21st Century Breakdown

21st Century Breakdown

4.6 74
by Green Day

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American Idiot was a rarity of the 21st century: a bona fide four-quadrant hit, earning critical and commercial respect, roping in new fans young and old alike. It was so big it turned Green Day into something it had never been before -- respected, serious rockers, something they were never considered during their first flight of…  See more details below


American Idiot was a rarity of the 21st century: a bona fide four-quadrant hit, earning critical and commercial respect, roping in new fans young and old alike. It was so big it turned Green Day into something it had never been before -- respected, serious rockers, something they were never considered during their first flight of success with Dookie. Back then, they were clearly (and proudly) slacker rebels with a natural gift for a pop hook, but American Idiot was a big album with big ideas, a political rock opera in an era devoid of both protest rock and wild ambition, so its success was a surprise. It also ratcheted up high expectations for its successor, and Green Day consciously plays toward those expectations on 2009's 21st Century Breakdown, another political rock opera that isn't an explicit sequel but could easily be mistaken for one, especially as its narrative follows a young couple through the wilderness of modern urban America. Heady stuff, but like the best rock operas, the concept doesn't get in the way of the music, which is a bit of an accomplishment because 21st Century Breakdown leaves behind the punchy '60s Who fascination for Queen and '70s Who, giving this more than its share of pomp and circumstance. Then again, puffed-up protest is kind of the point of 21st Century Breakdown: it's meant to be taken seriously, so it's not entirely surprising that Green Day fall into many of the same pompous tarpits as their heroes, ratcheting up the stately pianos, vocal harmonies, repeated musical motifs, doubled and tripled guitars, and synthesized effects that substitute for strings, then adding some orchestras for good measure. It would all sound cluttered, even turgid, if it weren't for Green Day's unerring knack for writing muscular pop and natural inclination to run clean and lean, letting only one song run over five minutes and never letting the arrangements overshadow the song. Although Green Day's other natural gift, that for impish irreverent humor, is missed -- they left it all behind on their 2008 garage rock side project Foxboro Hot Tubs -- the band manages to have 21st Century Breakdown work on a grand scale without losing either their punk or pop roots, which makes the album not only a sequel to American Idiot, but its equal.

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Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly - Leah Greenblatt
No matter how arrested their style and subject matter, Green Day remain remarkably good at high-blast anthems that burrow directly into the pogo-ing, lizard-brain id. [B]

Product Details

Release Date:
Reprise / Wea


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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Green Day   Primary Artist
Tre Cool   Percussion,Drums
Patrick Warren   Conductor
Mike Dirnt   Bass,Bass Guitar,Vocals
Billie Joe Armstrong   Guitar,Piano,Vocals
Jason Freese   Piano

Technical Credits

Green Day   Composer,Audio Production
Joe McGrath   Engineer
Butch Vig   Producer,Audio Production
Patrick Warren   String Conductor
Bill Schneider   Guitar Techician,Band Coordinator
Mike Fasano   Drum Technician
Billie Joe Armstrong   Composer
Kenny Butler   Drum Technician
Chris Dugan   Engineer
Brad Kobylczak   Engineer
Tom Kitt   Arranger,String Arrangements
Andrew Schubert   Engineer
Brad Townsend   Engineer

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21st Century Breakdown 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
Mr-McAwesome More than 1 year ago
After hours of youtube surfing i was able to hear at least small clips of most of the songs from this slbum being performed live. I can honestly say that this is an amazing album written by an amazing band. I thought it impossible for them to be able to top American Idiot but I believe they have. The single "Know Your Enemy" is awesome because they seem to have recaptured their old sound (which many people prefer to the new Green Day sound) but still maintained that awesome level of maturity that they had with American Idiot. Many people say that politics should be left out of music. Maybe they're right but since that's never going to happen then we must thank and praise Green Day for being able to deliver their political message with a very granduer and overal musically pleasing style. I tip my hat to Billie Joe, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool for the many hours of entertainmentn that their first seven albums have provided and for the many hours their eighth album will provide in two days!
Maske More than 1 year ago
I obviously don't have this CD yet, but it's one that I've anticipated for awhile now. I heard their song "Know Your Enemy" on the radio and I had a feeling that their next album is going to be a keeper. I definitly recommend this to any Greenday fans out there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
oh my gosh....soooooo good! cant wait to go to the concert!
Izsye More than 1 year ago
with green day and everything they make. their concert is gonna be a show worth wating for
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
green day is the best of the best enough said
Oklahomabooklady More than 1 year ago
Great collection of new songs by Green Day. My favorites are Know Your Enemy and 21 Guns. Last night on Earth reminds me of a song from the Beatles. Fans of Green Day will enjoy this new CD.
rogue_1102 More than 1 year ago
This new CD has all the hit potential of American Idiot with interesting melodic structure in addition the basic three chord Green Day we all know and love. There are shades of other songs inherent in this album, but that it does not detract from the overall musicality. Highly Reccommend tracks 4. !Viva la Gloria!, 3. Know Your Enemy, and 9. Peacemaker.
Morrow More than 1 year ago
If there is any album that everyone should buy it's this one! Enough said.
Winter95 More than 1 year ago
Awesome new album! This is absolutely one of my favorite Green Day albums yet. It is again about two people (Christian and Gloria) and you can take the CD a couple of different ways. One being that it's a bit of a love story between the two people or Two they symbolize more than just two people. No matter how you take that though the CD still rocks and I listen to it ALL the time!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best albums of the year
LeBookChick89 More than 1 year ago
Oddly reminiscent of American Idiot, 21st Century Breakdown seems to revisit the band's need for rock operas. Not that I mind, I was incredibly pleased with every single track. Since I loved American Idiot so much and I was able to thoroughly enjoy rocking out, I didn't mind it one bit. However, I find the ones most pleased with this album are the newest Green Day fans, people that are not altogether familiar with the old school delectable punk that rocketed the band to fame. Overall, I give this album 5 stars, for its amazing lyrics and incredible sound.
ACBird More than 1 year ago
This is like reading a novel with music. Green Day takes punk rock to the next level.
YO-MAN More than 1 year ago
rockstar29 More than 1 year ago
21st Century Breakdown is by far Green Day's best ever album. Each track is essential to the album. My favorite track is "Last Night on Earth." There's a lot more to the album than just "Know Your Enemy." This album serves as a great jumping on point for fans who may have left the bed earlier on or for people brand new to the band. But of course, who hasn't heard about Green Day?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being a fan of Green Day for YEARS I was looking forward to their newest release. Saw their opening concert in Seattle on July 3 and it was AMAZING! Album combines their old sound and thier more mature sound/lyrics. One of the few bands that continues to put out quality music as they get older. I'm disappointed in people who think bands should stick with thier original sound and style -- when you have the talent I say ROCK IT and BRING IT - the sound and lyrics should mature with the band and GREEN DAY has done just that without losing themselves, what they belive in and how they want to rock.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed with this work because the initial reviews I read said it's as good as American Idiot. It's not even close. There are maybe one or two tracks with hit potential but the rest is just average stuff.
Your-average-consumer More than 1 year ago
The lyrics are amazing, original, and inspiring. The tunes are original, thoughtful and flowing. It is a bit load with the electric guitar, which makes the lyrics hard to hear at some points, but in the way of sounds the electric guitar is absolutely amazing. The lyrics put American Idiot to shame, but American Idiot still takes the cake in the way of moving tunes. All in all, one of the best albums I have ever heard!
turkey More than 1 year ago
Just another great CD from Green Day! I would definately recommend it. The track 21 Guns is amazing.
rackbar More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking. Love it.
Ann1 More than 1 year ago
Though different then there previous cd American Idiot, their new cd is much more smoother and laid back. One of my favorite songs is 21 Guns. A hit with several other Green Day fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is great to lesten to. I love every song on the CD.
MissWhirly More than 1 year ago
There is a big difference between just any old album, and a new Green Day album. For years Green Day has held a snotty, obnoxious, lovable punk sound. 21st Century Breakdown still embodies some of the original Green Day power, but also holds a newer, more mature sound. Lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong wows many with his screechy, punk voice. However, it has evolved from the nascent 1039/Smooth EP. His voice has now strayed from the screaming Sid Vicious to one that could... well, sing. Mike Dirnt, and his bass, still remain pure, unfiltered, rock and roll. And, if I may say so myself, it will be a cold day in hell when his grimaces stop scaring the bejesus- yet warming the hearts - out of so many people. Tre Cool is certainly a sight to see. As he always has been. He probably remains the most constant thing in the band, from album to album. His crazy faces and wild antics show through in his drumming, which sounds like a windup crack monkey. Enough said. The bonus tracks could make anyone music fan EXTREMELY happy. A very vintage sounding Green Day song, Another State of Mind, is perfect for the oldie Green Day fan. Next comes the fabulous version of The Who's A Quick One While He's Away. Definatley two songs worth listening too... 21st Century Breakdown has some unforgettable hits, like the title track, Know Your Enemy, and the ballad, 21 Guns. If I were you, your money certainly would not be wasted if you were to go out and buy this album. Just don't look for it at Walmart!
SherWI More than 1 year ago
The headline says it all....sounds too much like AI musically in alot of the songs, like it's trying to be AI Part Two but is weak - like a sequal to a good first movie where the stuff just gets old. If I had never heard American Idiot, I would have graded this higher, however.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always been a fan of green day. and it seemed that all there albums got worse and worse but when i bought this album i thought what a trurn around i think this is the best one so far.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this CD - Green Day writes relevant songs - CD is soulful and punk at the same time - excellent band..