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#ThrowbackThursday: “American Idiot” By Green Day

(Explicit Content Above)


by Matt Clizbe

This week’s #ThrowbackThurstday, is in recognition of Donald J.Trump’s first scheduled visit to England as 45th President of the United States.  Following his confrontational behavior at the N.A.T.O summit, Trump’s UK visit comes amid an already polarizing trend of controversial behavior within the international community. We have seen this take place in the headlines as Trump discusses several issues in recent weeks. The issues span across topics of trade with long standing allies, strategy with adversaries, immigration policies, and countless others  Needless to say, this has resulted in a shift in the world’s perception of the US. As a result, England’s music community is expressing the new status of our “special relationship” in a special way.

According to Billboard, a social media campaign launched in May called  “American Idiot For UK No. 1 When Trump Visits.” It has been encouraging Brits to push Green Day‘s 2004 hit “American Idiot” up the singles chart in honor of his 4 day visit.  As of earlier this week, the politically charged track, which led to a Broadway musical of the same name, is currently No. 18 on the Official Charts tally, and did achieve its goal of the Number 1 spot on Amazon’s best-seller list.   Originally inspired by the Bush administration, “American Idiot” features a refrain that feels more like a commentary of both our current international climate, and the effect social media has had on our understanding of it.  

“Welcome to a new kind of tension/ All across the alien nation/ Where everything isn’t meant to be okay/ Television dreams of tomorrow/ We’re not the ones who’re meant to follow.”

In conjunction with this very traceable musical sentiment, British publication  The Guardian, is reporting that London’s chief constable has prepared thousands of police officers in preparation for what has been described as a massive protest.  Trump had reportedly asked British Prime Minister Theresa May to block all the protests upon his arrival, which she told him was not possible.  

As an album American Idiot is a modern rock opera that spoke volumes for Green Day’s artistry.  Along with standout tracks like “Jesus of Suburbia,” Boulevard Of Broken Dreams” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends,”  the title track used the opera’s narrative structure to reflect on what became of post 9/11 America, and discuss the effect the Bush administration’s decisions had on people coming of age in the US at that time.   Following its release in September 2004, American Idiot went to number 1 on the Billboard 200, as well as several other charts across the world. It went  6 times platinum in the US, and 4 times platinum in Europe.

This massive success naturally segued into the “American Idiot” inspired book and musical, led in partnership with theater director Michael Mayer.  The play launched at Berkeley California’s Repertory Theatre in 2009, before moving to Broadway in 2010 for a year long residency. Since then, a version of the show has been touring in key areas of the country and the world ever since 2011.

In April of 2010, then reality star Donald Trump took to Twitter praising the play.


After learning of Trump’s attendance, Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong said the following for the play’s online trailer:

“It was really strange to see Donald Trump.  I was like, what the F*** are you doing here? Really?”  

The irony has reached new heights now that Trump is president. The band uses the tune to loudly jab at him during performances. I’m sure that notion isn’t lost on former VP candidate, Sen Tim Kaine. Kane tweeted a reference to Britain’s “Idiot” campaign, mocking Trump, after reports surfaced that he gave a signed copy of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un last week.

Therefore, as  a nation “Under the new media,” let’s “sing along to the age of paranoia” with this week’s #TBT.  In honor of “the Information age of hysteria” that is our modern world, check out the now seemingly prophetically Green Day classic “American Idiot!” Cheers!


Green Day

“American Idiot”

From American Idiot  

Reprise Records

Related Media:
American Idiot Musical Trailer (2013) (explicit)