Sound — 8
The sound of the songs on this album are incredibly varied. There is one song that is basically a love ballad (Last Night on Earth), a Hives rehash (Horseshoes and Handgrenades), and even a song with a Mexican flair (Peacemaker). At every turn you will hear something different. For a Green Day album, this has a lot of slow songs. Most of these songs get faster as the song goes on though. If you first listen to this album looking for old Green Day you won't like it. For anyone at all, it will probably take a few listens to get used to. However, if you're like me, you will be humming these songs all day long, trying to listen to the album whenever you can. These are songs that grow on you, and you will love the majority of them. Overall, the album sounds fantastic. If it wasn't for Armstrong's distinct vocals however, you probably wouldn't even know this was Green Day. It would almost seem like a compilation of many famous bands put onto one CD. Sounds great, but it takes a few listens to get used to.
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are the most important part of the CD. While vague at times, it seems that Armstrong nailed it with the lyrics. You will have to think to understand these lyrics fully, or what they have to do with the main characters in the story. Sometimes, as with East Jesus Nowhere, the song doesn't necessarily have any meaning to the story. It's probably just the beliefs of Christian and Gloria (main characters), but it's not made clear. This song still has great lyrics, ranting about the institution of religion. Every song on this album either has to do directly with the characters in the story or their beliefs, and they work well. Armstrong also shows off some quite impressive vocals for a singer in a "punk band". These vocals are mainly showed off in the slower songs though, as in songs like Christian's Inferno and Horseshoes and Handgrenades, Armstrong is basically screaming. This matches the lyrics though, as these songs have some of the angrier lyrics on the record. Overall, the lyrics are the highlight of the album. They may seem preachy, but hell, I like them.
Overall Impression — 9
This album has a lot of good songs, so it is difficult to pick my favorites. One is Viva La Gloria!, which actually has a Coldplay feel in the beginning (stick with me, it's good Coldplay, not bad), and is ridiculously catchy when it speeds up. Another really good song is East Jesus Nowhere, which has great lyrics, and is overall just really, really great. The second verse is the highlight of this song, where it gets softer, but it's also very creepy, matching what Green Day is trying to get across. To be honest, this song has a couple of generic songs on it. Last of the American Girls, while having amusing lyrics and giving you a better insight on what I assume is Gloria, sounds kind of generic. Last Night on Earth is a slower song that is also kind of generic as well. Still, this is the only album where I have every song on my iPod. Every other album I have, there is at least one song I really hate, but not on this. Even though some songs are generic, they still sound good. I even like the slow songs, and this is a Green Day album! I'm actually looking for my copy of American Idiot again because I'm Green Day crazy again. In my honest opinion, everyone should be.