Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Green Day released American Idiot

First posted 3/27/2008; updated 9/25/2020.

American Idiot

Green Day


Released: September 21, 2004


Peak: 13 US, 12 UK, 13 CN, 12 AU


Sales (in millions): 5.91 US, 1.8 UK, 18.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: punk/pop


Tracks:

Song Title (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts.

  1. American Idiot (8/21/04, 61 US, 5 AR, 1 MR, 3 UK, sales: 0.2 m, air: 0.1 m)
  2. Jesus of Suburbia (10/25/05, 27 MR, 17 UK)
    i. Jesus of Suburbia
    ii. City of the Damned
    iii. I Don’t Care
    iv. Dearly Beloved
    v. Tales of Another Broken Home
  3. Holiday (3/14/05, 19 US, 1 AR, 1 MR, 11 UK)
  4. Boulevard of Broken Dreams (10/16/04, 2 US, 1 AR, 1 MR, 30 AC, 1 AA, 5 UK, sales: 5.0 m, air: 0.9 m)
  5. Are We the Waiting
  6. St. Jimmy
  7. Give Me Novacaine
  8. She’s a Rebel
  9. Extraordinary Girl
  10. Letter Bomb
  11. Wake Me Up When September Ends (8/31/05, 6 US, 12 AR, 2 MR, 13 AC, 8 UK)
  12. Homecoming
    i. The Death of St. Jimmy
    ii. East 12th St.
    iii. Nobody Likes You
    iv. Rock and Roll Girlfriend
    v. We’re Coming Home Again
  13. Whatsername


Total Running Time: 57:14


The Players:

  • Billie Joe Armstrong (vocals, guitar, piano)
  • Mike Dirnt (bass, backing vocals)
  • Tré Cool (drums, percussion, backing vocals)

Rating:

4.059 out of 5.00 (average of 22 ratings)


Quotable: -- “One of the few – if not the only – records of 2004 to convey what it feels like to live in the strange, bewildering America of the early 2000s.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Awards:

About the Album:

To follow up “the Kinks-inspired popcraft of their underrated 2000 effort, Warning,” STE “Green Day tears up the blueprint and comes up with something unexpected: a punk rock concept album built around elaborate melodies, odd tempo changes, and a collection of songs that freely reference classic rock warhorses like the Beatles and Pink Floyd.” AV “It’s a bit tempting to peg Green Day’s sprawling, ambitious, brilliant seventh album, American Idiot, as their version of a Who album…but things aren’t quite that simple. American Idiot is an unapologetic, unabashed rock opera, a form that Pete Townshend pioneered with Tommy, but Green Day doesn’t use that for a blueprint as much as they use the Who's mini-opera ‘A Quick One, While He's Away,’ whose whirlwind succession of 90-second songs isn’t only emulated on two song suites here, but provides the template for the larger 13-song cycle.” STE

“But the Who are only one of many inspirations on this audacious, immensely entertaining album.” STEShe’s a Rebel and St. Jimmy might sound like vintage Green Day, but the rest of the disc finds the Northern California trio trying on a variety of different guises: Boulevard of Broken Dreams is a cliché-strewn Foo Fighters-style power ballad; Extraordinary Girl floats on Indian strings; and the hushed Wake Me Up When September Ends wouldn’t sound entirely out of place on a Jessica Simpson record.” AV

“The story of St. Jimmy has an arc similar to Hüsker Dü's landmark punk-opera Zen Arcade, while the music has grandiose flourishes straight out of both Queen and Rocky Horror Picture Show (the ‘50s pastiche Rock and Roll Girlfriend is punk rock Meat Loaf), all tied together with a nervy urgency and a political passion reminiscent of the Clash, or all the anti-Reagan American hardcore bands of the ‘80s.” STE

“These are just the clearest touchstones for American Idiot, but reducing the album to its influences gives the inaccurate impression that this is no more than a patchwork quilt of familiar sounds, when it’s an idiosyncratic, visionary work in its own right. First of all, part of Green Day’s appeal is how they have personalized the sounds of the past, making time-honored guitar rock traditions seem fresh, even vital. With their first albums, they styled themselves after first-generation punk they were too young to hear firsthand, and as their career progressed, the group not only synthesized these influences into something distinctive, but chief songwriter Billie Joe Armstrong turned into a muscular, versatile songwriter in his own right.” STE

Warning illustrated their growing musical acumen quite impressively, but here, the music isn’t only tougher, it’s fluid and, better still, it fuels the anger, disillusionment, heartbreak, frustration, and scathing wit at the core of American Idiot. And one of the truly startling things about American Idiot is how the increased musicality of the band is matched by Armstrong's incisive, cutting lyrics, which effectively convey the paranoia and fear of living in American in days after 9/11, but also veer into moving, intimate small-scale character sketches.” STE

“There’s a lot to absorb here, and cynics might dismiss it after one listen as a bit of a mess when it’s really a rich, multi-faceted work, one that is bracing upon the first spin and grows in stature and becomes more addictive with each repeated play.” STE “It doesn’t always work. Dearly Beloved eerily resembles the Alarm’s ‘68 Guns,’ while the title track eerily resembles something Green Day has already done far too many times. But, overall, American Idiot represents a promising step forward.” AV

“Like all great concept albums, American Idiot works on several different levels. It can be taken as a collection of great songs – songs that are as visceral or as poignant as Green Day at their best, songs that resonate outside of the larger canvas of the story, as the fiery anti-Dubya title anthem proves – but these songs have a different, more lasting impact when taken as a whole. While its breakneck, freewheeling musicality has many inspirations, there really aren’t many records like American Idiot…In its musical muscle and sweeping, politically charged narrative, it’s something of a masterpiece, and one of the few – if not the only – records of 2004 to convey what it feels like to live in the strange, bewildering America of the early 2000s.” STE

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Arcade Fire released debut album Funeral

First posted 8/17/2010; updated 9/7/2020.

Funeral

Arcade Fire


Buy Here:


Released: September 14, 2004


Peak: 131 US, 33 UK, 23 CN, 80 AU


Sales (in millions): 0.5 US, 0.36 UK, 1.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: alternative rock


Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) (6/20/04, --)
  2. Neighborhood #2 (Laika) (3/28/05, #30 UK)
  3. Une Année Sans Lumière
  4. Neighborhood #3 (Power Out) (5/23/05, #26 UK)
  5. Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles)
  6. Crown of Love
  7. Wake Up (11/14/05, #29 UK)
  8. Haiti
  9. Rebellion (Lies) (9/12/05, #19 UK)
  10. In the Backseat


Total Running Time: 48:02

Rating:

4.353 out of 5.00 (average of 14 ratings)


Quotable: “The Arcade Fire’s emotional debut…is brave, empowering, and dusted with something that many of the indie-rock genre’s more contrived acts desperately lack: an element of real danger.” – James Christopher Monger, All Music Guide


Awards:

About the Album:

“Fronted by the husband-and-wife team of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne, the Arcade Fire’s emotional debut – rendered even more poignant by the dedications to recently departed family members contained in its liner notes – is brave, empowering, and dusted with something that many of the indie-rock genre’s more contrived acts desperately lack: an element of real danger.” JM “The album drips with enough romanticism to rival Jeff Buckley’s Grace.” RW

Funeral’s mourners – specifically Butler and Chassagne – inhabit the same post-apocalyptic world as London Suede’s Dog Man Star; they are broken, beaten, and ferociously romantic, reveling in the brutal beauty of their surroundings like a heathen Adam & Eve.” JM “Butler sings like Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood used to play, like a lion-tamer whose whip grows shorter with each and every lash. He can barely contain himself, and when he lets loose it’s both melodic and primal, like Berlin-era Bowie or British Sea Power.” JM

Throughout Funeral, the band augments its five-piece lineup with string sections, weaving near-cinematic, folk-influenced chamber pop that slots in somewhere between Belle and Sebastian’s delicacy and the robust classicism of ’80s New Zealand bands such as the Chills and the Verlaines.” RW

Wake Up, “featuring all 15 musicians singing in unison,” JM “builds from a midtempo strum into a ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’ gallop, which singer Win Butler interrupts with a yell: ‘You better look out below!’ Somehow, none of this hits the ear as overemotional.” RW

Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels), the first of four metaphorical forays into the geography of the soul, follows a pair of young lovers who meet in the middle of the town through tunnels that connect to their bedrooms. Over a soaring piano lead that’s effectively doubled by distorted guitar, they reach a Lord of the Flies-tinged utopia where they can’t even remember their names or the faces of their weeping parents.” JM

Neighborhood #2 (Laïka) examines suicidal desperation through an angular Gang of Four prism; the hypnotic wash of strings and subtle meter changes of Neighborhood #4 (7 Kettles) winsomely capture the mundane doings of day-to-day existence; and Neighborhood #3 (Power Out), Funeral’s victorious soul-thumping core, is a goose bump-inducing rallying cry centered around the notion that ‘the power’s out in the heart of man, take it from your heart and put it in your hand’.” JM

“The Arcade Fire are not bereft of whimsy. Crown of Love is like a wedding cake dropped in slow motion, utilizing a Johnny Mandel-style string section and a sweet, soda-pop stand chorus to provide solace to a jilted lover yearning for a way back into the fold, and Haiti relies on a sunny island melody to explore the complexities of Chassagne’s mercurial homeland.” JM

“However, it’s the sheer power and scope of cuts like ‘Wake Up’…and the mesmerizing, early-Roxy Music pulse of Rebellion (Lies) that make Funeral the remarkable achievement that it is. These are songs that pump blood back into the heart as fast and furiously as it’s draining from the sleeve on which it beats, and by the time Chassagne dissects her love of riding In the Backseat with the radio on, despite her desperate fear of driving, Funeral’s singular thread is finally revealed; love does conquer all, especially love for the cathartic power of music.” JM

“One of the indie rock community’s most beloved finds of 2004, Arcade Fire are poised to win over even more listeners.” RW

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Related DMDB Link(s):