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Issue: August 2009

Still Going Forward

21st Century Breakdown

(Reprise)

Green Day

With 21st Century Breakdown, Green Day keeps shoving through the newest phase of its career in pop music that began with American Idiot. Somehow the pop-punk trio was able to weather the storm of massive popularity, all the while keeping to a collective goal of forwarding their music -- and 21st Century Breakdown is a perfect display of just that.

The album opener and title track begins with a strong piano, before exploding into a wall of gritty, energetic guitars and the sound of front man Billy Joe Armstrong singing, "My generation is zero / I never made it as a working class hero." The track continues to explain the troubled economic times, while skillfully and wittily speaking from today's youthful mindset (and offering a nod to John Lennon in the process).

Armstrong has a lot to say both musically and lyrically and it's apparent through the contrasting songs scattered across the album. "Peacemaker" has the spirit of early Green Day, with chanting and pecking lyrics like, "I am a killjoy from Detroit / I drink from a well of rage," but acoustic guitars ramble across a prideful orchestral arrangement and a sped-up Latin drum beat.

Several other tracks, like the two versions of "Viva La Gloria," have classical strains moving around heavily in the mix, but it's the gritty power chords, stomping drums and lullaby-style melodies that ultimately drive 21st Century Breakdown, making it unmistakably Green Day: energetic and pure.

You can get more at greenday.com.

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