It’s widely accepted that [artist id="988"]Green Day’s[/artist] American Idiot was “the George W. Bush album.” So what, then, would you call 21st Century Breakdown, an album written during the final years of Bush’s second term, recorded during the dog days of the 2008 election, and released into a world flush with hope, change and all manners of Obama-mania?
If you’re Green Day, you call it an opportunity — to open eyes and minds, to question authority, and to make people realize that there’s still plenty out there to be outraged about.
“I think, like, if you compare where we’re at now to, like, five years ago, I think we’re actually in a worse situation. We’re fighting two wars. … It kind of goes from one crisis to the next,” frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said. “From, you know, the swine flu to financial meltdowns and people losing their homes. … There are a lot of desperate people in the world right now, and it can make you feel paranoid and desperate and out of control.
“But at the same time, there is this new person that’s hopeful. But you have to go beyond hope when it comes to anyone in office; you have to have expectations,” he continued. “Because you can sit there and hope for something, but chances are it’s not going to happen. But when you expect something to happen, it’s more of a call to arms and you’re taking action.”
So even though most of Breakdown was written before the election — Armstrong said the fiery “Murder City” was the only song he penned post-Obama — the themes that run through the songs are just as important today as they were, say, during the Idiot heyday. For better or worse.
And Green Day are more than up to the task at hand. They’ll be taking their show on the road starting in early July, and even though they’re all in their late 30s, they’re ready to bring the fight to the masses.
“We’ve always been the band that’s worked harder than anyone, so we’re ready,” Armstrong smiled. “We don’t really have time to sit around and count our gray hairs and wrinkles.”
“Yeah,” drummer Tré Cool added. “We’re too busy being awesome.”