Friday, 4 September 2009

78: Green Day - American Idiot

I've been away for a little. Maybe you noticed? Maybe not. I was at Reading Festival, watching several of the acts who appear in this countdown. Anyway, the gist of it is that I'm now running dangerously behind schedule, so expect a flurry of postings here over the next few weeks as I try to catch up. Right, now that's out of the way, on with the show....

... and at #78, it's Green Day's ode to former US President, George 'Dubya' Bush. The opening track and first single from the concept album of the same name, the release of 'American Idiot' was accompanied by massive hype, coming, as it did, three months before the US Presidential election.

It occupies a very specific place in the chronology of Noughties music, alongside works from the likes of the Beastie Boys, Wu Tang Clan and Jay Z. It deals with issues that the entire United States was dealing with in the post 9/11 world... Billie-Joe's lyrics talk of media control, hysteria, fear, propaganda and paranoia. Built around a central, simplistic riff (like most Green Day songs), it proved to be their biggest ever UK chart hit. (In the US, it was released a week before the Billboard charts began to incorporate paid downloads, and as a result, only reached #61 in the charts.)

Best fact that
I discovered whilst researching to write this post:

"In 2006 grocery clerk Paul McPike sued Green Day, alleging that he'd written "American Idiot" and the other songs on their album way back in 1992. McPike's evidence consisted entirely of a copy of the album and a claim that the lyrics sung on the album didn't match those in the sleeve notes. The US District Court Judge suggested he could file a more detailed copyright infringement complaint in the future."

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