Green Day drops new LP 'Father of All..' after 16 years of 'American Idiot', an album that well reflected its time
Do we need to take a look back at Green Day's 'American Idiot' as a mirror of today's politics? How do the lyrics relate to the lives of Americans today? The LP has remained unforgettable for punk-rock fans ever since
Green Day's new studio album 'Father of All Mother****ers' (censored title 'Father of All...') released a few days ago on February 7 after a gap of about 16 years. It's observed, the band's latest two album titles appear to illume a certain stupidity of the human species, forcing one to sit back and ponder over the 'American Idiot', which was the last album from the famous punk rock band released in 2004. Again, 'are they still relevant?'
One thinks, how does it mirror the status of society today and can we still apply the lyrics from 'American Idiot' to today's affairs of the world? In order to answer these questions, we need to dive straight into the attributes of the world today, with specific attentiveness to the band's home country of America.
Although 'American Idiot' featured two songs of political nature- 'American Idiot' and 'Holiday'- the 2004 LP was inspired by political events America was facing at that time, namely the ascendancy and presidency of George W. Bush and the Iraq war. Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong hoped the album would remain timeless and become a comprehensive statement on confusion. In a 2010 interview with Jordan Roth on '92nd Street Y', after expressing the fear and confusion he and fellow Americans were facing after the 9/11 attacks, the Green Day singer explained how George Bush "alienated us from the rest of the world" instead of "looking at it as an opportunity to join the rest of the world".
Armstrong explained in an interview in 2016 with Theater Talk on who exactly is the 'American Idiot', saying that the album's main character 'Jesus of Suburbia' was cooked up right after coming up with the 'American Idiot' phrase. The character features in the song of the same name by the band and Armstrong related the character as a young person facing issues of feeling lost and stuck in a stilted, boring life, "trying to find truth, trying to find a deeper meaning in life" and later being exposed to drugs and free living. The subject matter of 'Jesus of Suburbia', particularly in lyrics like "Get my television fix" and "And there's nothing wrong with me. This is how I'm supposed to be. In the land of make-believe", transcends on multiple levels in the lives of people in both the past and present.
The topic of drugs is not a new one by any means, yet 'American Idiot' found a slot in time to propose thoughts of frustration in both young and old alike towards the American government and its laws, including scenarios on how the youth deal with forced ideologies and laws that suppress them in the 21st century.
With a few countries/ states adopting the legalization of cannabis, especially in 2019, a necessary note of the band's name should be mentioned. Although fans may very well know the name's meaning, the band's love for cannabis led them to choose the name. The band first formed in San Francisco's East Bay in 1986 as 'Sweet Children' and later changed their name in 1989 to 'Green Day'. The name was in reference to a Bay-area slang for doing absolutely nothing but smoking weed. 'American Idiot' may rest as a timeless piece as it touched bold themes, emboldened in the lyrics that appeared ahead of their time.
With Donald Trump being bombarded with insults (as well as support) and hampering on a label of infamy rather than popularity, it would be a curious debate whether Green Day might have been speaking of the future when they released 'American Idiot' in 2004. The word 'Idiot' from the album's name loosely ties up a mass of people who face challenges on intellectual paradigms, yet Green Day's thought processes, still seem relevant over a decade later. Protests and riots have increased since the album's release in 2004 and it certainly leaves the impression that society is frustrated with American politics and hell-bent on change, rather than letting the law run its course. Who is to blame for this increase in anger and unhappiness of fellow Americans? Is it a neverending vicious cycle that just keeps adding fuel to the machine of politics and in turn lights up the rage of American citizens? Whether Green Day could predict future events or not, semblances of truth mirroring today's society and politics are visible in 'American Idiot'.
Although 'American Idiot' focuses on the issues we have discussed, it may come as a surprise to hear that Green Day took a U-turn on the 'Father of All...' album and explicitly wanted fans to know that the new LP is about dancing and not about Trump.
In an interview with Spin on February 4, Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong revealed that they would not be diving into any political cesspits in the new album's themes, despite numerous fans appealing for another 'American Idiot'.