American Idiot was written in March 2004 by Billie Joe Armstrong, who is the lead singer of the American punk rock band, Green Day. The album which the song is from is also called American Idiot. The song was written because the author of the song felt that in American the people are controlled by the media and that the people are being complete idiots and just following suit. The next song on the album ‘Jesus of Suburbia’ is about a young boy who is labelled ‘Jesus’. He is the main character for the rest of the album which is sort of like a rock opera.
The first line of the first verse, ‘don’t want to be an American Idiot’ explains ‘Jesus’’ will not to be controlled by the media and not to believe everything that he sees on TV. For the rest of the song he is protesting against the government and the media. ‘And can you hear the sound of hysteria’ implies that people everywhere are anticipating false events that the media has falsely dramatised and that everyone will believe absolutely anything. The final line of the first verse, ‘the subliminal mindf*ck America’ is pretty much a passionate way of saying that the people of America are constantly given false information by the media and the government. It is also saying that the American people are so used to it that they believe it.
After the first verse is the chorus is sung with the words, ‘welcome to a new kind of tension, all across the alienation’ [American people being alienated, lack of sympathy from the government, etc]. The chorus is sung after each verse in the song.
In verse 2 Armstrong sings, ‘well maybe I'm a fagg*t America’ this seems that the singer is telling people of America and the rest of the world how badly the government treats gay people and he is asking what would you do if I said I was gay, he is sort of provoking the government to give him their worst so that he can prove his point. ‘I’m not a part of a redneck agenda’ describes George Bush and his government as being a bunch of rednecks and that he doesn’t agree with their beliefs and that nothing will change it. ‘Now everybody do the propaganda’ has a pretty apparent meaning. Armstrong is saying that the government uses misleading propaganda which is a false statement to get people talking and saying something good about the government to promote thing much too often. ‘And sing along in the age of paranoia’ means that everything in the country is exaggerated falsely which causes much tension.
Verse 3, the final verse of the song is almost a repeat of the first verse except for some minor changes. The lyrics are, ‘don’t want to be an American Idiot, one nation controlled by the media, information nation of hysteria; it’s going out to idiot America.’ This sums up the song saying that although Billie Joe Armstrong doesn’t want it to be America is controlled by the media and it is a nation of hysteria.
In conclusion American Idiot was written to try to tell the people of the world about the current state of America, how the people who are fighting to change it are having such a tough job, because some people still do believe everything that they see on TV and in magazines. It is not all true and they should live their own life and not be controlled by others.