Sunday, February 05, 2006

Green Day's "Jesus of Suburbia" from American Idiot

Green Day's "Jesus of Suburbia" is a song in five parts, (Jesus of Suburbia, City of the Damned, I Don't Care, Dearly Beloved, and Tales From Another Broken Home). From the controversial and extremely popular American Idiot, the song is only part of many. The entire album is based on a constant theme. It is meant to break barriers and to question society's pop culture. Many themed rock albums have challenged society's standards, (such as Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, Pink Floyd's The Wall, and The Who's Tommy,) but this the most noted one to do it in a punk context. And furthermore, it's the first one to challenge politics post-9/11/01.

The lyrics and music flow off one another. When the lyrics get more aggressive, the music thrashes with distorted power-chords. When there's a sudden delicacy in the texture with acoustic guitar, bells, piano, and falsetto backing vocals, the lyrics develop a new lightness. Each movement could easily stand alone as one track, but they are linked together through lyrical theme and consistent musical motive. What makes "Jesus of Suburbia" so powerful, is the fact that these extremely passionate lyrics are surrounded with well layered pop-hooks. The lyrics are linked by idea, and the music is linked by it's 50's rock-sounding catchiness.

Many critics often challenge Green Day's musical talent, but the entire album is very neatly and thoroughly arranged. There is a reason American Idiot won the Grammy for Best Rock Album. Billy Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre' Cool are amazing arrangers. They have the power to layer the texture with simple melodies and counter-melodies in a very unique fashion. The songs are so thick with hooks that make them easy to appeal to mass audiences. "Jesus of Suburbia" could stand as an album on it's own. There are few songs in the world that can claim that kind of power, no matter what the genre.

Jesus of Suburbia
lyrics by Billy Joe Armstrong
music by Billy Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, & Tre' Cool

[Part 1: Jesus of Suburbia]
I'm the son of rage and love
The Jesus of suburbia
From 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 I got away with
But there's nothing wrong with me
This is how I'm supposed to be
In a land of make believe
That doesn't believe that don't believe in me

Get my television fix sitting on my crucifix
The living in my private womb
While the moms and brads are away
To fall in love and fall in debt
To alcohol and cigarettes and Mary Jane
To keep me insane and doing someone else's cocaine

[Part 2: City Of The Damned]
A lot
Of the 7-11 were I was taught
The motto was just a lie
It says home is were your heart is
But what a shame
Cause everyone's heart
Doesn't beat the same
We're beating out of time

City of the dead
At the end of another lost highway
Sign misleading to nowhere
City of the damned
Lost children with their dirty faces today
No one really seems to care

I read the graffiti
In the bathroom stall
Like the holy scriptures of a shopping mall
And so it seemed to confess
It didn't say much
But it only confirmed that
The center of the earth
Is the end of the world
And I could really care less

[Part 3: I don't care]
I don't care if you don't
I don't care if you don't
I don't care if you don't care [x5]

Everyone is 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 disciples
Of the Jesus of suburbia
Land of make believe
And it don't believe in me
Land of make believe
And I don't believe
And I don't care

[Part 4: Dearly beloved]
Dearly beloved are you listening?
I cant remember a word that you were saying
Are we demented or are we disturbed?
The space that's in between insane and insecure
Oh therapy, can you please fill the void?
Am I retarded or am I just overjoyed?
Nobody's perfect and I stand accused
For lack of a better word, and that's my beat excuse

[Part 5: Tales of another broken home]
To live and not to breathe
Is to die
In tragedy
To run, to run away
To find what you believe
And what I left behind
This hurricane of fucking lies

I lost my faith to this
This town that don't exist
So I run, I run away
To the light of masochist
And I leave behind
This hurricane of fucking lies
And I walked this line
A million and one fucking times
But not this time

I don't feel any shame
I wont apologize
When there ain't nowhere you can go
Running away from pain
When you've been victimized
Tales from another broken home
You're leaving home

No comments: