Green Day - Jesus of Suburbia

Posted by Nick Niesen on October 26th, 2010

The final single off Green Day's rock-operatic album American Idiot is Jesus of Suburbia. To understand the song Jesus of Suburbia it is first crucial to understand that American Idiot was created as a cohesive rock-opera in the form pioneered by The Who. Jesus of Suburbia is the protagonist of the whole album and the song itself is a chronicling of this disaffected youth's life and times.

Since Jesus of Suburbia stands for all young rebels he is not given a name and he hails from Jingletown, USA. He is the child of a divorced mother and dates a girl called Whatshername. He spent most of his time watching TV, doing drugs and just hanging around - and was fed as the song states a ?steady diet of soda pop and Ritalin?. Even with his okay life, this young punk feels trapped and bored in his hometown and wants to get away from it all. As such, by the end of the song, he decides to leave Jingletown, USA to explore The City. What he does in the city is described in detail in the rest of the album - especially in the songs Holiday and Boulevard of Broken Dreams.

This conceptual song is made up of five parts and runs a whopping nine minutes long although for radio broadcast it was cut down to about six-and-a-half minutes. The five different parts are actually five different songs transitioned together. They are:

- Jesus of Suburbia
- City of the Damned
- I Don't Care
- Dearly Beloved
- Tales of Another Broken Home

Released only one month ago on October 25, 2005 the song has yet to prove its shelf life. Although its unusual length means that it might only see limited airplay given its content and the fact that it is a thematic conclusion to Green Day's biggest album to date, it would be very surprising indeed if the song did not see at least some success.

The video for the single was planned as a mini-movie with the original video running a staggering fourteen minutes long with scripted dialogue while the shorter more airplay-friendly version sticks to the original song content and format. The director of the video was Samuel Bayer and it stars Lou-Tayler Pucci - a relatively unknown actor of Indie movie fame who has started to see his star rise lately thanks to such film releases as Thumbsucker and The Chumscrubber.

The members of Green Day are especially well place to comment on the plight of the youth of the nation. Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt grew up knowing first hand the hardships of living in a single parent family. When Billie Joe's father passed away when the charismatic lead singer was only ten years old his mother was left to care for him and his five siblings on a waitress' salary. Mike Dirnt's parents were divorced when he was seven and he lived with his mother who worked three jobs to support them. As a result he never saw her. Jesus of Suburbia is definitely a nod to their past and a shout-out to their fans many of whom probably come from very similar backgrounds as their heroes.

American Idiot is a revolution in punk-rock music making and marks a turning point for Green Day; with this rich album they have effectively catapulted themselves to the next level of their careers.

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Nick Niesen

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Nick Niesen
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