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American Idiot is the Rock Opera album responsible for Green Day's comeback in 2004. The plot is a Coming of Age Story, following the Anti-Hero protagonist, Jesus of Suburbia (JOS), as he matures from a rebellious youth to a jaded adult.
As a teenager, JOS is cynical of society and dissatisfied with his life as an everyman in his town, desensitized by a steady diet of soda pop and Ritalin ("Jesus of Suburbia"). The song also introduces a rage vs. love theme prevalent throughout the plot.
JOS decides to leave his broken home and seek a new life for himself in the city. Here, JOS meets St. Jimmy, the son of a bitch and Edgar Allan Poe, a punk rock freedom fighter ("St. Jimmy"). St. Jimmy can be interpreted as an actual person and a bad influence on JOS, introducing him to drugs ("Give Me Novocaine"), or as an alternate personality JOS creates for himself, representing blind, self-destructive rebellion.
JOS is also introduced to Whatsername ("She's A Rebel") and they begin a romantic relationship. JOS is attracted to Whatsername's rebellious, troubled nature. However, because of the combined influence of St. Jimmy and JOS's drug addiction, Whatsername leaves JOS ("Letterbomb"). St. Jimmy commits suicide and JOS leaves the punk scene ("Homecoming"). Eventually he conforms to a normal life and forgets Whatsername, only remembering her face ("Whatsername").
Now a Broadway Musical. An Avant-Garde Broadway Musical? A movie is apparently being planned, too.
Also provided the basis for the Mash Up album "American Edit" by "Dean Gray", which remixes tracks from the album with an extremely diverse range of other songs, ranging from Bryan Adams and The Offspring to The Beatles, the Bangles, Queen and the Doctor Who theme. It's surprisingly good and expands on the plot of the album. The band's label objected to the mash-up, but Billie Joe Armstrong supposedly heard it and approved.
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
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
11. Wake Me Up When September Ends
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
This Rock Opera provides examples of:
- Action Girlfriend
- Adaptation Expansion: The musical adds onto the JOS plot with stories of his two best friends. There's Will who wants to leave but has to stay home with his pregnant girlfriend and Tunny who initially goes to the city with JOS but then ends up joining the army.
- The musical also has many songs from the successor Twenty First Century Breakdown.
- Anti-Hero: According to Word of God, JOS. A type 1 to be precise.
- Break-Up Bonfire: Mentioned in "Whatshername".
- Break Up Song: "Letterbomb".
- Cerebus Syndrome: Who knew the punks from "Basket Case" and "Longview" were so serious!
- Coming of Age Story
- Cool People Rebel Against Authority
- Cover Drop: "She's a Rebel" ("She's a symbol of resistance, and she's holding on my heart like a hand grenade").
- Double Consciousness: Depending on interpretation.
- Dream Sequence: "Extraordinary Girl" in the musical.
- Driven to Suicide: St Jimmy in "Homecoming".
- Epic Rocking: The two multipart tracks.
- "Homecoming" actually started as the opposite: a few Miniscule Rocking tracks which were then stitched together.
- Eternal September: "Wake Me Up When September Ends".
- Fading Into the Next Song: "Holiday"/"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" (the music videos also follow this, since the former's - produced later - ends where the latter begins) and "Are We the Waiting"/"St. Jimmy". "Give Me Novocaine" -> "She's A Rebel" and "Extraordinary Girl" -> "Letterbomb" are lesser examples.
- Former Teen Rebel: JOS in "Homecoming"
- Genre Shift
- Growing Up Sucks
- "I Am" Song: "Jesus of Suburbia" (doubles as an "I Want" Song) , "St. Jimmy", "She's A Rebel".
- Looped Lyrics: "Are We The Waiting"; the "Nobody Likes You" section of "Homecoming"
- Loudness War: Pretty badly. Even the ballads like "Wake Me Up When September Ends" are clipped.
- Loves My Alter Ego: Depending on interpretation.
- New Sound Album
- No Name Given
- Protest Song: "American Idiot" is the most obvious one. "Holiday" is one, too.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The intro to "Letterbomb" (later quoted in "Homecoming"). Set to a cheery, almost nursery rhyme-like tune.
Nobody likes you
Everyone left you
They're all out without you
- Rebellious Spirit
- Rock Opera Plot
- Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll: The music video for Jesus of Suburbia.
- Split Personality Merge: "I. The Death of St. Jimmy"
- Step Up to the Microphone: Tré Cool and Mike Dirnt sing the parts of "Homecoming" they wrote.
- Subdued Section: The "Dearly Beloved" section of "Jesus of Suburbia", "Nobody Likes You" in "Homecoming".
- Surprisingly Gentle Song: "Wake Me Up When September Ends".
- Suspiciously Similar Song: "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" is uncomfortably close to Oasis' most famous hit "Wonderwall". At least one mashup between the two exists, and Noel Gallagher complained, saying he at least plagiarizes from dead people.
- Three Chords and the Truth: "American Idiot", "St. Jimmy" and "Shes A Rebel" are on par with previous Green Day songs.
- Troubled but Cute: Everyone.
- Johnny, writing to Will about Whatsername: "She knows I'm full of shit but at least she thinks I'm cute."
- Wanderlust Song: The last section of Jesus of Suburbia.