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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Green Day: 21st Century Breakdown

"Tuned Into Pop Culture" guest contributor Nick Carrabine is a News-Herald staff writer.

For many reasons, it has taken me a while to sit down and actually write a review for this album.

For one, it came out and was overshadowed in the same week as Eminem’s “Relapse,” and I still had fresh ears for Silverstein’s “A Shipwreck in the Sand,” which I had purchased a few days before “breakdown.”

Two, every time I started listening to “breakdown,” I would switch the disc right back to either “Relapse” or “shipwreck” which bodes well for the other two artists but for Green Day? Not so much.

It’s not that I don’t like “breakdown” or I think it’s a bad album, but it doesn’t have too many songs on it that make me want more.

There aren’t any songs that are truly bad but there are only a handful of songs that I’d categorize as great.

As I stated in one of my first blogs, “breakdown” was one of my most anticipated releases for 2009 but I questioned how they would follow-up their monumental release of 2004s “American Idiot” which not only put the band back on the map again, but put them on such a high pedestal that it put them in a position where it was nearly impossible to go anywhere but down again.

It’s kind of like dating an extremely hot girl for a few years, breaking up and then every other girl after that just seems kind of bland.

"Breakdown," to me, is that other girl.

“Breakdown” is another “concept” album. As I mentioned in my “Shipwreck” review, there are two types of concept albums.

One is when a band says they are making a concept album with a storyline and the album actually reflects that storyline throughout.

The other is when a band says they are making a concept album with a storyline and the album hardly resembles that storyline throughout, rather just personal lyrics told through other character’s perspectives.

“Shipwreck” is the former and “breakdown” is the latter. And by no means am I comparing a Silverstein album against a two-decade legendary punk rock group. I’m just saying, one album kept true to its concept, which shouldn’t make or break an album either way. I just wish bands would stop throwing the “this is our concept record” card.

“Breakdown” supposedly follows a couple named Christian and Gloria following the presidency of President Bush, dealing with the mess left behind. From there on out, it’s anyones guess of where the story goes.

Another issue I have with ‘breakdown” is it is a pretty long record with 18 songs running seconds short of 70 minutes.

If you cut it to “Idiot’s” length, which was just 13 songs and 57 minutes, we may be having a whole different outcome.

When you have 18 songs on an album and only a few are great, it’s hard to keep the listener choosing from other albums in the car.

It’s a tough album to review because if it weren’t for “idiot,” which I find is the band’s best work by far, this could have been reviewed more positively. But, my expectations simply weren’t met. It’s no one’s fault. Kudos to Green Day for making one of the better albums of the past decade (and I'm referring to "idiot").

Those aren’t easy to follow-up.

Listen to:

¿Viva la Gloria? (Little Girl)

Restless Heart Syndrome



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