Dear Santa: Please erase "American Idiot" from the world's collective memory
No zeppelin or Red Ryder BB gun for me, this year. No Porsche, no super-strength, no Wii. Not even world peace, Santa. Forget all of that. This year, I'm asking for something that could enhance - even improve - the lives of millions of people across the world: please, please, please wipe American Idiot from the Earth's collective memory. Please?
It's not that Idiot is inherently evil or terrible, Santa - it really isn't! Back in 2004, when pop-punk punching bags Green Day broke a four-year silence with this ludicrously simplistic rock-opera, wannabe Tommy - replete with balls-to-the-wall punk onslaughts, acoustic interludes, juke-joint pianos, introspective a capella moments, song-suites, and a love-triangle of thinly-sketched strawpeople - all most of the album 's audience cared about was impeaching George W. Bush, or at the very least replacing him with the more cerebral John Kerry, and getting the troops the fuck out of Iraq. Idiot wasn't really an anti-war protest album, of course - time would reveal it as an aging Green Day locking into a new and novel way of fleecing new generations of fans despite having nothing much left to say and mean, cf. the hapless non-entity that is 21st Century Breakdown - but it was all stadium-sized mainstream rock had to offer, and its stratospheric sales and slew of awards reflected that; it became the soundtrack, for a lot of people, to registering to vote and feeling uncommonly powerful and righteous and giving a fuck.
(It's worth noting that Eminem's agitprop, martial "Mosh" - written while the rapper was in the throes of a life-threatening prescription pill habit - did a better job of reflecting and focusing populist, anti-BushCo fury, discontent, and outage in a couple of minutes than Idiot did in an hour-plus. Just sayin'.)
But Green Day - fucking Green Day - wouldn't let the album fade away. No, they had to make it into a musical, a musical that's received lukewarm reviews at best and is, for that reason, constantly teased on television.
Throw-up-in-your-mouth teases like this one, from the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade telecast:
As a result of this ongoing theatrical farce - Madison Avenue, sports arenas, and modern radio are also to blame for this - we're forced to relive Green Day's most saccharine, MOR moments again and again, stripped of context and foisted upon us again and again; "Time of Your Life," from 1997's half-baked Nimrod, irked on the Seinfeld finale, and it's no less irksome here.
So Santa, please, for everyone's sake, can we act like Idiot never happened? Come to think of it, can we act like the last decade and change of Green Day never happened? I wish Tre, Dirnt, and Billy Joe no ill will, and 2000's Warning! still gets a lot of play around my house, but I've had enough of the most overblown aspects of what this band has represented over the years being replayed, repurposed, and exploited ad nauseum.
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