predecessor and at least three
Lennon-McCartney-esque ballads, “Last Night on Earth” “Restless Heart
Syndrome,” and “21 Guns.” The album also features an equal number of tunes more
aggressive than anything Green Day’s done in over a decade: the thrashing
“Horseshoes and Handgrenades,” the vicious “Christian’s Inferno,” and the
martial “East Jesus Nowhere.” Throw in a stab at mariachi (“Peacemaker”) and
another at Brecht (“¿Viva la Gloria? (Little Girl)”),
and you’ve got an album so audacious that you can’t help but kind of want to
hate it.


But you can’t, even if it occasionally sounds a tad too much like
Queen or it’s not always clear whether Billy Joe Armstrong’s lyrics rely too
much on cliché or subvert it, because even with its pretentions and bombast,
Green Day’s melodic gifts and heart are bigger than the band’s ambitions and
production budget, and every last song sounds like that of a band that is not
just at the top of its game but is still as hungry and passionate as ever.


Jesus Nowhere,” “21 Guns” ERIC


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