When asked to, most people characterize Green Day as an emotional band. Their sound, loaded with anger, fear and confusion, came to a head in their last album, American Idiot. The political anxiety that facilitated Idiot is no more, as their latest LP, 21st Century Breakdown, focuses on larger social ills.
Breakdown tells the tale of of two characters: the pessimistic Christian and the more optimistic Gloria. These two contrasting individuals allow Green Day to show the youths' reaction to modern culture.
Breakdown stands apart from the majority of mainstream pop and rock by demanding that it be listened to as an album, as opposed to a collection of songs. It marks yet another diverse change in the band's sound, infusing a heavy dose of crunching brit-rock into their already formidable fist-pumping punk aesthetic.
The story begins with "Song of the Century," introducing a cynical understanding of modern society. Lead single "Know Your Enemy" gives voice to a generation of youths betrayed and unsure of who is responsible for the current social wrongs. "Restless Heart Syndrome" -- reminiscent of the Beatles' "Abbey Road" -- gives Gloria's persona a clear voice. "See the Light" is a fitting end to Breakdown. "Light" culminates the story in a chockablock fashion, leaving listeners assured that the young couple have hope to right humanity's wrongs.