Green Day’s “21st Century Breakdown” meets the critics

Green Day - 21st Century BreakdownFive years after releasing 2004’s career-defining American Idiot, Green Day is back with their follow-up, 21st Century Breakdown, hitting stores today. Does it live up to the considerable hype?

According to Bullz-Eye’s David Medsker, Breakdown is a solid 3.5-star affair — perhaps not the towering achievement that Idiot was, but as he says, you have to “give the band credit … for not shying away from the impossible expectations that have been thrust upon them, and trying their damndest to make an album every bit as massive” as their last outing, even if their reach exceeds their grasp a bit:

The problem is that this time around, that whole reach-exceeds-their-grasp thing comes back to haunt them. The band simply bit off more than they could chew, and had they been willing to pare down the track listing to a more reasonable length (18 songs! 69 minutes!), we could be talking about Breakdown and Idiot the same way that people compare and contrast The Bends and OK Computer.

These sentiments are more or less in line with the qualified praise doled out in reviews from a number of outlets, including the UK’s Guardian (“a little less bold, a little less surprising than its predecessor”), Entertainment Weekly (“The band seem oddly immune to the fact that success … has rendered Berkeley’s gutter-boys-done-good accidental targets of their own ire”), and Popdose (“bucks the current trend of churning out singles in favor of creating deep tracks that beg for repeated listens — and may the gods bless ‘em for it!”)

And what does the band say? Well, watch this Total Assault interview clip to hear directly from the boys themselves:

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