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Green Day

21st Century Breakdown
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"American Idiot" was big for Green Day and Green Day was already colossal. Within a two year lifespan it was already largely heralded upon as an essential album. And I don't have any arguments with that at all. Perfectly capturing it's time of release, "American Idiot" not only pushed out hits, it punched out thoughts and ideas too that didn't come over as pompous... they just came over. The follow-up to "American Idiot", "21st Century Breakdown" is a true follow up to the album. The rock opera follows a young couple through modern America and tackles issue after issue on the way. That's not what separates the album from "American Idiot" though. The elements that are presented on the album are what separates this album from anything that Green Day has ever done in the past. Strings, harmonies, and some weird stuff existing in lots of 70's psychedelic rock are here early and often. This Green Day album sounds a lot different than any Green Day album has in the past. And that's even though the songs themselves are pretty much like every other song written by the band. The album sounding so different can be accredited to growth for the band and the work that Butch Vig did on the album. Vig produced two of the quintessential rock albums from the 90's; Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana. "21st Century Breakdown" is Vig's third classic album. And it really is going to be considered a classic album. Partly because it's Green Day, one of the few rock band's over the past two decades to get any kind of respect from the underground of music AND the mainstream. And partly because "American Idiot" launched the band's rep into borderline Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello territory. Basically that means everything that's done is held in high regard even if it's not liked by everyone. But there's also an overlap with Green Day- they're almost in that Costello and Dylan territory with the albums they put out now, but they're also still a huge part of pop culture. With those two factors, you get a classic album. "21st Century Breakdown" isn't going to be held in as high of a regard as "American Idiot" in the end. That's because there's not as many true singles on this record, but it actually might be the better album because of this. As expected, this is one of the top five albums to come out this year, if not the best.






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