21st Century Breakdown is the eighth studio album by the American punk rock band Green Day. It was released on May 15, 2009 through Reprise Records.
After extensively touring for American Idiot in 2005, Green Day began to write new material for their next album in January 2006. No details about the writing and recording process were revealed by the band until October 2007, when Armstrong told Rolling Stone in an interview they had written about forty-five songs. Very little was revealed about the theme and musical style of the album, but Armstrong said that he wanted to dig into who he was and how he was feeling at that moment, which was middle-aged. He also mentioned that most of the forty-five songs were written on piano rather than guitar like their previous albums.
The band worked with producer, Butch Vig and began recording for the the album in January 2008. 21st Century Breakdown was recorded throughout 2008 and into early 2009 at Ocean Way Recording in Hollywood, Studio 880 in Oakland, Jel Studios in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa Studios in Costa Mesa. Throughout the recording process, the band bought and listened to many vinyls, including albums by The Beat, The Plimsouls, The Kinks, The Pretty Things, The Doors and Meat Loaf for inspiration. Armstrong's writing was influenced by Eddie Cochran and The Creation.
Green Day made final touches on the album in April 2009. On February 9, 2009, Green Day announced the album title and said that the album would be split into three acts: "Heroes and Cons", "Charlatans and Saints" and "Horseshoes and Handgrenades". A teaser trailer of the album was posted on the band's website on March 17 and the release date was announced on March 25. The first single of 21st Century Breakdown titled Know Your Enemy, was released on April 16, 2009. 21 Guns was released on May 25 and East Jesus Nowhere on October 19 the same year. The complete album was released internationally on May 15, 2009. It reached number one on the Billboard 200 in the United States and sold 215,000 copies in its first week. In the United Kingdom the album reached number one and sold 79,770 copies in the first week.