an album review
A CD Review of 21st Century Breakdown- Green Day
Last May marked the release of Green Day’s highly anticipated album, 21st Century Breakdown. Since then, the Bay Area punk trio’s unstoppable force is equivalent to that of Superman’s. From appearing on countless late night television shows to gracing the covers of magazines, such as the likes of Rolling Stone and Spin , Green Day announced to the world that they are back and bigger and better than ever and are ready to rock.
The album itself is something never attempted before by the California based band. To the Beatle-esque piano ballads that even John Lennon would approve of in his grave, to the Ramone infused punk rock style that would make the members of The Who envious of; this 18 track album has something for everyone- from your ballad loving grandmother to your atheist, anarchist cousin.
Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, brings listeners to post Bush America and all the chaos associated with number 43. He introduces the listeners to the two main characters, Christian and his girlfriend, Gloria, as they embark on their perilous, tumultuous journey through a mass panic in America, while everything is a blaze, and the city is in utter ruin. The 37 year old punk rocker describes 21st Century Breakdown as making out with your girlfriend in the midst of chaos. “It’s chaos and desperation and, you know, there’s an angry mob, there’s a city on fire while you’re making out with your girlfriend in the middle of it.”
The second song on the record, 21st Century Breakdown, the album’s namesake, is the introductory song. It introduces the plot to the listeners; and examines Christian and Gloria’s life. With lyrics such as, “I was made of poison and blood, condemnation is what I understood, videogames of the tower's fall, homeland security could kill us all, my generation is zero, I never made it as a working class hero,” suggest the hell that Christian and Gloria must face in the perilous city in order to survive.
Know Your Enemy is the ultimate theme song for people who demand a change. This song recognizes the enemies in the world- but the biggest one may be perhaps the silence, with lines such as “Well, silence is the enemy, so gimme gimme revolution,” after finding the enemy which may be the silence, one must decide to destroy it, for if it is not destroyed, violence may occur. If no one speaks up and makes themselves heard, change will never happen.
Who knew Billie Joe would croon a love song after all these years? Last Night on Earth , tells of love that Christian and Gloria share. This song continues the story from the previous track, Christian’s Inferno. Christian metaphorically tells Gloria even if he loses everything in the fire, (his inferno), he will send all of his love to her. “If I lose everything in the fire, I’m sending all my love to you.” It may be the greatest love song Billie Joe has crooned thus far.
East Jesus Nowhere maybe the most important statement Armstrong has ever made. This song was written after attending a church service, where a friend’s baby was baptized. With a chorus with such lyrics as, “a fire burns today, from blasphemy and genocide, the sirens of decay, with infiltrate the faith fanatics,” East Jesus Nowhere dares to confront the hypocrisy in religion.
Restless Heart Syndrome is a great song to do your best air guitar to. It tells of an addiction to pharmaceuticals; of when becoming an addict, the worst enemy you can face, is yourself. “I'm a victim of my symptom, I am my own worst enemy, you're a victim of your symptom, you are your own worst enemy, know your enemy,” at the end of this verse, Armstrong launches enough distortion into his guitar playing to make your neighbors call the police, if you play this track too loudly.
This album makes me proud to call myself a Green Day fan more than ever before. My heart swells with the joy that only a Green Day fan can understand because of 21st Century Breakdown. Give it a go, and really, really listen to what Billie Joe is saying, and maybe you will become a Green Day fan too.