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Monday, Oct 20, 2014
The 11th song on American Idiot, "Wake Me Up When September Ends" is arguably the most multifaceted and emotionally powerful composition on the album.

As I’ve already discussed thus far in this series, Green Day’s 2004 masterpiece American Idiot is incredibly multifaceted. Part punk rock concept album (in the vein of the Who’s Quadrophenia) and part social commentary on post-9/11 America, the album offers both an endearing yet tragic coming-of-age tale and a formal expression of the fear and sadness felt within the country at the turn of the century. While the full-length has already featured plenty of wonderful examples of these sentiments, its eleventh track, “Wake Me Up When September Ends”, is easily the most poignant, striking, and universal one up until now. A heartbreaking eulogy to the losses of its central character, vocalist, and even the nation in which it takes place, the song is devastatingly somber, hypnotic, and beautiful. In fact, in terms of pure songwriting, it make be the best composition the trio has ever written.


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Friday, Oct 17, 2014
Well, I remember seein’ some ad so I turned on my Conelrad but I didn’t pay my Con Ed bill so the radio didn’t work so well. Turned on my record player—it was the 929th most acclaimed album of all time. Dylan's 1963 breakthrough is this week's Counterbalance.

Klinger: It seems like it’s been forever since we checked in with our old friend Bob Dylan. Bob has an astonishing 20 albums on the Great List of the most acclaimed albums of all time, although the triptych of LPs he released in 1965 and 1966 (Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde) established Dylan as a critical force and have always garnered the lion’s share of critical acclaim. We’ve covered all three of them, as well as the 1975 Blood on the Tracks, and you have been, to put it charitably, a tough sell regarding the works of His Bobness, so I’m curious as to how you’ll respond to The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, his pre-electric second album and the one that launched him into the public consciousness.


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Thursday, Oct 16, 2014
by Chris Kopcow
Weezer's new album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End, walks the tenuous line between redressing the band's follies and giving in to banal fan service.

In 2008, Weezer released “Pork and Beans” and “Troublemaker”, the first two singles off their third self-titled album, colloquially referred to as “The Red Album”. In these songs, frontman Rivers Cuomo takes a stand to say that he’s “doin’ things [his] own way and never giving up” and that he “ain’t got a thing to prove to you.” It’s not hard to see this as him shrugging off the criticisms that the band faced since the early ‘00s, when they streamlined their sound into something a little more pristine and a lot more goofy and frivolous.


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Monday, Oct 13, 2014
Heartbreak, rejection, and rebellion collide in catchy, affective, and brilliant fashion on the ninth and tenth tracks from Green Day's 2004 masterpiece.

Up until this point in American Idiot, St. Jimmy (the alias of Jesus of Suburbia) has been wondering around the streets of America alone, unsure of just about everything in his life. He’s felt a calling to incite change and rebellion, not only for himself, but for the country as a whole; unfortunately, without anyone else to help him, the task is easier said than done. But, with the arrival of Whatshername, a snarky teenage girl who seems to be his match both romantically and anarchically, St. Jimmy has found a new purpose in life. Together, they can complement each other while also challenging the conformity and complacency of the country—or so they thought. As we see in the ninth and tenth tracks of the album—“Extraordinary Girl” and “Letterbomb”—this relationship soon crumbles. It’s a riotous and bitter pill to swallow.


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Friday, Oct 10, 2014
Don't save the complaints for a party conversation. The world is loaded—it's lit to pop and nobody is gonna stop talking about the 420th most acclaimed album of all time. Further dispatches from the Alternative Nation in this week’s Counterbalance.

Mendelsohn: I’m almost done torturing you with my early 1990s nostalgia. One more and then it’s over (at least until I work up the courage to go back to Nine Inch Nails’ The Downward Spiral). This week it will be Jane’s Addiction’s Ritual de lo Habitual. When I picked this album, both Ritual and Jane’s Addiction’s first album Nothing’s Shocking were relatively close on the Great List, hovering in the back half of the top 300. Not wanting to talk about two Jane’s Addiction albums and since they were both ranked about the same, I flipped a coin. Ritual de lo Habitual won. But since the last revision, both albums have taken a little tumble. Nothing’s Shocking currently resides at No. 391 while Ritual de lo Habitual fell to No. 420. Not a big deal, I thought. But now I’m starting to second guess myself. Would you have preferred to listen to Jane’s Addiction’s major label debut? Or the record that helped cement their status as figureheads of the Alternative Nation?


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