Modern Music Review: 21st Century Breakdown

May 13, 2009

Much like a recently elected president, I once held hope. Not for the country of America, but for the possibility that bands can redeem themselves despite past disappointments in my eyes. That’s why, five years after the release of American Idiot, I decided to give Green Day’s new album a try. I’d listen to the entire thing, no skipping. I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t much of a fan of the last album, specifically the singles, which I all thought were pretty awful. But I had hope that maybe, given five years between albums, maybe I’d like the new one. Just maybe.

My beating heart belongs to you
I walked for miles til I found you
I’m here to honor you
If I lose everything in the fire
I’m sending all my love to you

And that above verse, is one of the numerous reasons why I think the new Green Day album is a heaping pile of crap. In fact, it makes me like the last album more in comparision. Let’s get down to why, shall we?

First off, it’s bland. From the start of the album, the first several songs all start with a slow, ballady sounding intro, that segues into a more “rock” song. That would be great at first, but it’s literally repeated several songs in a row. By the third song, I was already sick of it. Speaking of slow things, this entire album is slow. I won’t even go into the whole “oh, I wish they were still PUNK” argument like many would, but the fact that they’re supposed to be mildly exciting at least is put to bed by the fact that almost every song is tediously slow paced. There’s no exciting rock music here. Even a song like “American Idiot” which I didn’t enjoy, had a fast pace, some energy. This album however, is just the same thing, over and over again, never passing the middle of the road boring speed and gives the entire thing an incredibly boring feeling.

Next, how about the lyrics? I’ve already sampled a small gem above, which implements the awesome use and versitility of the word “you”. Now, I’ll admit that Greenday isn’t known for amazing lyrics. My problem here is that when you release an album like this, supposedly relating to problems of the country you live in, I don’t want to here what they’d sound like coming from a 12 year old. If you’re looking for political depth, go check out the new Propagandhi album, (a possible future review…) because the most I get from this one is a bunch of vague references to probably bad things, but no real hard stance or strong voice against them. At least the new NOFX album had the balls to make statements that sounded like they meant it, (I know, I’m recommending a NEW NOFX album? wtf) whereas Billy Jo just sounds like he’s kind of sort of describing some things that might sort of relate to America. Not that he’s going to do anything about it. But they’re there all the same.

Everything just fell horribly flat for me. Not to mention several songs that sound like they’ve been ripped from places, like the Hives sounding riff in “Horseshoes and Handgrenades” or the Doors’ knock off of “Viva La Gloria (Little Girl)”, just shows that this is really a dull, uninspired album. By now everyone has probably heard the single “Know Your Enemy”, which is a continuing streak of awful single releases by the band. Unfortunately in this case, I’m not sure there’s any other songs worth releasing from this album anyway.

So, feel free to flame on in the comments, if anyone has listened to this and wants to tell me why it’s worth shelling out money for!

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