Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown: #561 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown

So why is Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

While living in the dorms in Binghamton University in upstate New York, posters for Green Day’s debut album, Dookie, were as ubiquitous as those for the Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head and Pearl Jam’s Ten.

By the time that 21st Century Breakdown was released some 15 years later in 2009, Green Day had been in my and all of our lives for quite a long time. And, looking back, the five year gap between the release of the fantastic American Idiot album and 21st Century Breakdown aligned with a time and age in my life when I was much less attuned to keeping up with the latest releases from bands and artists I was into.

Which is all to say that it took me some amount of time to find my way “back” to 21st Century Breakdown in what’s now a pretty enormous catalog of output from our intrepid troupe of pop punkers from San Francisco’s East Bay.

And which is also to say: I’m very glad that I did. While 21st Century Breakdown doesn’t quite hit the dramatic and musical peaks that American Idiot reaches, it has similar-ish ambitions and achieves its own pretty great heights.

“Before the Lobotomy” for my money is the best song of the album’s 18 tracks. It starts off with a gentle guitar arpeggio and Billie Joe Armstrong’s vocals before zooming into a classic arena-ready pop punk riff. And by the song’s end, you feel like you’ve experienced a mini-rock opera in under five minute’s time.

“Know Your Enemy,” not to be confused with the iconic Rage Against the Machine track, has a “classic” Green Day feel in terms of its delightful pop punk hook and vocal harmonies. It also changes up the musical dynamics just enough throughout to keep things exciting. In terms of its lyrics, Green Day’s targets are violence and the silence that prevents us from exposing and rooting it out.

“East Jesus Nowhere” is a fun rocker with a great, soaring sound that Green Day has perfected over many years.

Some stats & info about Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Alternative Rock, Pop Punk, Punk Rock, SF Bay Area Bands
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating3.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was 21st Century Breakdown released? 2009
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #561 out of 1,000

Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Well, I’ve got a fever, I’m a non-believer, I’m in a state of grace, for I am the Caesar, I’m gonna seize the day.  

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.