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Yes, before you say it, I know this may be incorrectly categorised but having heard Green Day's new album, American Idiot, prior to Monday's release date I thought I should share my views with you. For a band that have released album after album of stirring pop-punk, you'd be forgiven for thinking that they would finally produce a bad album..........NO CHANCE ! 'American Idiot' is yet another slice of Green Day at their incredible best. With this record supposedly very personal to Billie Joe Armstrong and with the obvious Anti-America feel to it, this may be the record that makes them legends, or sees them sink below their homeland for the stand that they have taken. But as a fan, all I can say to the guys, is THANKYOU
Opening track 'American Idiot' is a standard Green Day track, re-living Basketcase through the pure energy of it's sound and lyrical content. Controversial it may be, great it definetley is. Out as a single this week, it is sure to be another classic and thoroughly deserves to chart high, but with the dreadful music taste that the majority of the 'chart buying' public has, I severley doubt that it will do so.
'Jesus Of Suburbia' is a 9-minute epic that covers every style Green Day have ever had in one single track. From the pacy angst of Warning to the melodic storm of Good Riddance, it is an absolute classic that is my personal choice for the favourite song slot. It plods along with the verse before exploding into something reminiscent of Minority, Warning etc, and produces a stand-out track on an already great album.
'Holiday/Boulevard Of Broken Dreams' is another epic, taking the 'new' Green Day style of rock-opera to the extreme, yet still managing to stick to their trademark sound at the same time. It mixes every sound you could believe, with Billie Joe's amazing vocals to produce a song that, just as 'Jesus Of Suburbia', deserves to be an absolute classic.
Being a huge Green Day who respects their every move and every release to the high heavens, I can honestly tell any expectant fans that this is something very special. 'Dookie', thier smah-hit album ot date, holds nothing to this. 'American Idiot' is better, by a distance and is probably one of the greatest albums ever made. Trademark Green Day it may be, but there is just something else to it that makes it stand out and I just can't place it.
'Are We The Waiting/St Jimmy' again travels down the road of greatest Green Day, recapturing the vocal chords of 'When I Come Around' to produce probably the most emotional track on the album, if not on any GD album (although realistically nothing here touches Good Riddance' for tearful effect). It takes various musical direction changes however, it starts as I said as a rather tearful ballad, but then suddenly picks up to standard Green Day pace, tearing into the lyric sheet with genuine fury and passion.
Next track 'Give Me Novacaine/She's A Rebel' begins with acousitc guitar chords to heavy drumming from Tre Cool, whilst Billie Joe has an emotional moment with the opening verses before it picks up into a driving chorus that even the most hardened rocker could bop their head too without feeling slight embarassment. The one thing that Green Day have over every other great rock band is the vocal ability's of their lead singer. Billie Joe's ability to be incredibly diverse with his chords is something that i've never heard from any other singer within rock music for some time.
'Extraordinary Girl/Letterbomb has an appealing Indian beat to the beginning prior to bursting into, as i've said many times, trademark Green Day sound. It's yet another example of their ability to mix fast-paced edgy verses, with beautiful melodic choruses with the very flick of a switch. The album itself comprises of 5 songs that span 9 minutes or more, hence that rock-opera terminology given by Green Day themselves. This song however, would probably have to be classed as the weakest here, because as much as it sounds like GD's best, it still seems to lack the edge of previous classics, let-alone previous songs on this album.
As the 9-minute epics end, we come to 'Wake Me Up When September Ends', a track that by the title, would sound like a typical ballad, but no. A ballad it may be, but there is a difference between everyone elses attempts at ballads, and a Green Day attempt. Green Day have the unique talent to make a ballad sound so special, largely because they aren't afraid to be different. They do so with full justification that they have the talent to pull it off and that they're fans will love it regardless. They know that they can make the most beautiful track, yet still incorporate the typical punk sound to some of it at the same time.
'Homecoming', possibly the nearest you will get to previous albums. It begins with the vocals of Billie Joe backed by purely a guitar before picking up and driving into the chorus, which as all others, goes along just as you would expect.......... perfectly. Something you will notice on the album is that throughout there are references on most songs to earlier work on the album. For example the song 'St Jimmy', is referenced on about 3 other songs on the album getting one line notice before the next line is torn into.
Final track 'Whatsername', if you go by the title, is something you would expect to be in reference to an earlier relationship that turned sour and now you are taking your hatred out on the girl in question and well, it is. Billie Joe sings as if alone, going through the first verse whilst singing "I wonder how whatsername has been", with the lyrics leaning toward her abandon of him, or him sulking over a chance that slipped away and is now regretted in secret. It is the main song that actually refers to the subject of love, with another thumping chorus to back the calm feel of the verses.
So all in all I can safely say that this is something very special, it is arguably Green Day's greatest album (and I say that with genuine conviction) and is undoubtedly 2004's best work, period !
1. American Idiot 2. Jesus Of Suburbia I - Jesus Of Suburbia II - City Of The Damned III - I Don't Care IV - Dearly Beloved V - Tales Of Another Broken Home 3. Holiday 4. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams 5. Are We The Waiting 6. St. Jimmy 7. Give Me Novocaine 8. She's A Rebel 9. Extraordinary Girl 10. Letterbomb 11. Wake Me Up When September Ends 12. Homecoming I - The Death Of St. Jimmy II - East 12th St III - Nobody Likes You IV - Rock And Roll Girlfriend V - We're Coming Home Again 13. Whatsername
Absolutely great review. By far their best album yet. Unfortunately I can't afford £75 for a gig at Milton Keynes Bowl but I'll listen to the album loads more. Seeing the video to "Wake me up when September ends" made me cry. What a truly beautiful ballad. - Tina
TrueBrit69 01.06.2005 20:59
Green day are awsome this album is by far their best album. Hopefully more to come
ilusvm 26.11.2004 22:26
i love greenday! they are one of my fave bands! great review. Em x
Hal Leonard Green Day: Tr! Guitar, Green Day: Tr! Songs: Brutal Love, Missing You, 8th ... more
Avenue Serenade, Drama Queen, X-Kid, Sex-Drugs & Violence, A Litte lBoy Named Train, Amanda, Walk Away, Dirty Rotten Bastards, 99 Revolutions, The Forgotten, Songbook arranged for guitar in notation and tabulature, with chords and lyrics, Intermediate level