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Friday, May 24, 2013

Greenday -- American Idiot

 photo Green_Day_-_American_Idiot_cover_zps4aed93ac.jpg

I hate Greenday. I really, really hate them. I think it probably started sometime in the seventh grade. "When I Come Around" had just hit the radio, and all the guys from my class were singing it in their new, deep voices. My voice finally changed last year, when I turned 31, but I can still hear my classmates evil, orc-like rounds of "When I Come Around" circling the classroom. I hated that song, I hated Billy Joe Armstrong's nasal, bratty whine, I hated all the stupid masturbation songs, I hated when they started using acoustic guitars in an effort to be "mature," and I hated their hair. I hate Greenday.
Anyway, according to "infinite monkey theorem," an infinite amount of monkey's over an infinite amount of time could randomly reproduce an entire Shakespeare play. Similarly, out of eleven Greenday albums, there is one I like a lot, though it kind of cheated its way into my heart.
This review serves as another entry into the cannon of my life in 2005. Late in that summer, after enduring quite an emotional, mental, psychological, and even to some degree, physical, beating, I was latching onto any positivity I could, especially musically. This included MTV 2's new, short-lived re-dedication to music, the emergence of the Fuse channel, and a couple of really good VH1 storyteller episodes, including an episode dedicated to Greenday. The band performed this nine-minute song, and immediately hooked me.

I did a little research, discovered that the recently released American Idiot contained this song, and immediately purchased it. I'm a sucker for concepts and experimentation, and a crappy ex-punk band revisiting those roots and recording nine minute songs worked for me. Those guys somehow knew I was living with my parents with no job or prospects and a serious case of depression, because it sounded like they wrote a lot of these songs for me. "American Idiot" is about a guy who gets disillusioned with his life, makes up a more fun persona for himself, has some good times, falls in love, then kills that part of himself to basically become a responsible, paper-pushing adult. The week I bought this album, I put in about ten job applications to state agencies for office jobs. I was feeling almost every minute of American Idiot, including the political overtones, which thankfully take a backseat to the more personal story of the main character. I don't think frontman, Billy Joe Armstrong, is much of a writer, but his monkeys typed long enough here to tell a fairly relatable story, which stays general enough to be easily identified with by just about anyone. American Idiot is quite a healing experience, especially for those who have to grow up.
The album even closes with the main character reminiscing about "Whatsername," a girl he used to love who ran off with someone else, and who he wants to forget. I had a serious case of a "Whatsername" that summer, myself, except she eventually dumped the "Whathisface" and married me. That kind of cuts off my relation to "American Idiot," and I can only listen to it with a strange sort of nostalgia now, reflecting on times, fondly as I always do, especially in these reviews. So objectively looking at American Idiot, it's a really good album that rarely loses its way. It isn't anywhere close to Shakespeare, but as a mid-00's rock opera about the State of the Nation of a mid-20's washout, it paints a pretty excellent picture, and it's a pretty transcendent experience. I still hate Greenday, though.

Also, after listening to this song the first time, I almost took its advice to "burn all the photographs." I'm glad I didn't.

2004 Reprise
1. American Idiot 2:54
2. Jesus of Suburbia
  I. Jesus of Suburbia
  II. City of the Damned
  III. I Don't Care
  IV. Dearly Beloved
  V. Tales of Another Broken Home 9:08
3. Holiday 3:52
4. Boulevard of Broken Dreams 4:20
5. Are We the Waiting 2:42
6. St. Jimmy 2:56
7. Give Me Novacaine 3:25
8. She's a Rebel 2:00
9. Extraordinary Girl 3:33
10. Letterbomb 4:05
11. Wake Me Up When September Ends 4:45
12. Homecoming
    I. The Death of St. Jimmy
    II. East 12th St.
    III. Nobody Likes You
    IV. Rock and Roll Girlfriend
    V. We're Coming Home Again 9:18
13. Whatsername 4:14

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