21st Century Breakdown Songs Ranked

21st Century Breakdown is the eighth studio album by American rock band Green Day, released on May 15, 2009, through Reprise Records. Green Day commenced work on the record in January 2006 and forty-five songs were written by vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong by October 2007, but the band members did not enter studio work until January 2008. To handle the record, they turned to producer Butch Vig, best known for producing Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991). Critical response to 21st Century Breakdown was generally positive. The record achieved Green Day’s best chart performance to date, reaching number one on the album charts of various countries, including the United States Billboard 200, the European Top 100 Albums, and the United Kingdom Albums Chart. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album at the 52nd Grammy Awards on January 31, 2010. As of December 2010, 21st Century Breakdown has sold 1,005,000 copies in the United States and more than 4 million worldwide. Here are all of 21st Century Breakdown songs ranked.

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18. Song of the Century

“We all know the moment when you put on the album for the first time, and you hear the static. Then, Billie Joe’s clear and flowing voice starts the ballad sounding track. It may not be the best track but it is the best song to introduce you to the album.”

17. See the Light

“This is a good song, but it feels a little anticlimactic. Considering “Whatsername” had the same issue, I guess it was an okay way to go. One of the most underrated songs of the album. It’s just incredible! Great guitar, drums, and the piano riff at the end gives me goosebumps.

16. Christian’s Inferno

“Christian’s Inferno” is great fast-paced punk rock and reminds me of old school Green Day. continues a streak of well conceived numbers. Maybe not as strong as “¡Viva La Gloria!” or “Before The Lobotomy” perhaps, it is still an invaluable contribution to 21st CENTURY BACKGROUND, particularly the use of effects the band uses here.

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15. Last of the American Girls

“The “Last of the American Girls” paints a picture of America itself, from it’s naive hopefulness to it’s self-absorbed isolation to it’s self-perceived superiority. I love the guitar in the corus in this song. It sounds so familiar, but I can’t put my finger on it.”

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14. Peacemaker

“This is probably my favorite song on the album. It’s original, good musically (fiddle?), lyrically, just well done all around, but missing what it would take to be an excellent song. It should be a good radio single.”

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13. Viva la Gloria? (Little Girl)

“Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl)” starts off as a slow piano ballad, but quickly builds up to an upbeat rock song with a great melody. The most underrated from the album, haunting vocals, amazing guitar work and a piano riff that sounds like something from an old fashion horror movie.”

12. Before the Lobotomy

“The beginning is very light, with just arpeggiated chords and vocals. When the electric guitar kicks in with the drums and bass it sounds similar to American Idiot. This is the third piecemeal song on the album. This time, there are quick hits sandwiched in a soft song.”

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11. The Static Age

“This song sounds a bit like “Church on Sunday” from “Warning,” which wasn’t a very good song from which to borrow. It feels like a filler song. “The Static Age” proves to be another treat, with pounding drums and rhythmic guitar intact.”

10. Restless Heart Syndrome

“Brilliant! It is like the great divide between Acts II and III. It reminds me of Goodbye Cruel World from Pink Floyd’s the wall, BUT ONLY IN THE WAY IT SEPARATES THE ACTS! Musically it is another epic worthy of praise.”

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9. Murder City

“Really sounds like an old school Green Day punkish kind of song. Billie Joe has also said this was his favorite on the album because the album was nothing like their previous work because of huge amounts of piano of this album. This song goes back to the basic rocking Green Day songs and is the strongest most memorable song here.”

8. Viva la Gloria!

“This is one of my favorite songs on the album. It has a nice opening piano piece, and it breaks into a high energy rock song. Gloria becomes the St. Jimmy of this album in further songs. Easily stands out as a significant track from 21st CENTURY BREAKDOWN.” 

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7. Last Night on Earth

“”Last Night On Earth” finds a more sensitive Billie Joe, again utilizing piano! Billie Joe’s vocals are fantastic here and the performance is very touching, well constructed, and sincere. By this time, given successive listeners, the rock opera begins to make more sense.”

6. American Eulogy: Mass Hysteria / Modern World

“This is divided into two parts. The first is Mass Hysteria, which is great and the other is Modern World, which makes this song another epic. Mike’s voice is just so amazing!”

See more: Green Day Songs Ranked

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5. Know Your Enemy

“This is the first single on the album, and also the only straight-ahead rock/punk song. It’s too repetitive and relatively lazy to be considered that good.”

4. Horseshoes and Handgrenades

“I think this is the only song with explicit language, what got the album booted out of Wal-Mart. Considering that it’s not really necessary to have it, I think they should have compromised their “artistic integrity.” It’s a good rock song, but a little too much distortion on the verses, and the lyrics are a bit lazy.”

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3. East Jesus Nowhere

“It’s different from anything Green Day has done, and it’s pretty good. It’s not very captivating though; I think because of all the interspersed quiet voice. It’s one of the many cases on this album where too many ideas were thrown together at once.”

2. 21st Century Breakdown

“This is a rhapsody, like “Jesus of Suburbia,” but shorter. It’s good, but not nearly as clever lyrically as “Jesus of Suburbia.” The comparison is fair because this also seems to be a character-oriented montage.”

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1. 21 Guns

“This is definitely the most memorable song on the album. Unfortunately, it’s also far too pompous and insincere. I’ll go into further detail on the closing comments, but this song exemplifies both the good and the bad of this album.”