(Video included) When Green Day released American Idiot in 2004, it was a call to arms. The album rallied America ‘s rock and roll youth to lash out against corruption in our government, most notably George Bush. We were fed up and wanted everyone to know about it. That album vaulted Green Day into the political rocker arena popularized by the likes of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, the punk scene and carried on by bands like Rage Against the Machine. Now comes 21st Century Breakdown – a post-Bush, current Middle East, bona fide American crisis.
Green Day’s new album starts with a 57-second song, “Song of the Century.” It sets the tone for what’s to come with these lyrics (as best I can tell):
Sing us a song of the century,
It’s louder than bombs and eternity.
The air of static in contraband,
Leading us into the promised land.
Tell us a story that’s by candlelight,
Waging a war and losing the fight.
They’re playing our song of the century,
Panic and promise and prosperity.
Tell me a story into that good night,
Sing us a song for me.
It’s a simple, yet powerful anthem that tells of a generation searching for an identity by sifting through the ashes of war and broken promises; using the sound of an old record player and the backdrop of stories told by candlelight – a feeling unknown since The Lone Ranger was on radio and America had everything to gain.
21st Century Breakdown comes in three acts: “Heroes and Cons,” “Charlatans and Saints,” and “Horseshoes and Handgrenades,” while following a young couple, Christian and Gloria, through the schizophrenic start to this century. It is, by all means, an album intended to be heard from start to finish, and it will be played that way during the Green Day tour.
In the end, you have to admire Green Day for their ambition. It’s difficult for any band to create an album based on political views and attempt to capture the collective feeling of a generation accurately and honestly. In fact, it can be downright suicidal. And while critics will laud Green Day for producing such an album, and sales will be astronomical, it’s this sense of righteous gloom that could ultimately turn fans against the album and the band. Aren’t we getting a little tired of being depressed? Is it time to talk about hope and action rather than complain and cry about all the injustice in America? This much can be said – it’s pure Green Day. Just because they made a … shudder … rock opera doesn’t mean they’ve lost their identity.
Time will tell. In the meantime, you can listen to 21st Century Breakdown right now, in its entirety, before it’s officially released. Let us know what you think!
Below is a video from an Oakland show where they debuted the whole album, live. The song is Viva la Gloria Below that are Green Day’s 2009 tour dates – and it’s one hell of a tour. They will be on the road non-stop from June until mid November. Some great supporting acts too.
07-03 Seattle, WA Key Arena, with The Bravery
07-04 Vancouver, BC GM Place, with The Bravery
07-06 Edmonton, AB Rexall Place, with The Bravery
07-07 Saskatoon, SAS Credit Union Centre, with The Bravery
07-09 Winnipeg, MAN MTS Centre, with The Bravery
07-10 Fargo, ND Fargo Dome, with The Bravery
07-11 Minneapolis, MN Target Center, with The Bravery
07-13 Chicago, IL United Center, with The Bravery
07-14 Detroit, MI Palace Of Auburn Hills, with The Bravery
07-16 Hamilton, ONT Copps Coliseum, with The Bravery
07-17 Ottawa, ONT Scotiabank, with The Bravery
07-18 Montreal, QUE Bell Centre, with The Bravery
07-20 Boston, MA TD Bank, with The Bravery
07-21 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Spectrum, with The Bravery
07-22 Pittsburgh, PA Mellon Arena
07-24 Hartford, CT XL Center, with The Bravery
07-25 Albany, NY Times Union Center, with The Bravery
07-27 New York, NY Madison Square Garden, with Kaiser Chiefs
07-29 Washington, DC Verizon Center, with Kaiser Chiefs
07-31 Nashville, TN Somet Center, with Kaiser Chiefs
08-01 Atlanta, GA Gwinnet, with Kaiser Chiefs
08-03 Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum, with Kaiser Chiefs
08-04 Miami, FL American Airlines Arena, with Kaiser Chiefs
08-05 Orlando, FL Amway Arena, with Kaiser Chiefs
08-07 New Orleans, LA New Orleans Arena, with Kaiser Chiefs
08-08 Houston, TX Toyota Center, with Kaiser Chiefs
08-09 San Antonio, TX AT & T Center, with Franz Ferdinand
08-11 St. Louis, MO Scottrade Center, with Franz Ferdinand
08-12 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center, with Franz Ferdinand
08-13 Omaha, NE Quest Center, with Franz Ferdinand
08-15 Denver, CO Pepsi Center, with Franz Ferdinand
08-16 Salt Lake City, UT ESA (Energy Sol Arena), with Franz Ferdinand
08-18 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion, with Franz Ferdinand
08-20 San Diego, CA Cox Arena, with Franz Ferdinand
08-21 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay, with Franz Ferdinand
08-22 Phoenix, AZ US Air Arena, with Franz Ferdinand
08-24 Sacramento, CA Arco Arena, with Franz Ferdinand
08-25 Los Angeles, CA Forum, with Franz Ferdinand
09-28 Lisbon, Portugal Atlantico Pavilion
09-29 Madrid, Spain Palacio de Deportes de la Comunidad
10-01 Barcelona, Spain Palau Sant Jordi
10-02 Toulouse, France Zenith
10-04 Paris, France Bercy
10-05 Cologne, Germany Cologne Arena
10-07 Berlin, Germany World Arena
10-08 Hamburg, Germany Color Line Arena
10-09 Copenhagen, Denmark Forum
10-11 Stockholm, Sweden The Globe
10-12 Oslo, Norway Spectrum
10-16 Rotterdam, Netherlands Ahoy
10-17 Antwerp, Belgium Sportpalais
10-19 Glasgow, Scotland SECC
10-20 Belfast, Northern Ireland Odyssey Arena
10-21 Dublin, Ireland The 02
10-23 London, England The 02
10-24 London, England The 02
10-26 Sheffield, England Sheffield Arena
10-27 Birmingham, England LG Arena
10-28 Birmingham, England LG Arena
10-30 Manchester, England MEN Arena
10-31 Manchester, England MEN Arena
11-01 London, England Wembley Arena
11-03 Munich, Germany Olympiahalle
11-06 Vienna, Austria Stadthalle
11-08 Zurich, Switzerland Hallenstadion
11-10 Milan, Italy Datchforum
11-11 Bologna, Italy Futur Show
11-12 Turin, Italy Palaolimpico