Music Article

EW's Great Performances of 2004: Green Day

If we were ruled by anomalies alone, Green Day's ''Jesus of Suburbia'' would qualify as a bona fide breakout simply because it's a nine-minute-plus punk song that gets mainstream radio play. But this epic tirade, which L.A.'s popular KROQ ushered onto the airwaves, goes to great lengths in another way, too: Unfolding in five chapter-like sections, the tune — by turns corrosive, buoyant, and sarcastic, but always winningly melodic — establishes the central character in American Idiot, the band's critically acclaimed rock opera, as a rare hero for the disillusioned and the disenfranchised. (Sample sentiment: ''Lost children with dirty faces...no one really seems to care.'') ''Lyrically, I relate to things that are a little bit more morbid,'' explains Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong with a laugh. ''But that's the dichotomy with what we do, because the music is uplifting.'' Uplifting? Try transcendent.

Originally posted Dec 27, 2004 Published in issue #799-800 Dec 31, 2004 Order article reprints