Review of Green Day's album "American Idiot" (track by track):

Updated: Jan 25

Green Day. Remember them? America’s politically punk band? Breaking out in the 90s with albums like “Dookie” and “Nimrod” (which will be reviewed later), it wasn’t until 2004 when the band really took over the world with rock opera album, “American Idiot.”



Starting off with the title track, “American Idiot”, the question on everyone’s mind back in 2004 was, who was the American idiot? Lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, often referred to himself as the idiot, he referred to then President George W. Bush as the idiot, he referred to white supremacists as the idiot. Maybe anyone was the idiot. This specific song made America go INSANE. With the song being so political (as punk is, was and always will be), it accuses the media of using propaganda to stir up hysteria and paranoia. The band themselves have confirmed that American Idiot isn’t just about the world’s destructive leaders. “It’s about being full of anger, confused and just feeling not fully represented in the country you reside in.”, Bassist Mike Dirnt said. Controversy surrounds this track nowadays because of the lyric “Maybe I’m the faggot, America”, which is just a simple statement from Billie Joe as an ode to his bisexuality.


Lyrics that hooked me:


“Welcome to a new kind of tension all across the alien nation where everything isn’t meant to be okay, television dreams of tomorrow we’re the ones who’re meant to follow for that’s enough to argue”

Well maybe I’m the faggot, America. I’m not a part of a redneck agenda. Now everybody do the propaganda and sing along to the age of paranoia.”


“Don’t wanna be an American Idiot, one nation controlled by the media. Information age of hysteria, it’s calling out to idiot America.”



Jesus. Of. Suburbia. This eight-minute track can either make you or break you. No really. You will either absolutely love this song, or you will be deathly terrified of it. This song is probably not only my favorite track on this album but may very well be my favorite Green Day song. This is such an emotional and real story with real characters, and you believe this is really happening. This is where the rock opera starts. It’s the beginning story of the Jesus of Suburbia. The main character of the entire album. This is the way he lives. It tells a story. The lyrics say it all.


Lyrics that hooked me:


“I’m the son of rage and love, the Jesus of suburbia, the bible of none of the above on a steady diet of soda pop and Ritalin no one ever died for my sins in hell as far as I can tell at least the ones that got away with”


“And there’s nothing wrong with me this is how I’m supposed to be in a land of make believe that don’t believe in me”


“To fall in love and fall in debt, to alcohol and cigarettes, and Mary Jane to keep me insane doing someone else’s cocaine”


“At the center of the earth in the parking lot of the 7-11 where I was taught the motto was just a lie, it says ‘home is where your heart is’, but what a shame, ‘cause everyone’s heart doesn’t beat the same”


“City of the dead at the end of another lost highway signs misleading to nowhere, city of the damned, lost children with dirty faces today no one really seems to care”


“Everyone’s so full of shit born and raised by hypocrites’ hearts recycled but never saved from the cradle to the grave, we are the kids of war and peace from Anaheim to the Middle East, we are the stories and the psychos of, the Jesus of suburbia”


“Dearly beloved are you listening? I can’t remember a word you were saying, are we demented or are we disturbed? The space that’s in between insane and insecure”


“To live and not to breathe is to die in tragedy, to run, to run away, to find what you believe”


“I don’t feel any shame I won’t apologize where there ain’t nowhere you can go, running away from pain when you’ve been victimized tales from another broken home”


In conclusion, on a personal level, there are many emotions that go through my mind during “Jesus of Suburbia”.



Moving on to the other very political song that was the 2005 single from this album, “Holiday”, was released right in the middle of the Iraq and Afghanistan war. Also focusing on facts of the lies of the Busch administration was a contribution to this track. This song is very fun to scream at the top of your lungs when you’re mad at how your country is acting in congress and not taking care of things properly (which has happened with me).


Lyrics that hooked me:


“Hear the sounds of the dogs howlin’ out of key to the hymn called faith and misery and bleed the company lost the war today”


“I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies this is the drawing of the rest of our lives on holiday”


“Can I get another amen? Amen! There’s a flag wrapped around a score of men a gag a plastic bag on the monument”


“Sieg Heil to the president gasman bombs away is your punishment!

Pulverize the Eiffel (Donald Trump) Tower who criticize your government!

Bang bang goes the broken glass and kill all the fags that don’t agree!

Trials by fire setting fire it’s not a way that’s meant for me!

Just ‘cause, just ‘cause, because we’re outlaws, yeah!”



Moving into the next track, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, this was the first song my eight-year-old self (in 2004), had ever heard by Green Day. This is another one of my favorite Green Day songs because of the feeling of being lonely, even if you aren’t. It’s a beautiful track that is still massively relevant in today’s world. This song has been interpreted that the character, Jesus of Suburbia, is sad and lonely because the “holiday” is over. Armstrong has called this song the “hangover” song, which indeed it is. The party is over for the Jesus of suburbia. This could be the beginning of Saint Jimmy’s appearance, who will be explained later…


Lyrics that hooked me:


“I walk a lonely road the only one that I have ever known, don’t know where it goes but it’s only me and I walk alone”


“My shadow’s only one that walks beside me, my shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating, sometimes I wish someone out there will find me, ‘till then I walk alone”


“Read between the lines what’s fucked up and everything’s alright, check my vital signs to know I’m still alive and I walk alone”



“Are We the Waiting”. This song is expressing the feelings that began during “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. Jesus decided that everything in his hometown was a lie, considering he was in the city now and didn’t fit in.


Lyrics that hooked me:


“Are we, we are, are we, we are the waiting unknown? Are we, we are, are we, we are the waiting unknown, this dirty town that’s burning down in my dreams, lost and found city bound in my dreams”


“The rage and love the story of my life, the Jesus of suburbia was a lie”



“Saint Jimmy” and the Jesus of suburbia are in fact, the same person. Saint Jimmy is in Jesus’ head. Like his conscious. It’s a raging thought that wants to come out through Jesus. And this is the song it happens in.


Lyrics that hooked me:


“My name is Jimmy and you better not wear it out, suicide commando that your momma talked about”


“Cigarettes and ramen and a little bag of dope, I am the son of a bitch and Edgar Allen Poe”


“I’m the patron saint of the denial with an angel face and a taste for suicidal”


“Are you talkin’ to me? I’ll give you something to cry about”


“It’s comedy and tragedy it’s St. Jimmy and that’s my name…. And don’t wear it out.”




So, since Jesus’ alter-ego St. Jimmy came out to play in the last track, he is living in the city of the damned (which is where he wanted to be) but is depressed and is wanting a way out. This when “Give Me Novacaine” comes in to play.


Lyrics that hooked me:


“Drain the pressure from the swelling, the sensation’s overwhelming, give me a long kiss good night and everything will be alright, tell me that I won’t feel a thing and give me novacaine”


“Out of body and out of mind, kiss the demons out of my dreams, I get the funny feeling that’s alright, Jimmy says it’s better than here”



Next, “She’s A Rebel” comes in to… Well… Save Jesus. Also known as Whatsername[BH1] (which will be later), she brings love and light to Jesus. She’s everything he’s ever dreamed of. Everything he expected the city to be, is now right in front of him. Through her.


Lyrics that hooked me:


“She’s a rebel she’s a saint, she’s the salt of the earth and she’s dangerous”


“From Chicago to Toronto, she’s the one they call ol’ Whatsername”


“She’s the symbol of resistance and she’s holding on my heart like a hand grenade”


“She sings the revolution the dawning of our lives, she brings the liberation that I just can’t

define, nothing comes to mind”




SHE is an “Extraordinary Girl”. The meaning behind this track is the day to day relationship of Jesus and Whatsername. She is a true rebel that isn’t faking it. It’s in her nature to be a rebel. As opposed to Jesus is just faking it in order to fit in with her. He is unable to fulfill her needs and their relationship falls apart as he realizes he is not Jimmy.


Lyrics that hooked me:


“She’s all alone again wiping the tears from her eyes, some days he feels like dying she gets so sick of crying”


“She sees the mirror of herself an image she wants to sell, to anyone willing to buy, he steals the image in her kiss, from her heart’s apocalypse, from the one called

Whatsername”



The conspiracies of “Letterbomb” are that either Whatsername or Jimmy (subconsciously) is yelling at Jesus. He feels that everyone around him is fake. He didn’t want to be Jesus of Suburbia, but also couldn’t handle being Jimmy. His fakeness ruined his relationship with Whatsername. Afterall, Jimmy was a combination of his father’s rage and his mother’s love…


Lyrics that hooked me:


“It’s not over till you’re underground, it’s not over before it’s too late”



“You’re not the Jesus of Suburbia, the St. Jimmy is a figment of your father’s rage and your mother’s love, made me the idiot America”


“She said I can’t take this place I’m leaving it behind, well she said I can’t take this town I’m leaving you tonight”



Out of all these crazy emotional songs, “Wake Me Up When September Ends” hits hard for me the most. Even just thinking about it tears me apart. The true and original meaning behind this track is that Billie wrote this about his father who died in September 1982, when he was ten years old. This song is a reminder that through our hardship, these are the things that make us stronger and shape our personalities. I feel a very personal connection to this song because I remember when it was HUGE. I mean, every radio station played it. The joke that everyone says during September “wake me up when September ends lol” or “September has ended someone wake up the guy from green day” have gotten out of hand. The disrespect is that it is about his dad dying.


Lyrics that hooked me:


“Like my father’s come to pass seven years has gone so fast, wake me up when September ends”


“Here comes the rain again falling from the stars, drenched in the pain again, becoming who we are”


“Like my father’s come to pass twenty years has gone so fast, wake me up when September ends”



Jesus doesn’t know who he is now. He’s confused and stuck between two personalities. Jesus decides that Jimmy is over now. Looking at Jimmy’s philosophy kills Jesus. So, he “blows his brains out into the bay.” Jesus is in charge of his life again. This song is called “Homecoming”, so obviously, Jesus leaves the city and goes back home. This track is something I desperately love to listen to on the plane when I’m coming home from a trip. Especially as I land, it’s the perfect vibe to it.


Lyrics that hooked me:


“What the hell’s your name? What’s your pleasure what is your pain? Do you dream too much? Do you think what you need is a crutch?


“In the crowd of pain St. Jimmy comes without any shame, he says we’re fucked up but we’re not the same, and mom and dad are the ones you can blame”


“Jimmy died today, he blew his brains out into the bay, in the state of mind it’s my own private suicide”


Mike Dirnt:

“I fell asleep while watching Spike TV after ten cups of coffee and you’re still not here, dreaming of a song but something went wrong and you can’t tell anyone ‘cause no one’s here, left me here alone but I should’ve stayed home after ten cups of coffee I’m thinkin’”


“Nobody likes you everyone left you they’re all out without you having fun”


Tre Cool:

“I got a rock and roll band, I got a rock and roll life, I got a rock and roll girlfriend, and another ex-wife”


“I got a rock and roll house, I got a rock and roll car, I play the shit out of the drums and I can play the guitar”


“I got a kid in New York, I got a kid in the bay, I haven’t drank or smoked nothin’ in over twenty-two days so get off of my case, off of my case, off of my case”



“So, send my love a letterbomb and visit me in hell, we’re the one’s going”



“Whatsername.” Remember her? Jesus does, but not her name. That’s why she’s called whatsername. This song is especially emotional to the heart due to “forgetting you but not the time”. It’s an amazing way to end this insanely emotional album.


Lyrics that hooked me:


“I made a point to burn all the photographs, she went away, and I took a different path, now I wonder how whatsername has been”


“Remember, whatever, it seems like forever ago”


“Remember, whatever, it seems like forever ago”


“The regrets are useless in my mind, she’s in my head, I must confess”


“The regrets are useless in my mind, she’s in my head from so long ago”


“And in the darkest night, if my memory serves me right, I’ll never turn back time,

forgetting you but not the time”




And that’s how this unbelievably beautiful rock opera ends. Breaking this album down, really analyzing it, listening to these songs on an emotional level really helped me piece this album together entirely. I have always known the story and characters of this album, but everything about this just makes so much sense now. I can see why people obsess over this album so much. I will be posting more reviews of Green Day albums like this such as 21st Century Breakdown, Nimrod, Kerpluk!, all the good shit. So, stay tuned for updates!

[BH1]

Left to right: Tre Cool, Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt (2004)

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