on 29 August 2005
I've had quite enough of those who harp on about being "true Green Day fans" complaining that this album isn't Dookie. Fair enough, if you prefer the punkier Green Day, listen to Dookie again, but comparing this album to their earlier stuff is ridiculous. Bands change and mature, and are all the better for it. With American Idiot, Green Day prove their reluctance to be crammed into a rut.
The band have also been accused of jumping on a bandwagon in order to sell to new fans, which I would think a silly statement seeing as Green Day are so well established. The album focuses on issues important to American society today, and forgive me if I'm wrong, but Green Day have always written tracks that put American life under the spotlight.
The album is excellent. Stand out tracks include Jesus Of Suburbia (wonderful lyrics on the isolation of youth) and Holiday, while Whatsername is an evocative close to a stirring and emotionally rich album. Again, Billie Joe's lyrics are heartfelt and affectingly delivered. The music may be as "power-chordy" as ever, but what matter when the album sounds better than a "greatest hits" from many lesser bands.
on 12 January 2005
Green Day have been around for well over a decade now, and after 'Warning' and a greatest hits album, there was just a hint that they were starting to run out of ideas for creating new sounds and fresh-sounding tunes. As a result this album, seemingly borne out of a healthy cynicism of the American government and decisions made by the Bush administration, is like a lightning bolt of inspiration. It keeps in with the band's traditional quirky, guitar-driven punk style, but introduces a touch of sentimentality and a more subtle, soft edge to a couple of songs that is a refreshing change, when interspersed with the usual power-punk material of the rest of the CD.
I'd originally bought this on the back of the singles 'American Idiot' and 'Holiday', but the album is far richer and cleverly constructed than just those songs. This is an album on a mission, blending sounds and meaning with a message that America is not happy about how it stands today. From beginning to end there are references to characters whose intentions start off well enough, but who eventually succumb to apathy and disillusionment in the face of an arrogant establishment ignoring their cries for change. Many will read more or less into it than that, but the quality and variety of melodies packed into a decent-length (just short of an hour) recording is unquestionable. This is terrific, powerful musicianship at work, generating memorable tunes that take unexpected turns to keep the interest constantly engaged.
The fact that so many songs refer to each other can make it an album that is difficult to flick through or listen to odd songs in isolation. And the band have pulled an extra trick on this recording, putting together two vast songs which run to over 9 minutes each. The two tracks, spanning five stanzas ('Jesus of Suburbia' and 'Homecoming') are stunning works of musical genius, telling a grandiose story and utilising a vast array of instruments and styles. They are imperious, epic pieces of work, and by far the most original set-pieces I have heard this year. Curious that track 13, Whatsername, should lie after the second of these, as it would make an absolutely perfect grand finale with its thumping drums and chanting run out at the end.
American Idiot is not the album I expected it to be; it is much, much better than I could have hoped for. 5 stars all the way.
on 25 July 2005
Green have just released their special edition of their latest album "American Idiot", and all the music mags have correctly judged it very well indeed, Green Day fans will throroughly enjoy this package, and maybe I'll just re-buy this (maybe).
The singles to start with, the title song, "Boulevard Of Broken Dreams," "Holiday" and "Wake Me Up When September Ends" have their videos on the DVD, but they are all superb and have dented the charts with great impact, "Jesus Of Suburbia" is a five-part classic aswell as the rest of the songs mentioned here. "Are We The Waiting" is a good song with good singing from Billie Joe, quite short, but good.
"St. Jimmy" is a great song with awesome lyrics in it, and it's really catchy. "Give Me Novacaine" is very strong in the chorus, but soft in the verses, great guitars! "She's A Rebel" is quite good, I think, music is great throughout this album aswell, "Extraordinary Girl" is not as good as the rest, I don't really listen to it much. "Letterbomb" is explosive though, good lyrics (no wonder Billie Joe is so good at songwriting, I envy him a bit).
"Homecoming" is another five-part classic aswell, the final song "Whatsername" is a great ender with the final lyrics going like, "Forgetting you but not the time...". Overall "American Idiot" is a massive rock and roll album throughout, so please buy it if you don't have it. Green Day are one of the best-selling rock and roll artists in the world, so don't let them down!
~ Calum Fairweather (Green Day fan)
on 23 February 2007
OK, no matter what all the whiney 'true fans' say (I know I'm a true fan because I love this), this is their best album since the early days of Dookie. Yes it's commercial but that's great because it means more people are listening to them than ever before. As with all bands that 'sell out' the old fans get annoyed because they feel their band is being taken away from them and now everyone knows them. Well what was Basket Case thirteen years ago if not pure pop??
Every song on American Idiot is great and it can't be faulted as a complete work. Once you get to the tracks at the end like Letterbomb and Homecoming it's so joyous, and it feels like it actually means something. It's the whole American Idiot concept album thing that really makes this something special. I too would have hated them if they'd made a commercial album that felt soulless but Billie Joe has never sounded more believable and genuine telling this story.
on 22 October 2005
I'm truly amazed at some of the reviews and had to comment myself. Some people are saying Green Day are selling out because American Idiot is amazingly popular and has taken them to a new level. Back in '94 when Dookie got popular, people climbed up on the stage at live shows (I'm thinking of Lollapalooza) with banners with massive dollar signs. So you aren't being very original saying they are selling out.
Someone said they were jumping on the anti-Bush bandwagon 'a year after everyone else stopped caring'. I can understand how you could think that if you hadn't been keeping up to date with GD over the last few years. In December '01 just after 9/11, Billie Joe was posting messages on their website speaking out against what Bush was doing - this was at a time when it was very UN-popular to be anti-Bush. Picture this - a campaign by BJ in late 2001 to stop a war in Iraq before it started (nearly 1 and a half years before it started). BJ led the way in being anti-Bush, so get your facts straight before you say he's jumping on a bandwagon.
And as for the people saying 'this is nothing like Dookie' or whatever. Of course it isn't. Do you want GD to be stuck in a time-warp, perpetually aged 22 years old? They have matured, along with most of their original fans. I have to admit that when Warning came out in 2000, I had similar thoughts such as 'why can't they write songs more like on Dookie?'. But I've matured and realised this would be a bad thing. I'm sure they could easily write Dookie-style material (in fact I'm sure they have lots of songs like this that nobody outside their immediate surroundings has ever heard). But its so much more worthwhile to listen to the songs as a transition. Its the story of Billie Joe's life, how he's felt, what he's been going through, the ups and downs. It would be so fake to just stick with one formula. As it is, GD albums reflect his journey through life.
on 20 May 2007
I've read a vast majority of the reviews and some of them are just unbelievable. People who read into this album too much need to take a lie down somewhere, preferably a dark room.
This is not a punk album, it's a rock album. Green Day are from a punk background but have not been a punk band since Nimrod. Green Day (Bille, Mike and Tre) have made a great album and for the criticism they took this album sticks two fingers to all those doubters. People claim they sold out, so what? Punk is about being yourself and doing what the f*** you want....correct me if I wrong but that's what they did.
I bought this the first time around but it mysteriously disappeared. As I'd got tickets to see the American Idiot musical I decided to remind myself of the songs on the album and they are just as good the second time around. This album needs to be played at a very loud volume and read the song lyrics so that you can sing along. Although you will probably know most of the tracks such as When September Ends, American Idiot, Jesus of Suburbia, Holiday and Whatsername. If you've never had this album or like me lost your copy buy this, at this price it's a real bargain.
on 5 October 2011
I am aware and constantly reminded that things change. Trends adapt, preferences season and opinions change. It is life and it can be a good thing. In music too. But it can also hinder the appreciation of a favourite group or artist. I'm all for experimentation. Green Day dabbled with their sound before on Warning. That was a good album but lacked a certain punch that Insomnia and even Nimrod had. They cut their teeth on balls-to-the-walls punk rock and exist far more comfortably categorised as such. American Idiot is actually a return, in a way, to their sound before Warning, but with added rock opera that sometimes works, sometimes doesn't. Even on a purely musical level, when compared to Insomnia or Dookie, the album pales. Instead of assured and unmoving, they have now appionted themselves as the voice of a generation, politically charged and frothing with ire at injustice. I'm just not sure which generation.
That said, the album itself is very strong. The title track, 'Holiday', 'Boulevard of Broken Dreams', 'When September Ends' all hit the right commercial buttons. But it is clear that this is rock music now and hardly any punk is allowed in to the proceeding apart from a hint in 'American Idiot'. The odd tracks are the gestalt proggers, the 8 minute 'sagas', 'Jesus of Suburbia' and 'Homecoming'. Therein lie some very good music also but as a whole they seem bitty and underwhelming. A Green Day song should be 2 minutes of catchy tune and buzz-saw guitars but not grouped into 5 tracks at a time. This is the problem with the concept as a whole: it always feels part of a whole and never much fun in its individual parts.
Other highlights include, 'She's A Rebel', 'Extraordinary Girl' and the excellent 'Letterbomb'. The rest is ok just not outstanding.
An interesting trial that paid off in record sales and raised the band's profile somewhat. However, I hope it hasn't catapulted them to U2 or Red Hot Chilli Peppers status, as that would be a waste of a good punk band.
on 1 January 2012
The album that led to, among other things, a hit Broadway musical and a two year tour is certainly no disappointment.
Green Day move on from the VERY underrated Warning into a bright new era of politically motivated anthems that educate and speak to many people. This album is a rare treat in that there is not a single song that seams out of place or lackluster, and every bit of the individual talents of Bille Joe, Mike and Tre have been used to the full. From almost 10 minute long epics such as Jesus of Suburbia, stadium filler anthems such as American Idiot and Holiday and slow and poignant tracks such as Wake me up when September ends this album is simply a joy to listen to.
The lyrics hark to the widespread feelings of deceit and paranoia that accompanied the Bush years and the invasion of Iraq, and each song has a largely political meaning that mark a radical change from the largely drug and trip related lyrics of earlier work. You have a feeling that each detail was thought out to the full, for example the title of Wake Me Up When September ends harking to the phrase Bille used after his father died during his childhood.
This album certainly changed my life, making the then 9 year old me a lot more politically aware and triggering an intense love for all of Green Days albums and projects. Almost 8 years on the messages carried by these powerful songs seem as relevant as ever, and this album was certainly a fork in the road for Green Day and their later projects - The loss of the work on the originally planned 'Cigerettes and Valentines' album prompting them to start work on American Idiot from scratch was arguably one of the best things to ever happen to the three boys from the bay.
on 5 January 2016
My son loves this album - he's back where I was 30 years ago on his record player, but the Auto-Rip download includes a bonus track(s?) so he's added that to his Amazon Music Prime downloads on his iPod and so has it wherever he is.
A happy kid!