Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

Breaking down Green Day’s new album

Posted in CD Reviews by Jacob Zinn on May 20, 2009
Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown

Track Listing
1. Song of the Century

Act I – Heroes and Cons
2. 21st Century Breakdown
3. Know Your Enemy
4. ¡Viva La Gloria!
5. Before the Lobotomy
6. Christian’s Inferno
7. Last Night on Earth

Act II – Charlatans and Saints
8. East Jesus Nowhere
9. Peacemaker
10. Last of the American Girls
11. Murder City
12. ¿Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl)
13. Restless Heart Syndrome

Act III – Horseshoes and Handgrenades
14. Horseshoes and Handgrenades
15. The Static Age
16. 21 Guns
17. American Eulogy
18. See the Light

Green Day’s eighth studio album seems more like a sequel.

Their sound hasn’t changed much since their last record. Released May 15, their newest album titled 21st Century Breakdown has similar themes to 2004’s American Idiot.

Saints, grenades and Jesus make repeat appearances, either in the songs or the artwork of both albums.

The pop-punk trio from the Bay Area seems to be taking another stab at a rock opera, separating the 18 new tracks into three acts after the sleepy opening number, “Song of the Century.”

The first act, Heroes and Cons, starts with the title track, which is really more of a segue to “Know Your Enemy,” the album’s first single and arguably the best track. The rest of the album is hit-or-miss.

Other notable tracks from Act I include “Christian’s Inferno” and “¡Viva La Gloria!,” which reprises in Act II, Charlatans and Saints.

Possibly a continuation of American Idiot‘s “Jesus of Suburbia,” “East Jesus Nowhere” is similarly fast-paced with a memorable drum pattern by Tre Cool. The following track, “Peacemaker,” contrasts it with a bit more of a Spanish feel.

Track 14 shares its name with the title of the third act, Horseshoes and Handgrenades. It sounds a lot like the Hives with distorted vocals and repeating guitar riff.

Bassist Mike Dirnt carries out the “American Eulogy,” providing vocals on this album. The track seems to best capture the breakdown, turning it into a party instead of a funeral. He and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong repeat, “I don’t want to live in the modern world” as the chaos reaches its peak.

There are some good old-fashioned rock and roll songs in 21st Century Breakdown–just keep your thumb on the skip button to find them.

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