10 Years of Being an American Idiot

green-day

September 20, 2004 will forever be an important day for Green Day fans everywhere. It’s when the band’s landmark album American Idiot came out and believe it or not, it’s 10 years old. This is the record responsible for the band’s massive music take over. This is the one that brought more fans into the Green Day fold. This is the album that has stood the test of time. It also proved Green Day had a fire in them that hadn’t died out just yet.

I still remember going to Circuit City to pick up the album like it was only a few years ago. No one could predict the major success that would come with, especially since the band were close to calling quits a few years earlier. It made them the biggest act on the planet and showed they were meant to have a long, lucrative career. This was the record that made me a longtime Green Day fan. It’s still one of my favorites and sounds as amazing as it did when I first heard it. It’s still hard to believe I first heard the powerful lyrics and blazing guitars 10 years ago.

There was nothing about the LP I disliked. I instantly fell in love with the title track and all the subsequent singles, but the way the other songs were catchy and notable left me in awe. How was it possible for one album to be so damn good? The great hooks and intense music are what initially attracted me, but the more I heard it the more I began to understand what made the record so special. After listening to it a few times I started to realize all the songs were connected. It wasn’t until I dived into the lyrics I uncovered the story of Jesus of Suburbia and St. Jimmy. The tracks weren’t just notable because of a hook or a distinct guitar riff. So many other factors were in play, mainly passion and hard work.

Green Day didn’t invent the concept album, but they did show me how records have the ability to tell intricate stories complete with interesting characters and situations you can relate to. I remember just how amazed I was when I heard “Jesus of Suburbia.” It was nine minutes of chaos, aggression, anger, and kick ass music. As the song kept transitioning between the different acts, I was left speechless. What was going on? It was like five mini songs wrapped up in one large, epic track. They did it again with “Homecoming” to wrap up the tale of St. Jimmy. It was unlike anything I had heard before. I had no idea artists could just take the song format and completely flip it on its head.

The band has had successful albums before, but on this one they showed they could do more than make snotty punk rock songs. To be fair, they already veered away from their winning formula on albums like Nimrod and Warning, but here they were so hungry and full of passion it made the world pay attention. They even took the songwriting to a new level. It’s more personal than before, full of clever, witty lyrics that managed to comment on teen angst, going against the norm, and American politics. I admired the way they addressed the political issues of the time. They weren’t shoving it down my throat. Rather, they made me aware of what was going on and why it wasn’t right.

Lines like “I’m the son of rage and love” are still being scribbled across notebooks all over the world. Everything about the songs managed to reach people on such an emotional level. Whether it was something relatable, like the death of a loved one, or a song that just made you feel good, it’s special. When I listen to it now feelings of awe, pride, and excitement come flooding back to me. The album is full of great memories and still has a special place in my heart. It’s something I still love listening to and one I’ll sing along without hesitation. I’ll always remember it as a wonderful times for both fan and the band alike.

It’s a timeless album that showed the world just how amazing Green Day is. It’s one of those records everyone should hear at least once, sort like Nevermind. It’s an essential record that re-invented the band and the way we think about music. It’s something people are still debating, reviewing, and listening to 10 years later on. Now, if you excuse me, I’ve got an album to listen to.

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5 comments

    1. Hey, glad you enjoyed the article. That’s awesome! I finally saw Green Day last year. I waited so long but it was worth it. I hope I see them again! Definitely, American Idiot is still one of my favorite albums. I will never get tired of it.

  1. Dude I totally agree. Great summary of exactly how I felt. The screaming guitars, the punchy bass, the perfect rhythm of the drums, all mixed perfectly created a masterpiece to my ears. I never get tired of that album. Ever. When people ask me, “what album would you bring if you were stranded on a desert island” my response without hesitation is American Idiot. It will always be my favorite album of all time. Rock on!

    1. Thanks man! Yeah you get what I mean. I know this word is overused for everything but it really is freaking epic. It totally blew my mind when I first heard it and most GD albums are pretty great (at least I think so) but this one stands above them all. They just had that fire that made it so damn perfect. It’s still amazing. I can leave that album on a loop and never get tired of it \m/

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