’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]


Garbage Live in Nashville


(Photo: Eric Allen  © 2016 PopMartZoo)


Alternative rockers Garbage returned to Music City’s historic Ryman Auditorium last night for the first time since 2005. Ferocious Scotswoman Shirley Manson captivated multitudes of devoted ‘darklings’ during a nearly 2-hour set which mined a contrasting batch of shining jewels from all six of the band’s albums including 1995 hit “Only Happy When It Rains” and the current “Empty.” Although illness related no-fly orders meant Butch Vig was absent from the evening’s performance, drummer Eric Gardener slammed through the blistering set without missing a beat.

Once Manson and company took command of the stage with opener “Supervixen,” it was immediately obvious the band’s global tour promoting Strange Little Birds (Garbage’s latest and darkest album yet) is an unmistakable quest to prove it is possible to defy ageism and successfully make music on their own terms without interference from the politics of a major record label. The rock band’s latest offering is the second full-length released via its own independent Stunvolume record label. Despite its gloomy, misanthropic tone, the critically acclaimed Strange Little Birds easily managed to concurrently claim the number one spots atop Billboard’s Top Rock Albums and Alternative Albums charts.

The all but sold-out crowd stood on its feet throughout the evening, never showing signs of fatigue as it cheered and sang along to everything the band’s well-armed arsenal hurled upon everyone in attendance. The audience included spirited twenty-somethings and silver-haired seniors alike, with every age in between disregarding any evidence of a musical generation gap. The steamy, humid night didn’t dampen spirits as the energetic troop danced, sang, and fist-pumped its way throughout the beloved group’s well received set.

As the evening’s performance came to a close with the energetic favorite “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)” the foot stomping masses made it clear they weren’t ready to go home. Luckily, Manson and her faithful bandmates Duke Erikson and Steve Marker happily indulged spellbound onlookers with a generous encore consisting of “Sometimes,” “Empty,” and “#1 Crush.” Hopefully fans won’t have to wait another 11 years until Garbage returns to Nashville.

Set List

I Think I’m Paranoid
Stupid Girl
Automatic Systematic Habit
Blood For Poppies
The Trick Is To Keep Breathing
My Lover’s Box
Sex Is Not The Enemy
A Stroke Of Luck
Even Though Our Love Is Doomed
Why Do You Love Me
Bleed Like Me
Push It
Only Happy When It Rains
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)

#1 Crush