394 of 1001 Albums: Green Day’s American Idiot

I think some songs on this album might be might guilty pleasure. I remember when “Wake Me Up When September Ends” was played at my high school prom and a goth couple did a slow dance to the song on the dance floor. Such sweet memories! Anyways, while every song isn’t as strong as others on this album it does provide some good hooks, lyrics that make you think, and the wonderful pop rock sound. It also reminds me of better times of high school because the only good part was really the emotions I had toward music.

History: So in a first introduction of the word rock opera I found that it is essentially rock music united by a theme or story. Green Day created a rock opera on their album American Idiot after their songs for another album were stole in 2003. The album was a huge success upon release, and reached charts in many countries. It also was mostly a critical success as well, though there were some critics who thought the story wasn’t consistent throughout.

Vocals: Billie Armstrong has a recognizable voice, so when listening to a Green Day song you might pick up that it is them just from that. He has a lot of emotion and power to his voice even when tunes themselves don’t quite make sense, or just lack the story they were striving for. He has a very punk voice though, but it is well put into the punk pop rock environment. “American Idiot” is where he seems to stretch the vocal range a good bit.

Instrumentals: The band consist of two other musicians in the band for this album, but with additional accompaniments. Mike Dirnt was on bass, but also did vocals for a few of the other songs. I think vocals more so than the bass contributed to the unified vibe of the tunes. Also, Tre Cool is on drums, and the drums do add a lot of kick to the music. Billie Armstrong also works on instrumentals along with vocals and I think he creates a lot of memorable riffs for the album like in “Holiday”.

Recording: It hasn’t even been quite a decade since this album was released, but it has that fun pop rock sound that is fun to listen to no matter the year. The themes they were trying to accomplish in the story might be the thins more easily outdated as they appeal to teens a decade ago, and to be honest music with teens changes about as quick as their fashion. As someone who was a teen when this album was released I think it is more nostalgia for my generation now.

Overall, it’s difficult to believe this album was released in 2004. I think it has a few songs that are my guilty pleasure like “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Wake Me When September Ends”. More so because they remind me of being younger than enjoyment for the music or the lyrics though. Even though when I was a teen I did find these songs appealing. Some of the lyrics are just too obscure and maybe offensive for me to really enjoy the whole album though.

Rating 7 of 10.