September 21, 2004



mainstream punk rock


“One of the few – if not the only – records of 2004 to convey what it feels like to live in the strange, bewildering America of the early 2000s.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide

Album Tracks:

  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. Letter Bomb
  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

Sales (in millions):



1 3
1 2

Singles/Hit Songs:

  • American Idiot (8/21/04) #61 US, #3 UK, #5 AR, #1 MR, sales: 0.2 m, air: 0.1 m
  • Boulevard of Broken Dreams (10/16/04) #2 US, #5 UK, #1 AR, #1 MR, #30 AC, #1 AA, sales: 5.0 m, air: 0.9 m
  • Holiday (3/05) #19 US, #11 UK, #1 AR, #1 MR
  • Wake Me Up When September Ends (6/05) #6 US, #8 UK, #12 AR, #2 MR, #13 AC
  • Jesus of Suburbia (11/05) #17 UK, #27 MR




American Idiot

Green Day


To follow up “the Kinks-inspired popcraft of their underrated 2000 effort, Warning,” STE “Green Day tears up the blueprint and comes up with something unexpected: a punk rock concept album built around elaborate melodies, odd tempo changes, and a collection of songs that freely reference classic rock warhorses like the Beatles and Pink Floyd.” AV “It’s a bit tempting to peg Green Day’s sprawling, ambitious, brilliant seventh album, American Idiot, as their version of a Who album…but things aren’t quite that simple. American Idiot is an unapologetic, unabashed rock opera, a form that Pete Townshend pioneered with Tommy, but Green Day doesn’t use that for a blueprint as much as they use the Who's mini-opera ‘A Quick One, While He's Away,’ whose whirlwind succession of 90-second songs isn’t only emulated on two song suites here, but provides the template for the larger 13-song cycle.” STE

“But the Who are only one of many inspirations on this audacious, immensely entertaining album.” STEShe’s a Rebel and St. Jimmy might sound like vintage Green Day, but the rest of the disc finds the Northern California trio trying on a variety of different guises: Boulevard of Broken Dreams is a cliché-strewn Foo Fighters-style power ballad; Extraordinary Girl floats on Indian strings; and the hushed Wake Me Up When September Ends wouldn’t sound entirely out of place on a Jessica Simpson record.” AV

“The story of St. Jimmy has an arc similar to Hüsker Dü's landmark punk-opera Zen Arcade, while the music has grandiose flourishes straight out of both Queen and Rocky Horror Picture Show (the ‘50s pastiche Rock and Roll Girlfriend is punk rock Meat Loaf), all tied together with a nervy urgency and a political passion reminiscent of the Clash, or all the anti-Reagan American hardcore bands of the ‘80s.” STE

“These are just the clearest touchstones for American Idiot, but reducing the album to its influences gives the inaccurate impression that this is no more than a patchwork quilt of familiar sounds, when it’s an idiosyncratic, visionary work in its own right. First of all, part of Green Day’s appeal is how they have personalized the sounds of the past, making time-honored guitar rock traditions seem fresh, even vital. With their first albums, they styled themselves after first-generation punk they were too young to hear firsthand, and as their career progressed, the group not only synthesized these influences into something distinctive, but chief songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong turned into a muscular, versatile songwriter in his own right.” STE

Warning illustrated their growing musical acumen quite impressively, but here, the music isn’t only tougher, it’s fluid and, better still, it fuels the anger, disillusionment, heartbreak, frustration, and scathing wit at the core of American Idiot. And one of the truly startling things about American Idiot is how the increased musicality of the band is matched by Armstrong's incisive, cutting lyrics, which effectively convey the paranoia and fear of living in American in days after 9/11, but also veer into moving, intimate small-scale character sketches.” STE

“There’s a lot to absorb here, and cynics might dismiss it after one listen as a bit of a mess when it’s really a rich, multi-faceted work, one that is bracing upon the first spin and grows in stature and becomes more addictive with each repeated play.” STE “It doesn’t always work. Dearly Beloved eerily resembles the Alarm’s ‘68 Guns,’ while the title track eerily resembles something Green Day has already done far too many times. But, overall, American Idiot represents a promising step forward.” AV

“Like all great concept albums, American Idiot works on several different levels. It can be taken as a collection of great songs – songs that are as visceral or as poignant as Green Day at their best, songs that resonate outside of the larger canvas of the story, as the fiery anti-Dubya title anthem proves – but these songs have a different, more lasting impact when taken as a whole. While its breakneck, freewheeling musicality has many inspirations, there really aren’t many records like American Idiot…In its musical muscle and sweeping, politically charged narrative, it’s something of a masterpiece, and one of the few – if not the only – records of 2004 to convey what it feels like to live in the strange, bewildering America of the early 2000s.” STE

Review Source(s):

Related DMDB Link(s):

American Idiot (video)

Boulevard of Broken Dreams (video)

Holiday (video)

Wake Me Up When September Ends (video)

Jesus of Suburbia (video)

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Last updated September 21, 2011.