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


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.

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


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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
oh my gosh....soooooo good! cant wait to go to the concert!
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.
JCWilkerson More than 1 year ago
Five years after the smash hit American Idiot, Green Day releases it's "spiritual" sequel: 21st Century Breakdown. With leading singles, the fist pumping anthem Know Your Enemy and rock ballad 21 Guns, this rock opera is by far Green Day's most ambitious album. Rather than following their biggest album since their mainstream debut, Dookie, quickly with a follow up Green Day opted to take it's time with the followup. After spending most of 2005 touring in support of American Idiot, they reconvened in 2006 to start work on 21st Century Breakdown. In January of 2008, they entered the first of four studios they would record the album at with producer Butch Vig, and finally released the album nearly five years after American Idiot. The question is: was it worth the wait? It was more than worth the wait. With 21st Century Breakdown, Green Day doesn't just show grand ambition, but also creates their most personal album to date. Where American Idiot spoke of life during the Bush administration, 21st Century Breakdown looks at life after the Bush administration and the frustrations with religion, society, government, and, naturally, authority in general. Taking pieces from his own life, Billy Joe Armstrong writes upon his experiences and views ("Born into Nixon, I was raised in hell" from the song 21st Century Breakdown refers to his birth in 1972 while the line "We are the class of '13" refers to Armstrong's own son's future graduation date of 2013) to craft an album that is more accessible for it. When you listen to this album you notice that it does sound a bit different than past Green Day albums. Rather than just taking a straight up punk approach, Green Day listened to vinyl records ranging from The Who, The Kinks, and even Meat Loaf in preparing for this album. Because of this the album has a slightly more retro and arena ready feel than past Green Day albums. Songs like Viva la Gloria! and Before the Lobotomy would sound completely at home in the 60's and 70's if the distortion was stripped away, and they even delve into mariachi on Peacemaker and Greek stylings on Viva la Gloria? (Little Girl). Also, rather than writing most of the songs with guitar as normal, Billie Joe Armstrong wrote most of the songs with piano giving them a more organic and earthy singer songwriter feel even amongst the distorted guitars and punk back beat drums. But, for those of you who love old school Green Day, don't fret, they're still all about punk and have never sounded tighter. With lines like "Raise your hands now to testify/ Your confession will be crucified/ You're a sacrificial suicide/ Like a dog that's been sodomized" from East Jesus Nowhere Green Day still doesn't leave anyone to wonder about their punk cred. And after listening to the title track from this album, any questions about how tight they are will vanish from anyone's mind. If anything, Green Day has only gotten better with age. In short, I personal think that this is arguably Green Days best effort. Branching out proves to only suit Green Day in a way that most bands don't seem to be able to pull off.
YO-MAN More than 1 year ago
Morrow More than 1 year ago
If there is any album that everyone should buy it's this one! Enough said.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always thought that Green Day was, is, and always will be the Best Band Ever, and this album is no exception. Green Day just keeps getting better and better. And to the review I read, they haven't lost their impish, irreverent humor behind! This album makes fun of Religions! Stupid critic who can't interpret songs! That is a reason why I love Green Day though, their humor, musical ability, and their personalities! (Just for the record, I'm going to say a famous Billie Joe Armstrong quote: "Y'know")
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best albums of the year
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.
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.
DarkLotusICP4life More than 1 year ago
amazing album by one very amazing band!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ACBird More than 1 year ago
This is like reading a novel with music. Green Day takes punk rock to the next level.
Izsye More than 1 year ago
with green day and everything they make. their concert is gonna be a show worth wating for
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!
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.
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..
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.
turkey More than 1 year ago
Just another great CD from Green Day! I would definately recommend it. The track 21 Guns is amazing.
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
It is great to lesten to. I love every song on the CD.
rackbar More than 1 year ago
Thought provoking. Love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
green day is the best of the best enough said
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.