Green Day: Billie Joe Armstrong (vocals, guitar, piano); Mike Dirnt (vocals, bass guitar); Tre Cool (drums, percussion).
Additional personnel: Jason Freese (piano).
Audio Mixer: Chris Lord-Alge.
Audio Remasterer: Ted Jensen.
Recording information: Costa Mesa Studio, Costa Mesa, CA; Jel Studios, Newport Beach, CA; Ocean Way Recording, Hollywood, CA; Studio 890, Oakland, CA.
Photographers: Chris Bilheimer; Marina Chavez.
Arranger: Tom Kitt.
Still enamored of the concept of the concept album more than four years after AMERICAN IDIOT, Green Day unveiled its rock-opera sequel, 21ST CENTURY BREAKDOWN, in 2009. Like its predecessor, BREAKDOWN wholeheartedly embraces the iconic punk-pop act's shift to a stadium-filling sound, while also remaining loyal to the San Francisco-based trio's progressive sociopolitical outlook. Even with a president in the White House that outspoken frontman Billie Joe Armstrong supports, he still finds plenty to rail against, with much of BREAKDOWN alluding to the earlier Bush years of the new millennium, particularly the surging, Queen-like title track.
Aiding Armstrong and his comrades in their sonic attack against conservative authority is renowned producer (and Garbage member) Butch Vig, best known for helming Nirvana's NEVERMIND. Completely in sync with Green Day's grand vision, Vig helps to create the huge spaces for the band to construct their anthems, as best heard on the resonant anti-war tune "21 Guns." Unabashedly unsubtle and lifted by passionate restlessness, BREAKDOWN succeeds as AMERICAN IDIOT Mark II, proving that Green Day has no intention of scaling back its intriguingly ambitious approach.
Spin (p.85) - "There's some stretching stylistically: Two different songs called 'Viva La Gloria!' open with piano, while the lush, mid-tempo 'Last Night on Earth' and 'Restless Heart Syndrome' ape mid-period Beatles..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.56) - "Give credit where thrashing, three-chord credit is due....No matter how arrested their style and subject matter, Green Day remain remarkably good at high-blast anthems that burrow directly into the pogo-ing, lizard-brain id." -- Grade: B
Billboard (p.34) - "The album is a call to arms for the digital age, and 20 years into its career, Green Day's ambition continues to dazzle."
Q (Magazine) (p.114) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Bold, ambitious and revelling in the chaos of our age, 21ST CENTURY BREAKDOWN is another perfect document of our times."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.132) - "Billie Joe Armstrong isn't afraid to spit out exactly what he's feeling, now matter how nihilistic..."