Green Day are back. Butch Vig is producing. Their new album cover has been compared unfavorably to Banksy, Think Tank, and Watchmen, and favorably to dookie (no italics). Now there’s actual music at which to pick.
“21st Century Breakdown” is the new set’s title track, and it sets out this LP’s design: rebellion and the disintegration of America by way of rock opera, head-faking piano intros and all. So while this one clocks in at five minutes, really it’s three discrete movements: the first imagines Green Day as a blue colllar NJ band with a taste for big statements and stuck on Lennon (“My generation is zero / I never made it as a working class hero“); next is the Meat Loaf-like hairpin turn into a pop-punky gallop, with baby boomer-hate (“the bastards of 1969!”) and a new key that screams “set change!”; and finally a bombastic half-time coda that’s all Queen or My Chemical Romance, depending on how old/generous you are. Epic or ham? “Breakdown,” 2009:
21st Century Breakdown is out in May via Reprise.