Friday, February 5, 2010

Jesus of Suburbia Superstar

Warning: This post is not particularly funny. It is extremely reflective. I also do a bit of whining. It occasionally shifts focus a lot.

Since the Grammys, I've been thinking a lot about the American Idiot Broadway musical. I've already posted about the music during my pre-teen years and how the Backstreet Boys pretty much defined that time of my life. If I needed to pick an album to define my high school career, it would be American Idiot which came out at the beginning of my junior year. I was not a punk chick in the slightest so I don't really know why I was drawn to American Idiot, but I was. I probably listened to "Jesus of Suburbia" as many times as I listened to "Defying Gravity" (fun fact: I bought American Idiot and the Wicked soundtrack on the same day). I have a fondness for American Idiot. I adore Broadway musicals. So why am I so against the idea of American Idiot the musical?

Surprisingly, I think I can answer that question. It's because I tie that album so closely to my time in high school. To me, it is distinctly 2004. I know it's only six years ago and I always talk about things from then like it wasn't that long ago. But it kinda was. The attitudes in 2004 were different than they are now. The invasion of Iraq. Weapons of mass destruction. Mustard gas. Freedom fries. Most people, if not everyone, now agrees that invading Iraq was a bad idea. In 2003 and 2004, it was Unamerican to disagree. Just ask the Dixie Chicks. Around this time was when I (and I imagine a lot of other people) started watching the Daily Show on a regular basis. They told it like it was on the Daily Show. They acknowledged the ridiculousness of the mainstream media when the mainstream media reported the "facts." The songs "American Idiot" and "Holiday" reflect this attitude about the media. Sure, you can try to tell me that the media is still the same and the Daily Show still does that. But it was different then. First of all, the Daily Show still had a couch for the guests to sit on because it was a late night talk show that also happened to talk about politics among other things. Secondly, now most people have learned to be wary of the mainstream media (thanks in part to the Daily Show) but in 2004, we still had complete faith in CNN.

And back then, the big fashion and lifestyle trend was to be emo and/or punk. Now, it's to be a hipster which from my understanding requires tighter pants and slightly less emotion than being emo required. In my mind, I had a clear picture of Jesus of Suburbia, St. Jimmy and Whatsername. Since then, those trends have gone away. What I'm saying is that the fashion, attitudes and tone of 2004 was different than it is now. In my opinion, the American Idiot musical is either five years too late or twenty years too early.

Honestly, I'm not a huge Green Day fan. I like Green Day just fine. I have nothing against them. I just didn't run out and buy 21st Century Breakdown when it came out. Wikipedia tells me that that album is also a rock opera. So American Idiot is a rock opera? And 21st Century Breakdown is a rock opera? So let's combine the two and make a Broadway rock opera? I know it wouldn't have been as long as they might want, but they should do two separate rock operas as they are written. I feel that to combine what is obviously two different stories into one will lose something.

What it comes down to for me is that I am graduating from college in May. Things, such as American Idiot going to Broadway and my mom being on Facebook (which will be another post entirely), have got me reflecting upon my life over the past five to seven years. A lot has changed. American Idiot was high school for me. For interest in American Idiot to be renewed seems wrong. Maybe I'm starting my post-grad, quarterlife, Demi Moore in St. Elmo's Fire crisis. Maybe I'm selfish. I just picture a new wave of teenagers becoming obsessed with American Idiot. But not American Idiot the album. They will be obsessed with American Idiot the musical. And maybe they will have a connection to it like I had a connection to the album. But I feel a claim over it. There are feelings that I had when listening to it based on the events that I lived through and those feelings cannot be recreated for a new wave of teens.

They've already stolen vampires from us, do they really need to steal American Idiot too?

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