On The Download: Green Day's '21st Century Breakdown'
With heaps of music industry accolades, chart busting songs and an ear for knowing a good radio single, it’s easy to accuse Green Day of being your dad’s punk band – and with families and mid-thirties life in full effect – Billie Joe, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool actually are a punk band of dads. But, your dad’s Green Day is still kicking a** and not asking for anyone’s permission.
On Green Day’s latest album, “21st Century Breakdown,” Bille Joe Armstrong rips into one song declaring, “I’m not f***ing around,” and judging from their latest collection of epic power pop punk anthems – Berkeley’s most famous punks-turned-Grammy winners are back to do exactly that.
Enthusiasts of the Bay Area trio might be a skeptical of an album attempting to top 2004’s “American Idiot” – which earned the band two Grammy awards and their first debut at the top of the Billboard charts – but “21st Century Breakdown” picks up where the band last left us.
Sticking with a similar vibe to “Idiot’s” “Jesus of Suburbia,” the band is back with an album full of mini punk rock operas and angsty power pop confections. When “Breakdown’s” songs aren’t sprawling tours through the terrors of the nation’s biggest issues – religion, war, and tortured youth – the band hits you over the head with their trademark sudden noise explosions that leave you wanting more. And they end just as quickly as they started.
The band’s recent endeavor into the world of musical theater – “American Idiot,” which is currently being adapted into a stage musical at Berkeley Repertory Theatre – is felt in a major way on “Breakdown.” The album is divided into three distinct acts, “Heroes and Cons,” “Charlatans and Saints” and “Horseshoes and Handgrenades.” The album also offers up two leading stars, Christian and Gloria, who take the listeners on a musical journey that rivals “Jack and Diane,” “Me and Bobby McGee” and “The Ballad of John and Yoko.”
Green Day delivers a consistent onslaught of head writhing songs, along with a few sensitive slower songs destined for film montages and iPod playlists created especially for late night driving.
“Breakdown’s” song standouts include “!Viva La Gloria!,” “Peacemaker” and “American Eulogy.”
“21st Century Breakdown” drops on May 15 and Green Day embarks on a world tour on July 3 in Seattle.
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