Friday, June 11, 2010

Green Day

I figured a great way to start this blog with a bang would be to talk about my favorite band, Green Day. In the last decade or so Green Day’s had just about as much criticism as they have had praise. The hardcore punk scene rejects them for being too mainstream and not “real” punk while critics commend them by calling American Idiot a masterpiece. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Green Day and I’ll be happy to hear yours as well.

I couldn’t actually tell you exactly when I discovered Green Day; I’ve been a fan through most of my childhood. American Idiot was released just as I was starting middle school and it couldn’t have been a more perfect time (many who were pre-teens or teenagers when Dookie was released can understand this as well). With the three characters Jesus of Suburbia, St. Jimmy, and Whatsername, the album portrayed the themes of isolation, confusion, and rebellion –which every young adult can empathize with. As I listened to this album over and over (and over and over) again it truly opened my eyes to the world (and to myself for that matter). It really showed me that the world was not perfect as I, a naïve child, had thought it was. My newfound secular perspectives and liberalism allowed me to begin to mature into the person I wanted to be. Admittedly, the person I wanted to be when I was twelve is not the same person I want to be as I near eighteen; however, I think you get my point.

Making its debut in May of last year, 21st Century Breakdown continued some of the same ideas and themes as its predecessor. Being five years older and wiser I was able to catch much more of the political statement in this album. Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong predicted what the world will be like for his sons when they grow up and these predictions are far from reassuring. This album scared the living shit out of me, with metaphors like fire and flames being representative of the destruction of 21st century, while at the same time made me want to become more like the character of Gloria –a strong, determined, optimistic, and confident woman.

Songs from both albums have been incorporated into the Broadway production of American Idiot. Michael Mayer’s interpretations have revived my appreciation for the album. The way Mayer had Letterbomb be sung by only females, and created the characters of Will and Tunny just blew my mind. Mayer truly dissected every aspect of the album from the lyrics to little details in the booklet (i.e the postcard signed by “Tunny” on the Homecoming page). I cannot wait until I get a chance to see the play in person and not via television.

I have so much respect for Green Day for being “punk” enough to not conform to “punk” standards. I look forward immensely to their growth and changes because I feel they are one of the greatest artists of our time.

So what do you think? Do you miss the “old” Green Day? Do you think they’re overrated? Or do you love them?

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