Are We? We Are!

By Guest /Dec. 26, 2008 / Comments
Written by Cheryl.

We are...the waiting. We are...the patient. We are...the loyal. We are...the devoted fans of a Grammy Award winning punk rock trio from northern California. And at long last, the waiting is finally almost over; a new Green Day album is coming our way this spring. So, are we ready? Are we? We are! How long has it been since American Idiot was released? Well, as of today, it's been 4 years, 3 months, and - well, let's just say it's been a long fucking time! And we are more than ready.


So, I know I'm not the only person who has been waiting for a new album to bring forth the dawning of a new Green Day era. I admit I've been a bit impatient, as eager as a five year old sitting in the back seat of a minivan, whining every two seconds, "Are we there yet?" I don't have ADHD, but shit, we've been waiting (at least, it certainly seems) a lifetime for this album to come around.

It is comforting that there are plenty of others who share my lack of virtue, and I know you're out there; I've read your forum posts! Billie Joe himself can empathize, too. His words always seem to ring true for me, and in the recent AP interview, he acknowledged that "...it's hard to have patience." Can I get another Amen?! Speaking about why it's been so long in between records, he further explained that he has allowed "the process to happen naturally without having to force it. And that is a painstaking process, let me tell you. It's miserable." Good things come to those who wait, and as Green Day fans, we can certainly appreciate both parts of that statement.

The wait hasn't been all miserable though - for me, at least. We've received these little (and by little, I mean huge) musical gifts wrapped in not-so-neat but funky packages: the Foxboro Hot Tubs, a new Pinhead Gunpowder album, a Simpsons appearance, (why do my kids think the funeral scene is so funny?) and all of Green Day's other wonderful side project stuff from the last few years. But "Green Day" music is a whole other ball-game, and the expectation and the curiosity building inside me (not to mention a whole lotta other people) is ready to explode!

I consider myself a fairly new fan of the band, so I wasn't around for any of the previous pre-album anticipation and hoopla of a new album release. Being in the midst of it now, I am thoroughly enjoying every minute of it: all the wonder and secrecy, the "leaked" studio videos, the new articles, and all the speculation, from the album title to the theme to the guys' hair color. All of it is a lot of fun, and I am seriously thrilled to be a part of it all this time around. And may I say, proud, too.

One of the things I am most looking forward to with this new record is the lyrics. My head is always spinning, overloaded with responsibilities - work, school, kids, writing, family, blah, blah, blah. Yet no matter how crowded it seems to be up there, there is always room for Green Day; Billie Joe in particular is "a regular" in my mind. (And no, not for the reason you're thinking, ya perverts!) I love, appreciate, and am fascinated by stuff, but words especially, that make me think and feel. Billie Joe's words make me think. And feel. No other person's music and/or lyrics have ever affected me in the way that his have, and it seems that there is always something that provokes thought - sometimes deep shit, sometimes the very simple. Even when I think I've thought about one of his lyrics to its fullest depth and meaning, something new emerges and makes me think about it in a whole different way. In my opinion, that's one of the things about their music that makes it so appealing to so many different people.

And when I say different, I mean different: people from up and down, all over the spectrum. Women and men of all ages, races, religions, from all corners of the world: from the U.S., Canada, and Ireland to Brazil, Russia, and Australia, from moms to "tweens" to young adults to "mature..." - well, whatever you define "mature" as. Haha! I guess I fall somewhere in between there. With Billie Joe's recent comments, you can see that this observation hasn't gone under the radar with the band either. "What I think we've been able to do, is inspire people from a couple different generations, and honestly inspire them with albums that mean something." Well, inspire they do, and they are experts at it.

Whether you are 12, 42, or somewhere in between, there is a Green Day song or lyric that can relate to you - and it may even be the same lyric! Billie Joe's lyrics are saturated with double meanings, word-plays, and opportunities to read between the lines, and apparently this technique will be present on the new record as well. When talking about one of the new album's songs, Billie Joe says, "I love double-meaning, but I think that's why it sometimes takes me a long time to write: It's like you're searching for things that make it the big oxymoron." I try to do this myself when writing poetry, and it is definitely a difficult thing to accomplish, never mind being brilliant at it; I have that much more respect for him because he does it so well and does so consistently.

Literally people all around the world are captivated and amazed by the band's kick-ass music for whatever reason, but we are certainly all bound together by the sheer relatability of it. While we all love it collectively, maybe we don't all love it or relate to it for the same reasons, or understand it in the same ways. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and when you're admiring a piece of art, what makes it an irresistible masterpiece to one might be completely different than why it's so significant for another.

So let's take an opportunity to read between the lines a bit. There are so many Green Day songs that are brilliantly written in such a timeless way - "young" subject matter that never seems old. Take a song like "Longview," a much-loved classic. What this very specific song seems to be on the surface is only the beginning, as it can actually appeal and relate to an extremely diverse group of people. How can I, a 39 year old mother of three girls, relate to a song about a lonely guy who unmotivatingly masturbates in his living room? (Is "unmotivatingly" even a word? Spell-check says no, but fuck it! I don't care if you don't care.) The first time I heard that song, I immediately thought, "Whoa! Wait a minute...is he talking about what I think he's talking about?" But is that how I particularly relate to it? Not quite, (so get your minds out of the gutter) but at the time, I could definitely identify with the underlying meaning: the dead-end feeling, unmotivated, and wondering where the hell my life was going, and at times, I still can. Billie Joe grabs your attention by writing about something seemingly silly and immature, but when you stop to think about it, he is quietly slipping his message through to an audience. A self-professed walking contradiction seems to be the perfect description. He's a smart ass, but he's playing dumb. Well, I think he's just plain smart!

Again, talking in AP about the new record, Billie Joe mentions the word "christian" and how it can have several possible meanings, any of which can be construed correctly. Simply brilliant! He takes just one word, and he leaves it up to the listener to determine what it means to them personally - not targeting any specific group, but possibly relating to any range of listeners, and appealing to many at the same time.

Pick a song, and most likely, you'll find some kind of double meaning there if you think about it. Warning, Hitchin' a Ride, Minority and Red Tide are just a mere handful of what Billie Joe, Mike and TrÚ have given us. Think about it: what song or lyric do you relate to most? Do you think it's ageless, rather than being written for your age group specifically? Do you think others can relate equally, rather than understand it differently? Most likely, the answer to those questions is going to be a big "yes."

So, it's needless to say (even though I'm gonna say it anyway, Ms. Queen of the Obvious that I am) that I am anticipating everything about this new album: the virgin run-through, First Act to last, learning every syllable, every emphasis, memorizing drum rolls, savoring the dynamics of every piano note, analyzing every line, simply closing my eyes and letting it wash over me, inviting it to penetrate my senses and allowing it to fill my soul to the brim. Dramatic much? Well, it's not so dramatic if you understand. And most likely, if you're reading this, you do. He taught me how to live. Was it worth the wait? Without a doubt!
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