Apr 19, 2009

I heard you crying all the way across town

21st century break down album cover green day

The Guardian newspaper has written a review of Green Day’s new album, 21st Century Breakdown, which is all nice and dandy. I thought the final paragraph was way interesting and worth some further comment:

“Green Day have become so accustomed to viewing the American Dream as a nightmare that they've lost sight of another significant interpretation. That three punks who named their band after slacker slang for sitting around getting stoned can become the most prescient polemicists of their age is as good a justification of the American ideal as you could hope to find.”

This is an interesting insight as on face value, it could be very true, Green Day are now the American Dream. Young people everywhere want to have their success. Their songs, their money, their houses, their face on the cover of a magazine. They want it all and they want it now. They are the new ideal American Idol. They stuck it to the man with their songs and now they are the Man about the House. Game over, man.

Going deeper though, predictable people could parrot on that Green Day have now actually become part of the corporate machine (by the way which one of you is Pink?), indeed a global commercial juggernaut selling boat loats of songs, t shirts and concert tickets, giving the apathetic consumer whores something else to suckle from the tit of commercial greed. This view, however, could just simply be myself echoing the familiar cry against every band who ever tasted mainstream success having come from initial humble punk roots as having sold out to the Man. Man, there is NO return to 86.

Or you could just say Green Day are just three guys making their way through the universe who got very lucky.

Where I disagreed with the paragraph was where it described Green Day as being “prescient polemicists”. Prescient means to have an ability to see the future. A polemicist is a person who puts forward a controversial view. For the Guardian to suggest that Green Day have the ability to see the future is quite odd, because American Idiot (of which its lyrical themes presumably precipitated the comment) was actually a comment on what had happened to America under the watch of George Bush. It was not a guess as to what would happen. St Jimmy blew his brains out, Green Day did not foresee this but commented on the fact. As for being polemic, that fact Green Day are soooo popular suggests they are not actually putting forward a controversial view, in fact they could just be singing what everybody is thinking.

Originally published as Do you have the time to listen to me whine?

1 comment:

  1. polemicist here means a one sided view. not just a controversial view. that's what the guardian meant. i still disagree, though.