analysis of Song "21st century breakdown" for social protest

Topics: Working class Pages: 7 (1846 words) Published: May 4, 2014
Hemant Sah 
FRC-14M
Analysis of Social Protest
The era is of static and contraband where bombs are louder than voices and feels like silence will echo through eternity. The generation we live in is midst of panic, fake promises, and fake prosperity, and therefore, people should be given hope and motivation. The song that I’m going to analyze is the title song of the album by name “21st century breakdown” by Green day, released in 2009. It’s a very negative and depressing song despite the poppy, diverse sound. The song is written for open interpretation and most of can relate ourselves to all or parts of it. I advocate justice and I want to be very clear that justice and equality are not the same thing. The song demonstrates this idea very nicely and that’s why it’s epic to me. As the name indicates, Billie Joe Armstrong(vocalist, Green Day) has described the album as “the snapshot of the era in which we live as we question and try to make sense of the selfish manipulation going on around us, whether it be the government, religion, media or frankly any form of authority.” Faith and politics are definitely called into question in the meat of the album and the song, and questioning them doesn’t negate American ideals or their influence in the world. It’s blind patriotism and faith that are taken to trial by fire in this song. Armstrong is trying to capture the feeling of a generation. The band is not anti-American and they don’t want to destroy the country, rather make it better. All that the song wants is what the people were promised- an authority that caress about people, does what is in the best interest of the population, and allows Americans to have life, liberty, and pursue happiness. I would like to put light into Armstrong’s childhood and Nixon’s administration to justify his hatred for the authority and purpose behind the song. The Nixon administration marked the end of America's long period of post-World War II prosperity and the onset of a period of high inflation and unemployment-"stagflation." Unemployment was unusually low when Nixon took office in January 1969 (3.3 percent), but inflation was rising. Nixon adopted a policy of monetary restraint to cool what his advisers saw as an overheating economy. "Gradualism," as it was called, placed its hopes in restricting the growth of the money supply to rein in the economic boom. But gradualism, as its name implied, did not produce quick results. The economy continued to deteriorate. By the middle of 1971, unemployment reached 6.2 percent while inflation raged unchecked. Connally, Treasury Secretary in Nixon’s staff, made sweeping statements about the President's intentions: "Number one, he is not going to initiate a wage-price board. Number two, he is not going to impose mandatory price and wage controls. Number three, he is not going to ask Congress for any tax relief. And number four, he is not going to increase federal spending." However, the Treasury Secretary and the President, in August 1971, emerged with a New Economic Policy. The NEP violated most of Nixon's long-held economic principles, but he was never one to let principle stand in the way of politics, and his dramatic turnaround on economic issues was immediately and enormously popular. The downturn resumed, however, in 1973. Expansive fiscal and monetary policies combined with a shortage of food (aggravated by massive Soviet purchases of American wheat) to fuel inflation. And then came the oil shock. Oil prices were rising even before the onset of the Arab oil boycott in October of 1973. Ultimately, inflation climbed to 12.1 percent in 1974 and help push the economy into recession. When Nixon left office, the economy was in the tank, with rising unemployment and inflation, lengthening gas lines, and a crashing stock market. Armstrong was born in 1972 when his parents along with other working class people were facing the heat of the consequences brought by Nixon’s policies. His childhood was...

References: http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1604950/we-preview-green-days-21st-century-breakdown.jhtml
http://www.bluntmag.com.au/interviews/green-day-21st-century-breakdown
http://millercenter.org/president/nixon/essays/biography/4
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