american idiot – Green Day

The official track listing is above. The abbreviated streaming one is below. Same songs but condensed titles.
Released September 20, 2004 this concept album the story of Jesus of Suburbia, a lower-middle-class American adolescent anti-hero. The album expresses the disillusionment and dissent of a generation that came of age in a period shaped by tumultuous events such as the Iraq War. This album marked a career comeback for Green Day. It sold 16 million copies worldwide, stayed in the top ten for a year then in the top 100 for 101 weeks total. It won a Grammy for Best Rock Album, spawned a Tony Award winning Broadway musical, and a planned movie musical.

Jason: I haven’t listened to this in about 15 years.

Brad: I’ve listened to it more recently than that but I was struck how timely the subject matter is right now. It was inspired by the George W. Bush administration and the war with Iraq. However, it applies to our current reckless president instigating a war with Iran. Meanwhile, we are still involved in that same war with Iraq and have been since this album originally came out in 2004.

Jason: And we will be forever. At first I was annoyed that we got a “faggot” right out of the gate but when I listened to the lyrics I realized what Billy Joe (or rather, the character of Suburban Jesus) was saying was “Ok, fine. I’ll be the ‘faggot’. You ignorant rednecks.”

Brad: Yeah, it makes sense in this context. Also, Billie Joe Armstrong is bisexual. So it doesn’t bother me as much. Even though, I hate that word.

Jason: He does say “Am I retarded?” which we now know is a no-no but was more prevalent in 2004 so I’m gonna give it a pass in this context. I really like this album because it tells this story. 

Brad: I love this album. It really works on so many levels. Plus the fact that it was later made into a really good Broadway musical is really impressive. I know they have been talking about making it into a movie too. I would love it if they did.

Jason: Billy Joe has said if/when they eventually do the movie he wants to gender-swap the lead role. Did you know that this album came about only because Green Day recorded another album but the master tapes were stolen so they had to start over. 

Brad: I knew that but had forgotten until I looked at their Wikipedia entry today. That has to be so upsetting. I wonder if that album will ever resurface. 

Jason: Do you feel that their sound holds up? It’s sort of British punk but…not?

Brad: I really do. I saw them again a few years ago at Wrigley and it was such a thrilling show. So much energy. The audience was really into it. I’m excited to see them again at Wrigley in August. In fact, one of my favorite songs to see them perform live is “Jesus of Suburbia”. It is essentially 5 songs in 1. It sounds so good.

Jason: In case you were wondering those sub-songs are titled “Jesus of Suburbia, City of the Damned, I Don’t Care, Dearly Beloved, and Tales of Another Broken Home.” There really isn’t a song on here that I don’t like. I like “Are We the Waiting” and of course “Wake Me Up when September Ends” a lot.

Brad: I agree. Not a bad song at all. It is interesting that a song like “Wake Me Up When September Ends” could be covered by anyone and sound great. I could picture someone like Adele singing it or even a country singer like Miranda Lambert or Willie Nelson covering it. 

Jason: This album had 5 or 6 singles off of it, that being one of them, which is pretty amazing considering that there are really only 9 songs on the entire album.

Brad: I remember the album being very popular for quite a long time. Plus they toured a lot when it came out. I remember being really annoyed that it didn’t win the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2005. It lost to Ray Charles duets album Genius Loves Company which in my opinion was not a great album it just appealed to older Grammy voters. 

Jason: I think overall this is an important album that everyone should listen to because, as you said it’s still so relevant, especially with the Orange Menace in the office. It’s interesting that at the time of this we thought Dubya was the worst thing and then…well, here we are. Maybe they need to make a follow-up album. 

Brad: They have a new album coming out in February called “Father of All Motherfuckers”. I can’t wait to hear it.

Jason: What grade do you give American Idiot?

Brad: I give “American Idiot” an A. I think it is their best album so far. How about you?

Jason: I agree, It is an A for me as well.

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That’s not a turtle bird.