Just like my earlier post about Bono and the Edge writing the music for the Spiderman Musical (Turn Off The Dark) I’m not too keen on the idea of an American Idiot musical. Does anyone remember the Tommy movie? One of the worst things to happen to rock music. I have nothing against Broadway musicals, but rock and Broadway does not mix well – they’re entirely two different mediums. Rock music is meant to be performed in front an audience by musicians, not by a cast. It loses the spontaneous element that makes rock and roll exciting. In a Broadway show there are no stage-dives, no ad-libbing or connection with the audience.
As great as American Idiot was, its power relied on the actual songs and not the narrative. Each individual songs summed up a moment in time and the best (“Jesus of Suburbia”, “Holiday”, “Extraordinary Girl”) expressed the rage and anger many of us felt in the early 2000s. I have serious doubt that those feelings will be transferred onto a Broadway stage.
Most of the really good concept albums (Ziggy Stardust, Srgt Pepper, The Who Sell Out, etc) lose their plot half-way along the way. This is something that I feel bought down Green Day’s follow-up 21st Century Breakdown. There was too much emphasis on a narrative, and not nearly as much on the actual songs. The “big songs” sounded bloated, and the punky songs had no lasting quality of those on American Idiot.
On one hand, I am happy that an anti-Bush album has gone mainstream, but it still feels kind of shallow.