It's been five years since Green Day launched a full-on musical assaunt on conservative America with American Idiot. So how do they follow that up in a new America? There's still plenty to worry about and rail against, as Green Day demonstrates with their latest album, 21st Century Breakdown.

"They're playing the song of the century/of panic and promise and prosperity" sings Billy Joe Armstrong on the album's opening, and this mix of optimism and pessimism permeates 21st Century Breakdown. Bush may be gone, but Green Day warns against the decline of America in songs like the title track and "American Eulogy." The brave rebel in "!Viva la Gloria!" becomes "so unholy" in "?Viva la Gloria?" The band also tackles banal music ("The Static Age,"), romance ("Last Night on Earth"), and weapons ("Peacemaker") and peace ("21 Guns").

Green Day remains in great form, both musically and lyrically. Armstrong's vocals support both tender moments and screaming jags. Tre Cool's percussion is great throughout, and guitar from Armstrong and bass from Mike Dirnt keep things rocking from start to finish. ("Horseshoes and Hand Grenades" is a contender for being the best loud song of 2009.) 21st Century Breakdown may not have the full thematic focus of American Idiot, but it's a great modern rock album. And the Target special edition (as a disclaimer, I must point out that I work for Target. I! Have! Disclaimed!) has six live tracks that show Green Day is great out of the studio too.

Overall grade: A
Reviewed by James Lynch

1 comment:

dedli_7 said...

You don't even know how to
write Billie Joe's name.