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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

American Idiot: still relevant ten years later

 

 

It was an album about a country subjugated to propaganda, misinformed by media and ruled by a nationwide paranoia, all perceived through the eyes of a disenfranchised individual—it’s ten years after its release, and Green Day’s “American Idiot” is still as relevant today as it was back then.
It’s hard to believe it has already been over a decade since the Bay Area punk trio released their magnum opus on Sept. 21, 2004.
As of March, playwright Rolin Jones announced that he finished the script for a film adaptation, produced by Tom Hanks and starring the band’s frontman Billie Joe Armstrong. In 2009, “American Idiot” was adapted into a Berkeley musical and was then upgraded to Broadway the following year. The musical went on to achieve two Tony Awards along with a nomination for Best Musical. In 2011, it won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album.
Armstrong worked closely with director Michael Mayer, who also confirmed he will be directing the motion picture. A documentary film about the musical, entitled “Broadway Idiot,” was released on iTunes last year and is available to purchase on DVD as well as on-demand.
Since 2004, “American Idiot” has sold over 15 million copies worldwide, debuted at No. 1 in the US and won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. It spawned five successful singles – “American Idiot,” “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “Holiday,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and “Jesus of Suburbia”—all of which received at least Platinum certification by the RIAA.
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences’ 50th anniversary celebration of the Grammy Awards aired a television special on CBS where Green Day’s 2005 performance of “American Idiot” was voted the greatest Grammy performance of all time. Rolling Stone Magazine readers voted Green Day the top artist of the 2000 decade, as well as having the top single (“Boulevard of Broken Dreams”) and the top album.
Part social commentary and part fictional narrative, precious few albums can claim to be as prolific, poetic or important as the era’s cultural touchstone. Billie Joe Armstrong wrote the “American Idiot” story from the perspective of journal entries told by the album’s protagonist, known as Jesus of Suburbia. Armstrong’s use of polysemous and open-ended lyrics allows for listeners to connect with the songs even a decade after their release.
Desensitized by narcotics, confusion and self-destruction, the powerless anti-hero abandons his suburban life in search for autonomy. This coming-of-age tragedy depicts his struggles of balance between rage and love in an effort to find an identity.
Inspired by conceptual rock operas from the likes of Pink Floyd, The Who and The Beatles, the “American Idiot” grandeur was the first record to ever coin the term “punk-rock opera.” It charted in 27 countries and peaked at No. 1 in 19 of them.
Their international hit single “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” secured the US Modern Rock chart’s top position for 16 straight weeks, continued to reach No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, and won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. It was RIAA certified 2x Platinum and was the ninth biggest selling single of the decade, with worldwide sales exceeding five million copies. “Holiday” and “American Idiot” also peaked at No. 1 on the US Modern Rock chart while “Wake Me Up When September Ends” reached No. 2 and No. 6 on the Hot 100 list.
Green Day is undeniably the most successful punk band of all time. As of this year, the trio has sold over 75 million albums worldwide. Twenty of their singles have cracked the top 10 on the US Alternative Billboard charts, nine of which reached the No. 1 spot. Listed as the artist with the fourth most-cumulative weeks spent at No. 1, Green Day is documented with having at least 50 weeks. Throughout their career, Green Day became a five-time Grammy Award-winning band, attaining 19 total nominations.
Despite the tremendous success of Green Day over 25 years, the members have never compromised their values or beliefs. This is the driving element for those defending Green Day’s punk credibility. Regardless of anyone else’s opinions, their attitudes never changed when it came to their music.
Green Day did what punk rockers do best: They stated their opinions regardless of potential backlash. In a time when the United States was paralyzed by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, political songs were removed from the radio airwaves. People were afraid of speaking out against the government. This did not stop the trio from saying what was really on their minds in 2004.
The lyrical themes of “American Idiot” still resonate today, especially with recent political issues. And with a movie set to release sometime in the foreseeable future, the album remains relevant ten years after its initial success. This is one album that easily stands the test of time.

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American Idiot: still relevant ten years later