• Record Label:
  • Release Date:
21st Century Breakdown Image
Metascore
70

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 357 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Summary: The eighth studio album for the band was produced by Butch Vig.

Top Track

21 Guns
Do you know what's worth fighting for When it's not worth dying for? Does it take your breath away And you feel yourself suffocating? Does the pain... See the rest of the song lyrics
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. 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.
  3. It's a state of the union address, an apocalyptic protest album. It also sounds phenomenal.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 30 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 82 out of 103
  2. Negative: 8 out of 103
  1. Stefano
    Aug 29, 2009
    10
    Great album for one major's rock band in the world!!!!
  2. 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"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. Expand
  3. 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,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. 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 DayI 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
  5. Aug 9, 2016
    8
    How could Green Day manage a very well album after the breakout American Idiot? The answers are simple, firstly they rocked as **** showingHow could Green Day manage a very well album after the breakout American Idiot? The answers are simple, firstly they rocked as **** showing its angriness and powerfulness (Horseshoes and Handgrenades, Murder City, Know Your Enemy) that they ever had, secondly melodically it's even kind of better than American Idiot (21 Guns, The Static Age) and finally the piano sounded terrific (Restless Heart Syndrome, Viva la Gloria!) The reason why I didn't give them 100% were lyrically (because it was a bit confused)
    THE BEST ALBUM OF MY ADOLESCENCE!!
    Expand
  6. Oct 11, 2016
    7
    Oh Green Day, I will never understand you. This whole album feels kind of weak for Green Day, I mean, it wasn't too long before the release ofOh Green Day, I will never understand you. This whole album feels kind of weak for Green Day, I mean, it wasn't too long before the release of 21CB that is possibly the best album that they will release, only 4 years (which admittedly is actually quite a while for Green Day, since it used to seem as though they churned out albums regularly), but 21CB just seems weak, I like how they split up the album into parts, like one big Jesus of Suburbia, but only 2 of the 3 parts are enjoyable (looking at you, Horseshoes & Handgrenades). This certainly isn't a bad album by any means, but it just doesn't satisfy my taste as a Green Day fan.

    I think that my main problems are the concept and the fact that the album is like a cheap knock off of American Idiot. The concept is great on paper, two lovers in a Bush era world trying to survive, but god it turned out poorly, even worse than the Black Parade by MCR and for the first part of that album, you could understand what was going on to an extent! I really don't get it, the whole Christian & Gloria story, nothing starts, nothing happens, nothing concludes, maybe if it wasn't a concept album at all, then I would like it more, but this is just pathetic. The other problem that I have with this album is the fact that all the tracks sound like B-sides, leftovers from American Idiot that they decided to release and they just so happened to change the names of the tracks to create a story of sorts.

    By no means will I negatively score the album, because it's a good album, and I think that I should be generous with my scoring, since the only thing to really compare it to would be American Idiot, the holy grail of punk, so as an album, it's good, as a Green Day album, it's really not great, maybe if you wanted to set your expectations really low before you listen to American Idiot and then be completely shocked by how good it is in comparison. Don't buy if you're a Green Day fan, you won't be a fan afterwards.
    Expand
  7. 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 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. Expand

See all 103 User Reviews