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Generally favorable reviews- based on 274 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 274

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  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 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 Expand
  2. 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 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 Expand
  3. Jul 29, 2011
    Waaayyyy better than American Idiot! The songs all have a very different sound to them (aside from 21st Century Breakdown and See the Light, obviously); it feels like every song on here should be a hit single. The solos come in at a perfect time, and the lyrics are genius, although it feels like the album's subject of war and paranoia is a bit less relatable than the subjects of loneliness and boredom in Dookie. That one's still my favorite Green Day album, but, needless to say, this one's pretty dang good, too, just in different ways. Expand
  4. Feb 10, 2011
    Following American Idiot, Green Day have done it again with another brilliant album and story accompanied. But unlike American Idiot it is not as good. With American Idiot each song had its own specific style and personality where as with Breakdown several of the songs have the same style even to the point of sounding similar.

    Not as good as American Idiot but brilliant none the less!
  5. j30
    Sep 21, 2011
    Sounds like b-sides of American Idiot and Warning. Complete lackluster display of songs.from such a great band.
  6. Sep 10, 2011
    Green Day's songs are now at the point where they are all beginning to sound quite similar in almost every possible way. At least these are enjoyable, intense pieces from another great concept album.
  7. Sep 27, 2012
    21st Century Breakdown is highly underrated. If it had not been American Idiot's follow up album it would have been recieved in a much better light. The album is not as good as American Idiot but it has a plethora of great songs that go from wonderfully composed pieces of music to extremely simple and catchy songs.
  8. Aug 11, 2010
    Another excellent album that has a lot to say while intertwined with great music!! Green Day still has what it takes to make you lose yourself in the lyrics and rock out to the beat! Thank you Green Day.
  9. Aug 18, 2010
    Eh, could have been better..I only liked three songs out of the whole album. Sooo, this album was kinda disappointing. but the songs were good..only the thee I liked. Good rock n roll, but not good enough.
  10. Aug 27, 2010
    Enjoyable to say the least. Not quite as good as American Idiot, but still very enjoyable. The great lyrics of Billie-Jo Armstrong really shine through in this one with ballads such as "21 Guns" and "Know Your Enemy". With the hard pounding guitar and sing-along choruses, this album is a definite crowd pleaser, but can leave older fans slightly disappointed.
  11. Dec 14, 2010
    This is an eighteen song album and continues to the concept album but similar to American Idiot's problem, it isn't clear. We hear terms such as 'working class hero' over and over again but the problem is, it has the similar themes and ideas of American Idiot so this album does not sound fresh. It's dull and lacks anything special. Only two songs really stood out for me '21st century breakdown' and 'American Eulogy' but the only songs just seem lazy and lack ambition. Whilst those two tracks don't. It's not bad or good, it's pretty standard and beats a lot of punk at the moment. Its forgettable but its a good listen that its punishing. Expand
  12. Feb 1, 2011
    This album is amazing! I feel its better than American Idiot in every-way. Don't understand all the mixed reviews. Its like they took what they did on American Idiot and made this album even bigger. The songs flow together perfectly and its such an epic feel on every song! My favorite album of 2009!
  13. Feb 15, 2011
    21st Century Breakdown is a great album and it's great to see the guys continue to expand their work into places they've never gone. However, it seems more like American Idiot: Part 2 at times and that they've taken the concept too seriously. Don't get me wrong, it has an amazing story and great songs. But as the successor to American Idiot, it would be refreshing for a few songs that were simply just fun. Expand
  14. Feb 19, 2011
    A thoroughly lackluster and unoriginal effort from a band who've outstayed their welcome.
    American Idiot was the only thing that was passable everything before and since then has been complete trash
  15. Feb 22, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. How do you follow up the greatest album of the new millennium? You do it by releasing a rock opera that rivals American Idiot in almost every way. Now 21st Century Breakdown is nowhere close to being as good as American Idiot was, but it tries to be and does a pretty good job in the process. Green Day continues the Rock Opera in post-Bush America. Here the two protagonists (Christian and Gloria) are trying to survive as working class heros all the time trying to be corrupted by the government and religion. Billie joe and Co. have 18 solid songs here and the album is full of energy from beginning to end. There are moments of classic punk Green Day ("Christian's Inferno", "Murder City" and "Horseshoes and Hand Grenades") and the mature side of the band ("21st Century Breakdown", "21 Guns" and "See The Light") Billie joe turns in his best love song in his whole career of writing ("Last Night on Earth"). "Peacemaker" and "Viva La Gloria (Little Girl)"has the band experimenting with middle eastern while Billie Joe shows of his new talent by playing the piano on tracks such as "Restless Heart Syndrome" and "Viva La Gloria". Some of the songs are repetitive in their structure with a slow beginning and a strong finish, but that is the albums only flaw. Compared with American Idiot this album won't stand the test of time like the latter will, but taken by itself this album is just a pure Punk Rock album by one of the best bands of our time. Expand
  16. Aug 26, 2011
    Every Green Day album gets bashed and praised - for me Insomniac was the best so far, but sadly, Breakdown, as perfectly good for the job it is, simply never tops anything before it. I've seen most of the album performed live, and it works well. When I saw older tracks live, they all kicked ass. I wanted to like this record, and I do, but it is truly unimpressive in light of Green Day's discography. The first (two) track(s) is/are perfectly good, and then my recollection of the track list, after listening to this album tens of times, is Know Your Enemy, which is sort of irritating, and out of place at this point in the album, iViva La Gloria!, which is a good, well orchestrated song, then mostly whiny, unremarkable drivel until the last act of the album, with self-titled first track "Horseshoes and Handgrenades", which is an epic example of modern rock. East Jesus Nowhere, The Static Age, and 21 Guns all deserve commendation too. But, at the end of the day, this seems to be a album taped together in random order between a great opening, and a great, if re-used, ending. To look at this album in it's acts, the album's division's, just pay for act three on a legal download site, and forget about the rest - it's not worth your time. Although, if you do like Green Day, it's worth picking up (if you haven't already, for whatever insane reason) to see the stark parallels of a band repeating their last album badly. Expand
  17. May 12, 2011
    its awesome and touching and full of hate. green day creates a story so powerful it makes me wanna rebel against drinking coke and loving america. green day was killing this album. i love this album. the lyrics were great. i hate America just like they do.
  18. May 15, 2011
    Most Green Day albums are awesome, but this one album changed the world for the course of 1 billion years. So epic, cool & awesome. Anyways, this makes Insomniac feel like a dictatorship. Its a great album, really.
  19. Jun 22, 2011
    Not only is every song good, but they made a whopping 18 of them. Rarely do albums have this many songs, and definately not as good as these. Green day really took their time with this album, but once you hear it, u will see why
  20. CRL
    Jul 26, 2011
    This album makes American Idiot seem like the opening act. Set in three acts and eighteen songs, it tells another story about Christian and Gloria, as well as a bit of America thrown in for good measure. This is Green Day at its finest.
  21. Aug 7, 2011
    I'm not sure whether a good punk rock song should be called 'catchy' (sounds too commercial?), but I know that every song from this album is nothing less than... catchy. Sometimes "21st century..." is noisy and powerful, but you can also find ballads. I expected something much more worse after "American Idiot" and I'm pleasantly surprised.
  22. Nov 10, 2011
    Greenday's "21st Century Breakdown" is unpredictable and epic in every sense. The songs are good and has a smell of rock. Overall a great package, but "American Idiot" was better.
  23. Nov 8, 2011
    Green day seems to have grown up too much I preferred green days old material like their unproffessional childish style like Older albums Kerplunk and Dookie and the more hardcore sound in American idiot and Warning. Good stuff back then but this album is very weak, winey, and mellow-dramatic.
  24. Nov 26, 2011
    I loved American Idiot. I loved it because it was complex while being raw and thematically amazing. Green Day was really good with political songs back then. That said, I feel like this album is a bit directionless. Critics praised the political involvement of Green Day. So Green Day thought to themselves ''Hey lets make an album that's even more critical'' but really you can feel it's forced and vague at best. Where American Idiot made a point, 21st Century Breakdown tries to be melodramatic but fails.

    Musically, this album has some good songs. Some great ones even, like iViva la Gloria! and ?Viva la Gloria? But I do think that some of the complexity of Green Day's longer songs has been taken away and replaced with generic 4 chord music. Also, it's a bit overproduced. I liked it when there wasn't triple bass and guitar everywhere, but there were some bits where you could actually hear the guitar being fragile and unsure.
    Where before I would have defended Green Day against people calling their music ''cheap'' and ''too simple''/''simplistic'', here it's completely justified.

    Green Day, don't try to live up to American Idiot by trying too hard making everything the same as that.
    I heard some of the newer stuff they wrote lately and performed live and honestly it's a good development again. I hope to see an album rivaling American Idiot, while not copying it.
  25. Jan 6, 2012
    21st Century Breakdown isn't American Idiot, and won't ever live up to the standards set by Dookie, but it still exceeds at tearing down the walls of the 21st century.
  26. Apr 9, 2012
    Better and more songs than American Idiot, but it doesn't have any of the great plot elements of American Idiot, and feels sort of bland. Overall it's an OK album, but after the masterpiece of American Idiot, this really is a bit of a disappointment. It lacks the energy and political commentary of American Idiot, but I would still recommend it if you are a Green Day fan.
  27. Jun 5, 2012
    A great follow-up to "American Idiot", this album proves to yet again succeed convey Green Day's brilliant messages. "21st Century Breakdown" proves to be no disappointment.
  28. Oct 27, 2012
    Just as I expected, Green Day wasn't able to keep up with their masterpiece 'American Idiot'. A break of almost five years didn't help, this record does not have the strong base story that its predecessor had. I could've overlooked that but next thing is, there is ONLY ONE good song! - Peacemaker. Most of the rest is pretty good, but there are also a couple of weak songs (including every released single). The rock opera flair gets lost and the whole album is not that ingenious anymore. But nonetheless, I recommend you to buy it, just 'cause you can have much fun headbanging to it. Expand
  29. Mar 8, 2013
    Another masterpiece by Green Day. No bad songs, only good tracks and many great songs (21 Guns, 21st Century Breakdown, Know Your Enemy, Viva La Gloria, The Static Age). Green Day do it again.
  30. Nov 6, 2012
    Why? Can some one explain to me why this album is considered bad? And don't give me "because its not as a good as American Idiot" or "just because it is" crap that doesn't make sense! On its own merits, 21st Century Breakdown is a well produced, smart, and heavily re-playable album. As well, Green Day despite 5 years since American Idiot sound just as good if not better when it comes to playing the actual music. So for all of the people claiming its bad, go listen to a pretentious indie or dubstep album. I however am going to be listening to good music that takes talent to play thank you very much. Expand
  31. Mar 26, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. 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 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 Expand
  32. Apr 30, 2013
    Although some would claim this to be inferior to American Idiot I consider to be its equal. Lyrically, Billie Joe touches upon themes of politics, religion and many lyrics are reflective of his personal life (there are no new ideas here and the concept makes no sense but it works for the most part). Musically, the songs are ridiculous over the top epics that sound like Muse if they ever did a hard rock song; the album also contains its fair share of ballads which aren't impressive but still great songs. Tre Cool hasn't really evolved his drumming skills, and Mike Dirnt is still a competent bassist, Billie Joe sticks to the punk formula of a few chords but also implements the use of piano on the record whilst ranting his way through. As good as (if not better) than American Idiot. Expand
  33. Jan 4, 2014
    I wasn't exactly sure how to feel about this album. Sure, some of the songs in it were hits that i still listen to, like '21 Guns' or 'See The Light' but I felt that Green Day slipped a bit on this album. It's not good, but it's not bad either. It's not American Idiot for sure, but it still deserves recognition.
  34. Dec 22, 2013
    I seem to have an unpopular opinion when I say that 21st Century Breakdown is superior to American Idiot, and I think one reason for this is that "21st" has more.
  35. Jun 23, 2014
    So lets get the Elephant out of the way. Yes 21st Century Breakdown isn't as good as American Idiot. American Idiot was lightning in a bottle and just like The Dark Knight Rises it's impossible to recapture that lightning. American Idiot is a masterpiece and one of the greatest albums of all time. Taken on its own merits though 21st Century Breakdown is still a great album. It's another rock opera, the arena sound comes back and there are more songs. This is one of those cases though were bigger doesn't necessarily means better. The story is weak and not easy to follow and the arena sound isn't as fun in a structured format. However once again its still a great album but has the problem of being a follow up to a masterpiece.
    Notable Songs: 21st Century Breakdown, Know Your Enemy, Before the Lobotomy, Last Night On Earth, East Jesus Nowhere, Peacemaker, Last of the American Girls, Restless Heart Syndrome, 21 Guns and American Eulogy.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 30
  2. Negative: 1 out of 30
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.