21st Century Breakdown
Do you remember when American Idiot came out, and everyone loved it? I do. I remember it. I bought the album the day it came out, and I even anticipated it. A friend of mine got an advanced copy, and she pumped me up for its release. It didn't disappoint. I listened to it on repeat for months. I even went as far as to learn the entire album on guitar. It was immediately after I'd started playing, and I had just bought my first electric, so the timing was right. It seemed set to be one of the important albums of my adolescence.
But something happened. My affection for the album decayed, and rapidly. I haven't listened to it in a year, at least. The last time I tried, I didn't make it more than twenty seconds into any of the songs. It's almost as though I've developed an allergic reaction. And I know I'm not the only one. What changed?
Whatever nagged me is still there. My enjoyment of Green Day in general has waned as I've aged, aside from my undying appreciation for "Basket Case." Perhaps this renders me unfit to review their newest offering, 21st Century Breakdown. On the other hand, it also allows me to objectively notice a few things. For one, I compliment their ambition. Say what you want, but, aside from Cage the Elephant, who may or may not prove to be of any importance, Green Day may be the only ROCK band aiming for the highest peak. They're certainly the leaders in their field, commercially, which was something no one expected from them at this point in their careers. And they've changed. American Idiot walked a line between what Green Day were and what they were contemplating becoming. Just because I'm not fond of what they've become doesn't mean they weren't brilliantly successful, and 21st Century Breakdown is the band committing to their new role, their new direction.
It picks up the "Concept Album" baton from American Idiot, and, of course, the story makes no sense. But that's part of the glory of their elite league, the lucky bastards. Whether you think the music deserves the stadiums of adoring fans, the millions of units shifted in a time when millions of units just don't shift, and the stellar reviews, or you think it's a disgrace to modern music, your opinion is now irrelevant, and so is mine. They are The Who of this decade, the dark horse pop band over in the corner who kept making their music bigger, because no one else noticed there was room for it. Kudos, boys.