by Jeffrey Webb, edited by Erik van Rheenen
The thing about the Jesus of Suburbia is that he doesn’t start out as a nihilist— he starts out bored. Victimized by his broken home and his own peculiar slice of suburban hellscape, sedated and titillated by the alternating lows and highs of television and Ritalin, the “son of Rage and Love” flees the “land of make believe [that] don’t believe” to the Big City in a Sartrean search for meaning. All set to alternating windmilled guitars and soft-keyed interludes, multi-layered harmonies and fury-fueled shrieks. By the end of the nine-minute, Pete-Townshend-on-speed anthem that is the opera’s introduction, Billie Joe Armstrong has shown that anarchy begins at home, and apathy is its gateway drug.
The story that follows—the story of Green Day’s 2004 magnumopus, American Idiot—is a bildungsroman that’s equal parts Joseph Campbell and J.D. Salinger, and all the tension that pairing entails: hero (whiny jerk?) leaves home, faces adversity (but not real adversity?), and returns home redeemed (a total failure?). Any attempt to appraise its merits thus acts as a Rorschach test of one’s aesthetic gestalt. The JoS’s quest is either inspiring or entitled, epic or annoying. Given the ubiquity of the maturation theme, and the delusions of grandeur that usually accompany so-called rock operas, it’s a story that should be overly affected, passé. Instead, ten years later, somehow, miraculously, it still pulses, snarls, demands attention. Why?
The reason is not because the album is one of the great protest rock records of all time, though it certainly is that. It’s difficult for teenagers now to imagine the swelling of indignant rage Americans felt after September 11th, rage that metastasized into a kind of dyspeptic autoimmune disorder that we voted upon ourselves: the Patriot Act, whack-a-mole adventures in the Middle East, surrealist color-coded threat levels that shifted like a terrorism mood ring. So it’s difficult for those teenagers —hell, it’s difficult for the rest of us — to remember how subversive it was in 2004 for a band to sneer at our self-righteousness, to stand athwart the military-media complex, yelling, “stop.”
Can’t believe this album is 10 years old. THIS was the album that started my life’s musical journey, and was the catalyst for views on life that I still hold today, such as having healthy skepticism, questioning authority (when the situation calls), and questioning your own way of life time and again. After seeing the music video for Boulevard of Broken Dreams, I knew I wanted to pick up a guitar. Wake Me Up When September Ends was the first song I ever learned on guitar. Fury, rage, and love can all be felt in this album, and though I’ve moved on from my punk rocker days, this will always hold a very special place in my heart.
Hello and welcome to the beginning of a new week that is guaranteed to leave you more informed than it began. We have packed the coming days with content on everything from the importance of college, to the life of music’s biggest publicists, a continuation of our music photography efforts, and a blogger spotlight highlighting someone making a big impression in the blogging world through video. If you have any questions regarding the content of this blog, or if you would like to learn more information about the services offered by Haulix, please email email@example.com and share your thoughts. We can also be found on Twitter and Facebook.
If you follow our ongoing Spotlight series you will have no doubt noticed a discrepancy between various professionals on the necessity of a college education when attempting to enter the music industry. It is absolutely true that there are many professionals working today who have never stepped foot on a college campus, but there is also a very large segment of the industry that has, and whether or not it’s right for you will depend on a number of factors. Not every job requires a college education, but there are times when having the extra knowledge gained from such experiences can give you a leg up against the competition. At the same time, those who enter the industry at a young age and stick with it tend to excel faster than those who only begin to find their footing while in school.
We can (and in the future, will) go back and forth on the topic of college and its importance for your desired career, but this post is intended for those either attending or planning to attend college while pursuing full time employment within the music industry. Higher education may not offer the hands-on learning experience others gain by touring or otherwise entering the industry work force for at a young age, but it does offer several unique opportunities to practice and prepare for entry into the industry that Highlight Magazine editor Jenn Stookey has volunteered to discuss with us today.