21st Century Breakdown

  • Record Label: Reprise
  • Release Date: May 15, 2009
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 333 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 31 out of 333

Review this album

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Aug 23, 2011
    4
    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 centurySo 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
  2. 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!
  3. Sep 10, 2011
    8
    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.
  4. Nov 10, 2011
    8
    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.
  5. May 1, 2016
    7
    Is not a punk album, but it's still catchy, 21st Century Breakdown would probably be the laziest album of the band, arenas will be a bit disappointed, but some tracks will return the powerful crowd as Bullet In a Bible or as the breakout Dookie
  6. Aug 5, 2016
    9
    I must say, in terms of sound quality and consistency, that this is one of the finest rock albums ever produced, as well as another Green Day masterpiece on par with American Idiot.

    The sonic tone, with the ever-familiar aftertaste of ardent punk, manages a successful splice with stadium rock that allows for both fun, catchy songs ("Horseshoes and Handgrenades", "Know Your Enemy"), as
    I must say, in terms of sound quality and consistency, that this is one of the finest rock albums ever produced, as well as another Green Day masterpiece on par with American Idiot.

    The sonic tone, with the ever-familiar aftertaste of ardent punk, manages a successful splice with stadium rock that allows for both fun, catchy songs ("Horseshoes and Handgrenades", "Know Your Enemy"), as well as more grandiose tunes that soar to heroic heights ("21 Guns", "Last of the American Girls") and tug on the heartstrings of the listener, as well as a few tracks that bring out the best of both worlds ("East Jesus Nowhere", "21st Century Breakdown"). The band has never sounded as good as they have on this album, not even on American Idiot in which they were still experimenting with their shift into rock opera territory and still had an overwhelming punk flavor. For some reason I skipped over this album and went straight to the Uno/Dos/Tre trilogy after finishing American Idiot, and the clean, clipped sound of the guitar on those albums just didn't do it for me. But where those albums failed, Breakdown exponentially succeeds as a perfect blend of sugar, spice, and everything nice.

    The themes and story of the album have received some criticism, and while I agree that the storyline isn't as focused as Idiot's, it doesn't need to be--rather, it functions more like a collection of short stories than a novel. Christian and Gloria function as the primary characters, but rather than having their tales told in a linear manner, the album's scattershot presentation of them is perfectly reflective of the album's main theme--the collapse of American (and truly, world) culture during the modern age. External forces such as religion and politics are attacked with force and vigor alongside internal ones such as a growing sense of insecurity and alienation, the feeling that the lives of individuals don't carry as much weight as they did even twenty years ago.

    The juxtaposition between Christian and Gloria is one of the most interesting things the album has going for it, in my opinion--Christian, struggling to be good for Gloria while still battling with his own demons, and Gloria, who is placed upon a pedestal as an example to and a light for the masses scrambling in the dark for answers and purpose--and the characters are highly self-reflective of frontman Billie Joe Armstrong and his wife Adrienne. Armstrong's battles with substance abuse are well-known in the music community, while Adrienne is his rock, the visual representation of the ideals which he believes are the best humanity has to offer (self-admittedly, "Last of the American Girls" was written with Adrienne in mind), and he dramatizes and romanticizes the struggles they endure every day in order to create a lasting, rallying battle cry for the people of the US, and the world.

    In closing, 21st Century Breakdown is quite deserving of its Grammy Award for Best Rock Album, as it succeeds as a fun, thoughtful yet easily accessible album that offers something for rockers everywhere, on top of spreading a pretty poignant message about the dissolution of society in our day and age. 9/10
    Expand
  7. Mar 1, 2012
    6
    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 areIf 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
  8. j30
    Sep 21, 2011
    4
    Sounds like b-sides of American Idiot and Warning. Complete lackluster display of songs.from such a great band.
  9. BryanM
    Jun 11, 2009
    3
    There are no new ideas here. Everything has been rehashed from old albums, and their lyrics are more vague and directionless than before. American Idiot was overrated, but still worth listening to. This is essentially a B-sides compilation of American Idiot, presented as the anthem collection of the century. There are a few tracks worth listening to, but I cannot recommend this album to There are no new ideas here. Everything has been rehashed from old albums, and their lyrics are more vague and directionless than before. American Idiot was overrated, but still worth listening to. This is essentially a B-sides compilation of American Idiot, presented as the anthem collection of the century. There are a few tracks worth listening to, but I cannot recommend this album to anybody but the Top 40 worshiping masses. Expand
  10. BRaftis
    Jul 3, 2009
    0
    Boring. Anti-Climactic. It seems as thgoug Green Day didn't even try to make the songs work half as well with each other as they did on American Idiot. It gets better the more you listen to it but not much. I gave it a zero for as large a drop as possible on my vote to lower the average rating...this album should be at about a 6.
  11. 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
  12. Brandon
    May 20, 2009
    3
    This album is very disappointing. It feels like they're just rehashing the same thing all over again. Compared to American Idiot, this is far inferior. And the irony of the title of the album coupled with its borrowing from influences long dead is just unsettling. There seems to be no direction, no boldness and most of all, no hooks. They could do so much better, and it's This album is very disappointing. It feels like they're just rehashing the same thing all over again. Compared to American Idiot, this is far inferior. And the irony of the title of the album coupled with its borrowing from influences long dead is just unsettling. There seems to be no direction, no boldness and most of all, no hooks. They could do so much better, and it's disheartening to see all the critics and the public largely kissing their collective asses undeservedly. Very disappointing. Expand
  13. CraigE
    Oct 2, 2009
    0
    This music is total crap. I can't understand why all you IDIOT's would think this deserves a 10. It is simpy & cli.che ridden and sounds as if it was created with no thought. Maybe they like it so much because the recording co. is speading alot of payola around. There is good music out there, its just not on the radio. Wise up you stupid sponges and broaden your listening to This music is total crap. I can't understand why all you IDIOT's would think this deserves a 10. It is simpy & cli.che ridden and sounds as if it was created with no thought. Maybe they like it so much because the recording co. is speading alot of payola around. There is good music out there, its just not on the radio. Wise up you stupid sponges and broaden your listening to music outside of what the recording industry wants you to . Expand
  14. RudeBoy
    Aug 28, 2009
    5
    Class of 13? WTF? Basically i was in the class of 2007 and this CD makes me feel like an old fart. Aren't the guys who made this 40 or something so theyd be in the class of 1989, yet by goin on and on about the class of 2013 all the time they make anybody over the age of about 14 feel like an old fart. This annoys me Musically this album is a bit pretentious, sum41 and blink 182 are better.
  15. MichaelC
    May 16, 2009
    0
    Green Day has lost complete focus and direction. This isn't even Green Day. They need to drop the make up, and the demographic of 12 year old rich girls who are angry at their parents. Furthermore, rolling stone gave this a 90 and Merriweather post pavilion only got a 70 from them? Total faith lost in rolling stone.
  16. JalexD
    May 18, 2009
    0
    I'm sure I'll come to think of this record as deserving of a better score than the one I'm giving it now. But listening to it now, all I can think about is how Green Day seem to be trying too hard to make a repeat performance of 'American Idiot.' After spending a considerable amount of time between making new music, I expected the band to return with something I'm sure I'll come to think of this record as deserving of a better score than the one I'm giving it now. But listening to it now, all I can think about is how Green Day seem to be trying too hard to make a repeat performance of 'American Idiot.' After spending a considerable amount of time between making new music, I expected the band to return with something fresh. And if '21st Century Breakdown' had been released as a companion piece to their previous record in 2005, I could probably appreciate this. Anyhow, as it stands now, I don't feel like I'm hearing anything new, or particularly exciting, so here's hoping the next one is better. Expand
  17. JamesR
    May 22, 2009
    3
    Are you kidding? Who are you people who think it is "masterful" and "ambitious." It's a hollow, rehash of a great album... Nothing to say, but speaks anyway. Terrible.
  18. RyanS
    May 24, 2009
    0
    This album is exactly the same as before. Furthermore, it is tiring, repetitive and nothing new. Green Day repeated the formula of the previous album and has not brought anything new. The sound "emo" band that continues to influence will only please some fans.
  19. 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!
  20. 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.
  21. 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
  22. Nov 8, 2011
    4
    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.
  23. Apr 9, 2012
    8
    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.
  24. TruterR
    Jul 1, 2009
    6
    Well, it's nothing I haven't heard. Same riffs, but if you're new to Green Day you should try it...I feel a fan of the band would be disappointed. To compare it to American Idiot is harsh. You're either gonna love this album or hate it.
  25. 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!
  26. 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.
  27. AllenD
    May 28, 2009
    8
    I have read numerous reviews, some rating this album as a masterpiece, others as mediocre and others as absolutely terrible. I could write an essay about why those who think this is anything less than a good album are delusional, but I'd prefer to listen to the album again so I'll be brief. Regardless of what you think of the narrative concept or the lyrics, this alum sounds I have read numerous reviews, some rating this album as a masterpiece, others as mediocre and others as absolutely terrible. I could write an essay about why those who think this is anything less than a good album are delusional, but I'd prefer to listen to the album again so I'll be brief. Regardless of what you think of the narrative concept or the lyrics, this alum sounds amazing. The riffs are bouncy and heavy the melodies are catchy and Billie Joe's voice sounds as good as ever. Quite simply, this album rocks. Expand
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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.
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.