Green Day’s ‘Know Your Enemy’ Video: Rock, Flames And More Flames!

Band keeps things straightforward for first video from 21st Century Breakdown.

Mathew Cullen is a man of his word.

He’s the guy who directed [artist id="988"]Green Day’s[/artist] much-anticipated , and when MTV News spoke with him late last month, he had just wrapped shooting on the clip, which he described thusly:

“It was definitely the biggest video I’ve ever done. It has a lot of really big visuals, because I was trying to match the song, which is huge. … The video is Green Day performing. There isn’t another single person in it.”

And he pretty much hit the nail on the head. The “Know Your Enemy” video is plenty big — wooshing helicopters and tracing searchlights and cavernous urban sprawl and fistfuls of flames. And it’s also pretty basic: Green Day performing.

Of course, fans will lap it up: the guys returning after a long hiatus, looking lean and mean, sounding lock-step tight and hammer-heavy. That’s a common theme on 21st Century Breakdown … a surging, twisting stomper of an album, full of lightning-quick time changes and windmilling guitar lines and, like Cullen told us last month, he was just trying to pay tribute to those massive hooks by letting Green Day’s performance speak for itself. His “Enemy” video certainly does that.

Its sentiments may lie in punk, but it is clearly an album influenced by classic rock: the flair of the Who’s Pete Townshend, the rumble of Bruce Springsteen and the spirit of the Kinks’ Ray Davies are readily apparent. The spit and venom of John Lydon isn’t.

And the video’s simplicity carries over to the album. After all, as the first single of a huge album, this thing could’ve been a special-effects enhanced, green-screen infused trainwreck. But instead, it’s powerful and straightforward: Here’s Green Day. They rock. Watch them do so. When the band is this good and the music so fist-pumpingly raucous, there’s really nothing else you need to say.