21st Century Breakdown

  • Record Label: Reprise
  • Release Date: May 15, 2009

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. 21st Century Breakdown is even better, so masterful and confident it makes Idiot seem like a warm-up.
  2. It could have easily gone any of several wrong ways, but Green Day's punk has long since been tempered with pop's most attractive attributes, and 21stCentury Breakdown, like its predecessor, is unapologetically accessible and relentlessly exhilarating.
  3. Its musical and lyrical themes recur without fuss, and each track has its own strong identity that speaks to but isn't weighed down by the larger (and beneficially looser) narrative.
  4. Green Day took small steps out of its comfort zone on American Idiot, but Breakdown finds the band going bolder, mixing in elements of mariachi ('Peacemaker') and klezmer ('¡Viva La Gloria!'). Still, the band members never spend too much time away from their bread and butter: heavily melodic punk.
  5. Q Magazine
    Bold, ambitious and revelling in the chaos of the age, 21st Century Breakdown is another perfect document of our times. [Jun 2009, p.114]
  6. More remarkable than the variety and risk-taking pursued by the band are the melodies themselves.
  7. It's a state of the union address, an apocalyptic protest album. It also sounds phenomenal.
  8. The band manages to have 21st Century Breakdown work on a grand scale without losing either their punk or pop roots, which makes the album not only a sequel to "American Idiot," but its equal.
  9. We’re left with a sprawling, obvious, uber-commercial, stoopid punk-pop album that might just stop five million American idiots from voting for a war-mongering Republican baby-slaughterer when they grow up. Works for me.
  10. The album is a call to arms for the digital age, and 20 years into its career, Green Day's ambition continues to dazzle.
  11. Green Day's latest is a collection of powerful songs worth waiting nearly five years for.
  12. While the third and final act charges toward resolution with supreme fury, 21st Century Breakdown ultimately gets caught between panic and fledging promise.
  13. Give credit where thrashing, three-chord credit is due, however: No matter how arrested their style and subject matter, Green Day remain remarkably good at high-blast anthems that burrow directly into the pogo-ing, lizard-brain id.
  14. 21st Century Breakdown is far from a bad album, and, like Idiot, will likely be the best release this year from such a popular band.
  15. As a thinker, Armstrong isn't always comprehensible or original, but he knows how to communicate his frenzied thoughts enjoyably.
  16. While the disc does get bogged down with a little too much force-feeding of the Christian and Gloria characters (just like Idiot's Jimmy and Whatshername), it's a safe bet that the listener will come out the other end having largely enjoyed the last 70 minutes and 18 tracks.
  17. Mojo
    Armstrong's anti-establishment shtick has lost some of its impact. [Jun 2009, p.102]
  18. Like its predecessor, 21st Century Breakdown delivers less than it promises; it’s more successful as a rock album than as a rock opera.
  19. 60
    Armstrong, bassist Mike Dirnt, and drummer Tré Cool push Idiot's conceits even further on 21st Century Breakdown, a slick, class-obsessed, 70-minute, 18-song, three-act cycle that trades Bush-era indignation for Obama-era resignation.
  20. If it seems a little less bold, a little less surprising than its predecessor, you still wouldn't bet against 21st Century Breakdown repeating its success.
  21. The story is hard to follow, but after a few listens the band’s rallying cries take shape.
  22. Such quality care is evident throughout most of Breakdown, and, as such, individual moments positively glisten, even if the widescreen view of Breakdown feels a bit muddled and confused, the whole actually being less than the sum of its parts.
  23. Melodic pop-punk is the point, after all, and on that level it’s a success. Even with a muddled message, credit is due for the ambition it takes to vent these modern frustrations and break free from the shackles of verse-chorus-verse.
  24. I don't like right-wing Christianists either. But as every oppressed teen in the right-wing orbit knows full well, they're not as garbled and simplistic as Armstrong's anthems insist.
  25. Bloated, culturally inconsequential and decidedly average, the net result is a band getting far too high on an over-inflated sense of self-importance to the deafening chimes of cash registers the world over.
  26. The performances are blandly professional, because any major-label rock band of Green Day's abilities could shit this stuff out in their sleep, and emotionally inert. This is the crafting of a modern epic as a dreary day-job routine.
  27. Uncut
    Instead of idling into wry balladry of the later works of their obvious idols The Replacements, which would have suited Green Day well, they've affected the airs of Serious Artists. [Jul 2009, p.88]
  28. It is overbearing, pretentious, huge, and begrudgingly catchy, but most importantly, it unveils a band without direction.
  29. Maybe if you've heard one Green Day rock opera, you've heard them all. Anyone who owns American Idiot probably won't need its lesser twin, and those who steered clear won't come groveling for forgiveness.
  30. Mostly, the overkill of professionalism just makes me yearn for the early Green Day material I grew up with: sloppy, abrasive, and most importantly, aware of what they can and can't pull off.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 329 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 79 out of 102
  2. Negative: 8 out of 102
  1. Mar 1, 2012
    If you don't like Green Day or preffered they're 90's songs, Keep reading, If you love Green Day, also keep reading. Much like the EpicIf you don't like Green Day or preffered they're 90's songs, Keep reading, If you love Green Day, also keep reading. Much like the Epic American Idiot, 21st Century Breakdown is an album in the style of an rock opera, so expect this album to become a musical in the near future. While the narrative isn't as gripping as the tale of St Jimmy, The story is still strong, half the songs are Awesome while the other half are boring as **** other than that it's a solid album, go buy it Full Review »
  2. j30
    Sep 21, 2011
    Sounds like b-sides of American Idiot and Warning. Complete lackluster display of songs.from such a great band.
  3. Aug 23, 2011
    So I had heard know your enemy prior to the albums release and than I started listing to it expecting them to make something as good asSo I had heard know your enemy prior to the albums release and than I started listing to it expecting them to make something as good as american idiot and I was sure they had done that when they heard 21st century breakdown which was one of their best songs and than I listened to the rest of the album and was deviated there was only one other good song 21 guns so listing to 21st century breakdown was definitely one of the most disappointing moments in my life and I adding a extra 2 stars because of 21st century breakdown 4 out of 10 Full Review »