Green Day - Know Your Enemy

Daniel Smith 28/04/2009

Rating: 3/5

Shortly before American Idiot exploded and Green Day became an arena filling megaband, frontman Billie Joe Armstrong was quoted as saying that despite his band's newly found socio-political acumen, the last thing that he wanted was for Green Day to become Rage Against the Machine. Let's hope that the irony of the first single from their new album, 21st Century Breakdown, being called Know Your Enemy isn't wasted on him.

A rallying, energetic call to arms set to Green Day's trademark three chord buzz, Know Your Enemy could quite conceivably have been lifted from American Idiot rather than its upcoming successor. It would seem that social commentary has permanently replaced masturbation and dope as the band's lyrical subject matter, and to their credit it's difficult not to feel empowered by Armstrong screeching; 'violence is an energy/against the enemy/revolt against the order to obey', even if his political rhetoric is betrayed to be simplistic at best.

Green Day's lyrics have seldom been so direct in their intent, or included such wanton riot-bating, before, but save for this there's nothing out of the ordinary here. Fans of American Idiot will love it, but Know Your Enemy is not going to win Green Day any new fans, nor will it's expensive, radio—friendly production do the band any favours in terms of reacquainting them with their punk roots.

Know Your Enemy is available for digital download from UK distributers on 17th April, with a physical release following later in the month.

21stCentury Breakdown is currently slated for a 15th May release, on Reprise Records.