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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

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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