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We Are the Waiting
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.