’21st Century Breakdown’: Breaking Down Green Day’s Second Concept Album

Green Day’s 21st Century Breakdown, the band’s follow-up to the epochal American Idiot, was one of 2009’s most eagerly awaited albums and it more than lived up to all of the anticipation. On Green Day’s eighth studio album, the band returned in peak form with the hits “Know Your Enemy,” “21 Guns,” “East Jesus Nowhere,” “Last of the American Girls” plus the tempo-changing title track.  Many had speculated whether or not the band could recapture the success of their previous Grammy Award-winning opus, but all of those fears were quickly put to rest with their second three-part punk rock opera. 21st Century Breakdown delivered an abundance of material for listeners to sink their teeth into, as the disc clocked in at just under 70 minutes. In hindsight, 21st Century Breakdown was every bit as good as American Idiot, if not better.

Unlike American Idiot, 21st Century Breakdown was divided up into three separate acts (Act I: Heroes and Cons, Act II: Charlatans and Saints and Act III: Horseshoes and Handgrenades), which gave the album a very distinct beginning, middle and end. This made for a more diversified album that provided the listener with the feeling of immersion within a complete story, as well as trekking alongside the narrative’s characters. Familiar musical themes were repeated throughout, which had been designated to each of the characters, much in the same way John Williams did with his score in Star Wars. The album’s lyrics provided vivid images that allowed the listener to visualize the action as it unfolded within each of the set’s 18 songs… [Read Full Retrospective]


Remembering David Bowie 1947 – 2016

This week inconceivably marks two years since David Bowie’e untimely passing, but it’s still hard to believe he’s gone. This week, on what would have been his 71st birthday, I am once again exploring his extensive catalog, as I fondly reflect upon my personal journey of discovery into the bewildering artistry of Bowie. [Click here to read my celebratory recollection]

Justin Timberlake Drops First Track from ‘Man of the Woods’

Less than a month before headlining the halftime show at the 52nd Super Bowl, Justin Timberlake has just released a funky new track titled “Filthy,” which is the first preview from his upcoming album, Man of the Woods. Upon my first few listens, I must confess my initial reaction is mixed. I like the groove-a-licious beat, but my ears and brain keep endlessly searching for a hook that makes me want to give it repeated attention and I’m not entirely convinced this new tune has the power to bring sexy back.

“Filthy” doesn’t make me feel dirty or clean, just apprehensive, as it ultimately seems like a step backwards from the Tenn. Man’s exceptional 20/20 Experience. However, I don’t want to jump to premature conclusions, because if I’ve only learned one thing over the years, it’s that you can’t always judge an album from its lead-off single.

Click below to decide for yourself:

Hello 2018!

It’s a new year and that means thrilling new musical projects are on the horizon for 2018. The past year gave us quite a few gems including new releases from Tori Amos, Beck, Eminem, The Killers, U2, Guardians of the Galaxy 2’s Awesome Mix Vol. 2 and the first proper solo effort from Liam Gallagher before 2017 ultimately concluding with holiday gifts from Sia, Tom Chaplin and Gwen Stefani.

As we proceed into 2018, we have several exciting items waiting in the wings such as new albums from Florence + the Machine, Father John Misty, Justin Timberlake, MGMT, The 1975 and a new remake of A Star Is Born, containing new music from Lady Gaga. There’s also U2’s highly anticipated Experience + Innocence Tour, so 2018 sounds as if it will be engrossing.

Cheers to a great new year and happy listening to all.


Fun, Dreams and an Adventure of a Lifetime: Recalling Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams Tour

(Photo: Coldplay in Cleveland by Eric Allen © 2017 Popmartzoo)

“This was our first chapter. From now on we’ll only be full of surprises,” was recently posted on Coldplay’s Facebook page upon completion of the A Head Full of Dreams Tour in Buenos Aires. The sentiment reinforced the mysterious cloud of uncertainty which hangs over Coldplay’s future as a band. Chris Martin has alleged on more than one occasion the band’s seventh album, A Head Full of Dreams marks “the completion of something.” He’s also proclaimed he doesn’t envision another proper Coldplay full-length in the future. While it doesn’t sound like the band members themselves know for sure what lies ahead for the best-selling rock band of this century, it seems all but guaranteed it’ll be some time before we find out what will come next.

Coldplay’s latest tour, which ran from March 2016 through October 2017, included 114 shows and became the third-highest grossing concert tour of all time, and ticket sales grossed a total of $523,033,675. Now that the profound A Head Full of Dreams Tour has ended its trek around the globe, I can’t help recalling the magical adventure of the three shows I was lucky enough to attend.

After my two unforgettable experiences in 2016, I was luckily and unexpectedly presented with an opportunity to travel an additional 600 miles to attend another date of Coldplay’s tour in Cleveland. This time, my best friend from high school was in tow, as he’d never before seen Coldplay live. I must admit I was not only curious if the show would have the same impact on me a year later, but I also wondered if it would impress my best friend in the same manner it had affected me previously. I’m happy to report the answers to both questions are yes and YES! [Read Full Story]

Music Condescension: A Sanctimonious Affliction

We’ve all encountered and endured the hyperbolic rantings of music snobs. You know the type; someone who not only thinks they know more than the average music buff, but more than anyone else, period. The stereotypical music fanatic feels self-important and even entitled to an unjustified sense of coolness by playing the anti-mainstream music game; declaring a particular favorite band or artist is better than whomever someone else is listening to because said artist is more obscure. Yet, these so-called music aficionados are the first to abandon their favorites upon the very first sign of even a miniscule amount of commercial triumph, because of some imaginary belief system based on tiresome and ridiculous self-imposed “rules,” which decree mainstream success is evil and taboo.

Now before you start thinking to yourself that I’m the pot calling the kettle black, understand my point is this: I don’t think my musical taste is superior or inferior to anyone else’s. But then again, I’m certainly not the type of musical hypocrite who will stop listening to a band or artist I’ve followed for years just because the mainstream masses eventually jump on the proverbial band wagon (pun intended). Also, I’ll readily admit I’ve had countless first-hand experiences of initially rejecting particular artists too hastily based upon bad first impressions, only to discover later I had prematurely misjudged or overlooked their significant musical contributions. [Read Full Feature]