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Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014
The fifth and sixth tracks on American Idiot represent a turning point in its narrative, as the man we thought was our hero finds himself unworthy of the position, and so he transforms himself into a more disruptive and selfish being so that he can deal with what the future holds.

Thus far in American Idiot, Jesus of Suburbia has left his hometown, abandoned everything he thought he knew, and set out alone to find the truth. However, as we saw in “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, this newfound purpose and solidarity has left him isolated, lonely, and scared, all the while questioning if he’s really on the right path. With the next two songs in the sequence—“Are We the Waiting” and “St. Jimmy”—we see him band together with others who are also going through the same search for introspection and morality, as well create a whole new personality with which he can lead them.


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Tuesday, Sep 23, 2014
The fourth track on American Idiot finds our hero alone and lost at the start of his journey. Ten years later, it's still as catchy, tragic, and affective as ever.

When we last left Jesus [of Suburbia] (on April 1st), he was embarking on a journey to find his figurative fortune whilst declaring his freedom from both the condemnatory nature of his town and the tyrannical pretense of his country. In other words, he was enjoying his “Holiday” from the lies and limitations of the world around him. However, much like the dramatic realization that strikes the impulsive lovers at the end of The Graduate, the party ends as soon as reality hits (on April 2nd), and Jesus is suddenly confronted with loneliness and hopelessness as he faces the future alone. He has no company or guidance as he ventures down the “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, and it’s quite the bitter pill to swallow.


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Monday, Sep 15, 2014
The third track on Green Day's 2004 opus blends its social commentary and coming-of-age narrative into a single explosion that's both powerful and profound.

Having properly set up both the social commentary and narrative construct of American Idiot with the disc’s first two pieces (“American Idiot” and “Jesus of Suburbia”), Green Day chose the most logical option for the next track: fuse the two agendas into one wholly kickass amalgam. Indeed, “Holiday” is among the most overtly political songs on the record, which is probably why it was such a big hit back in 2004. Likewise, it followed up on the defiant departure of the album’s protagonist, showcasing the next chapter in his journey. A decade later, “Holiday” is still just as catchy, invigorating, and collectively powerful, igniting a rebellious fire in the soul of everyone who hears it, as well as sparking discussions about its meanings.


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Monday, Sep 8, 2014
An exceptionally intricate, intelligent, gripping, and ambitious track, "Jesus of Suburbia" also did a fantastic job of setting up the story, characters, and social commentary that makes this LP so great.

As I mentioned in the introductory installment of this series, Green Day’s American Idiot has often been compared to the Who’s 1973 conceptual opus, Quadrophenia, and it’s not difficult to understand why. After all, both records’ narratives center on rebellious teenage males whose punky individualism puts them at odds with social conventions, familial expectations, peer pressures, and romantic expectations. In other words, the protagonists of both records are sick of the bullshit that surrounds them, and they even develop alternate egos to help deal with the banality and overwhelming uncertainties of everyday life. Furthermore, both records contain rambunctious multifaceted suites in which each stylistic change represents a new emotion or perspective. Although the entirety of American Idiot contains examples of these connections, the second track, “Jesus of Suburbia”, does it the best. Broken into five distinct movements, the piece is a tour de force of catchy melodies, invigorating momentum, emotional timbres and progressions, and most importantly, wonderful transitions.


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Tuesday, Sep 2, 2014
A decade later, Green Day's politically charged concept album remains one of the best, most important records of its era. The newest Between the Grooves series examines it in detail, starting with its mission statement title track.

Prior to 2004, few people would classify the music of Green Day as particularly sophisticated, intellectual, or thematically mature. Sure, “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” with its poignancy, fragility, and beautiful orchestration, quickly became the introspective acoustic ballad of a generation, and fun singles like “When I Come Around” and “Basket Case” were amongst the catchiest mainstream songs of their era. However, for the most part the ‘90s saw Green Day dominating the airwaves as little more than a premier punk rock group. The band emblemized a contemporary take on the rowdy counterculture retaliation of ‘70s icons like the Clash, and while it did an excellent job of it (don’t get me wrong), no one ever expected the trio to branch out of its preset genre limitations stylistically, conceptually, or technically.


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