I listened to ‘American Idiot’ at least a million times on my way to the University and back. Now Green Day is back with their eighth studio album ’21st Century Breakdown’, another concept album to boot. If anything I like it as much as its predecessor.
Self-proclaimed purists will say Green Day’s been a corporate sellout and on the decline ever since ‘Dookie’. Whiners will dismiss the new album as something that fails to live up to the high standards set by Idiot. Old schoolers will protest in fury at the usage of the word punk for anything but The Sex Pistols, especially in context with snot-core wannabes like Green Day. I say this is melodic punk rock at its best and I can’t have enough of it.
The first track (if we don’t count the intro), which acts as the title song, is reminiscent of those glamorous 70s classic-rock epics, except set in modern day. This sets the tone of the entire album telling the story of a contemporary young couple Christian and Gloria. (Note the religious references of the names.) The lyrics revolve around the debilitating mass media, the hypocritical church, the apathy of modern youth, life in post-Bush America. The recurring message the songs attempt to convey is voiced in ‘Know Your Enemy’ where Billie Joe chants “Silence is the enemy” trying to shake up the tired, nihilistic, and desperate youths of today.
The songs borrow styles ranging from mariachi through klezmer to gypsy music all the while keeping true to the well-known Green Day sound: angry melodic punk rock. Kick-drum rhythms attack your ears coupled with surprising piano-and-vocals intros. I’m not trained nor educated in music, nevertheless I found the album musically quite clever and creative.
Overall anything that jabs at the flag-saluting numbskull Americans I like. Especially if it’s catchy punk-pop.