Sunday, January 3, 2010


In the '90s, I liked Green Day, but found them a bit overexposed and annoying. I became a fan at the exact moment where it seemed that people had lost interest: their 2000 album, Warning. I saw the video for "Minority" (which inspired my posting name on this very blog) and I was sold. Even if you are white, suburban and middle class, you can feel like you don't fit in, and "Minority" is all about that. Warning had some other great songs, like "Warning" (although how they avoided getting the crap sued out of them by The Kinks - the song sounds exactly like "Picture Book" - I don't know).

I saw them on that tour - they had scaled down from arenas to large theaters and it was a bit more intimate.  There were probably less fair weather fans at the show, it was great. But after that, they went on a "co-headlining" tour with blink-182, who had clearly copped some of their schtick from Green Day, and did it in a more safe and less punk way. Green Day played before blink. Green Day seemed to be going the way of lots of other Lollapalooza vets: even though they were just in their thirties, they were going to be '90s nostalgia.

And then: American Idiot.

In a democracy, questioning your government is a duty, and even a patriotic one if you do it without malice. American Idiot, recorded and released during bush's reign, is an against-all-odds classic. In the age where no one was making very political statements, it was a big one. In an era where "the album" was dead, it was a concept album in the spirit of Tommy. And when very few rock bands were getting hit singles, American Idiot was all over the radio. The tour started out in clubs and ended in stadiums.  Green Day was the most relevant band in the land. The band who used to sing about being stoned and being bored. They ended up collaborating with no less than U2 (on "The Saints Are Coming") and with The Simpsons (covering the show's theme for the film, which they appeared in, animated style).

Following it up must have been a bitch, so the band came up with a new identity, The Foxboro Hot Tubs and released my favorite album of 2008, Stop Drop and Roll, a classic garage rock album.

21st Century Breakdown has been one of my favorite rock albums of 2009, although something of a letdown after American Idiot and The Foxboro Hot Tubs. Still, this is a band that will remain relevant for years to come.

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