In the Studio: Green Day's Ambitious "21st Century Breakdown"

February 20, 2009 4:37 PM ET
Green Day promote '21st Centruty Breakdown' in New York City.
Green Day promote '21st Centruty Breakdown' in New York City.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Nearly five years after their last album, Green Day will return this May with their latest punk masterpiece, 21st Century Breakdownan album Rolling Stone's David Fricke describes as even "more ambitious" than their Grammy-winning concept opus American Idiot. While Rock Daily was getting a first listen to Breakdown's first act, Fricke was spending time in the band's Oakland, California, studio as the trio put the finishing touches on their new, Who-inspired LP.

As we previously reported, Breakdown is a story in three acts: "Heroes and Cons," "Charlatans and Saints" and "Horseshoes and Handgrenades." "The disc loosely follows a young couple, Christian and Gloria, through the mess and promise of the century so far," Fricke writes in his In The Studio piece in our Taylor Swift-fronted issue. "They were swinging wildly for the stars on this one," says producer Butch Vig.

Further adding to the ambitious goals of the album, Armstong hopes the band will play Breakdown in its entirety when they set out on tour. "We've done the first act and half of the second. Then we look at each other and go, 'This is really hard,'" Armstrong says. "It's funny — we make our most physical album not when we're 19 but in our mid-30s."

For more on 21st Century Breakdown, be sure to check out Fricke's full report from Green Day's studio in the new issue of Rolling Stone, out now. In the meantime, check out Rock Daily's First Listen of Breakdown.

Related Stories:

Photo Gallery: Green Day Build Up to the Breakdown
First Listen: Green Day Revive Dramatic Political Punk on "21st Century Breakdown"
Green Day's New Album "21st Century Breakdown" Due in May

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

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