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Author Topic: 21st Century Breakdown (Green Day)  (Read 3918 times)
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« on: November 08, 2009, 10:49:36 PM »

Rolling Stone wrote a review of “21st Century Breakdown” in which they stated that it was a better album than Green Day’s previous effort “American Idiot.” It isn’t. But it is pretty good.

When I decided to write this review I had to look up the definition of Punk Rock. I wanted to speak intelligently about the genre Green Day is supposed to belong to. I’ve loved Green Day for years and I never really gave much thought to the “category” they are in. I just liked what I heard; good music, good lyrics.

So I was surprised to find that “Punk Rock” is defined largely by what the band sings about rather than a particular musical style. Anti-establishment lyrics are apparently the mainstay of punk.


I’m going to have to go with Billy Joel here and just say “It’s still rock and roll to me.”

Sure I get that Green Day doesn’t like the government or the corporations. Or at least that’s their message. But it’s a little hard to take them seriously when they are one of the biggest music acts in the world. It’s a little like throwing rocks at your own windows. Can you really claim to hate the machine when you are part of it?

“21st Century Breakdown” proves you can.

What’s most surprising about Green Day is how good they are twenty years into their careers. So many of the bands I listened to in my twenties are just gone. Or they limp along as shadows of themselves, appearing as multiple headliners at local casinos.

Green Day retains the fire in their belly. You feel the anger and frustration in their lyrics; just as you feel their admiration for those who still fight on.

What the fight is about exactly has always been my blind spot with Punk Rock. Criticism without any kind of suggested solution to the issue, at least to my mind is the height of gasbaggery. That said, this is entertainment not network news. And as entertainment it succeeds on a grand scale.

Where “American Idiot” was a surprise (in many ways it seemed like a surprise to the band as much as it was to the rest of us) “21st Century Breakdown” was a planned, theme album. Each song is designed to tell a little bit of the story of Christian and Gloria, their fight against the establishment and their doomed relationship. The story is a little vague. This isn’t “Kilroy Was Here.” But the liner notes help get the message across.

My personal favorites, “Peacemaker” and “Last of the American Girls.” I may not agree with Green Day’s message but they do make great music that’s a blast to listen to.

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