Perhaps the most anticipated album of the year, this is the album I’ve been waiting for since American Idiot back in 2004. Okay, well I got a few years out of the American Idiot album, but 2004 - 2009... five years… now that’s a long time to wait!
Green Day were one of the bands who shaped most of my angst teenage years as I suffered at the hands of the bullies at school who only were your friend if you liked the Spice Girls and were on a mission to lose your virginity, whatever the cost.
Truthfully, I think a lot of Green Day’s earlier albums were the anthems to a lot of wasted youth, and if the kids of today have any sense, they’ll lap up 21st Century Breakdown to get them through theirs.
Split into an epic three acts; “Heroes and Cons," "Charlatans and Saints," and "Horseshoes and Hand Grenades," the album sees Green Day take us on a trip back in time, through their various musical styles, whilst all the while telling the tale of a young couple, Christian and Gloria, through the mess and promise of the century so far.
As expected, each song has a dig at one thing or another which, through Bille Joe Armstrong’s eyes has in some way corrupted the world we live in, in his own words he says; “It is a snapshot of the era in which we live as we question and try to make sense of the selfish manipulation going on around us, whether it be the government, religion, media or frankly any form of authority.”
So, is it worth the wait? Well, despite what many other critic might say and going against the ‘rules’ of review writing, I think that as a real Green Day fan, it would be better for me to write about this album from the heart, rather than from the head.
So if you want a picky breakdown of the album then you’re probably in the wrong place, but if you’re happy reading something from fan to a fan, then, lets be honest you’ve come to the right place.
This album explores everything that made Green Day so successful in the eyes of teenagers all over the world, with lead single Know Your Enemy getting the party started in act one, and title track 21st Century Breakdown being hailed as one of the standout tracks.
¡Viva La Gloria! And Last Night On Earth are both beautifully anthemic songs that let Billie Joe prove his vocal worth with just a piano, a microphone, and the odd background sound, something which promises to bring the lighters out on their forthcoming tour, and takes the boys down the Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life) road that they tread so well.
They also have the bottle to go down a very ‘Warning-esque’ route with Peacemaker, which will be a hit with all the folk who jumped on the bandwagon back in 2009 while the bass-led, Last Of The American Girls is another track which delivers that extra bit of sparkle that all Green Day fans would know only comes from Billie, Tre and Mike. It even see’s them blur the lines of pop / rock / punk even further, to the point where I think the kids who backed Blink 182 back at the turn of the century, will be swayed into the GD club.
In fact, most of Act 2 - Charlatans And Saints - will sit pretty with any ‘old skool’ green day fans, those being the pre-American Idiot ones.. Which might exclude some of the kids who loved the monstrous Jesus Of Suburbia (which was played in my gym yesterday, which was weird considering they usually have Cascada blasting out) but as it comes to a close with the calming Restless Heart Syndrome, Act Three is sure to win over any dubious heart.
Horseshoes And Hand Grenades opens with the song of the same name and might lead you to believe that the trio are taking a much deserved pop at the state of the military in the US. This is backed up by the gorgeous anthem, 21 Guns, which might not pack the punch with riffs that the other tracks hold, but sends a clear message to those confused over what we’re fighting for these days with it’s simple and honest melody.
To be honest, if you’re looking for a meaning from this CD, Act Three sends the clearest of the whole album, and you begin to question what the hell has happened to the world we’re living in, and how we could have let things get to the way they have.
In all, the 18 song album is something that any Green day fan will be happy with. It might no win people over who think You Me At Six are the cool kids of the moment, singing about teenage romances and getting drunk on a cider lolly. But for those of us who have followed Billie and his boys since the early days, and appreciate the deeper meaning behind the lyrics and the heart that goes into the words, then this, 21st Century Breakdown, really is the album of 2009.
FemaleFirst - Ruth Harrison
Tagged in Green Day