Monday, May 4, 2009

Green Day music and the national timeline

The New York Times has reviewed Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown," comparing it to "American Idiot." One observation:

“21st Century Breakdown” follows Green Day’s “American Idiot,” the politically charged concept album from 2004 that has sold more than five million copies domestically and an estimated 12 million worldwide....

There’s no telling whether “21st Century Breakdown,” arriving at a very different cultural moment, will have the impact of “American Idiot.” That album was released in September 2004 to a country already bitterly divided over the Bush presidency. With songs about the war and an explicit rejection of the “redneck agenda,” the album was both a harbinger and a beneficiary of the Bush administration’s plummeting approval, selling steadily through 2005 as the response to Hurricane Katrina and the protracted war in Iraq turned much of the country against the government. “American Idiot” did what punk does best: it channeled frustration.

“21st Century Breakdown” lashes out even more directly, both at outward targets and at inner demons....But now there is a different and widely admired president. “21st Century Breakdown” lodges a full-spectrum protest, even calling for revolution, at a time of relative national unity.

More here. And if you go to a publication outside the country, Green Day's agenda with the new album is clarified.

Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong has declared that new album '21st Century Breakdown' has been fuelled by his distrust of politicians....

"A lot of people were born into an unlucky time, the era of George W Bush," [Armstrong] told Rolling Stone. "There is an optimism now with Obama… be aware. Don't look at this guy as the answer to our prayers. You still need to be involved."
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