“Homecoming” – Green Day

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The second 9-minute plus mini-rock opera featured on Green Day’s 2004 rock opera “American Idiot.” Arguably, given the sound and thematics of this song, this should have been the last song on the album. But perversely, it was the next-to-the-last song on the album. This isn’t as mindblowingly terrific as the other mini-rock opera “Jesus of Suburbia,” but what’s here is still damn impressive. I especially like Tre Cool’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show”-style riff about 5:23 into the song, sung from the perspective of a jaded rock star… with saxophones even … For better or worse, this is a band that truly studied its rock history before composing and recording this album. I’d say it’s for the better. I love the nods to the past while raging on into the future. I love the “American Idiot” album more and more each year.

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“Wake Me Up When September Ends” – Green Day

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One of the finest ballads of the last decade and a song that took on special meaning post-Katrina. The accompanying video, starring Evan Rachel Wood and Jamie Bell as a young couple dealing with a difficult choice one of them makes, may not present the most original story. But it doesn’t mean it doesn’t ring true.

“St. Jimmy” – Green Day

One of my favorite songs from “American Idiot.”  I love the way this starts out as straight-ahead punk, then slows down to harmony-laden Beach Boys inspired pop.  The opening lyrics are terrific: “St. Jimmy’s comin’ down across the alleyway … Upon the
boulevard like a zip gun on parade …  Light of a silhouette … He’s insubordinate …
Comin’ at you on the count of 1,2-(1,2,3,4!)”  and then a hardcore breakdown that will nail your d–k to a tree.

“Jesus of Suburbia” – Green Day

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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”).