I resisted Green Day’s “American Idiot” for years because the idea of a punk band trying to do a rock opera didn’t seem like an appetizing proposition. However, you couldn’t escape several of the album’s songs for years (“Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” and “American Idiot”) and while I liked all of these songs to varying degrees, I still didn’t give the album a chance until recently. Well, I’m sorry it took me so long to listen in because this is a great, great album.
And arguably, the centerpiece of the album is this 9+-minute mini-rock opera called “Jesus of Suburbia”. Yes, a rock opera within a rock opera seems doubly pretentious, but this song cycle is magnificent. It encompasses so many styles, from hard rock to hardcore punk to pop to ballad to Broadway and beyond. The accompanying video is ambitious as well, but while it’s decent, doesn’t quite live up to the song in my opinion.
A word of warning. The video has some R-rated material, due to strong language, nudity, sex, violence, massive substance abuse, anti-social activity, and self-mutilation. Definitely not safe for work or little ones. The actress playing the irresponsible Mom is Deborah Kara Unger, one of my favorite actresses from edgy 1990s cinema (David Cronenberg’s Crash,” David Fincher’s “The Game”).