Billie Joe Armstrong on his favourite Green Day song: “It’s so epic”

Billie Joe Armstrong

For any aspiring musician, most original songs often feel like their own children. Even though they might have favorites among them, there’s nothing quite like the ability to transform the melodies in their minds into music played on an instrument and recorded for everyone to listen to. While Green Day has produced numerous classics since the 1990s, there is one track by Billie Joe Armstrong that particularly distinguishes itself.

Before he was even out of his teens, Armstrong was destined to become a songwriter. Armstrong began his career as a child star singing songs in his hometown. But after hearing the sounds of bands like Operation Ivy and Crimpshrine coming out of the Bay Area rock scene, he soon converted to punk rock.

Encouraged to compose original music, Armstrong would later form his own group under the name “Sweet Children” with Mike Pritchard. It would later become Mike Dirnt. However, the band (now renamed Green Day) had begun to nail a sound that was far more cohesive than what the other bands on the scene were doing after bringing in Tre Cool for their second album Kerplunk.

The band became outcasts in the punk rock community after signing a major label deal. But their album Dookie’s success inspired kids everywhere who wanted to make their parents angry with their music. Songs like “Welcome to Paradise” and “Longview,” features Armstrong singing about living on his own for the first time and spending the entire day masturbating. It also offer a lighter view of life than the depressing sounds of grunge.

Billie Joe Armstrong wasn’t content to play only punk rock. Despite the fact that the group was regarded as three of the most endearing punks in rock, he explored other musical directions on albums like Nimrod and Warning. When Armstrong devised the idea of blending segments of his songs, it marked a shift for the pop-punk enthusiasts. They had been growing tired of the band’s experimental phase.

After scrapping the planned album Cigarettes and Valentines, Armstrong had to start over. But, when he wrote “American Idiot,” a sarcastic jab at the Bush administration, he knew he had struck gold. In an attempt to create something grander than they had previously done, Armstrong began to narrate the story of a typical American adolescent growing up in the 2000s. It eventually evolved into “Jesus of Suburbia.”

With a duration of more than nine minutes, the song is a vibrant punk rock rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. It used every instrument available to the group to craft a captivating composition that culminates with the protagonist departing from his hometown for the the city. Later, the song would serve as American Idiot’s mission statement. This inspired even more craziness on songs like “Holiday” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.”

While reviewing his past work, Armstrong considers “Jesus of Suburbia” a standout achievement in the band’s catalog. He shared this with Vulture. It truly is epic. It’s flamboyant, big, and bombastic.  I think it captures so much about my life, friendships, and family. I know, I’m tooting my own horn. It was one of those moments when I felt like taking a big chance.

At the time, “Jesus of Suburbia” was one of Armstrong’s most punk rock statements. Even though he was no longer required to cater to his detractors. While most pop-punk bands were creating catchy tributes to monotony, Armstrong was following Queen and surpassing his rivals.








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