In honour of 21st Century Breakdown's 3rd birthday earlier in the week, this week's Song of the Week is its 16th track and biggest hit 21 Guns, the second single released from the album. The 21 Guns single charted very well on various charts globally, but failed to reach the number 1 spot; its highest position was 3rd on a several charts.

In a very broad and simplistic interpretation, 21 Guns' lyrics are about 'giving up the fight' and surrendering to an unwinnable or worthless conflict. When taken on its own out of the 21CB story-arc, the song's lyrics can be interpreted as anti-war, however when applied to the story of Christain and Gloria, its meaning is far less global, instead they're referring to their relationship and all its conflicts. Up until this point on the album, Christian has been the angry, self-destructive, disenfranchised, left-behind rebel that's trying to fight against 'the system' of post-Bush America, while Gloria has been his rock and stabilising force; a guiding light of rebellious femininity at the end of his own dark tunnel. This song is the tipping point for the pair's already rocky relationship; Gloria is questioning Christian on his beliefs, values and feelings (the first verse), and ultimately trying to get him to stop walking down the path of martyrdom - she's trying lay down to rest the soldier within him with a 21-gun salute.

Musically, this song is the 'radio-friendly' song of the album: the slow-rock song with the catchy chorus and powerful guitar-driven bridge. Its sound (and by extension its production) is what actually turns off some fans, who say it's too clean and polished.

A quick mention also has to be made of the version of 21 Guns featuring the cast of American Idiot: The Musical; Green Day and the original Broadway cast of American Idiot performed the song live at the 52nd Grammy Awards, with the band playing the song while the cast provided vocals. The song is one of a few 21CB songs featured in American Idiot: The Musical, where it's also used to cover the breakdown of the relationship of the two lead characters, Johnny and Whatsername.

This week's video is from the 21st Century Breakdown tour's 2010 stop at the Pinkpop festival held in the Netherlands. 21 Guns was a set staple on the 21CB tour and this video captures the feel of the live performance as well as the massive crowd reaction to the song.

Lyrics for the song can be found here, and this is 21 Guns' Song of the Week thread, where you'll find some member-discussion. Feel free to stop by and post your opinion or nominate next week's song
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