ARTIST: Green Day
TITLES: “East Jesus Nowhere,” “21 Guns,” “Restless Heart Syndrome,” “Before The Breakdown,” “21st Century Breakdown,” “American Eulogy”
WEB DEBUT: May 5, 2009
ONE-LISTEN VERDICT: The moment that American Idiot dropped in 2004, it set up a lot of opportunities to be unfair to the Bay Area trio Green Day. It was a pretty stunning achievement, a concept album that also had rousing anthems and pogo-worthy tracks. So it’s probably not surprising that reactions to 21st Century Breakdown are going to contain the word “also” a lot. But what’s surprising about the six songs from the album that premiered on radio stations in Boston and Los Angeles this morning is just how familiar they feel; “East Jesus Nowhere” is a stomping, swaggering track with a chorus that echoes “Holiday,” while “Before The Lobotomy” is another big suite of anthems. There are some differences, sure, most of which focus on the vocals; while radio rips do artists few favors, it’s hard not to be a bit mystified by Billie Joe Armstrong’s experimentation with his voice’s higher register, which turns the ballad “Restless Heart Syndrome” into something that almost sounds like a pitch for the radio-emo crowd. The vocal shenanigans continue on other tracks, with some of the backing vocals on “American Eulogy” instantly bringing to mind–and I am being honest here–”Weird Al” Yankovic’s work. Yeah, I don’t know either. Maybe they need to make another Foxboro Hot Tubs record?
WHERE TO HEAR THEM: They’re all available for download at the Green Day fansite Green Day Authority right now, although be warned: The site’s been yo-yoing up and down thanks to heavy demand.