This song addresses the topic of patriotism. Frontman and chief songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong told Q magazine May 2009: "It brings up 21st Century Breakdown in a lot of ways, and the 21 gun-salute for someone that's fallen, but done in an arena rock 'n' roll sort of way."
At the pre-release preview of 21st Century Breakdown, the MTV News reviewer called this song, "a cell-phones-in-the-air anthem."
Marc Webb (Maroon 5, My Chemical Romance) directed the music video, which features a fugitive bank-robbing couple holed up in a room with Green Day lyrics scrawled on the walls. To stage the shoot-out, a thousand tiny explosives called squibs were embedded in the walls and furniture to mimic gunfire, and the crew shot marbles from guns to shatter the fishtank. No fish were harmed - they were swapped out for rubber ones - but the actors (Josh Boswell and Lisa Stelly) were left battered and bruised. He was hit by shrapnel from the exploding room while she received a squib blast that drew blood.
Unsdaiman from MoroccoTo me the song is more about a mix of what may be seen as a toxic relationship, useless war, interest based ideas that are meant to come to an end due its irrelevency but still being a thing for personnal reasons where conflict of interest are the only fuel. You fight for it, which is illogical, relevant things don't need to fight for them as they do for themselves, but you're going against something that should come to an end. You previlege your Ego over reason. Here the useless wars led by Bush governement is compred to a loving relationship where the feelings (contrasting hate and love) take control over reason.
Darthjarjarbonks from NopeTo me the song is about giving up old archaic ideas that don't work anymore. Cognitive dissonance. We try to protect the foundation of our values even though they don't work anymore. Let it go. Give up the fight.
Alicat from Endicott, NyThis song can go other ways to I could see it as recovering from a addiction or a f--ked up relationship/life music heal the soul I think it's how the song makes the person feel and they make thier interpretation
Mike from Dallas, Texas Usa I get two things out of this song: 1) I think it's about soldiers and post traumatic stress disorder and 2) sometimes going to war or the fight isn't worth the life-long impacts it has on one.
Zahir from United KingdomThe girl in the video looks like Cameron Richardson with black hair.
Megan from Stevenson, AlThis song, video, album, band is amazing! Their just so great and talented! I hope they keep the albums coming out! :)
Taylor from Seattle, WaAnd I just listened to "All the Young Dudes" and I hear no resemblance, you guys don't know what you're talking about.
Taylor from Seattle, WaThis song in my opinion is about war and peace.
It's funny how so many people hate on Green Day for making great songs. They have to assume they totally "ripped off" other people's songs. It's due to happen to come up with same riffs. Just because 21 Guns became way more popular than "All the Young Dudes" or whatever, or people don't remember the song, shut up and deal with it. It's a great song off of a great album. Stop trolling.
Elizabeth from Anytown, Ilamerican idiot is a fine album Matt!
Elizabeth from Anytown, Ilchealsea, i totally agree :D
Imgunacoachya from Rainbow City, AlI'm talking to you Jamesol
Imgunacoachya from Rainbow City, Althis song does sound a lot like other songs but its a good song.i do like the old green day and a lot of other bands better and if anyone is pissed go tell your mommy because chances are,all you trolls will live with your moms at 30 years old.
Chelsea from Merrill, WiOkay this was bothering me so I made an account. A LOT of songs sound alike this might be one of them. Green day is a great band it isn't really plagiarism! Why don't you check out the 4 cord song I bet you'll say thats plagiarism too huh? Green day had it's own lyrics and just because it sounds a lot alike dosen't mean it's the same thing. Thats how I feel deal with it.
Valentin from Beijing, Chinahah, everybody noticed "All The Young Dudes" and "Telephone Lines" rip-off...I'd like to add that the verses sound like Scott McKenzie's immortal "San Francisco"...turns out it's a 3 songs medley?
Dennis from London, United KingdomI think this song is about patriotism, war and peace. 'Do you know what's worth dying for/If it's not worth fighting for'
Themes of guilt and uncertainty also prevail. 'When your thoughts have taken there toll/And your mind breaks the spirit of your soul./Your faith walks on broken glass.'
Peace 'Throw down your arms/give up the fight'.
Sc from Anchorage, Ak1 more thing...in the video, a couple robbed a bank, the police were outside their house, the police started shooting, and the girl gave her boyfriend one last kiss.
Sc from Anchorage, AkGreen Day isn't 'emo'. The guyliner look that they wear (well, Billie and Tre do) was punk waaaay before the 'emo' lifestyle came around. Also, this song is about the feeling of self-surrender...Billie said that in an interview.
Martha from New York, NyI really like this song. But I've listened to alot of green day songs and this is just so different that it doesn't fit the "Green Day style" lol. It's a good song but the whole album just doesn't sound like there music.
Will from Grand Rapids, Miyeah the refrain is pretty much ripped off from ELO's Telephone Line. And Mott the Hoople's All the Young Dudes.
Geo from Surigao, PhilippinesGreenday is simply the best punk band! Jz change ur emo-look guyz!
Joe from Branchburg, NjJamesol that song sounds nothing like 21 guns listen too it are deaf. O my gosh.
Jamesol from Los Angeles, CaThis song sounds is pretty much copied from Telephone Line by Electric Light Orchestra. Just changed the lyrics. In my opinion, it is bordering on plagiarism. Don't like Green Day anymore!
Dakotah from Birmingham, AlThere are a lot of different interpretations of the song, I think a girl's being prosecuted by the police and the boy was a soldier, a stark contrast worthy of a fight. u see the flashing red and blue lights outside her window and the police are shooting the bullets through the walls.
Emma from Detroit, MiI love this song! And, since it appears everyone wants to fight about what this song means, I have a quote for you: "I sort of enjoy the fact that I`m misunderstood most of the time. That`s fine." Billie Joe Armstrong, the lead singer of Green Day said this. So whatever you want the song to mean that's what it can mean! Make love, not war.
Justin from Havelock, Ncthe song is ok i guess... but what really bothers me is he talks about the 21 gun salute... yet in the video i see no reference to the 21 gun salute or anything military related... Im in the military and Ive seen 21 gun salutes before for my fallen brothers and its a very poweful and emotional things to witness... i just dont understand if hes trying to make fun of the way we do things and how we honor our fallen or if hes trying to show respect.
Tessa from Washingtonville, PaThis a cool song... Good Job Green Day. ( Now we all expect songs like this again) Good Luck with you singing and stuff.
Emily from Canton, Ga21 guns is the best song ever i love green day!!!
Melissa from Liverpool, United Kingdomfirst of all to the people who have insulted this video IT DOES NOT MEAN IT IS CRAP! it means that it meant something to the artist even if it didnt mean anything to you !!!! rite I think this song is about a couple who basically have have a fight, lost faith in there love, and them selves, but basically cant live without eachother so "hold up your arms, give up the fight" I think means they basically serender, and they really love and cant live without eachother :) xxx
Sara from Kingman, AzI think this is a really boring song but I hate Green Day too boring and all songs sound the same
Currie from Charlotte, Nc@Scott,Boston,Ma....... THIS VIDEO SUCKS! It is so stupid! Why the hell are there people shooting through a wall and a dude and a girl loving each other or something? It's about the 21 Gun Salute so why doesn't the video reflect that?!
Margy from Alameda, CaSee the show American Idiot. Its all in there and its FABULOUS.
Kiran from Kannur, IndiaFelt a hint of Boulevard o Broken Dreams according to me... Great song though.
Mary from Phoenix, AzPablo, in Mexico...That is almost exactly what I was thinking; although, I couldn't pin-point the song. Thank you!
Ame from Greencastle, Ini think you people get way hyped up bout somethings, Green Day is Green Day they will be who they wanna be
Derek from Shrewsbury, Mai like greendays music but i dont like them because their trying to apeal to to many people they were origionaly punk pot heads then they were political and now thheir emo i dont like that cus their not showing who they are
Ashlee from Presscot, Azgreen day is 1 of the top five best artist in rock since guns and roses. this is 1 of there top rated songs that are played on 103.9 the X but still not the best song on the album tho.
Corey from Richmond, VaThe girl in the music video is pretty hot. Great song!
Joseph from Cleveland, Ohagree
Katira from New York, Nyi loved this song until one day my dad pointed out thata it sounds just like telephone line.... a sad day for me.
Stu from Philly, PaYes, there is a melodic similarity with this song to Telephone Line, and All the Young Dudes, but the actual melody line (musicnerds here:) 3rd, 4th, 5th, octave, is a very common melody. I wouldn't quite say it's a ripoff. Anymore than "Brain Stew" rips off "25 or 6 to 4" (listen to both intros)
Phoebe from Belchertown, MaNew favorite song :D
Emily from Dudley, United Kingdomi love this song one of the best on the album
Francesca from Dallas, TxIt does sort of sound like "All the Young Dudes" at some points...and yes, the guitar solo does sound like the theme from Full House. Anyways. It's a good song.
Aly from Los Angeles, Cai think this is one of green day's best song ever. its really catchy. the first time i heard it i couldnt stop singing it!
Brad from Lexington, KyI think the solo sounds like Clapton's "Tears in Heaven".
Michael from Columbus, OrNo Doubt Kayla, this song is right on,this is one of the best new songs, been waiting for someone to release something
Andrew from Lake Worth, FlI Love this song. And Matt i noticed it. Lol i realized it the first time ive ever heard the song
Kayla from Ballston Lake, NyThey didn't steal the lyrics from anyone, and it's brilliant song writing, so just shut up and listen.
Amanda from Manitowoc, Withis song is so great. one of my favorite song of theres
Meredith from Port Clinton, Ohdoes anyone know why do they say one before saying 21 guns? it's almost like they're saying 121 guns lol
Sustin from Venetia, Pa@ mike from orlando.. david bowie just wrote the lyrics to All the Young Dudes.. it was MOTT THE HOOPLE who put the melodies and music to it.
Vicki from Chicago, Ilmatt from new york, i can hear what u r talking about.
Matt from New York, NyWhile the chorus might rip off "All the Young Dudes," am I the only one that hears the theme to Full House in the guitar solo? "Everywhere you look, everywhere you look..." (go to 3:00 in the YouTube vid)
Mike from Orlando, FlThis is just a terrible knockoff of David Bowie's All the Young Dudes. I listened to this horrible song throughout the transformers movie this is clearly stolen. You would think that Green Day with all the time they have on their hands that they would just write their own material.
Pablo from Monterrey, MexicoI don't know if this is some sort of plagio but the chorus of 21 Guns sounds a lot like a part of the song "Telephone Lines" composed by ELO (Electric Light Orchestra). Don't ya think?
Anthony from North Cape May, NjHmmm, i love the way he says guns in this song
Hunter from Jones, Okeasy song on guitar. pretty cool song tho
Aaron from Houston, TxAbsolutely brilliant
Scott from Boston, MaThis song has a great music video.
Matt from Houston, TxWell I wouldn't call it the best ballad, but It is a hell of a lot better than know your enemy. this sounds more like thier nimrod era and I like any album before american idiot.
Peter from North Bend, WaThis is in my opinion is the best ballad since Time of Your life, if not better! Can't wait to see them July 3rd at the Key Arena!!!
Runcil from Mumbai, IndiaThis song and Before The Lobotomy are the best songs in the new album