Review Summary: An apology for liking Green Day
I'm probably the last guy on my street who likes Green Day. I don't know why, maybe my brain is to small to comprehend hardcore punk, so I just listen to pop-punk. In the name of my credibility though (if I have any), I do not listen to Blink-182 or sum 41. So lets look at why I could possibly like Green Day, starting with their 2004 smash hit "American Idiot".
The album gets off on a great start with the title track, a hard-rock punk jam that never takes it foot off the pedal. After that, the story (where?) of the album kicks in with "Jesus of Suburbia", which is a nine-minute suite. Green Day's version of doing 5 minute plus songs is rather unique, which is to say that they string a bunch of different 2 minute punk songs together to tell the album's story. I should admit at this point that I have no idea what the story is.
After "Jesus.." comes two of the albums most well known songs "Holiday" and "Boulevard of Broken Dreams". "Holiday" is a funny, catchy satire on 21st century American politics. "Boulevard..." slows the album down a little bit and although I got bored with it pretty quickly (attention span of a peanut), it is a rather good song with acoustic guitar on top of electric guitar, with a steady rhythm section.
"Are We Waiting" is probably my least favorite song on the album. Its just...boring, you know? It lacks the energy of Green Day's earlier songs, and even Tre Cool can't save it. The album lets up tremendously with "St. Jimmy", which is another catchy pop-punk song. It is also a story-track so we are introduced to the character St. Jimmy.
I'm going to skip ahead a few track so that I can get to the last three (they're fine, just not noteworthy). "Wake Me Up..." is the last slow track on the album and like the other slow ones, I got bored. The problem with Green Day is that their technical prowess seems to unravel when they tackle slow songs and it leaves us with Billie Joe's songwriting. This would be okay, if the subject-matter wasn't so cheesy and melancholic.
"Homecoming" is the second suite on the album, and it isn't as good as the first one to say the least. Their is a bright spot on it and that is Cool's "Rock and Roll Girlfriend", which is delivered in a sarcastic drone that makes it hilarious. Also I'm a drummer, so seeing another drummer take the mic is always uplifting. The album then ends on a bright note with "Whatsername".
All in all, the album is pretty good. Sure it collapses under its own weight a couple of times, but that is to be expected from a concept album. Admittedly the whole melodic-punk shtick gets old, but Green Day managed to have one last hurrah before succumbing to the dark pit that is "21st Century Breakdown". Check the album out.