My full review:
(note: the booklet has the lyrics written out by hand on notebook-looking paper, and some tracks have certain things noted next to the titles which I'll include in brackets)
American Idiot - 2:54
The first single, I'm sure most of you have heard it. Straight-forward, catchy, Green Day. I'd call this more of the same, except they haven't really had anything like this since Nimrod (the last album of theirs I really liked).
Jesus of Suburbia - 9:08
(Mar 3 Jingletown USA)
1. Jesus of Suburbia
2. City of the Damned
3. I Don't Care
4. Dearly Beloved
5. Tales of Another Broken Home
The first of two epics. First part is kinda straightforward, mid-tempo, cheerful sounding. Second part brings in some acoustic guitar, but is similar in feel to the first part. Third part is where things start getting interesting. 6/8 time with some interesting rhythms, and some nice vocal harmonies. Then it breaks into a heavier, angrier, punkier section. The fourth part is very "rock-opera-y" IMHO, in that it is very punk sounding, and very typically Green Day, but it's got a broadway-show kinda feel to it (at least, that's what I'm getting out of it). The fifth part is back to heavier stuff, and kinda anthemic. You can tell the song's nearing the end, but it's not dying off, it's building up to the close. There's a guitar solo in here, nothing overly impressive, but fitting to the song. Then it dips down into a piano and voice, ballad-y kinda section, then finishes off heavy again. Overall, it doesn't feel like a 9:00 song. It's still very catchy, but definitely branches out from what you'd usually expect from Green Day.
Holiday - 3:52
(April 1st In the city)
A mid-tempo rocker, not too out of the usual for Green Day. Seems kinda pop-y, until it gets to the bridge where Armstrong inserts some political lyrics ("Pulverize the Eiffel Towers who criticize your government..."). This song blends (somewhat unexpectedly) into the next track...
Boulevard of Broken Dreams - 4:20
I really like this song. It's very catchy and ballad-y, but it's also kinda heavy. I tend to get this song stuck in my head a lot, and it's one of the tracks that I can't help singing along to in the car. The chorus is really great, with some cool harmonies on the vocals. Some great use of layering guitar parts, especially towards the end. I'd have to say that this album has some of Armstrong's best guitar tones ever. This song may seem too pop-y for some people, but if you listen to Holiday and this track back to back in order, it helps this song a lot.
Are We The Waiting - 2:42
This is where I picture the villiagers venturing out of their huts to join Jesus of Suburbia in the town square or something. It's got a very anthemic chorus to it ("Are we we are"), and definitely shows off the album's rock-opera side. Until the next track literally interrupts to introduce...
St. Jimmy - 2:55
A fast, angry punk song showing off a clear Ramones influence. This is a good ol' fast and loud punk song as St. Jimmy is introduced to the story. Not a complex song by any means, but the album wouldn't work without it. And it's actually one of my favorite songs on here for some reason.
Give Me Novacaine - 3:25
Another softer intro with a strummed acoustic over a happy sounding drum beat. The overall feel seems to contradict the lyrics ("Take away the sensation inside, bittersweet migraine in my head..."). The chorus gets a bit heavier, but the second verse is almost even mellower than the first as a slide guitar part is added over the strummed acoustic. This song blends into...
She's A Rebel - 2:00
Here we're introduced to Whatsername, another character. The plot of this album is very vague, but Armstrong insists it's there (though any screenwriter tackling the project would probably need him to help co-write). This songs got a pop-punk-ish feel to it, but it's not overly pop-y. Again, works better when listened to with the previous song.
She's An Extraordinary Girl - 3:33
Starts out with some middle-eastern sounding drums and a faint drone in the background hinting at the melody of the song. The song has a kind of eastern feel to it in the verses, and something else to it I can't quite put my finger on. I'd almost say it sounds kinda like something Bowie would put out.
Letterbomb - 4:06
(lyrics for this song are written in the booklet in the form of a letter beginning with "Dear J" and ending with "-W")
Starts with guest vocals from Kathleen Hanna ("Nobody Likes You, Everyone Left You, They're All Out Without You, Having Fun"). This one's an up-tempo punk-y kinda song, but with a great melody to it, and great harmony on the vocals. Currently one of my favorites on the album (if only for the line "Where have all the bastards gone").
Wake Me Up When September Ends - 4:45
This one's a "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)" sort of song. But it builds up heavier than "Good Riddance". Overall a pretty good song. Don't think I'd listen to it much on its own, but it fits its place in the album. I could see it becoming their second single, but I could say the same for a few of these songs.
Homecoming - 9:18
1. The Death of St. Jimmy
2. East 12th Street
3. Nobody Likes You
4. Rock and Roll Girlfriend
5. We're Coming Home Again
This is the second epic. Apparently the fate of Jesus of Suburbia is somewhere in here (I haven't spent a huge amount of time looking over the lyrics yet so I'm still not totally clear on the plot, minus the obvious points). Part one starts out just guitar and voice sounding like they're coming through a really cheap microphone. Then it builds up into a heavier section (has a "We Won't Be Fooled Again" feel to me), then changes into a third section, though this all still part one of the song. Part two of the song is a faster, harder, punk-type section, though it drops into a very different middle section before getting heavier again. Part three starts with bells chiming the melody heard at the beginning of "Letterbomb" over a march drum roll as the vocals come in belting out the same melody line. Part four is sung (as far as I can tell) by drummer Tre Cool and is a straight-forward rock song, with a sarcastic, joking side to it (the lyrics for this are written on a post card addressed to St. Jimmy and signed "-Tunny"). Part five starts out kinda pop-y with some "oooo" backing vocals in places. It then transitions into a classic Green-Day-style punk section, before hitting the anthemic "We're Coming Home Again" chorus that leads out the rest of the song. The song ends with timpani and the "Nobody Likes You..." rhyme.
Whatsername - 4:12
This is a kinda catchy tune with a heavy chorus/bridge. Nothing overly special about it, but it finishes off the album nicely. Definitely has a closing feel to it. The last line "Forgetting you, but not the name" is underlined and written apart from the rest of the lyrics for the song, which makes me think it probably has something to do with the plot, though I'm not sure what.
A great album. Definitely ambitious, experimental, and risky for a band known for it's catchy, hooky, radio-friendly songs. I've heard the recent tour (where they played the album from beginning to end with some occasional actors walking across) was really amazing to see (too bad they only played 4 or 5 small-ish venues). I'd recommend this album to anyone. And I look forward to the movie if it's ever made. I'll get back to you if I ever figure out anything about the plot
The overall epic/rock-opera thing works well and doesn't come off as cheesy or anything at any time. Though, I'm not sure why people are so shocked about these longer, multi-part songs, as anyone who has heard Nimrod can remember "Jinx"/"Haushinka". And even "Last Ride In" as an example of their experimental side.