• Record Label: Reprise
  • Release Date: May 15, 2009
User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 277 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 30 out of 277

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  1. Feb 10, 2011
    9
    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!
  2. Jul 29, 2011
    10
    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 ofWaaayyyy 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
  3. Feb 1, 2011
    10
    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!
  4. DarrylC
    Oct 20, 2009
    10
    Simply a great album. You can listen to this album over and over and not get tired of it. I would rate this album superior to American Idiot only because every track is superb. They are able to vary their sound and see be Greenday. Richer melodic material and deeper tonal texture woven together to form a satisfying epic album. Viva La Green Day!
  5. DaveR
    May 18, 2009
    10
    Amazing. Absolutely amazing. It's such a fun album to listen to, so epic. The powerful guitar riffs just make you want to jump in the air in excitement everytime you listen. Good job Green Day, you've outdone yourselves this time.
  6. LeeK
    Jun 2, 2009
    10
    In my opinion, this album is among the best that this legendary band has ever recorded. Instead of going back to their roots to create an easy fan pleaser after the great success of AI, Green Day took a massive step forward and made one of the deepest and most satisfying albums ever. There is not a single track on the CD that I could pick out as being a 'filler', they are all In my opinion, this album is among the best that this legendary band has ever recorded. Instead of going back to their roots to create an easy fan pleaser after the great success of AI, Green Day took a massive step forward and made one of the deepest and most satisfying albums ever. There is not a single track on the CD that I could pick out as being a 'filler', they are all masterpieces. And for those fans who say it is terrible because it is not like their old music, it isn't that they have lost the talent to create another purely punk record, they just don't want to. They had the desire to show their full talent and potential and this album is it. Expand
  7. AnonyMous
    Jun 24, 2009
    9
    You know, it's not perfect. Some of it seems a little too familiar. Some of it's redundant. The concept is sometimes lost in the excitement and it's a little too long. But I can say, without reservations, that it's the most musically diverse and interesting album Green Day has ever made. The music is generally terrific and relevant, and practically every song here You know, it's not perfect. Some of it seems a little too familiar. Some of it's redundant. The concept is sometimes lost in the excitement and it's a little too long. But I can say, without reservations, that it's the most musically diverse and interesting album Green Day has ever made. The music is generally terrific and relevant, and practically every song here could be an individual success. Green Day hasn't just made a great collection of songs--they've made a great album. Sensational. Expand
  8. NathanG
    Jul 10, 2009
    10
    I really like Green Day's older stuff. 21st Century, like American Idiot, is simply better than the older stuff. But it is certainly not American Idiot 2. It is actually quite different. Green Day just keeps getting better and better, and this album is simply a masterpiece.
  9. Ikarus14
    Oct 9, 2009
    9
    Makes American Idiot look mediocre in comparison.
  10. Michael
    May 16, 2009
    10
    This album blows my mind. This is better then 'American Idiot', It seems like some of the vintage rock n roll style they adopted on 'Warning' and then ditched for 'American Idiot' has returned in some of the tracks, although it's not dominant on the same level as Foxboro Hot Tubs. Musically to my ears this album sounds like a mix of Warning, American This album blows my mind. This is better then 'American Idiot', It seems like some of the vintage rock n roll style they adopted on 'Warning' and then ditched for 'American Idiot' has returned in some of the tracks, although it's not dominant on the same level as Foxboro Hot Tubs. Musically to my ears this album sounds like a mix of Warning, American Idiot and Insomniac with a sprinkle of Dookie, although that doesn't mean they are rehashing their previous sounds because they've built upon them and made them fresh again, they even try new things that would otherwise be considered not Green Day ... like Billie Joe singing falsetto on some of the tracks. The lyrics are great and quiet a few lines on this album will offend any person who is against free thinking, religious and an annoying conservative. Expand
  11. PB
    May 16, 2009
    10
    Not only is 21st Century Breakdown more ambitious than American Idiot, but genuinely a better album in general, with more ambition, more accessibility, and more depth than it's slightly 2D predecessors. An truly excellent album of stellar proportions, it blew away my scepticisms and exceeded all expectations.
  12. ThomS
    Jun 25, 2009
    10
    Great album. Truly is. It has more diverse instrumentation than previous albums by Green Day. Also it does deserve its praise. When the worst critic review simply calls it average, it's a sign that you have something good. Besides critics have In Rainbows 40%, so no loss with a few bad seeds.
  13. RolfG
    Jun 27, 2009
    10
    A collection of great songs, it's an album with a song to everymood! It's probobly going to be a classic one, it's not punk rock any more it's classic rock. A masterpiece with ambition and very good written catchy rock songs!
  14. PatrickB
    Jul 7, 2009
    9
    Not as good as American Idiot, but very close. I love putting this on and rolling through the whole thing in a sitting.
  15. Stefano
    Aug 29, 2009
    10
    Great album for one major's rock band in the world!!!!
  16. TysonB.
    Sep 21, 2009
    10
    It is really good.
  17. PissFish
    Sep 6, 2009
    9
    American Idiot achieved the impossible, it made Green Day Cool and Popular and mainstream. But Does this really mean it was a great album ? No, American Idiot (in my opinion) was a bit Tacky and sounded over produced. 21st century Breakdown achieved the long awaited, to make Green Day Brilliant. The title track 21st century is a brilliant capture of 21st century life and songs like before American Idiot achieved the impossible, it made Green Day Cool and Popular and mainstream. But Does this really mean it was a great album ? No, American Idiot (in my opinion) was a bit Tacky and sounded over produced. 21st century Breakdown achieved the long awaited, to make Green Day Brilliant. The title track 21st century is a brilliant capture of 21st century life and songs like before the lobotomy and Viva la Gloria are also master pieces. there is only one BAD song on this album and that is Know your Enemy which sounds like it should have been on American idiot but worse. All together though this album is an amazing slice of Rock History. Expand
  18. MariahL
    Nov 4, 2009
    10
    How can you not love this album if you don't fine but you cannot see the musical genius behind it and the complexity it is truly a masterpiece leave it to create two of the most influential and memorable albums of the decade deal with it sorry if you miss old Green Day but they have moved on and are great STILL.
  19. EddM
    May 15, 2009
    10
    A masterful album! A brilliant narrative throughout the album and hugely enjoyable from start to finish!
  20. SeanR
    May 15, 2009
    10
    21st Century Breakdown captures everything American Idiot did and more. Every song is not only catchy, but holds emotion. Listening to 21st Century Breakdown is not only a lyrical and ideological experience, but a very emotional one. Armstrong's lyrics are mostly brilliant and the record is masterfully crafted, keeping a nice pace and never leaving the listener wanting less or 21st Century Breakdown captures everything American Idiot did and more. Every song is not only catchy, but holds emotion. Listening to 21st Century Breakdown is not only a lyrical and ideological experience, but a very emotional one. Armstrong's lyrics are mostly brilliant and the record is masterfully crafted, keeping a nice pace and never leaving the listener wanting less or getting bored with the record, despite it's 18-track length. Expand
  21. GreenHead
    May 16, 2009
    10
    Remarkable Album and ambitiously delivered. Those who say this album is subpar need a history lesson in rock music. Go back to school kids. Green Day rocks with this album. Truely one of their best.
  22. Matt
    May 17, 2009
    10
    Incredible. Of course, one could argue the band are losing direction - but that does not mean this is not an epic album, simply that it is what the world is described as in Armstrong's lyrics at the moment - in chaos, varied, and downright screwed up. This is what fans of American Idiot will have been waiting for.
  23. CameronS
    May 23, 2009
    9
    Sure they've strayed from their punk-stoner roots and drifted way into the alternative rock realm, but, hell, this new Green Day formula works, and it works well. Oh yeah, and the title track is by far the best song I've heard in years.
  24. RockyL
    May 24, 2009
    10
    I am 46 and I own 20,000+ pieces of vinyl and more than 5000 CD's. I've worked in a record store and was a nightclub DJ for 15 years. I've seen, met and gotten drunk with hundreds of bands over the years. I believe I know music pretty well. This is one of the best albums I've ever heard. Green Day followed up one of the most surprising hit albums with what I believe is I am 46 and I own 20,000+ pieces of vinyl and more than 5000 CD's. I've worked in a record store and was a nightclub DJ for 15 years. I've seen, met and gotten drunk with hundreds of bands over the years. I believe I know music pretty well. This is one of the best albums I've ever heard. Green Day followed up one of the most surprising hit albums with what I believe is an instant classic. 21st Century Breakdown will go down as one of the top 100 Rock Albums of all time. That's how good it is. Expand
  25. ChrisK
    Jun 12, 2009
    9
    When first listening to American Idiot i thought it would be the last Green Day studio album. Then i heard about 21st Century Breakdown. The first thought that came to mind was "It's not going to be better than American Idiot". But When i heard Know Your Enemy I was cautious about thinking that. I got the album the day it came out and within hearing the first 6 songs i was blown When first listening to American Idiot i thought it would be the last Green Day studio album. Then i heard about 21st Century Breakdown. The first thought that came to mind was "It's not going to be better than American Idiot". But When i heard Know Your Enemy I was cautious about thinking that. I got the album the day it came out and within hearing the first 6 songs i was blown away. Green Day has not slipped up or slowed down at all for this album. From the song's like Murder City and American Eulogy that reminded me of the Dookie days to the Ballads like 21 Guns and Last Night On Earth have shown me that the band is not afraid to grow up some and change there style while still remaing punk. The album is just a masterpiece. Better Than American Idiot. Dookie is still #1 in my books but This is easilly #2. Expand
  26. ChingW
    Jul 14, 2009
    10
    What a sweet album. The thing about it is, unlike American Idiot, people all around the world can feel with and agree with the lyrics, coz the songs could be talking about any hardship. A very mature album, definitely looking forward to what Green Day has to offer in the future.
  27. WyattM
    Jul 24, 2009
    10
    I think 21st century breakdown has great songs and great lyrics.
  28. BarbaraS
    Jul 9, 2009
    10
    Who knows what lyrics and good music really is about, will understand.
  29. OrlandoM
    Aug 17, 2009
    10
    All though the ten is just to try bring the rating up I was still very impressed by the album the beginning to the songs may not be that great but by the end I'm hooked.
  30. Jake
    Sep 22, 2009
    10
    Better than idiot one truly for the ages.
  31. LoveMusic
    May 15, 2009
    10
    How can you describe this album in one word? Epic! Easily the strongest vocals Billie has ever produced. Lyrically its the best Green Day have ever written. Though a lot of songs are steeped in metaphor and its clear that most "pro critics" have failed to see this. Lowest point of the album has to be 'Know Your Enemy' Far too repetitive, but again it sticks to the message of the How can you describe this album in one word? Epic! Easily the strongest vocals Billie has ever produced. Lyrically its the best Green Day have ever written. Though a lot of songs are steeped in metaphor and its clear that most "pro critics" have failed to see this. Lowest point of the album has to be 'Know Your Enemy' Far too repetitive, but again it sticks to the message of the album. Strongest point of the album, probably the title track itself '21st Century Breakdown' What an opener to the first Act! Tracks that stick to mind: 21st Century Breakdown, 21 Guns, Last Night On Earth, East Jesus Nowhere, ¡Viva La Gloria! Expand
  32. MarcW
    May 15, 2009
    10
    Great, ambitious album. Better than American Idiot. Impressive stuff.
  33. GerogeS
    May 16, 2009
    10
    It's a fantastic album with limitless appeal and not to mention the fact that Green Day have, in three years expanded their sound more than in the entire ten year stretch as the world's best Punk Rock band. American Idiot showed its intentions to be big and its execution to be even more immaculate, though where it faultered was when Billie Joe attempted to provide answers using It's a fantastic album with limitless appeal and not to mention the fact that Green Day have, in three years expanded their sound more than in the entire ten year stretch as the world's best Punk Rock band. American Idiot showed its intentions to be big and its execution to be even more immaculate, though where it faultered was when Billie Joe attempted to provide answers using meticulous epics such as Homecoming. In this album it sees Armstrong looking back over the carnage that the Dubbya reign brought over America and this time dosn't provide any answers. A nod to the White Houses latest occupant that he is the one who must sort out the devastation inflicted on America. This album may not give the sucker punch of a wake up call that was American Idiot but it provides us with yet another fantasic document of the times and a vivid narrative that starts to unfold before your very eyes (or should i say ears). There is no doubt about it anymore, America may still have a huge mountain to climb in the process of its restoration but in terms of Armstrong and co. they have already reached the summit. Expand
  34. AlexAd
    May 17, 2009
    10
    Great album, first listen didn't rock me the way I thought but after really listening it truly sounded great.
  35. ZackS
    May 17, 2009
    10
    A band without direction? Don't listen to Sputnikmusic or most of the reviews on here. Im not that much of a green day fan but omg i cant stop listening to this album. Buy it end of story.
  36. JP
    May 17, 2009
    10
    Something both Melodic and Bold. That is what 21st Century Breakdown has achieved. Truly a master piece in the long winding road that is Green Day. This is a must for both long time Fans and those just joining the party. Great album all around.
  37. same
    May 18, 2009
    10
    21st century breakdown is green days best album!!! It sounds bigger and stronger than any rock album to come out this decade.the vocals are outstanding along with the lyrics.This band has grown so much with a little help from legendary producer butch vig.
  38. Cedric
    Jun 27, 2009
    10
    It's a good with album with excellent instrumentation. My only concern is all the word crammed into one line on some of the songs.
  39. mikec
    Jul 14, 2009
    10
    awesome
  40. JoshH
    Jul 18, 2009
    10
    This is an amaZing album with some amazing riffs and lots of catchy songs " know your enemy " maby not as good as American idiot but still very good also the album style has changed has more piano sections all in all 10/10
  41. MirthM
    Aug 31, 2009
    10
    Seriously. This is one for the ages. Great album.
  42. MikeB
    Nov 27, 2009
    10
    A modern-day masterpiece.
  43. Aug 11, 2010
    10
    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.
  44. Feb 22, 2011
    9
    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
  45. May 12, 2011
    9
    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.
  46. May 15, 2011
    10
    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.
  47. Jun 22, 2011
    10
    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
  48. CRL
    Jul 26, 2011
    10
    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.
  49. Jun 5, 2012
    10
    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.
  50. Mar 8, 2013
    10
    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.
  51. Nov 6, 2012
    10
    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 toWhy? 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
  52. Apr 30, 2013
    10
    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 everAlthough 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
  53. Dec 22, 2013
    10
    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.
  54. Jun 23, 2014
    9
    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 anotherSo 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.
    Expand
Metascore
70

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.