21st Century Breakdown was the highly anticipated follow up to American Idiot; arguably Green Day‘s biggest and well known album to date. The lead single to 21st Century Breakdown, Know Your Enemy, was nothing special and echoed the themes already covered in American Idiot, it would take one hell of a marketing campaign to allow 21st Century Breakdown any chance of receiving the same attention as American Idiot did, this comparison would often leave the album as something of an afterthought in many cases, but it shouldn’t.
Not many acts nowadays can come close to the themes and ideas behind a Green Day album, a tremendous rebellion against the establishment, a middle finger to society and a ‘fuck you’ to the system all encompass everything Billie Joe has to offer in his music. The album is so direct to what he stands against that it is some of the most personal, absorbing music to ever feature the Green Day name. ‘She is the saint of all the sinners’, ‘My generation is zero, I never made it as a working class hero’, the lyrical talents of Billie Joe Armstrong are more refined, potent and intelligent than ever and the excellent composition of instruments are merely the icing on the cake. Viva La Gloria and Restless Heart Syndrome are two of the greatest Green Day songs to date and make Letterbomb or Give Me Novacaine look average.
21st Century Breakdown is one of the most slept on albums in rock in my opinion, and wrongfully so. It is an intricate part of the Green Day catalogue that possesses sensitive emotive lyrics complimented by the energetic aura of Tre Cool on the drums. It tells a story, paints a picture, gives an insight into the artist(s) all the while blessing us with some excellent music.