Green Day does it again. 21st Century Breakdown is their newest rock-opera starring “victims of the system” (“Restless Heart Syndrome”), Christian and Gloria. The album was given four and a half stars by Rolling Stone staff writer, Rob Sheffield, where he states that, “they revitalize the whole idea of big-deal rock stars with something to say about the real world.”
Green Day offers to sing us a tale of two lovers running away from the wreckage caused by the Bush administration. They describe our modern world to need “a song of the century/that’s louder than bombs and eternity/ the era of static and contraband/ that’s leading us to the promised land.”
As a follow-up to American Idiot (2004), this album is divided into three parts; “Heroes and Cons”, “Charlatans and Saints”, and “Horseshoes and Handgrenades”. As the album’s protagonists, Christian is self-destructive and Gloria is a political rebel fighting for what she believes in with “her little book of conspiracies” (“Last of the American Girls”).
The album’s songs range from power ballads (“Last Night on Earth”, “Restless Heart Syndrome”, and “21 Guns”) reminiscent of Journey to anger-filled punk anthems (“Peacemaker”, “Horseshoes and Handgrenades”, “American Eulogy: Mass Hysteria”). Many of the songs discuss the manipulation of religion, primarily Christianity and its hypocrisy (“East Jesus Nowhere”), the media, and the government going on today in post-Bush America.
Lead vocalist, Billie Joe Armstrong, has stated Bruce Springsteen, the Clash, and Queen as influences on this album. All of these songs are connected excellently through their lyrics, portraying Christian and Gloria’s tale consistently throughout the album. The guitar chords and drum beats are beautifully in sync with each other, much like American Idiot. Green Day’s first single, Know Your Enemy, gives listeners an anthem to rock out to and inspire against staying silent for what you believe in until the album is released May 15th.