"There's nothing dirty about our record. They want artists to censor their records in order to be carried in there. We just said no. We've never done it before. You feel like you're in 1953 or something."
Billie Joe Armstrong on releasing a censored version to be released at Wal-Mart

21st Century Breakdown is the eighth studio album recorded by Green Day released on May 15, 2009.

Much like American Idiot the album takes on a Rock Opera feel. Broken into three acts which follows the young couple of Christian and Gloria deal with the challenges in the United States following the presidency of George W. Bush.


The album was first announced by the band on the live broadcast of the 2009 Grammy Awards.

On February 9, 2009, Green Day announced the album title the that the album would be split into three acts, those acts being "Heroes and Cons", "Charlatans and Saints", and "Horseshoes and Handgrenades"

On March 17, a teaser trailer for the album was posted on the band's website.

On March 25, the international release date of May 15 was announced.

Early April of 2009, Green Day premiered "Know Your Enemy" on television. A portion of the single was used as an introduction piece to the 2009 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Championship game.

The band first preformed the album in full at a string of California club shows in April of 2009. At each show, spectators were given programs containing the lyrics.

The first single was released on April 16, and the premiere of the music video was on April 24 on the MTV UK website.


21st Century Breakdown was released internationally on May 15, 2009, through Reprise Records. A special edition vinyl version was limited to 3,000 copies and consisted of three 10" records for the acts, a CD copy of the album, a sixty page art booklet, and a code for the digital download of the full album.

The record reached number one on the Billboard 200 in the United States, where it sold 215,000 copies in the first week, was was shortened by three days. The album remained at number one on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart for three weeks. In Canada, the album debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 30,000 copies in the first week. The album debuted at the top of sales charts in twenty-four countries, including a peak at number one on the European Top 100 Albums.

21st Century Breakdown was released only in a Parental Advisory version containing explicit lyrics. Wal-Mart refuses to sell albums with a Parental Advisory sticker and requested that Green Day release a censored edition, in which Green Day refused.

The second single, "21 Guns", was released to radio stations on May 25.

The band set off on a world tour in July 2009, with the North American leg lasting through September, and the European leg lasting through November.

"East Jesus Nowhere" was released as the album's third single in October 19, 2009.

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