The 2011 Doomtree Blowout had awesome strobe lights. I'm pretty sure they used them once. American Idiot uses them all the time. :l
I don’t have a problem with strobe lights. In fact, they can be awesome. When they’re used sparingly.
And when the people on stage aren’t acting like complete a******* all the time.
And what is happening makes some sort of sense.
And I care about the story.
And...this is my most (clearly stated) problem with American Idiot; Even if there were a few good parts, everything else was so over the top and disgusting that it made me hate all of it. I know I’m a tough critic already, but American Idiot was the only musical I’ve seen that has made me think of walking out and/or screaming at the stage. (Hair may have been the same way. But that...that’s another story.)
And it’s possible that was what they were going for, judging by their liberal use of the word “rage” in the Playbook. Some subliminal thing to encourage the impulses of their viewers. Flashing lights, the color red, and heavy guitar riffs can do that right? Right?
(U C WUT I DID THAR? No, I’m not coming at RATM. I’m coming at AI. Ha. HA. Artificial Intelligence? I’ll stop.)
But. Let me first put this in perspective. When American Idiot released, I really, really wanted it. Every time we saw it I’d ask my mom if we could buy it. But the Parental Advisory sticker prevented that. Even so, I’d listen to the songs. I knew the words to American Idiot by heart, and would sing with it on the radio. (Now that I think back on it, I probably had the words extremely wrong.) Wake Me Up When September Ends, the Cha Cha Slide, and some other song were the first songs I ever downloaded.
(I’m sure I listened to the Cha Cha Slide more. And then I found Queen. Another story.)
So I let some of my skepticism go for the sake of my childhood. Not to say I don’t harbor some disdain for Green Day. They’ve always been pop in my book, I consider many of their singles “meh”, and I still don’t own any of their albums. But I was hoping American Idiot would convince me to change my mind.
Now that idea is hilarious. I can hear the cynic within me laughing right now. Meanwhile, Emo Justice is crying in a corner shouting “YOU JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND.” But that, again, is another story.
I should’ve known better.
And now that I’m a musician, as well as a musical connoisseur, (Cynical Justice: “Ooo, look at you, throwing around big words. Look who’s a big boy!” Emo Justice: “FUUUUUUUUUUUUU.”) and I think (think) I know quite a bit about music. So when I listen to Green Day, they sound like utter 00’s pop as opposed to who I consider Punk musicians. But I don’t consider punk a genre as much as others do. It’s a way of carrying yourself, a philosophy. And I think a lot of hip hop musicians are bearing that torch at the moment. P.O.S/Sims/Doomtree, Eyedea (RIP) and Abilities, and Lupe Fiasco all cater to some sort of punk mentality, whether it be through grimy, heavy beats and raps, their histories, and/or their lyricism.
I consider Nirvana a punk band. Same with Fugazi, System of a Down, and so on. (Emo Justice: Three Days Grace? Cynical Justice: How much more emo can you get man? EJ: *sniffle* At least I didn’t say Linkin Park... CJ: True. EJ: But their first couple albums were pretty good. CJ: I’ll give you that.) Many hip hop musicians have very punk lyrics in my....eyes? Ears?
I know, Flavor Flav actually wore that. But the song! D: (By The Time I Get To Arizona is another good one. My limited knowledge of Public Enemy is showing. *blush*)
My definition of punk is based on struggle. So when American Idiot opens with people acting like American Idiots, singing about fighting the new media blah blah blah, how am I supposed to take it seriously? When the characters are acting like a******* with no more depth then wanting to be a “rockstar,” when the whole premise is based on “being cool and/or doing something with our lives!,” and the teenagers/young adults portrayed stick as close to stereotypes as possible, why should I feel anything except anger towards a production that seems bent on capitalizing on the very same ignorance the lyrics of the damn songs try to speak out against?
Emo Justice: “Yeah, you tell those a*******!”
Cynical Justice: “You’re sooo going to regret saying that.”
Angry Justice: “You two should both jerk off into oblivion like the main character.”
Justice: “Hey. Let’s not...”
EJ, CJ, and AJ: “STFU.”
But maybe I’m the one who’s missing the point. Which is entirely possible. But in order to have crappy, offensive characters, you have to have a really good excuse. (CJ: Or, you know, a good show. J: Good point.) And American Idiot doesn’t have one. Unless you really like Green Day. The instrumentation does a pretty good job of representing them. But the vocals are clashy, to the point of sounding like the vocalists are from different musicals.
So even if the musical was good, my anger concealed that. And that’s probably an issue most members of the audience wont have; I think my problem with has a lot to do with being a teenage musician who tries not to do stupid sh*t, and tries to avoid the whole “musiciansarehorriblepeoplewhoneedtogrowupcauseit’sjustateenagephase” stereotype/idea/bad thing. But all I’ll remember from American Idiot is the strobelight hangover and the anger. And that’s probably a good thing.
In summary: Don’t Believe The Hype