The knock on Dookie-era Green Day was that they were bratty and immature — and they were, and it was great. Then they went dark on 1995’s Insomniac and, later, something like grown-up on 2000’s Warning — and those albums were great. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, the six songs that leaked today and are destined for the forthcoming 21st Century Breakdown carry on Green Day’s late American Idiot style, which embodies another kind of immaturity all together: that of the know-it-all teen. The musical strengths of these songs — mostly catchy choruses, energy-packed tones — collapse under the weight of Billie Joe Armstrong’s ardent rebellious nonsense (“Know Your Enemy”) and sneering references to religion (“East Jesus Nowhere”). We don’t even know if it’s supposed to be another rock opera, and we can hardly stand the self-importance. Perhaps worst of all, we suspect that the bullshit about the band “selling out” the nineties East Bay scene might have actually gotten to Billie Joe years later, when he decided to really become a “punk.”
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