Song of the Day #1,555: ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ – Green Day

I’m surprised to see that I’ve never featured a Green Day song through 1,555 Songs of the Day.

Not that I’m a big Green Day fan. I’m decidedly not. In fact, I dislike most of their music.

But I love American Idiot, their 2004 rock opera (which has since become a Broadway musical). And you’d think during more than four years of daily songs I’d have gotten around to it.

American Idiot is sometimes as grungy and loud as Green Day’s typical output, but at other times it is emotional, melodic, even poetic. And it’s an effective concept album, spinning a compelling tale of love and rage among disenchanted millenials.

Mostly I love the band’s brazen ambition on this record, most apparent on the two 9-minute multi-song suites that show up near the album’s opening and close. This is the sort of thing Pink Floyd and The Who pulled off on a regular basis in the 70s and it’s neat to see it done in the age of iTunes.

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s only me, and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the boulevard of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one, and I walk alone

I walk alone, I walk alone
I walk alone and I walk a

[Chorus]
My shadow’s the only one that walks beside me
My shallow heart’s the only thing that’s beating
Sometimes I wish someone out there will find me
Till then I walk alone

Ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah

I’m walking down the line
That divides me somewhere in my mind
On the border line of the edge
And where I walk alone

Read between the lines
What’s fucked up and every thing’s all right
Check my vital signs to know I’m still alive
And I walk alone

I walk alone, I walk alone
I walk alone and I walk a

[Chorus]

Ah ah ah ah ah
Ah ah ah ah ah

I walk alone, I walk a

I walk this empty street
On the boulevard of broken dreams
Where the city sleeps
And I’m the only one, and I walk a

[Chorus]

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,555: ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ – Green Day

  1. Jorge Farah says:

    I’m the opposite of you in regards to Green Day– I like their early to mid period, and really dislike their late-career re-branding as a bombastic stadium rock band. Green Day are at their best when they’re short, snappy, bratty and melodic, and “1039 Smoothed Out Slappy Hours” through the first half of “Nimrod” is a solid run of albums, brimming with wit and energy (witness “Going to Pasalacqua” from their first album http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6pzDu7ayLw and “Stuart and the Ave” from “Insomniac”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yVilqCZfXw ).

    I think they really stretch themselves thin with their rock-opera aspirations; songs like “Wake Me Up When September Ends” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” are just dour, self-serious, overly dramatic and melodically flatlined, with little of what made the band a breath of fresh air after the dour, self-serious, overly dramatic 90s rock scene. What’s more, they don’t know how to write these giant, sprawling songs– they seem to think it’s just tacking a bunch of mini-songs onto each other. There’s no craft to it, nothing of what made Quadrophenia such a riveting listen. The only “American Idiot” song I really loved was “Letterbomb”, which is also the one that most sounds like their earlier stuff.

    I haven’t heard the new one, but word is it goes back to the snappiness of their early work, with all the fun sucked right out of it. Oh well.

  2. Dana says:

    Fascinating insight, Jorge. I’m curious if I would like their early work, as I am largely indifferent to the stuff I’ve heard from American Idiot, though 21 Guns does get stuck in my mind for better or worse.

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