Sound — 10
The album, using Billy Joe's now signature Les Pauls, American Idiot clearly is a more Politically oriented album. The instrumentals keep in a perfect theme with the music. American Idiot has a more of a "slap" kinda sound while Boulevard of Broken Dreams has a sad, isolated, and emotional sound. Green Day has proven that they can write music and give it an appropriate sound. I think the new voice that Green Day has found is the perfect voice for them. Especially after the disappointing Shenanigans, this was the biggest shock in punk rock history. But Billy Joe, Mike, Tre, and the new secondary guitarist Jason White, have pushed themselves beyond all expectations and to the best of their ability with American Idiot. Released in 2004 close to the US election, American Idiot was meant to tell the people not to listen to the biased reports of FOX and CNN, and go out there and vote on their true feelings. Clearly, Billy Joe shows no sympathy for Bush or the War on Iraq, and that he took a risk with this album to destroy all of their success to spread his opinion when everyone is too afraid or too stupid to stand up against to the current President, or shall I say dictator. The title track American Idiot was a shock on its own, but with other hits on this album, the rebellious Holiday, the emotional Boulevard of Broken Dreams, and the just as emotional song Wake Me Up When September Ends which addresses the passing of Billy Joe's father, but also reminds us of 9/11 and cries for when we will see the end of a pointless war. Featuring other great hits like the punkish Whatsername, St. Jimmy, the beautiful Are We the Waiting? The album features two 10 minute songs, Jesus of Suburbia and Homecoming. Both these songs are more like compilations of 1 or 2 minute songs which carry into one another very nicely and have a continuing theme which is nice. While the whole album is a rock opera, these two compilations act like mini rock operas. Just the fact of Green Day trying something this daring deserves all the respect on its own, but the fact that it has made Punk Rock History as one of THE most ambitious rock albums and it has become such a huge success is just astonishing.
Lyrics — 10
The interesting point of this album is that it isn't a normal rock album, it's a punk rock opera. The first compilation introduces us to Jesus of Suburbia, a teenager who feels his life his fake. He's tired of the 7-11 where he grew up, he is sick of all the American Idiots and fake people around and while everyone is idolizing him, they don't seem to listen to him when he tries to help the "lost children with dirty faces," but eventually, everyone around him just picks up and leaves. In Holiday, he says that now that he doesn't have to deal with anyone else, he can make his life his own, he can differ from all the lies around him, because this is his "holiday." However in Blvd. Of Broken Dreams, he starts to lose the rebellious positive attutude he just had, and now he is feeling so isolated and alone. He misses everyone, and he feels that he's in Hell now, wishing "someone up there will find me." Shortly we are introduced to St. Jimmy, a rebel against society. St. Jimmy gets Jesus of Suburbia addicted to drugs, and slowly deteriorated his mind. But at the last moment, he is picked up and brought back to health by Whatsername, a beautiful rebel on her own, however, she's pretty much the opposite of St. Jimmy, and his rival. The two share a strong bond and develop a mutual friendship. In Homecoming, we find out that St. Jimmy has committed suicide. Jesus is sent over the edge he goes back to Jimmy's part of town and with the help of Whatsername, he realizes that the perfect world he thrives for doesn't exist and he will have to learn with it. But after a long depression of St. Jimmy's death, Jesus of Suburbia says that his life isn't so bad. He has a "rock and roll life," and he can make it, and so he is back to his old self once again, but much happier. However with the closing track, he looks back and remembers Whatsername, wonders how she is, and then realizes that he loved her. While not a happy ending, I think that the whole album's story is just brilliant. But there are afew interesting twists here. St. Jimmy commits suicide, however, if you pay close attention to the lyrics, you think differently St. Jimmy is really just a mind-set of Jesus Of Suburbia. A kind of alternate personality that takes over his mind. The fact that Green Day were able to write a rock opera with a cool story like this, with some interesting metaphors, while still having a cool punkish appeal, it is hard to deny that Green Day has really pushed it. Billy Joe has always has a very identifiable voice, but with American Idiot, you notice a slight change. His voice is more emotional and deeper instead of just the punkish "don't care" attitude that they were known for. The band's overall persona how proves that you can care about the world and still have fun, and will hopefully will inspire more youths to start caring about society and start taking some responsibility instead of being stuck up "politics is for old-men" attitude which is destroying our society structure.
Overall Impression — 10
If I could listen to one album for the rest of my life, it would be American Idiot. I have always loved Green Day since 1996, but now, they are Gods to me. With a kickass rock opera which is more than rare nowadays, but to have one smash hit after another on this album is just great. The songs are just so addictive with each listen and the instrumentals are straight to the point. Billy Joe thinks "simple" is an insult, and he's right. While some songs only have afew chords in total, they are written with really nice progressions and really flow. I love this album, and even if you don't like Green Day, listen to this afew times, and tell me differently!