21st Century Breakdown (music)

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They're playing the song of the century
Of panic and promise and prosperity
Tell me a story into that goodnight
Sing us a song for me


21st Century Breakdown is a Rock Opera by the rock band Green Day released as a follow-up to their popular album American Idiot. The plot follows two lovers named Christian and Gloria, who are followed in the story as they witness the many new trials faced by the common man in the recent years of America (Mainly told in first-person from the point of Christian).

Several of the themes looked at by Christian (Who is most definitely not a terrorist) include religion, politics, and vengeance, along with being heavily involved in his relationship with Gloria. He is very cynical about most large organizations, and feels he and Gloria must stand up for The Everyman. Gloria, meanwhile, is trying to hold onto her original beliefs while trying to help Christian as well.

Several tracks, including "Know Your Enemy" and "21 Guns", are used in the Broadway production of American Idiot.

The Album is Seperated into three acts.

Track list:


1. Song of the Century
Act I: Heros and Cons-
2. 21st Century Breakdown
3. Know Your Enemy
4. ¡Viva la Gloria!
5. Before the Lobotomy
6. Christian's Inferno
7. Last Night on Earth
Act II: Saints and Charlatans-
8. East Jesus Nowhere
9. Peacemaker
10. Last of the American Girls
11. Murder City
12. ¿Viva la Gloria? (Little Girl)
13. Restless Heart Syndrome
Act III: Horseshoes and Handgrenades-
14. Horseshoes and Handgrenades
15. The Static Age
16. 21 Guns
17. American Eulogy
A. Mass Hysteria
B. Modern World
18. See the Light

Tropes used in 21st Century Breakdown (music) include:

I want to take a walk to the great divide
Beyond the up-to-date and the neo-gentrified
The high-definition for the low resident
Where the value of your mind is not held in contempt


Well, violence is an energy, oh ay, oh ay
Well, from here to eternity, oh ay, oh ay
Well, violence is an energy, oh ay, oh ay
Well, silence is the enemy
So gimme, gimme REVOLUTION!


I'm not stoned
I'm just fucked-up
I got so high
I can't stand up

  • Shout-Out: As listed in the Homage trope-page, the line "I once was lost, but never was found" is a shout-out to "Amazing Grace".
    • "Last of the American Girls" could be a shout-out to the Tom Petty song "American Girl".
    • And let's not forget the several mentions to John Lennon's "Working Class Hero" (which the guys happened to do a cover of themselves, so this one was more obvious).
    • The line "Last one born and the first one to run" is a shout-out to Bruce Springsteen.
    • Perhaps in 21 Guns, the line "when it's time to live and let die" is a shout out to Paul McCartney's song from the James Bond movie.
    • Also "My Generation is zero" that precedes "Never made it as a Working Class Hero" may be a shout out to the Who's My Generation, which they covered in their Kerplunk album.
  • Step Up to the Microphone: Bassist Mike Dirnt sings most of "Modern World".
  • Subdued Section: The two "Song of the Century" sections, "21 Guns," "Last Night on Earth," the beginnings of "Restless Hearts Syndrome", "¿Viva la Gloria? (Little Girl)", and "Before the Lobotomy."
  • Three Chords and the Truth: It's Green Day. You should expect this by this point. However, not as much as previous works.
  • Troubled but Cute
  • Wham! Line: "Restless Heart Syndrome" changes Gloria's entire image with the line: "Know your enemy."
    • Normal chorus for "Last Night on Earth": "My beating heart belongs to you/I walked for miles 'til I found you/I'm here to honor you/If I lose everything in the fire/I'm sending all my love to you" Final chorus: "...I'm here to honor you/If I lose everything in the fire/Did I ever make it through?"
  • Write Who You Know: Mike Dirnt has speculated that Armstrong wrote "The Last of the American Girls" about his wife, Adrienne.