Rock Revolution: Why Green Day Is Still Important
By Heather Gosling, Staff Contributor
There is something about Green Day that makes you want to shout from the rooftop about all the injustices in the world. With their thick black eyeliner and politically charged lyrics, all of their albums manage to perfectly capture today’s zeitgeist. In their latest album, ‘Father of all…’, a lyric in their song Graffittia reads ‘another black kid was shot in town’, a startling reminder of the horrific systemic racism in the US (and around the world). The rawness of Green Day’s lyrics connect with so many people, who feel that the band has given them a voice. When the band headlined at Reading Festival in 2013, the crowd sang their heart out to the lyrics of Boulevard of Broken Dreams, a song about loneliness, showing how music has the power to connect people. There is no better experience than singing in a crowd of people who feel exactly the same as you.
I remember the first Green Day song I listened to, American Idiot, a rock opera that was written under the presidency of George W. Bush during the Iraq War. The album of the same name follows the story of Jesus of Suburbia, a teen who grew up in the American Suburbs and deals with poverty, a crumbling relationship, and a broken home. Jesus of Suburbia is used to represent every teenager in America, growing up in a turbulent time of war and conflict.
In 2018, the song reached Number 1 in the charts during Donald Trump’s visit to the UK, showing that there is now a new generation of teenagers who turn to Green Day in these troubled times.
In 2016, the band released Revolution Radio, an album that feels particularly pertinent given the recent Black Lives Matter protests around the globe. The title track of the album was inspired by the 2014 protest march against Police violence, which is still a pressing issue given the disproportionate numbers of the BAME community who are affected by Police brutality. One lyric stands out: “We will be seen but not be heard. We are Revolution Radio”- a message for allies to listen to Black people’s experiences and uplift their voices.
It is saddening to realise that so many of the underlying messages behind the band’s album are still relevant today. There is still so much we need to do. In the age of Trump, a pandemic, and in the face of oppression, we should use our voices to fight for change, and this is something that Green Day tries to do. At the American Music Awards, the frontman Billie Joe Armstrong led a chant “No Trump! No KKK! No Facist USA!”, showing that their rebellious punk spirit is still alive.
All of the band’s albums carry powerful messages to stand up against Homophobia, Racism, and all forms of oppression. In a time of uncertainty, fear and social inequality, the band’s music allows people to harness their anger, and use it for good.
If anyone can change the world, we can.