Sound — 8
This review is the first of a series i'll be writing, looking back on the best albums of the 2000s. American Idiot was a huge milestone in Green Day's career, and also a huge step-up for the punk revival. The sound of the album was totally different from anything Green Day had done at that time. The songs were more unique, with changing rythyms and more diverse riffs and song topics. Adding solos into some of their songs didn't make them less punk, just more interesting. The album as a whole was a rock opera, the first Green Day had created, and I think they did a good job. Some songs were repetitive, but aside from that it was great. The album has been called a mess by lots of critics, but a good mess. The diversity of the album really was great for a Green Day album. The ballads were balenced perfectly with the all-out jam songs. As a guitar player, I can't give Billie much credit as an exteremely good guitarist, but he does have style. I mean, he doesn't ever overdo his solo playing on this or any other album. That's punk.
Lyrics — 8
Most of the lyrics on this album were pretty good. Billie's lyrics have always been controversial. "Wake Me Up When September Ends" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" have been some of my favorite songs for a long time. Billie makes you feel the lyrics, the depression and anger. Most of the other lyrics are relitively good, but not really deep or anything. The story in the songs is (taken from wikipedia):"The album's protagonist, Jesus of Suburbia, emerged out of Armstrong asking himself what sort of person the title of "American Idiot" referred to. Armstrong described the character as essentially an anti-hero, a powerless "everyman" desensitized by a "steady diet of soda pop and Ritalin". Jesus of Suburbia hates his town and those close to him, so he leaves for the city. As the album progresses the characters St. Jimmy and Whatsername are introduced. St. Jimmy is a punk rock freedom fighter. Whatsername, inspired by the Bikini Kill song "Rebel Girl", is a "Mother Revolution" figure that Armstrong described as "kind of St. Jimmy's nemesis in a lot of ways". Both characters illustrate the "rage vs. love" theme of the album, in that "you can go with the blind rebellion of self-destruction, where Saint Jimmy is. But there's a more love-driven side to that, which is following your beliefs and ethics. And that's where Jesus of Suburbia really wants to go", according to Armstrong. Near the end of the story, St. Jimmy apparently commits suicide. While the singer did not want to give away the details of the story's resolution, he said the intention is for the listener to ultimately realize that Jesus of Suburbia is really St. Jimmy, and Jimmy is "part of the main character that pretty much dies". In the album's final song, "Whatsername", Jesus of Suburbia loses his connection with Whatsername as well." Strange? Yes, it is, but it is original, and I loved it.
Overall Impression — 9
In conclusion, the album is pretty much a bunch of small songs making up one big story. The sound is something like the Ramones, the Clash, the Sex Pistols, the Offspring, and other punk bands combined with a modern rock and pop sound. One of the main reasons of the album's popularity was because "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" was such a great song, but the rest of the album definitely doesn't dissapoint you.