Green Day
American Idiot


4.5
superb

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
October 27th, 2009 | 244 replies | 25,264 views


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Billy Joe Armstrong deploys a successful market scheme.

American Idiot is a landmark record.

The album is this not because of music technicality or an inclusion of a difficult set of lyrics, Green Day’s American Idiot is a landmark for reasons that even go outside of the band’s initial intentions. The contents within the album and the outside surrounding events of the world in 2004 met together perfectly in what can best be described as one of rock’s biggest successes within the last decade. As such, it is a mystery as to how Billy Joe knew what exactly it would take to tip the scales back to the band’s side as he seemingly threw everything against the wall for one final attempt at renewed popularity. Whatever the case may be, the contents of this album showed innovation and progression in the pop punk genre that carried the bombastic mainstream impact of Blink-182’s to new heights and caused an all-career high - post-Dookie - for Green Day that the band will probably never reach again.

The genius of the album lies within a set of songs, that while trite and pretentious in concept, prove to be memorable and provoking of nostalgia for anyone who heard it in the year of its release. Many have heard about the tale of Jesus of Suburbia, and while serving as a competent shell to fit the songs into, the story is rather lackluster and undeserving of the quality pop punk songs to be found here. With the exceptions of the nine-minute epics and a few supplementary tracks, Billy Joe was wise enough to write the majority of the songs in a way that allows listeners to relate to certain individual cuts on a personal level - “American Idiot”, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, “Give Me Novacaine”, “Whatsername”, etc. - and in doing so, the album also dodges a potential problem of cheesiness along the way. For example, one of the main reasons “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” was so successful in the mainstream was because of how the lyrics were so easily relatable to the listener - particularly to teenagers with a plethora of angst-ridden emotions.

As mentioned above, the album’s story of Jesus serves as an appropriate housing for the contents therein. Each song is memorable and distinct in its own way, ranging from the short energetic jaunts as heard in “St. Jimmy” and “She’s a Rebel”, to full-on suites containing catchy, storytelling chapters that are found within “Jesus of Suburbia” and “Homecoming”. Some of the album’s best moments, however, are when Green Day begins a track with Billy’s distinct vocal musings layered over sparse instrumentation; later, this builds and escalate into distorted four-chord, pop punk bliss. “Give Me Novacaine”, “Wake Me Up When September Ends”, and “Whatsername” follow this pattern, and the latter of which offers a satisfying summary and closure for Jesus - as well as an individual listener - for the album. These build-ups are only more pleasurable because of the production values for American Idiot. Past efforts from the band featured a more common crunch sound for the guitar riffs, but here things are much more beefed up and loud-sounding when coming through the speakers.

While not unheard of for bands to hold a strong political opinion at the time, Green Day’s political view for this album plays a key role in tracks like “American Idiot”, “Holiday”, and “Wake Me Up When September Ends” - all of which being successful singles. Other bands at the time were just as adamant about politics and the foolishness in the media, but Green Day’s escalating popularity and undeniable market-controlling airwave dominance at the time caused the band to attract and reinforce that much-maligned political tag. Controversy like this and the band’s more mainstream direction in production values has caused American Idiot to become a type of love/hate album in which fans and critics are almost symmetrically divided in two.

All controversy aside, the music to be found here is quality and consistent stuff. The singles are certainly some of the album’s best tracks, although they were unfortunately over-played on the radio. However, you really can’t fault the band for this as they themselves had no control over the airplay - just the songs that were written for the album. In summary, the only fault for American Idiot that I can see is the overly pretentious storyline and Billy Joe’s overtly apparent mainstream desire for the album. Other than that, Green Day’s American Idiot is a pop punk record that will be remembered for years to come as being Green Day’s ticket back into to music world - not to mention being one heck of a pop punk album as well.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Ponton
Emeritus
October 27th 2009



5784 Comments


I posted this because I've always wanted to write a review for it, and I'm leaving Sputnik for good. I almost did a few weeks back, but now I know I waste far too much time here and need to leave it for good. Fireaboveicebelow's negative reviews have shown how silly a lot of the community here is as well and Sputnik has become just a joke in a lot of ways.

Not that anyone cares but cya. I'm going to try to ban my account so I'm not tempted.

Smug
October 27th 2009



228 Comments


just because somebody gives a negative review of a well liked album, they're 'silly'?.....

ok dude.

PS. your taste in music sucks

Roach
October 27th 2009



2149 Comments


Record sucks, see you later and good riddance.

Knott-
Emeritus
October 27th 2009



10194 Comments


whatever you think about this album holy fuck it made a huge impact on mainstream media at the time

BallsToTheWall
October 27th 2009



44164 Comments


Ha ha. There have been alot of farewells in 2009, most notably the latter months but it just shows sputnik is doing it's job in seperating the weak and the strong. Good job gang, have a pumpkin cupcake on me.

Thangorodrim
October 27th 2009



133 Comments


Fireaboveicebelow's reviews are just his opinion though. Just because everything thinks an album is amazing and he doesnt, doesnt mean he shouldnt write a review expressing his opinion on set band//album.

Thangorodrim
October 27th 2009



133 Comments


Unless you meant the fact that his negative reviews get really negged cause then yah, i see your point of the ridiculousness, with people not allowing other people an opinion.

Roach
October 27th 2009



2149 Comments


whatever you think about this album holy fuck it made a huge impact on mainstream media at the time



yeah everyone suddenly thought it was cool to be 'emo' and try to look like Billy Joe Armstrong and kids playing bad pop rock sprung up everywhere as important artists of the 21st century. Awesome.

Plus the record sucks.

Knott-
Emeritus
October 27th 2009



10194 Comments


lol

like i said, whatever you think.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2009



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Unless you meant the fact that his negative reviews get really negged cause then yah, i see your point of the ridiculousness, with people not allowing other people an opinion.


That Animal Collective review made good points but then started whining and throwing unnecessarily cheap and unfunny insults at the band and people who like it. If its silly to neg that then I don't know what to say really.

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

Thangorodrim
October 27th 2009



133 Comments


i havent read all his reviews, but i read one or two and the ones i read were pretty legit.

klap
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2009



10258 Comments


if you spend too much time here, it's likely a result of something wrong with your own time management skills then just sputnik wasting it for you. maybe figure that out instead? your reviews are generally strong anyways

Digging: The Bilinda Butchers - Heaven

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
October 27th 2009



8318 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great review, good album and sad to see you completely leaving. I hope you come back at some point though, preferrably sooner than later.

Chewie
October 27th 2009



4531 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

whole-heartedly agree.

bungy
October 27th 2009



8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Observer>Roach....what an asshole

Chewie
October 27th 2009



4531 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well duh

Roach
October 27th 2009



2149 Comments


I wasn't the one moaning like a little girl.

Chewie
October 27th 2009



4531 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah everyone suddenly thought it was cool to be 'emo' and try to look like Billy Joe Armstrong and kids playing bad pop rock sprung up everywhere as important artists of the 21st century. Awesome.


ya dawg only peusers like this shit.

bungy
October 27th 2009



8843 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didnt call you a pussy i called you an asshole...very different

Roach
October 27th 2009



2149 Comments


lol OK



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