Tuesday, May 19, 2009

21st Century Breakdown Green Day

I had a hard time accepting this new album, as I loved American Idiot and didn't think it could be topped . . . further, I wasn't too excited about the whole "Christian and Gloria" narrative, etc. But I've found that, with repeated listens, the songs have really grown on me. And the narrative is so loose, and Christian and Gloria are referenced so infrequently, that there were times when I forgot I was listening to a "rock opera." This album is not as fun as American Idiot, it is more contemplative and introspective. And, with a few exceptions, it doesn't have the light-heartedness of earlier Green Day material. That's why you have to give it some time. The guys wanted to do something a little different (heck, they've been at this for 20 years). I personally feel like this album came from the heart, and that's why I listened to it two to three times to let it grow on me before making up my mind about it.

The following songs are my favorites:
1) Horseshoes and Handgrenades. I think this song has the most menacing "f$#k you" energy of any Green Day song ever. East Jesus Nowhere is also quite good, for similar reasons.
2) Last Night on Earth. I'm not usually one for ballads, but this one is very beautiful. It was written by Billie Joe for his wife . . .
3) 21st Century Breakdown. This hook grows on you, it has a sunny, grooving quality to it even though the lyrics are kinda pessimistic.
4) "Before the Lobotomy" also starts out as a serious ballad . . . again, not my favorite type of music usually. The track morphs into something else and then the ballad material returns, but set to a backbeat and distorted guitars. It sounds very powerful at the end.
5) Restless Heart Syndrome . . . another haunting ballad that improves with each listen.
6) 21 Guns. This has a great "everyone put your lighter in the air" vibe. I think this will sound excellent live.

There were other good moments on the album, too. I'm just getting too tired to type more :) And, at the risk of beating you over the head with a stick . . . give this album 2-3 listens and let the material sink in. You will be glad you did.


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