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Album Review: Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown

It's been a long time coming but Green Day's 8th studio album has arrived. '21st Century Breakdown' is an ambitious record for the punk rock legends, both musically and in its concept; 18 songs split into 3 different chapters lasting over an hour.

Much like the bands 'American Idiot' record, Billie Joe's lyrics are related to the current political and social issues of the day. After 'Song of The Century' opens the album, '21st Century Breakdown' gets the ball rolling with a slow-building piano leading to an epic 5 minute track with a somewhat catchy chorus, well-written lyrics and combining various styles such as classic stadium rock and passionate punk rock.

You will find throughout the record, the band take on different styles; 'Before The Lobotomy' sees the band starting with a slow dreamy acoustic guitar before storming into a loud, angry track with an added screeching guitar solo. Whilst 'Last Night On Earth' is a slow ballad built for rule the radio airwaves. 'Peacemaker' has a Latin feel to it in its tempo and use of strings.

Nevertheless there are plenty of punk rock tracks to please those who are concerned about Green Day moving away from their roots, with 'Know Your Enemy' being a fierce and bold. 'Christian's Inferno' has a rough, fast paced verse before storming into a full on sing-a-long chorus, all crammed into 3 minutes. 'Murder City' and 'Horseshoes and Handgrenades' also full of angst and energy.

I admire Green Day's ambition on this record and I understand what the message they want to give and where they want to take their band. However my problem with '21st Century Breakdown' is that at times it all seems too much; too many songs, too ambitious and too over the top. This makes it hard to pick out highlights from the record, as at times it just seems to drift along seamlessly; which is its purpose.

Nevertheless it is a well-crafted record, with clean production and Green Day have improved as musicians and as songwriters. It has songs that are made to grab your attention and delivers a strong message, whilst musically the band have expanded with success beyond their punk rock roots into stadium rock, a setting that will become even more familiar to the trio.

Overall '21st Century Breakdown' holds a loud message on many levels that has the potential to become highly influential, whilst at the same time possibly become the bands downfall, due to it's boldness as like its predecessor, it will be a hard act to follow.


'21st Century Breakdown' by Green Day is available now through Reprise.

Sean Reid

Alter The Press!