Review Summary: Nice melodies, but horrible lyrics, storytelling, and singing make 21st Century Breakdown a dissappointment for Green Day fans.
Tragic. If I were to use one word to describe the album then that is the word I would choose. 21st Century Breakdown is Green Day's second attempt at a rock-opera type concept album...attempt being the key word.
After American Idiot (which I truly enjoyed) I must admit that I was looking forward to this album, however I had a fear that after something as monumentally good as American Idiot was it would be the band's downfall. Unfortunetly my fear has come true. The main problem with this album, though, is that Green Day tried too hard to surpass themselves. The storyline seems a bit like it was thrown together like 2 days before the release of the album and the entire album seems rushed (even though it clocks in at just under 70 minutes).
Musicality- Overall, it's just not too impressive. To be perfectly honest the music playing in the background of most of the songs sounds like they were taken from American Idiot and remixed only slightly (maybe altering 1 or 2 notes) to create a "new" sound to the songs in Breakdown. A few of the songs did feature some good accellerandos (which means gradual speed ups for those who don't speak technical music), but others simply featured a slow section followed by Tre Cool pounding on a cymbol or drum a few times and suddenly blasting some guitar riffs into the listeners ear...NOT SUBTLE AT ALL!!! However the ones that did perform a form of gradual introduction to speed pulled it off nicely. Some of the solos were decent, but then again Green Day has never been known for their "amazing" solos. Vocal-wise I'm not quite sure how to describe it. Billy Joe did something to his voice on a vast majority of the songs and he sounds distorted and odd...like a high-pitched version of himself which just does not sound good at all. Really he only sounded "normal" on maybe a grand total of 4 of the 18 songs so I'm not quite sure what exactly was up with that....
Songs- This is the part I was most dissappointed by- if you're writing a concept album (in the form of a rock opera especially) the point is to tell a story through your lyrics. Well, what worked in American Idiot again fails in Breakdown. I literally turned the album off only coming away with a few character names and a lot of fire mentioned....I had to look up the story on the internet...and still was not impressed (it's really not even worth explaining in this review). I just feel that if I had to go to that extreme to understand what they were trying to say they may have needed another 4 years to write some better lyrics. Normally I don't go with the singles that are released to radio stations because then they typically get overplayed, but "Know Your Enemy" was by-far the most Green Day-esque track on the entire album- Billy Joe sang normal without his little distortion thing and the song overall sounded like it was coming from American Idiot rather than Breakdown. Other songs on the album had nice melodies that Billy Joe belted out, but the lyrics really didn't work for the melodies...and that just doesnt even make sense!
Conclusion- A major major major dissappointment. Green Day I think has reached the point in their career where they just throw stuff out so it'll sell and make money, and that makes me sad. It took them 4 years to "plan" this album, so I expected so much more. One things for sure: if they make another album I will lower my bar for them way way down. Overall I would have to say that if you have an interest in this album don't go out and buy it new. Get it either on sale (if you just have to have it "new") or get it used from a cheap music store, or even a yard sale.
Good review, but I have to say I disagree. I really enjoyed this album. I didn't feel it had the songs of American Idiot (as in the songs that would be remembered) but I felt it was as a whole a better album.
Other than that, though, your review is really good. I like the way you sum up what you're saying without going on and on and that's really good. Don't take my word for it though, because I'm fast becoming the most hated person on this site. I for one thought your review was short and to the point, but very succinct in its conclusion. Cheers.
it basically means that that album made me pick up a guitar, made me search for other bands, form a band, and basically make music my number 1 interest. before I may of had like a few Linkin Park CD's lol.
Dude, you're a musician and you can't hear the blatant musical similarities between the two? How about that "!Viva La Gloria!" is a virtual carbon copy of "Letterbomb"? Or how "Restless Heart Syndrome" follows the same exact formula of "Blvd. Of Broken Dreams"? Or the fact that it's a rock opera just like American Idiot? Or the song-suite of the title track being just like "Jesus Of Suburbia" or "Homecoming"? Train that ear bro.