Pick of the Week: Green Day “The American Dream is Killing Me”

Green Day, The American Dream is Killing Me, Pick of the Week, WERS 88.9 FM
Graphics by Celia Abbott

By Ren Gibson, Staff Writer

They are loud, they are changing and they are back! Green Day returns as a trio of undead zombies with their latest single, “The American Dream is Killing Me.” The band’s effervescent punk stylings remain consistent in their new track, which kicked off the promotional cycle for their upcoming 2024 album, Saviors

While the album has not been released yet, long-time listeners can appreciate a return to Green Day’s performance roots. Criticism of the American way of life is a common theme that the band explores in almost every album, and like life, it always finds ways to reinvent itself. Even in the music video, the band revives as zombie versions of themselves. The song’s title is a cut-and-dry preview of the lyrics: anger, with the modern conceptualization of the American dream. It would be a disservice not to consider this song a revisited version of their 2004 smash hit “American Idiot”. 



The lyrics of the single make it evident that the American dream is broken. Band members Armstrong, Dirnt and Cool’s simple yet clever way of songwriting, through parallels, makes its return. The quippy verses deconstruct the very values of what the concept of the American Dream holds dear: white picket fences and hard work. “Bulldoze your family home, Now it's a condo,” Armstrong sings, an explicit reference to how values have shifted to prioritize capitalism over comfortability. 

Billie Joe Armstrong has no problem referencing other well-known phrases and flipping them onto their head within the song to make his point. In a statement released by the band, he commented, “A look at the way the traditional American Dream doesn’t work for a lot of people — in fact, it’s hurting a lot of people.” The comparison of TikTok and taxes replaces the commonplace phrase “death and taxes.” The modern take on the phrase brings the problems that impact the concept of the American dream into the present. The ever-changing American culture gives Armstrong something to write about. 



After a while away from their traditional sound, it was a pleasant surprise for Green Day to return to the pop-punk sound that they have trademarked in the last twenty years. The instrumentals on “The American Dream is Killing Me” showcase the band at their best. The bridge of the song follows the same melody of one of their previous hits, “Basket Case,” which is not the only thing that the song’s background has going for it. The bass and percussion are the main focus of the backing track, highlighting the best aspects that the bassist, Mike Dirnt, and drummer, Tré Cool, bring to the art of music. 



On November 2nd, Green Day announced via social media that they would be touring the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe beginning in the summer of 2024. For openers, the band is bringing along longtime legends the Smashing Pumpkin, punk band Rancid, and the Los Angeles-based the Linda Lindas, whose oldest member recently turned 20. Green Day will be making their arrival at Fenway Park on August 7th, 2024.

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