Green Day - ‘American Idiot’ (Reprise)

05 Oct 2004

editor of rockfeedback, toby l, is not a green day fan. correction: was not a green day fan; release - '04.

Green Day - 'American Idiot'It's been remarked that our planet must be in a pitiful, godforsaken state if musicians have to act as our politicians.

Sometimes, it works - Thom Yorke, by comparison to some of his outlandish, ligger-like contemporaries (most prone to a party attendance at the merest drop of a coke-stash), is somewhat of a recluse, yet emerges from his shell every so often to bark at the discrepancies in the present worldly order. He seems genuinely f**king concerned.

Other times, it doesn't quite add up - am I the only one that finds Bono, sunglasses-strewn and leather-jacketed, insincere amidst his earnest attempts to save us all?

Well, whatever, we must really be in a hole if Green Day now feel an urge to have a go at adding their say to this political, current affairs malarkey. Weirder still, 'American Idiot', the over-aged punks' first studio-album in yonks, is one of their best.

How frustrating. A band we'd quite rightly wanted to write off. Coming back. And impressing us.

And it's because, more-so than their most recent stabs, there seems to be a point this time - a trio incensed with an agenda, a band using the accomplishment that years of playing brings, and merging an unashamed maturity that's, at last, set in. For anyone within the remotest of earshot of their last LP - 'Warning' - they'll know this was long overdue, and a Very Good Thing.

It's all quite bizarre too, in an occasionally enthralling way. 'AI' is a record of two parts - one: a 'normal' album; two: a concept full-length. After all, there are two 'songs' herein that each contain five parts. It's an extravagant, overblown, poncey, Queen-worthy rock drama. The first, 'Jesus Of Suburbia' is a ravaging, schizophrenic noise-feast of darting power-chords and intertwining acoustics, and the second - 'Homecoming' - is wedding-bells laden, sampling the title-track, and as infectious as disease, and - overall - quite ridiculous. It's Muse-standard pomp, done the punk way.

We'd be disorientated if we hadn't got the rest - firstly, that aforesaid 'American Idiot'; now ubiquitous across radios everywhere with its stop-start, three-chord, dumb-ass panache, and contrastingly disaffected, aware lines ('Can you hear the sound of hysteria?/The subliminal mindf**k America... 'Television dreams of tomorrow/We're not the ones meant to follow...') - and equally seditious, undeniable, future chart-slayers 'Holiday', 'Boulevard Of Broken Dreams' and the really rather epic, slow-burning 'Wake Me Up When September Ends'. So gargantuan, melodic and accomplished is the whole ordeal that by the time a chugging, closing 'Whatsername' wraps up proceedings and mid-way launches into a final ears-grazing assault, we're quite taken aback, having relished a truly guilty treasure.

Green Day: back, and baiting the public with their most important and potentially successful album to date. We didn't expect it either. But revel now it's with us.

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