Speaking of "the class-warrior socialist elite of this nation [continuing] to press their agenda to the point of national suicide," as we just were, it is notable that the alt-punk rock band Green Day is about to release another politically charged CD criticizing economic liberty, Christians, and a variety of other evils.
It’s a concept album with a story and is the Bay Area band’s follow-up to its 2004 anti-Bush diatribe, American Idiot, which proved the wickedness of market capitalism by selling twelve million copies.
The new album, 21st Century Breakdown (to be released this Friday and now available on Rhapsody and ready for preorder on amazon.com), is more musically diverse than the band’s previous efforts (not a particularly difficult standard to exceed, to be sure) but just as simple in its lyrics and ideas ("Dream, America, dream, . . . Scream, America, scream"), unless you consider it very sophisticated to criticize the public as too complacent in accepting circumstances Green Day does not like. There are a couple of nice turns of phrase sprinkled in, but mostly the lyrics are not good enough to earn an eighth-grade public school student better than a B.
Musically the album is quite enjoyable overall (except the boring "Horseshoes and Handgrenades"[sic]), so it will be interesting to see if a record condemning its potential audience will be as popular as the one that piled on top of an inarticulate president whose popularity was rapidly declining.
At least 21st Century Breakdown is not dreary and lugubrious like the deadly ooze emanating from Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, and other such politically engaged rockers in the past few years. As a result, it’s currently the top-selling album at amazon.com.
Given that the great majority of rock lyrics are unsophisticated inanities, audiences will probably be well able to ignore the lyrics of 21st Century Breakdown and just enjoy the tunes.
—S. T. Karnick