[21st Century Breakdown tied with Endgame to win the "Favorite album of 2009" reader's poll]
21st Century Breakdown proves for Green Day that their visionary, self-reinventing American Idiot album from '04 was not just a fluke. This new album matches it's predecessor in vision, musicianship, and attitude. The songs once again paint a picture of life in a society on the brink of revolution and the struggles that go with it, paralleling many of the themes from American Idiot, but expanding into it's own concept as well.
As with American Idiot, there are recurring characters whose eyes the story is told through. For 21st Century Breakdown, the cast is a couple with the symbolic names Christian & Gloria. Whether its a struggle against a government that leaves them out in the cold, or a social norm they rage against, the story of Christian & Gloria is one that strikes a chord in all of us.
Musically, Green Day's punk-rock roots are still apparent throughout 21st Century Breakdown, although more piano can be heard on this album than on any previous Green Day album. This adds a new dimension to their sound, and it blends in seamlessly. The best examples are probably the title-track, "Last Night on Earth", and "Restless Heart Syndrome"
Thematically the album is broken into 3 acts: Heroes and Cons, Charlatans and Saints, and Horseshoes and Handgrenades. A slightly different mood is set for each segment, although the whole album still flows well from start to finish.
My top pick from Green Day's 2nd consecutive masterpiece:
-21st Century Breakdown
-Before the Lobotomy
-Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl)
-Restless Heart Syndrome
-The Static Age