“21st Century Breakdown” (MP3)

    My editor is probably going to be pissed at me for posting this track so late. We are competitng against other sites, he is sure to tell to tell me, and we will lose traffic by not posting this track in a timelier manner. That may not be the case; Warner Brothers has spent the past 24 hours taking down videos and MP3 sites that have been posting "21st Cenutry Breakdown," the newest leaked Green Day track. and our link to a ZShare file posted on CultureBully, combined with our high Google authority, will probably make this a relatively productive post traffic0-wise. But this kind of talk, which goes on constantly on thousands of music, movie, and other arts blogs, websites and publications around the world, ignores one gapingly important thing: the artistic merit of the work being posted, and whether what gets written in this blurb has anything important to say, or rather just posting the MP3 for the page views is a worthy enough enterprise on its own.


     It’s too telling an internal dialogue to ignore, as that’s exactly the kind of mentality that Billy Joe Armstrong is decrying in the song that this post is about: "21st Century Breakdown," off the Green Day album of the same name, out in "stores" on May 15. Say what you will about Green Day: you can call them whores, poseurs, children’s music (as seen in Knocked Up, they are punks now deemed safe for toddlers), insincere or simply bad musicans, but what you can’t deny is that they have been the most visible and widely consumed political rock force of the decade.


    American Idiot went multi-platinum with its anti-Bush 2004 election implications. The decision to turn to rock opera was seen as a radical development, both in that the terms "punk rock opera" was once an oxymoron, and that Green Day made its name off songs about masturbation and boring Generation X consumerism. So it’s easy to see why some would scoff at their legitimacy as heroes of protest songs. Yet these scoffs are probably coming from the same people who, rather than rioting like their parents did futilely in decades past, or, even better, creating new, legitimate angry political rock, have been singing Journey at karaoke bars and playing drinking games with PBR at every major televised political event. Between apathy and struggling with political realities honestly and sometimes failingly in front of tens of millions of fans, some of whom may get the point, I’ll take Green Day any day.


    So American Idiot was huge, bombastic, and artistically hit-or-miss, as 21st Century Breadown will most likely be as well. But even if it’s doomed to failure, at least Green Day is laying all their cards on the table for millions to see. In terms of top-selling rock bands, it sure beats Hoobastank.


    The title track recalls Generation X anger towards the parents who rioted in ’68 and gave up, and also those who feel they have no hope for fighting the power, so give up prematurely and become a part of the machine. Green Day is as much a part of the machine as anyone, but at the very least, they struggle with it. And it is there, my friends, we have the difference between Generation X and Generation Y: both have been apathetic navel gazers who saw no hope to finding solutions to their rage, but Generation X felt bad about it when they gave up; Generation Y, however, lost that sense of shame. Now everyone is screwed, and we see just how important a sense of ethics can be, even if they are not maintained.


    "21st Century Breakdown" continues the punk rock opera themes of American Idiot, and it features a few good power riffs and holds its own quite well for the larger purpose of getting its lyrical message across. It’s by no means the most musically interesting or best song you’ll hear all year. Hell, it’s not even half as good as the title track on American Idiot. But the anger in the lyrics is honest, and for once in your godforsaken life, I beg you all, please, not to smirk at sincerity.


    [Download "21st Cenutry Breakdown" here.]


    “21st Century Breakdown” Lyrics from (CultureBully)

    Born into Nixon, I was raised in hell, a welfare child where the teamsters dwelled. The last one born, the first one to run, my town was blind by refinery sun.

    My generation is zero. I never made it as a working class hero. 21st century breakdown, I once was lost but never was found. I think I’m losing what’s left of my mind to the 20th century deadline.


    I was made of poison and blood, condemnation is what I understood. From Mexico to the Berlin Wall, homeland security could kill us all.


    My generation is zero. I never made it as a working class hero. 21st century breakdown, I once was lost but never was found. I think I’m losing what’s left of my mind to the 20th century deadline.


    We are the cries of the class of 13, born in the era of humility. We are the desperate in the decline raised by the bastards of 1969.


    My name is no one, your long lost son. Born on the 4th of July. Raising the bygones of heroes and cons left me for dead or alive. There is the war that’s inside my head that questions the results and lies. While breaking my back til I’m damn near well dead when enough ain’t enough to survive.


    I am an agent, a worker, a pawn. My debt to the status quo, the scars on my hands are a means to an end, it’s all that I have to show. I’m taking a loan on my sanity for the redemption of my soul. Well I am exempt from this tragedy and the 21st century fall.


    Praise, liberty, the freedom to obey, it’s a song that strangles me. Well, don’t cross the line.


    Oh, dream American dream, I can’t even sleep from rainstorms til dawn. Oh, bleed America bleed, believe what you read from heroes and cons.