21st Century Breakdown-Green Day-2009

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21st Century Breakdown-Green Day-2009

Post  LeeRain on Sun Jan 23, 2011 1:57 am

21st Century Breakdown-Green Day-2009
Welcome to my first review. In these couple paragraphs I will try to give you a feeling of what I thought of the album (21st Century Breakdown-Green Day), and how it compares to some of their other work. Please keep in mind that these are my opinions only and I am in no way stating them as facts.

Here I will be reviewing Green Day's first album since American Idiot in 2004, 21st Century Breakdown.

My rating for this album is 6/10. Compare this to American Idiot (2004)at 7.5/10, Dookie (1994) at 7.5/10, and Nimrod (1997) at 5/10.

Before we begin, I would like to say that I enjoyed the album very much, and one benefit many hardcore music fans probably don't take into account is that it is very easy to listen to, as in the tunes are nice and very catchy, and they just seem to make sense, which is something I believe Green Day has been good at throughout their whole career. With that out of the way, I will take some time to review the more artistic aspects of the album.

My first impression while listening (besides feeling happy about how much better the title track is than the single, Know Your Enemy) is that it is a nice album, but seems too much like an attempt to recreate the same feel as American Idiot (Rock Opera, ranting against society, loose characters), without as much success. I wish they had given the story of the album more structure, as that was one of the things I liked most about American Idiot. In this album, it is really just a bunch of stray tangents about the two "main characters" (Christian and Gloria) rather than actually going somewhere like American Idiot did. One thing I noticed in a lot of songs that struck me as different than American Idiot was more reliance on Billie Joe Armstrong's powerful voice than loud thrashing power chords (though there are plenty of those), and more meaningful lyrics than in some previous Green Day work. Note that there are still catchy punk hooks as always (Peacemaker being a good example), and they don't completely abandon their punk roots in order to create a rock opera. What they have done is considerably evolve from their early days (Kerplunk, 1039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, Dookie, Insomniac), and taken an even bigger step than American Idiot. The question is, does this mean they are marking their place as a band that will continue for years and stand the test of time? Or is it a sign of a band past it's prime, looking for alternatives and reasons to keep playing. We can't tell now. For that it might take another 5 years.

What disappointed me most about the album, is that after 5 years of waiting, all they came up with was half a story, a few great songs, and then some material that seemed mostly intended to fill out the album. Unlike in other work by them, where each and every song on the album seemed to have a meaning, there are tracks that just don't compare with the fine points on the album. An example would be Know Your Enemy, probably my least favorite song on the album. The lyrics are nothing special, and the tune is a boring one repeated for most of the song. It's a song that doesn't seem to add much to the album for me.

Mind you, there are still points where I sit up and say, "This is why I listen to Green Day". The highlights to me are the epic title track at the beginning and the song East Jesus Nowhere, which I believe holds the best lyrics of the bunch. Peacemaker brings in some spanish tinged guitar, and Viva la Gloria! features an intro containing a sound not common in a Green Day song, Armstrong's pure voice accompianied by only piano. I think these are some of the songs showing what Green Day may be looking at in the future, incorporating more styles and influences into their work. After listening fully, I am at the same time slightly disappointed as intrigued for what they may continue to do.

Bottom Line: Get it for a Green Day collection, but don't expect the wonders that should have come out of a five year wait.
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