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American Idiot (album)

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American Idiot is the seventh studio album by "Green Day" and was released on September 21, 2004 on "Reprise Records", and was produced by Rob Cavallo. In mid-2003 Green Day began recording "Cigarettes and Valentines" but the master tracks were stolen from the studio, but instead of rerecording the album the band decided to start from scratch which led to the creation of American Idiot. American Idiot entered at #1 in the U.S charts as well as in many countries. To date, it is Green Day's second-best selling album behind Dookie with over 14 million units sold worldwide.

Story

The album's protagonist, the Jesus of Suburbia, emerged out of Armstrong asking himself what sort of person the title of "American Idiot" referred to. Armstrong described the character as essentially an anti-hero, a powerless "everyman" desensitized by a "steady diet of soda pop and Ritalin".

The Jesus of Suburbia hates his town and those close to him, and due to this he leaves the town for the city. He finds a new, more enjoyable life in "Holiday." This part of the story is considered the "party before the hangover," the hangover being "Boulevard of Broken Dreams." Here Jesus realizes what he left behind, and feels very alone.

As the album progresses the characters of St. Jimmy and Whatsername are introduced. St. Jimmy is punk rock freedom fighter, "the son of a bitch and Edgar Allan Poe." Whatsername is a "Mother Revolution" figure that Armstrong described as "kind of St. Jimmy's nemesis in a lot of ways." Both characters illustrate the "rage vs. love" theme of the album, in that "you can go with the blind rebellion of self-destruction, where Saint Jimmy is. But there's a more love-driven side to that, which is following your beliefs and ethics. And that's where Jesus of Suburbia really wants to go," according to Armstrong.

Near the end of the story, St. Jimmy apparently commits suicide. While the singer did not want to give away the details of the story's resolution, he said the intention is for the listener to ultimately realize that Jesus of Suburbia is really St. Jimmy, and Jimmy is "part of the main character that pretty much dies."

The reason for St. Jimmy's suicide is because of the Jesus of Suburbia's conformity to regular life, illustrated in "Homecoming: East 12th Street" with "Jesus filling out paperwork now, at the facility on East 12th Street." The Jesus of Suburbia longs to have his St. Jimmy alias back to break conformity and "be free" as heard in the same song by saying "I don't want to stay, get me out of here right now, I just wanna be free." Then, in "Homecoming: Nobody Likes You" it is said that Jesus of Suburbia's relationship with Whatsername is starting to fade away.

In the album's final song, "Whatsername," the Jesus of Suburbia loses his connection with Whatsername as well, forgetting her completely. Whatsername is not the character's real name, however, since the Jesus of Suburbia can only remember her face, he refers to her as Whatsername. It is also apparent that Jesus and Whatsername fell in love. However, Jesus knew that their relationship was failing apart due to the fact that St. Jimmy was simply a character that he had created in order to have rebel side to himself, while Whatsername was a true rebel, one that truly believed in her cause. Because St. Jimmy was not truly a rebel, Whatsername left him to go and start a life somewhere else, described in "Homecoming." The song leaves the story open ended by referring to the fact Jesus can not remember Whatsername's actual name because he has ether forgotten what her name was or had chosen to erase her from his memory in whole.

A second know interpretation of the story lists St. Jimmy as a separate character from the commonly accepted Jesus persona. Differences in the story have Jesus meeting St. Jimmy who becomes a friend of his. St. Jimmy ultimately becomes somewhat of a negative role model for Jesus, and convinces Jesus use recreational drugs as described in "Give Me Novocaine" (an easy display of Jimmy's effect on Jesus). The temptation of Jimmy interferes with Jesus' relationship with Whatsername causing the timely breakup heard in "Letterbomb". After Jimmy's death, Jesus becomes resentful of his relationship with Whatsername, wishing things could have been better without Jimmy, who he believes she may have ended up leaving him for.

Track Listing

  1. "American Idiot"
  2. "Jesus of Suburbia"
    I. "Jesus of Suburbia"
    II. "City of the Damned"
    III. "I Don't Care"
    IV. "Dearly Beloved"
    V. "Tales of Another Broken Home"
  3. "Holiday"
  4. "Boulevard of Broken Dreams"
  5. "Are We the Waiting"
  6. "St. Jimmy"
  7. "Give Me Novacaine"
  8. "She's a Rebel"
  9. "Extraordinary Girl"
  10. "Letterbomb"
  11. "Wake Me Up When September Ends"
  12. "Homecoming"
    I. "The Death of St. Jimmy"
    II. "East 12th St."
    III. "Nobody Likes You"
    IV. "Rock and Roll Girlfriend"
    V. "We're Coming Home Again
  13. "Whatsername"

In the Deluxe Version of the album, four bonus tracks appear:

  1. "Too Much Too Soon"
  2. "Shoplifter"
  3. "Governator"
  4. "Favorite Son"

These songs have no apparent connection to the rest of the album. "Governator" seems to have been written about California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, mixing the words "governor" and "terminator," the name of his most memorable movies. It was written and sung by bass player Mike Dirnt

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