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30 Best Loved Albums - American Idiot

2007 will bring the 30th anniversary of my first rock concert (Kiss, December 2, 1977 – Metropolitan Sports Center). In honor of that momentous event I have decided to use this blog to review my 30 best loved albums. They will not be in any order or progression but I will try to review them musically and why they mean so much to me. I’ll also note if they made the Definitive 200 List. With that on to #20 of the list...

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20. Green Day – American Idiot (2004)

What can be said about this album that hasn’t already been said? A punk rock “opera? that tells the story of Jesus of Suburbia/St. Jimmy as they navigate early 21st Century American society. The album is both a commentary of our battered culture and a stinging rebuke of the Bush administration. Coming out in late 2004 prior to the presidential election, the popularity of the album took off in 2005 right as Americans were coming to the realization that they had just signed up for four more years of W and his “everything is political? cronies.

The true measure of a rock opera or concept album is that the individual songs have to stand up on their own as well as fit into the “story? that makes up the album. That’s why Tommy works and The Wall doesn’t. Literally every song on Tommy could be considered a stand alone, popular song. The Wall only has Comfortably Numb. This is the reason that American Idiot works too. From the title track to Boulevard of Broken Dreams, to Holiday, to Wake Me Up When September Comes, American Idiot is stuffed full of individual songs that not only propel the story forward but are great individual songs. The fact that the songs listed above not only moved up the popular music charts but in Mpls-St. Paul could have been heard on radio stations as diverse as Cities 97, 93X, KDWB, and the Current speaks to the positive reception of this album.

From the album’s opening verse of “Don't want to be an American idiot/Don't want a nation under the new media/And can you hear the sound of hysteria?/The subliminal mind fuck America? the listener is keyed into the album’s political leanings. Two highlights of the album are the “suites:? two nine minute songs consisting of 4 or 5 sub songs. The first suite introduces the listener to the character Jesus of Suburbia while the second suite details the downfall of St. Jimmy. In the first suite check out the stolen guitar riff from Ring of Fire; the second suite is somewhat an homage to The Who’s A Quick One While He’s Away, the first such suite in rock history. In my opinion the strongest song on the who album is Holiday. I also think Holiday is the harshest political protest song to reach the pop music charts since the late 1960’s

I picked up this album in early 2005 as I was intrigued by the good buzz surrounding it. I listened to it a few times thought it was good, but not great. During this time my son was saying that the album was becoming popular at school and we tuned into the Grammys in early February to watch Green Day perform the song American Idiot. They absolutely rocked the house and Charlie went upstairs to bed with the CD in his hand. I don’t think I’ve seen it since. As with the rest of the country, repeated listenings led to greater appreciation and by the summer of 2005 the album was on heavy rotation on my I-pod.

September 2005 we saw Green Day at the X in an awesome arena rock show – a show that was attended by pre-teens with their parents, high school kids, and guys in their 20’s and 30’s. When Billy Joe introduced the song Holiday saying that this song was a big Fuck You to George W. Bush and the arena absolutely erupted, I knew right then and there that the political future of this country had changed for the better. Holiday was then played in such an aggressive manner that if Billy Joe told us to go right then and there and march the few blocks to the capitol and tear it down, I’m not sure that we would not have done it.

For producing such an audacious album that not only rocked but had a real message behind it, an album that both me a my son could listen to together, an album that spawned a bunch of popular songs that could be listened to individually or as part of a story, American Idiot deserves a hallowed place on my best love 30 albums.

What do you think of American Idiot?

Place on the Definitive 200: #61.

Comments

This album is has full of meaning in its lyrics. A lot of message, awareness, and realizations are in this album. You just need to listen carefully at the message.

Music is one of the effective ways to practice your communication skills. It is where you spread out the message to the public. Not only that you spread out the message but you express your feelings through a song. It can even catch the people's attention.

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