Sound — 9
For American Idiot, Green Day evolves beyond their pop-punk roots and delves into more complex and mature styles. The band delves into acoustic, classic rock, and piano driven ballads. Two songs are five-part mini-operas exceeding 9 minutes, which even include some solos (almost unheard of in punk). On their new album, Billie Joe's guitar tones are as diverse as his songs. Warm acoustic tones mix with full toned crunch and low echo feedback.
Lyrics — 10
American Idiot vaguely tells the story of a suburban teenager in the fictional Jingletown, USA who calls himself St. Jimmy. 01. American Idiot: straight ahead punk rock. Political themes, response to then-president George W. Bush's policies and methods. Not 100% related to the story, but great track. 10/10 02. Jesus of Suburbia: a.Jesus of Suburbia b.City of the Damned c.I Don't Care d.Dearly Beloved e.Tales From Another Broken Home From the first notes and I'm the son of rage and love we see the internal conflict that Jesus of Suburbia (JoS) has grown up with, intensified by a steady diet of Soda pop and ritalin. He quickly discovers that he is not like everyone else In a land of make belive that don't believe in me. In City of the Damned, JoS discovers that Home is where the heart is, but what a shame, because everyone's heart doesn't beat the same, it's beating out of time. In Dearly Beloved, he undergoes psychological therapy and asks if he is retarded or am I just overjoyed? and realizes that No-one really seems to care. Finally, in Tales From another Broken Home, JoS leaves home to move to the city. A lyrically rich track backed by evolving and changing music, from piano and vocal to put-your-fist-in-the-air punk chants to bass licks that seem to rip your soul into a million pieces and are thrown like confetti onto a mosh-pit. If I could, 15/10 03. Holiday: JoS gets to the city and sees the decay that has become of America. Again, on the surface an unrelated political track. Uplifting chords and angry vocals form a potent mix. The anti-Bush chanting is prevalent in the bridge: Sieg Heil to the president Gas-Man 8/10 04. Boulevard of Broken Dreams: JoS realizes how lonely the city can get. Melancholy lyrics and echoed guitar riffs provide the hangover to Holiday's party. 7/10 (lost a point for getting overplayed) 05. Are We The Waiting: this song is perfect for lighters, giant arenas, and thousands of fans singing along while swaying to the somewhat depressing beat. JoS becomes depressed and lonely and even doubts his own worth The Jesus of Suburbia is a lie. He sees that there are many disillusioned kids like him on the city streets, with no direction, screaming Are we, we are, are we are the waiting. 9/10 loses a point for being a bit of a downer 06. St. Jimmy: JoS meets St. Jimmy, a anarchist, punk rock, freedom fighter.King of the 40 theives and here to represent the needle in the vein of the establishment and the Son-of-a-B*tch and Edgar Allen Poe, St Jimmy introduces to JoS a life of lost teens and hard drugs. A straight-ahead, fast-paced mosh-pit-ready punk tune. 8/10 07. Give Me Novocaine: St Jimmy introduces JoS to heroin to which JoS quickly develops a habit. Big stadium power-ballad. The sensations overwhelming 7/10 8.She's A Rebel: Straight ahead rocker where JoS meets a girl who is holding on my heart like a hand grenade, but can never quite remember Oh, Whatsername. 8/10 09. Extraordinary Girl: after a confusing exotic-drum introduction, in comes the Middle Eastern twangy riff mixed with straight punk chords. Lyrics describe Whatsername in more detail, and her troubled relationship with JoS, which ends quickly. 7/10 10. Letterbomb: a punk riff introduces the downfall of St. Jimmy and JoS as all of their followers realize that they want more than just causing anarchy. The underbelly stacks up 10 highcollecting unemployment checks. But JoS and St. Jimmy fight on, because it's not over til you're underground. It's also revealed that St. Jimmy himself is a figment of JoS's imagination, a combination of his father's rage and mother's love 9/10 11. Wake Me Up When September Ends: again, a seemingly unrelated song. The lyrics are poignant tribute to Billie Joe's father who died when he was only 13. Acoustic guitars and bells introduce the touching song which intensifies but never loses its emotion. The song frequently brings tears to Billie Joe's, and various audience members, eyes in concert. 10/10 12. Homecoming: a.The Death of St. Jimmy b.East 12th Street c.Nobody Likes You d.Rock and Roll Girlfriend e.We're coming Home Again Chords rain down from the radio signals as we hear of the end of the one they call St. Jimmy, who committed suicide, and blew his brains out into the bay, which JoS, finally realizes as his alter ego In my own private suicide. Still, from Jesus of Suburbia til East 12th Street, and continually forever Nobody care. As we come to the end of East 12th Street, JoS realizes that he just needs for somebody get me outta here. Bassist's Mike Dirnt's lyrics on Nobody Likes You come in with military drums and bells, complimented by lonely lyrics like they're all off without you having fun. Now comes some mindless fun. Drummer Tr Cool's contribution, the lyrically mediocre but hard hitting Rock and Roll Girlfriend ends quickly and segues into We're Coming Home Again, where JoS returns home to Suburbia and goes on to have a stable life. More musically cohesive then Jesus of Suburbia, but the inclusion of Rock and Roll Girlfriend seems like a token to Cool. 8/10 13. Whatsername: the now grown up JoS thinks he sees Whatsername on the subway and remembers his time in the city with her and St. Jimmy. A good rock song, not their best. 8/10
Overall Impression — 10
Quite simply, American Idiot is Green Day's magnum opus (at least for now). There are no bad tracks on it. The story is a bit confusing at times without a lyric sheet, but Green Day's unique pop-rock-punk approach to music reached its pinnacle on this Grammy award winning album. Possibly the best album of the 00's.