American Idiots revived: Green Day returns to roots with Revolution Radio

Starting in 1987 and hailing from Anaheim, California, the punk rock band Green Day has influenced the minds of teenagers for three decades. Over the years of international success with young and old demographics, the plethora of songs cover a range of topics from punk-rock love songs to political statements that resonate with not only the band members, but their audience.

Growing up, I listened to a lot of Green Day’s music. Their critically acclaimed 2004 album American Idiot was basically the soundtrack to my life even if I didn’t understand all of the lyrics until recently. Later on in life the earlier albums such as Insomniac and Dookie made their ways onto my playlist, having a taste of every era of the punk rock band at my fingertips.

I was a bit skeptical of their new album, Revolution Radio, since the past three, Uno!, Dos!, and Tré! (the last title alluding to drummer Tré Cool) didn’t really resonate with me as much as some of the other albums did. It seemed almost as if they didn’t put a lot of effort into making the lyrics as compelling as I once knew them to be. In earlier albums, songs consisted of alternate meanings and things alluding to the lead singer, Billie Joe Armstrong, and his life. An example would be “Wake Me Up When September Ends” from American Idiot, in which Armstrong sings beautifully painful lyrics about his father who died when he was only ten-years-old.

Their new album has more of an American Idiot vibe to it which is what I was looking for. It made me almost nostalgic listening to the new music that they put out after the three duds that they pulled in 2010. It has more of the rough sound and heavily political lyrics like their first few albums. The song “Bang Bang”, goes into the mind of a mass shooter and details their thought process as a narcissistic jumbled mess. The title song “Revolution Radio” also follows that pattern and goes into the mass media and how there are too many conflicting stories in the media pertaining to one event.

Comparatively, Revolution Radio doesn’t really come close to the band’s previous successes, but I think this album is more with the era in which it’s been written and the cynical feelings of Billie Joe Armstrong, now 44 years old with two kids, in mind. It’s more for the new and incoming audience of teenagers who need something to rage about, something that the other albums could do, but resonate with the older audience that grew up with it. Despite this, the album adds to the already large arsenal of songs by Green Day that made the American punk rock scene prominent.

As with many bands, I would love to see Green Day in concert. I’ve wanted to see them in concert since I was a little girl jamming out to them in my bedroom. With the new album comes a tour, so hopefully I’ll be able to nab some tickets before March and see my punk rock heroes in the flesh. Revolution Radio, along with many of its predecessors full rebellion riddled lyrical masterpieces, can and will be enjoyed for generations to come.