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Green Day

The most surprising masterpiece of the year belongs to Green Day, hands down. The kings of the three-chord guitar opus are back with American Idiot, their first release in nearly four years.

It is clear that the Bay Area pop-punk giants of the '90s are set to blow people's minds with Idiot. Gone are the standard three-minute rants of youthful angst and basket cases--Idiot is full of thought-provoking emotional lyrics and well-orchestrated musical arrangements.

Improving on the band's song arrangements, Idiot features two nine-minute, five-part operettas, each section getting its own title. The first, "Jesus of Suburbia," tells the tale of growth from youth to young adult. "City of the Damned," part two of the first epic, highlights the track with lyrics of a youth learning life lessons at the local convenience store.

"Homecoming," the second epic, paints a portrait of the difficulties of war. In part three, "Nobody Likes You" deals with having a loved one away due to war.

The song arrangements on Idiot differ from track to track. Where one track is an upbeat pop-punk assault, the next can be an acoustic roller coaster. Drummer Tre Cool even experiments with Middle Eastern percussion instruments, and war-like snare drum beats.

Like many, Green Day feels that the "beloved" commander-in-chief does not represent the views of the common person ("Don't want to be an American idiot/ Don't want a nation under the new mania"). In fulfilling their duty of representing the common person's angst and rants, they have produced some of their best work to date.

More by Jon Hobson

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