Niagara Gazette


May 20, 2009

MUSIC: Harmonic trio of goodies awaits music fans

Good things tend to come in threes, and the musical world — a realm with which I’ve increasingly lost touch as the months have progressed — has bestowed such a triumvirate of thrills upon me.

• Green Day’s “21st Century Breakdown” came out Friday. My wife’s a much bigger Green Day fan than I am, but I can fondly recall nearly spinning a second hole in my “Dookie” album and was excited to give the record a listen.

Following the lead the band set on its last release, “American Idiot,” “Breakdown” is a concept album broken into three parts meant to seamlessly weave into one another. Through the eyes of Christian and Gloria (who has at least two songs named after her), the album melodically follows the ride many young adults might have had to date in the 21st century.

While not quite the musical revelation that its predecessor was, “Breakdown” still has the potential to be the top rock record of the year. Infused with elements of “Dookie” as well as other rock influences, including Weezer, U2 and even They Might Be Giants, the record offers a great listening while easing up — a bit — on the preachiness of “Idiot.”

The first single, “Know Your Enemy,” is good, but it’s actually a bit generic compared to much of the rest of the album, the band’s eighth. Songs such as the acoustic-driven “Restless Heart Syndrome,” the raucous “The Static Age” and the straight-up punk “Murder City” take the listener all over the emotional map, proving that the phrase “punk opera” isn’t just a marketing gimmick the band dreamed up when releasing “Idiot.”

Whatever you think of this band that used to be nothing more than a simplistic punk trio, “Breakdown” solidifies the stance that when the members of Green Day have something to say, we should all stop and listen.

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