"A Patch of AMERICANA " By: Mikyla Bethune
Updated: Sep 27, 2018
American Idiot is the seventh studio album by pop punk band, Green Day. It was released September 20th in 2004. American Idiot revolves around the main character’s disillusionment towards his parents, suburban life, and the American Government during the Bush Administration. The album has 13 songs and is 3 minutes short of being an hour long. However, despite it’s somewhat short length it is jammed pack with political and philosophical messages that reflect those of the marginalized youth during the turn of the new millennium in the early 2000s. This can be seen with it’s songs that revolve around the rise of new demagogues, a new and quickly flourishing underground movement, along with drug abuse and containment within the status quo.
American Idiot starts out with the title track, American Idiot. This song can perfectly represent the rage that many were feeling towards their government and ‘civilized’ and bland lives. However, this song also creates and excellent sample of what the rest of the album will be like. This opener perfectly exemplifies the pure unmasked bitterness that is felt while being an outlander in the “age of paranoia” in this “alien nation”. However, this doesn’t end the pure undoctorated animosity that can be heard through the entirety of this record. This can include the songs Jesus of Suburbia, Holiday, St. Jimmy, She’s A Rebel, Extraordinary Girl, Letterbomb, and the exceptional, energetic, and remarkable almost operatic song Homecoming.
But, it should be noted that this album doesn’t just include loud rock and punk aesthetics and overtones. American Idiot can be soft, slow, and absolutely astounding with it’s melodies and songwriting. This is thoroughly exemplified with songs such as Boulevard of Broken Dreams, Are We Walking, Give Me Novacaine, Wake Me Up When November Ends, and Whatsername. Throughout these songs through the tracklist they can perfectly project and portray depression, solitude, drug use, loneliness, and conformity that can almost exactly replicate the sentiments felt by the narrator in Fight Club. Lyrics such as “Kiss the demons out of my dreams”, “Check my vital signs to know I'm still alive and I walk alone”, “I made a point to burn all of the photographs. She went away and then I took a different path”, and “I remember the face, but I can't recall the name” all represent the constantly deteriorating mind of not only the narrator but perhaps also the youth that feel alien and estranged within the sanitized yet constantly declining society.
In conclusion, American Idiot not only deserves a perfect "A" for musical composition, but it is also deserves recognition for being a remarkable social and political commentary. American Idiot manages to accurately epitomize the constant internal and external state of dread that was felt during times of fear and uncertainty during sanitization of suburban life in the heat of the Afghanistan and Iraq War. Being the product of both rage and love it can with certainty represent ‘the new kind of tension felt all across the alien nation.’ However, in this new era of mass hysteria one may wonder, " HOW DOES ONE AVOID BECOMING AN "AMERICAN IDIOT," in other words, "ONE WHO FOLLOWS THE MASSES AND MAKES UNINFORMED DECISIONS?"
Solution: Educate yourself, run for office, change the system from the inside out, or at the very least VOTE - and make it count!