Sound — 7
I'm one of the few punk fans these to admit that I really, truly enjoyed Green Day's last album, American Idiot. I really did. Theres been more hype around 21st Century Breakdown than the goddamned polio vaccine, so I had to check it out. Hell, this one's a sure-fire Grammy winner -- we've got a power-pop trio busting out a rock-opera-concept-album about how horrible the transition between the last American government and the new one is for the youth of today, all complete with some ugly cover art. Green Day's got the whole "critical acclaim" thing down to a science, and perhaps that's one of the album's biggest weaknesses. Let's get one thing straight -- this isn't the Green Day you're used to. This isn't Dookie-Green-Day, Warning-Green-Day, or even American-Idiot-Green-Day, to say the least. What you'll find in this album is pure power-pop gold, not a riff of punk or grunge to be heard. I mean, at least American Idiot had "St. Jimmy" to remind us all that this was still Green Day, folks. That being said, American Idiot is, without a doubt, one of the 2000s most influential recordings. Green Day was probably the only band at the time (or at least the only band with a mainstream record deal) to actually have the balls to give all of the US the finger. It was an amazing effort that, while it produced a lot of horrible "punk-esque" bands (here's looking at you MCR), it still gave us an edgy, dark album that was seriously missing from the mainstream at the time. Green Day's taken a 3 year break and is finally back with something that feels as if it should have come a year earlier -- Obama's in office, everything is sweet, right...? Well, not according to Billie Joe and his two minions (oh sorry, "band members"). Life now sucks more than ever, but it's sugar coated in a nice, easy to digest package of power chords and drum rolls. But why? Why can't Green Day just be, you know, serious for once? Billie Joe (and I know you're reading this), please, for the sake of us all, produce the album that we all know you're capable of producing. We heard glimpses of greatness on "21st Century Breakdown" (the track), "East Jesus Nowhere", "Horseshoes and Handgrenades" and "Restless Heart Syndrome" (the string section? thats quality stuff). Unfortunately, the album is just so goddamned sweet and happy for the other 14 tracks.
Lyrics — 7
Billie Joe, once again, you're a gifted lyricist, but what you're saying doesn't quite match the music. There's some heavy stuff to be covered here, and it doesn't really work unless paired with the lyric book included with the cd. You talk about sodomizing dogs and such great fun stuff, but its really lost when I hear what you're playing on guitar, you know?
Overall Impression — 7
Green Day has not produced a godly album here. Hell, its not even as good as their magnum opus, American Idiot. If the trio had spent just a few more months on it, maybe cut down the number of tracks to 10 or 12, we would have a great album in our hands. Unfortunately, it hasnt quite given me the same feeling as American Idiot did.