An Ode to an American Idiot…
by Jake Lucas
I have never been a huge fan of Green Day. I have songs here and there that are my favorites as I have with most artists. But when it comes to American Idiot, I know for a fact that it represents something much more than just “some album.” In the post-9/11-era where people were afraid to say anything against their government without being dismissed as “anti-American” and where suburbia seemed like an endless wasteland of conservative-flag-waving-individuals that were content with news media shoving bullshit down their throats, one band finally stood up against these quarrels of society and just simply said “Fuck you”.
“American Idiot" gave teenagers of that post-9/11-era a voice. It gave them a reason to question their government and say, “Whoa, what the Bush administration is doing is fucked up.” It gave kids, teenagers, a reason to research what exactly their parents, their neighbors, and their government stood for. At a time where there just seemed to be total ambiguity towards not speaking out against your government, this album changed that for a good majority of kids in the suburbs. It taught those kids, who needed something to lean-on when their back was against the wall, that you can have a different opinion from the kids around you, most specifically the conservative kids in your average-day suburbia, that its ok. It taught not only the power of voice, but the fact that you aren’t alone. There are kids just like you, searching for something that gives them meaning and that your dreams aren’t solemn and that you don’t have to give up on yourself or the world around you.
But besides its politically charged themes, the album itself just stands the test of time. Some people would argue against that, but ten years later we’re still dealing with social injustice, kids still not knowing what they stand for in their political views, and still just wanting to give one giant middle finger to the men and women in power. It changed things, whether you want to believe it or not and in one way or another effected this generation. Whether you only heard the lead single or you listened all the way through to “Whatshername”, the music of one band changed the outlook on the world for a long period of time. It made kid’s want something again, whether it was political or personal.
Like I said before, I’m not a huge Green Day fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I do commend them for this piece of art that defined them as a band and will continue defining them as their career continues to flourish. They are definitely not the first band to do such a thing in that era, but they were the first in the “pop rock” scene to say something and actually stand out to the rest of America instead of the underground scene. While the now-adults-then teenagers might look back at “American Idiot” and giggle and roll their eyes at it’s cheesy and over-powering political “fuck you’s”, teenagers will continue to discover this album for years to come and its an album that will make those kids think the same way that it did to the teenagers from 10 years ago when it was released. This is an album that has made such a difference that it even graced one of the acclaimed stages of Broadway. It’s a rock opera, a time capsule of what’s been yet is still relatable. It’s an album that you can romanticize over and it’s an album that stands up for itself past the band even, and is known of the world over. “American Idiot" is real and powerful, and always will be for years to come.