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Green Day Nail Down "21st Century Breakdown" Release Date: May 15th

March 25, 2009 11:08 AM ET

Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown — the band's eighth studio record and first since 2004's Grammy-winning American Idiot — has a firm release date: May 15th. While Tuesday is the traditional release day for albums in the States, the band is following the lead of labelmates Metallica and dropping its album worldwide on a Friday. First single "Know Your Enemy" will hit digital retailers in April, and the track's video will debut on MTV and VH1 on April 24th. "American Idiot marked a really high bar for us," Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong tells Rolling Stone for our Spring Album Preview. "It's easy to go, 'OK, we can just write a collection of songs.' But there was something about trying to keep going for it."

As Rock Daily reported in our first listen to Breakdown, the 16-track album is broken into three acts — Heroes and Cons, Charlatans and Saints, and Horseshoes and Handgrenades — and ranges from garage rock to Queen-style grandeur. In our Spring Preview, Armstrong reveals the band plans to perform the whole album, all three exhausting acts, on a summer world tour.

Since the trek won't launch until July, feast your eyes on a career-spanning gallery of Green Day photos here: Green Day's Build Up to the "Breakdown": A Look Back at the Punk Trio's Career.

Plus, get the lowdown on 45 more of the season's most anticipated albums in our Spring Music Preview: Studio reports, photos and music from Neil Young, Black Eyed Peas, Wilco and more.

Related Stories:

First Listen: Green Day Revive Dramatic Political Punk on 21st Century Breakdown
Billie Joe Armstrong on Bush, Britney and the Future of Punk

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Madame George”

Van Morrison | 1968

One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

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