We've still got a few days to go before Green Day's new album, 21st Century Breakdown, drops (on May 15, if you're wondering). And Bay Area audiences might be sick of the pop-punk superstars already, after a recent frenzy of live shows at mostly smaller venues previewing the new record. But while we've been lucky enough to take Green Day for granted, the national press is just warming up to the notion of the multiplatinum band's return.
Take yesterday's New York Times, for example, which ran an extensive lead arts feature on GD, written by esteemed pop music critic Jon Pareles. While the article's revelations–“all three members still live in Oakland”–are likely old hat to local folks, the piece does offer some insight into the new album's thematic content: one song, “Murder City,” is a direct reference to the shooting of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer. And it's revealed that the lyrics of some songs on 21st Century Breakdown weren't completed until after the election: “if Obama had lost… the record would be a lot darker than it is,” producer Butch Vig is quoted as saying. In ASD's humble opinion, the best part of the article is the supporting role played by locations familiar to Bay Area residents, from 924 Gilman to Studio 880 (correctly noted as being in “Jingletown”) to Radio, a red-light bar in Oakland, where part of the interview was conducted. The DNA Lounge even makes an (uncredited) appearance as the backdrop for one of the full-color photographs accompanying the piece. Kudos to Green Day for giving the rest of the nation a reason to talk about the Bay, and props to Pareles for penning such a detailed, well-written piece.