Thursday, July 15, 2010

Green Day - "The Grouch"

The Grouch by Green Day  
Download now or listen on posterous
03 The Grouch.mp3 (3103 KB)

This song has haunted every step I've taken since I was 16 years old. Then and now, I feel like I've seen that story before, as everybody probably has, and it bugs the hell out of me.

But that's the thing about Green Day: For those of us who were teenagers in the 90s, this band is pretty damn dead on in representing a generation. At least, I feel like they've captured a lot of what's already in my head anyway. 

Say what you will about how much that sentiment kills you, but everything up to and including Dookie caught teenaged life exactly as it is; Insomniac, Nimrod, and Warning catch the weird 20s, or any uncomfortable transition from frustrated teenager to the uncomfortable kind of adult you're going to be; and the last two albums are about as actual adult as you can get. 

What's interesting is that both American Idiot and 21st Century Breakdown are Billie Joe Armstrong looking both out at his country and inward to whatever it is he's become, and that has connected him to another generation of teenagers who may or may not hold onto his band the way that most people my age (pushing 30) have held onto Green Day - whether they cop to it or not.

Armstrong offers a lot of universal realizations based on himself in the lyrics to Nimrod, and he had lived a lot considering that his band was, for two years, the new standard-bearers for punk rock in a newly "alternative"-minded world. Once he got past the anger of a popular revolt after the masses didn't get where he was coming from on Insomniac, the songs went back to honest reflection, instead of just lashing out emotionally.

Roughly half the songs on Nimrod are about being an adult, and dealing with the fact that being an adult is just as challenging as being a teenager. It's just that the anger isn't as productive or effective. "The Grouch" scared me in high school because I was afraid it could happen, and it's kicking my ass now because I fear that it actually is. 

Posted via email from One Stupid Mop

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