21st Century Breakdown

Music review by
Conny Coon, Common Sense Media
21st Century Breakdown Music Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Pointed lyrics, gritty language infuse political rock opera.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 50 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages

Several religious references may be offensive to some.


Much of the theme of the album is war, its effects, and its aftermath, so there are numerous references to bombs, guns (including one song called “21 Guns”) and death as well as mentions of a Molotov cocktail, St. Valentine’s massacre, suicide, and genocide. Terms that could be construed as violent in tone, however, are actually literate, metaphorical references that work within the context of the album’s theme.


No overt content, just one reference to orgasm.


This album is labeled "explicit" primarily for the language on a handful of songs. Specifically, “f--k,” “s—t,” “hell” and “goddamned.”

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several references to substances including: “I’m not stoned/I’m just f--ked up” and “I got so high I can’t stand up.” A couple of references to cigarettes, pills, alcohol and being “wasted.”

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's no shortage of four-letter words and violent imagery on this highly anticipated new album by Green Day, but in context, they are used to articulate the band's highly political views of war, the media, and revolution. Sophisticated teens will appreciate the clever metaphors and complex themes.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byMovieboy321 April 26, 2015

Green day at its political level

This green day album is explicit and might be offensive to some but magnificently good at the same time. This album experiences with modern day violence and po... Continue reading
Adult Written byHot Fuss April 13, 2012

I once was lost but never was found

21st Century Breakdown is the 8th CD by Green Day. I will review every song and give its content rating.

1. Song of the Century: short song, pretty bad
2. 21st... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byKaiden Wii April 9, 2017

A Spectactular Album

While this album cannot possibly reach the greatness of its predecessor (American Idiot), it is indeed a truly powerful album with great meaning and heavy lyric... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bybaesean August 23, 2012

Not Bad.

Songs. Violence is not an issue, ladies and gentleman. It's words. It's not like they're talking about stalking a man, getting angry at him for n... Continue reading

What's the story?

It's been nearly five years since Green Day's Grammy-winning political rock opera American Idiot took the music world by storm and demonstrated Green Day's musical maturity. Their new release 21st Century Breakdown picks up where that album left off, this time taking on the aftermath of the Bush administration and the state of the nation. Offered up in three "acts," the album features two recurring characters, Christian and Gloria, and is a politically impassioned rock-and-roll rage against war, apathy, and blindly following leadership.

Is it any good?

If you agree with Green Day's view of the world, this album will feel like a fist-pumping call to action. But even if you don't agree, it'll be hard to resist the urge to pump your fists. Musically, there's something for everyone here including saloon-style crooning, angry anthems, power ballads -- even violins. The album's backbone remains a solid mix of angry guitars, pounding drums, and the passionate vocals and lyrics (often laced with four-letter words) they've become known for.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what real-life issues the band is railing against. Is there a specific message or theme that is the focus of the album as a whole? Can music with a message be a force for change? Does the band’s message hold up as strongly as it did before even though they’ve had a lot of critical and financial success?

Music details

  • Artist: Green Day
  • Release date: April 15, 2009
  • Label: Reprise
  • Genre: Alternative Rock
  • Parental advisory: Yes
  • Edited version available: No
  • Last updated: July 15, 2015

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