MUSTWORTHINESS The band that paved the brash, bratty way for acts like blink-182 delivers ''American Idiot,'' a bold, polished punk opera. While the music will keep their constituency happy, the lyrics -- which refer to ''a redneck agenda'' and ''a land of make-believe that don't believe in me'' -- will have more than fans thrashing.
THIS IS NOT 'DUDE, WHERE'S MY PUNK OPERA?' Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, 32, says ''AI'' is as personal as it is political. ''I was thinking about how, when you get to be 18 or 19 years old, you feel like life isn't what you expected it to be, and you feel alienated from pretty much everything -- from your hometown, from your school, and even, on a lot of levels, from your friends.''
GOING TO GREAT LENGTHS ''AI'' will test the attention spans of punk fans -- who generally digest their tunes in three-minute chunks -- with a few songs clocking in at nine minutes. ''This is definitely something that can sabotage success,'' says Armstrong.
NEXT The album is set for a September release. Armstrong, with band members Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool, will follow it with a tour. But a warning to longtime Green Day fans: ''Our plan is to be able to play this record from front to back,'' he says, ''without playing any old material.''