On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Green Day – Jesus of Suburbia (2004)
” Jesus of Suburbia” is a song by American rock band Green Day. It was released as the fifth and final single from the group’s seventh studio album, , and the second song on the album.
We’re remaining in the US today, dear reader, but leaving Kentucky and heading over to California. Green Day previously appeared in 1997 with Good Riddance (Time of Your Life), one of their most famous tracks. When we join them seven years later their popularity of the 1990s has waned somewhat and their 2000 album, Warning, was not as commercially successful. The trio’s relationships became strained and it seemed Green Day might be heading for a split. However, the band rallied and released their seventh album, American Idiot, in 2004 and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track, Jesus of Suburbia.
American Idiot is a concept album that explored disillusioned American youths in the aftermath of 9/11 and with the excessive media and tech being force fed through their eyes and ears. Jesus of Suburbia is the second track on the album and is the name given to the album’s protagonist who feels maladjusted at home and among his friends to the point that he leaves the town and makes for the city. Unconventionally for Green Day, Jesus of Suburbia clocks in at around 9 minutes and is divided into five sections with some of the transitions between the segments being with each of the band members performing a guitar, bass or drum solo respectively. Much more was still to come on the album but Jesus of Suburbia sets the scene of our anti-hero protagonist.
The 21st century brought a big change in Green Day, not just in maturity but in their music and in their personal relationships with one another. American Idiot was a more democratic album between the trio, a change of direction, something ambitious and risky, but it worked. Resonating with a younger generation, Green Day found themselves back on top when it seemed like they might fade into obscurity. Jesus of Suburbia is a welcome addition to this list of 1001 Songs but you suspect they would have liked to include the album in its entirety if they could have gotten away with it.
Favourite songs so far: