Sound — 9
Green Day was one of the forerunners of the pop-punk era in the early nineties with The Offspring, etc. That embraced the use of power chords. Though power chords are very much relavent and common on this album, it's a bit more so. The guitar work, while still not a Hendrix or any "great" guitarist, was a bit better than a usual Green Day album. Solos were also a bit more impressive than what I'm used to from Green Day. Butch Vig did an excellent job as the producer for this, and each song is well put together and mixed. Something that intrigued me is the similarities between the first two songs and last two songs. The beginning of "American Eulogy" is basically "Song of the Century" with different lyrics, and "21st Century Breakdown" and "See the Light" have the same exact intros. Overall though, the sound was well done on the record, which is to be expected from a band who has done this as long as Green Day.
Lyrics — 10
Billie Joe Armstrong is an exceptional songwriter. Probably one of the better lyricists in music today. Each song's lyrics are well written (as to be expected) and express some strong emotion, whether it's anger, depression, or love. Listening to this can make me feel the chaos and confusion that this album is trying to convey. There's a couple of parts that are redundant, such as the chorus for "Know Your Enemy". Some find it annoying, I actually find it fairly catchy. The lyrics match beautifully with the music, and compliments it very well. Billie Joe's vocals were better than I could have expected, showing everyone he can sing in falsetto. "21 Guns" is a beautiful example of how his voice has evolved since American Idiot. It's also good to hear Mike Dirnt sing a good bit of "American Eulogy", as he sang his vocals nicely as well.
Overall Impression — 9
By no means does it replace Dookie or Nimrod from my heart, but it was a step into the right direction after American Idiot. It is a very solid album and deserves the hype and sales it's been getting. The songs that caught my attention on this album are "21 Guns", "Before the Lobotomy", "Last of the American Girls", the title track "21st Century Breakdown", "Last Night on Earth", and "American Eulogy". My only complaint is that I was expecting Green Day to go back to their roots with a Nimrod/Dookie-ish album, and as good as this album is, it wasn't what I was expecting. But other than that, it is a great album that I would recommend to anyone who is into mainstream rock, pop-punk, alternative rock, etc. If my copy was lost, I'd definitely buy it again.