American Idiot by Green Day

American Idiot is one of the greatest successes of the American punk rock band Green Day, and part of the album also called American Idiot, released in 2004. Other...

American Idiot is one of the greatest successes of the American punk rock band Green Day, and part of the album also called American Idiot, released in 2004. Other than being one of the Green Day’s major hits, it was actually the song that revived the band after the relatively floppy album Warning, released four years before.

The song’s title refers to the United States’ situation back then, which according to the author – Billie Joe Armstrong, the band’s guitarist and lead singer – was characterised by a nation that was being brainwashed by information channels – “One nation controlled by the media. Information age of hysteria”; “The subliminal mind fuck America”.

The lyrics also expose a critique to other specific issues such as discrimination towards homosexuals – “Well maybe I’m the faggot America” -, racism – “I’m not a part of a redneck agenda”(Southern racists are commonly known as rednecks), as well as the governmental decisions that uneased the country – “Welcome to a new kind of tension. All across the alienation”. In fact, the album American Idiot was launched during the country’s 2004 presidential elections, and the year after the war in Iraq. However, despite the song’s success, W. Bush was re-elected to the Presidency.

American Idiot overall acquired positive reviews and critics, and was inclusively nominated for four Grammy Awards, including Best Rock Song, Best Short Form Music Video, Record of the Year and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Groups with Vocal.

Nonetheless, it was also criticised by many people who considered it an anti-American song, as well, as highly controversial due to its lyrics referring to socio-political issues and to the George W. Bush administration.

Lastly, whether we love the song or not, what we should learn from it is that we have the ability to look for information for ourselves, and take our own conclusions and decisions. We are not puppets of our governments or the media, and we certainly shouldn’t let anyone or anything turn us into idiots. So as the song says I “don’t wanna be an American Idiot”, or in my case, a Portuguese Idiot, do you?

Don’t wanna be an American idiot.

Don’t want a nation under the new mania

And can you hear the sound of hysteria?

The subliminal mind fuck America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.

All across the alienation.

Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.

Television dreams of tomorrow.

We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.

For that’s enough to argue.

Well maybe I’m the faggot America.

I’m not a part of a redneck agenda.

Now everybody do the propaganda.

And sing along to the age of paranoia.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.

All across the alienation.

Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.

Television dreams of tomorrow.

We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.

For that’s enough to argue.

Don’t want to be an American idiot.

One nation controlled by the media.

Information age of hysteria.

It’s calling out to idiot America.

Welcome to a new kind of tension.

All across the alienation.

Where everything isn’t meant to be okay.

Television dreams of tomorrow.

We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.

For that’s enough to argue.

American Idiot by Green Day
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Sounds from the Bucket
Silvie Vale

Passionate about LGBT issues and human rights, Silvie Vale has recently graduated in Development and International Relations from Aalborg University, Denmark. She is specialized in Global Gender Studies and is particularly interested in creating awareness about matters of social justice. She loves travelling, researching and learning new things.
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  • The sound of resistance under Trump
    10 February 2017 at 4:30 pm
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    […] and politically minded punk-rock band Green Day, who also released in 2004 an entire album named American Idiot against George W. Bush, were performing their single Bang Bang; during the bridge, frontman Billie […]

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